You worked on an amazing shoot or event. The images are to die for! You selected the perfect publication (#goals). But now what? How do you begin crafting a wedding submission that will catch an editor’s eye?
Here are 5 tips for making your wedding submission stand out, from Rebecca Crumley, Weddings Photo Director at The Knot.
1. The more unique, the better
The Knot is all about weddings that showing the couple’s personality and twists on tradition, emerging trends, and/or cultural elements. We love seeing how much thought and effort goes into planning the event and creating a great guest experience. We encourage photographers to submit images that show a special angle, calling out what made this wedding unlike any other. A well-crafted pitch helps us envision our story, so don’t overlook this important step!
Need help identifying if something is overdone? Do the Pinterest test. Search for the topic you may have in your photos, and if it feels overly reported there, chances are we’ll feel the same way.
2. We LOVE detail shots
We select weddings based on photos first! While step one helps you to envision your best possible editorial fit, the photos must capture our attention through the details. Beautiful, styled shots of flowers, stationery, cakes, tables, favors (and so on!) help our audience make the most important day of their life easier to plan. When we look at details, we’re considering the colors, style, composition, and how this might help a reader feel inspired to make it their own. As editors, some of our very favorite details to see are signature cocktails with stylish glassware and decorated getaway vehicles – with and without the couple!
Our job is to present the best ideas and to help our couples get on with the wedding planning. That said, don’t forget to capture an image that documents the overall scene of the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. These photos set the stage for our real wedding stories.
3. Show us the emotion
When it comes to portraits: go with candid or lifestyle, not traditional please! Your portraiture work is of course important for your clients, but not necessarily what we’re looking for in editorial. We’re after the real moments capturing the spirit of the day — iconic shots of the ceremony recessional, entering the reception, or first dance. While we haven’t completely ditched the portrait sessions in our features, we do aim to convey a sense of environment and more of a natural interaction between the couples and wedding parties in this photography. Tip: don’t forget to include a few shots of the couple during the reception! Without these shots, it’s difficult for us to carry our storyline through the day.
Another rule of thumb: limit your portraits (this includes the wedding party, kids, pets, etc) to about 30% of your wedding submission.
4. Don’t forget the nitty-gritty details
While your photography and the pitch are key, don’t miss the very basics, like contact information for the couple, vendor info, and whatever else you may like to share. If the event is at a private venue, please let us know where it was. Local geography plays a part in our selections too.
5. Natural lighting please!
Since we’re so focused on these details and the overall moments of the day, our preference is for daylight-balanced photography and natural tones. Make sure in your post-production that detail remains in the highlights (especially wedding dresses), and that darker shots or shadows are minimal. This is especially true with print weddings because inks can’t deliver the same resolution as on-screen, and once converted to CMYK. So if your style tends to be darker than brighter, you may naturally be a better fit for publication online.
What types of features does The Knot accept via Two Bright Lights?
Our primary interest is in real weddings. We’ve backed away from styled shoots, simply based on audience feedback.
While we do not feature engagement shoots, we do feature proposals in our “Love Stories” franchise. This feature highlights how couples became engaged and is supported with an engagement photo. Here, we really love to see the couples’ personalities coming through. We’re looking at where the couple went for the shoot, what they wore, and their expressions. A tip for photographers is to consider the body language between the couples. Sure, walking, holding hands, and kissing are relaxed poses, but we really love to see how the environment can create different ways for the couples to interact with each other. It is extremely helpful to include how the pair became engaged in your submission notes. We’ll follow up for the full details if selected, but knowing this information up front helps your pitch.
Could you explain Exclusivity and what it means to The Knot?
The Knot print publications are exclusive, with an exclusivity period of 6 months. We recently switched to having our online content be exclusive as well. However, if you submit for online you’ll still be able to promote your work through your own website, blog, and social channels while wedding submissions are under review or prior to a published date. We’re simply seeking weddings that have not been editorially published elsewhere . We’ll review your online entry within 30 days of submission, and if selected, the exclusivity window is 3 months from the date published.
Ready to submit to The Knot? April 12th is the deadline for the 4th annual feature The Knot 50 Weddings, 50 States. We’re picking one wedding from each state to showcase the diversity of weddings across the states. See our publication profile for more details!