How To Get Your Wedding Photography Featured

By Kyle Wilson

Cover image by Alex Souza - Doces e mais doces (winner of the 2024 Narrative Photography Awards, category 'Family - kids will be kids').

As your wedding photography career grows, you move from capturing moments solely for clients to creating images that reflect your artistic vision and show the world your style. The next step is to claim a space in digital and print publications to share your work with a broad audience and attract more work that aligns with your vision. 

When debating between print and digital, consider them two halves of a whole. The tangible, curated experience of print provides a level of prestige and permanence digital can’t replicate. In contrast, digital has greater reach and accessibility, with potentially broader exposure. 

Leveraging both will ensure your published work has longevity and impact.

It takes time and effort to get featured. Here are tips on photographing with an editorial eye, the strategy behind submissions, and using connections to get your work featured in both digital and print realms.

Photographing with Purpose

At the beginning of your photography career, your focus is on the immediate: delivering what the client wants. As you progress, you seek out images that resonate not just with your client but with your artistic vision. 

Initially, make it your goal to get one photo from each shoot just for you - an image that resonates with the direction you want your work to go. Over time as you shoot more weddings, you might evolve to curating ten photos taken for your blog to tell a whole story that helps establish your style and direction to your audience. 

It's about photographing for the client and thinking through a business lens.

Photographing through multiple lenses - literally and metaphorically - means keeping the client, your business, and potential publishers in mind. It's a strategic alignment of your work, that sweet spot that satisfies clients, your artistic drive, and the keen eye of editors. 

For instance, if the bride wants detail shots, approach them with the same creativity and precision as portraits so the image will appeal to editors. 

Vertical images are the gold standard for digital publications (because everyone is on their phone, plus they’re Pinterest-friendly), so it doesn’t hurt to incorporate a few of these into your shoot.

Submission Strategy

Where do you start submitting? Platforms like Two Bright Lights simplify the process, allowing your work to reach multiple editors with a single submission. In a competitive landscape where editors may receive hundreds of submissions monthly, the traditional one-at-a-time approach can be impractical and inefficient. 

Just be aware once your submission is accepted, you won’t be able to feature it elsewhere. Be selective about who you allow to publish your work.

Understanding the unique vibe and audience of each publication is crucial. Whether it’s the edgy Rock and Roll Bride or the chic Green Wedding Shoes, each platform offers a unique stage for your work. 

Familiarize yourself with the aesthetics and editorial preferences of each platform to increase your chances of success. Selectivity in your submissions is not just about finding the right fit; it's about aligning your work with publications that help build a brand association that can drive future work.

Building Relationships and Collaborating

Selecting the right platforms for your wedding photography is just the first step. Success in getting published isn't just about the quality of your photographs; it's equally about the relationships you cultivate. 

There’s a massive misconception editors will reach out to photographers, but in reality, you have to be far more proactive. Identifying and reaching out to editors through various platforms, from LinkedIn to Instagram, can set you apart in a crowded inbox. 

Editors are overwhelmed with submissions - break through the noise with one-on-one contact. Remember, a human is at the end of that email, so relate personally by briefly sharing your story. If it feels appropriate, ask what they are looking for this season, and if they give you subject matter, chase it. 

With a direct idea from the publication, you can get other vendors on board to style a shoot (if you submit a styled shoot, it must be noted as ‘inspirational’ - do not try to pass it off as a real-life wedding shoot). 

This enhances your relationships with vendors and opens up more possibilities to amplify your reach. In addition, the vendors will feature the collaboration on their sites, so there is an opportunity for backlinks to your website, enhancing your SEO to elevate your online presence.

Recognition: Awards

Beyond getting your work published in magazines and blogs, entering competitions is a distinct way of getting your work featured. Awards are more than just accolades; they are a testament to your skills and creativity. 

They add to your credibility and attract a wider audience, both clients and collaborators. The submission process for awards differs from editorial submissions because your image will be looked at with a highly critical eye. Not only does it have to look good, it has to be technically perfect. 

Entering awards challenges your creativity and can give you a new perspective. Other publications may feature your winning photo, giving you more recognition (and more backlinks to your site). 

Watch for this year’s Narrative International Photography Awards for a chance to show us what you’ve got!

Your Path to Publication Success

The journey from photographing for clients to capturing images that resonate with both your vision and editorial standards is a stepping stone to furthering your photography career. Work your way through purposeful shooting, strategic submissions, and meaningful collaborations. 

Each progression is a step towards visibility and setting yourself apart in the competitive world of photography.