The 9 Do's and Don'ts of Submissions

January 17, 2019

Image: Unsplash

Without a doubt, the way you submit your albums can make a huge impact on how you get published. Once you’ve mastered how to upload your albums on Two Bright Lights, it’s time to head into submissions with a clear strategy. Read through these do’s and don’ts of submitting for some tips to get your work published!

1. Do Give Editors Photo Options

Everyone’s eye is a little bit different, so make sure to include plenty of options for editors to select from. About 70% of your album should consist of detail shots, and only 30% should be be portraits. Think of how an editor is more likely interested in the unique details of the event instead of people on the dance floor! This is because the goal of the feature is to provide inspiration to people who are planning their own wedding. You can upload up to 150 images in an album, so take advantage of this! Pay attention to what you are including and how you arrange the images, as the album should tell a visual story for the editors from beginning to end. Download our Wedding Shot List to make sure your submission has everything editors are looking for!

2. Don’t Forget to Research Publications

Editors are able to see your album submission history in Two Bright Lights, and editors appreciate when you’ve put time and thought into where you choose to submit. Here’s the best way to quickly research a publication: look through a publication’s previous features to get an idea of the type of content they’re looking for, along with their social media channels to get a sense of their audience type and size.

Image: Eureka Photography. sourced via Open Gallery

3. Do Use The Publication Matching Tool to its Full Potential

We love our publication matching tool, but it’s only as good as its users allow it to be! When creating an album in Two Bright Lights, make sure to categorize your albums with accurate album tags, as these factor into the algorithm to suggest the right publications for your submissions. Want more details? Read more about how it works here.

4. Don’t Forget About Editor Requests

Let TBL do some of the work for you! You can find an active list of submission requests under the Requests tab of your home page. Submitting directly through requests helps narrow down your publication selection process, as editors share specific content asks for their publications here. To make things even easier, each month we send out a round-up of requests to our premium users, so keep an eye out for it in your inbox (or upgrade now if you haven’t already)!


Image: eGolden Moments Photography, sourced via Open Gallery

5. Do Let Open Gallery Do the Work For you

Let editors find your work with our newest feature! When your work is in Open Gallery, each image and album becomes searchable, and can be published on a non-exclusive basis upon request. Yep, you can get published without even submitting, saving yourself time and effort!

6. Don’t Forget to Write a Note

Leave editors a personal note when you go to submit! It only takes a few moments and can be what sets your album apart from the rest. It’s also a chance to show you put in time and thought into your submission. (Editors will appreciate this!)


Image: Landrum Photography, sourced via Open Gallery

7. Do Pay Attention to the Publication’s Exclusivity

If you’re still trying to nail down your submission strategy, we recommend submitting to some non-exclusive publications first. This is a great way to understand which publications fit your work best. Remember, when you submit to exclusive publications, you cannot submit an album elsewhere until it has been released or the exclusivity period has been fulfilled. Once you feel confident about matching your album with exclusive publications, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

8. Don’t Be Unrealistic

Some publications receive many submissions. Keep in mind that editor response time varies greatly, and can range from a week to a couple months contingent on their publishing schedules. In short: it truly depends on the nature of the publication. Be honest with yourself about your own timeline, expectations, and the type of publications you want to be featured in. And don’t get discouraged! Figuring out what works best for your business can take some trial and error. Be open to feedback and pay attention to what does and does not work for your submission strategy. It will only benefit you in the long run!

Image: C. Baron Photography, sourced via Open Gallery

9. Do know what to expect next: (Submission Status 101)

You can check the status of your submission by clicking into the album or by clicking into the Submissions tab. Click the icon in the top right hand corner that lists the album history. There you will be able to see whether the album has been viewed, accepted, released, etc, along with the date of each action. Take a look here to learn about submission status and what it means.

So there you have it, a fresh round up of do’s and don’ts to make sure you’re getting the most out of your submission process. Now you’re one step closer to getting published!  As always, we’re here to help with your submission success! Send your thoughts and questions to and join the TBL community on instagram @two_bright_lights.

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