A few months ago, I received a message of an editor that works for a newspaper in Belgium. He asked me if I wanted to contribute in an article about photography. The article subjected the story behind the picture. Surprisingly, he already had chosen a picture. He had chosen the photograph on my website "Know what is special". Like the title of the photo emphasises, that image is special... I was proud and happy because I could publish the story and narrate it. I could honour, yet again, my soulmate 'Dai'. May he rest in peace. I miss you so much buddy!
About a month ago an assistant of the same media-group contacted me again. The media-group wanted to use my image for the calendar 2018. I immediately insisted because it was about something bigger. It wasn't about recognition or visibility. It was about the legacy of 'Dai'. It endorsed respect, loyalty, the absence of a friend, the love of a best buddy, a kindred spirit ... It is an understatement to acknowledge the fact that I am very grateful for that publication.
So why this post?
People asked me a few times the question: 'how do you get published?'. Honestly, the most of my publications were 'happy-go-lucky'. You get noticed by social media. Fortuitous that story is useful at that moment, for that newspaper or magazine. On the other hand, sometimes it was an assignment, where the imagery had to tell a story. In the most of those cases I also wrote the article. So hereby a few small tips from a humble writer/photographer...
I guess people are probably not that good than they think they are, when they start to find publishers. When I check my older images and articles I am a little bit ashamed. It's like, wow... did I create that... 🙈
Make the image, but write the article as well!
Magazines, newspapers and journals like to get everything in a pack. They have deadlines and when you give them everything at once, it will save them time. I already had the experience that they just copy-pasted everything, including my spelling- and grammatical mistakes. No disrespect, but a funny anecdote.
Rejection is not a failure. If the publisher does'nt approve your work for publication, it is not always because your work is bad. Sometimes it's not the right time for that subject or there are other subjects that are prior on yours. Try to rewrite it a bit and present it to an other publisher on another time.
Create a relationship with the editor.
Okay, that sentence looks a bit awkward but I guess that is my sick mind. What I mean is that it’s much easier to come back a second or a third time to get published when you have a good bound with the redactor or editorial office
Networking! Get visibility, use social media, use your contacts, use contacts of contacts ... I guess this says everything. Try to get noticed.
Make good agreements.
'Good agreements make good friends!'
Talk before action. If you want to get paid, tell them and inform them what your costs are. If you have other terms or more conditions, it is necessary to inform your publishers. Copyright of the image par example. What can they do with your article and images and what is not possible within your terms. Can they crop or manipulate your photograph? Do you need your copyright under the photo or in the colophon? Sometimes it's just in the details. Are you hard in your terms and conditions? No, you are not... Editors are used to it but mostly they are in a hurry...
Don't be too hard, but be correct!
You can set your terms and conditions but the pitfall is that you are being too hard as a starter. It could discourage editorial offices to work with you. What I mean is that you have to work on your relations 😉. This pitfall is one that I encountered a few times... 😬
About being correct... Stealing is wrong!
I had a few experiences with the fact that people, magazines, newspapers, blogs steal image(s) or mistreat your images. I can give you one thing for granted... The feeling that goes through your body when realising you got robbed sucks big-time! You get no recognition of your hard work! Par example, it happened one time to me, the name next to 'your' 'stolen' photograph is somebody else's name... The first words that are slipping your tongue are w... t.. f...
In all those cases I immediately contacted those parties. I informed them about the fact that I am a licensed photographer and I presented them the invoice including the potential penalty if I would go to court. Those people forget that also the authors read magazines and newspapers. They also seem to be forgotten that there is a tool that's called Google Image... Yes, you are right, you can easily find your image back on the web...
Get your license and get recognised.
I do not know how it goes in other countries. I only can talk about my experience in Belgium. In this country, we have the strength to have SOFAM. This partnership is specialised in visual arts. SOFAM assumes the defence of the statute and the interests of the authors. In a nutshell, if you have some (legal) troubleshoots, you can ask for their support. Off course, you have to get licensed by SOFAM.
The most important! "Have fun!
If you like to get published and to write articles, I would say go for it. If you only want to do it for other causes, I have my doubts. Maybe it's about your own visibility, maybe it's about likes, followers, whatever... Then I suppose you will not come to that feeling we call satisfaction... You have to be passionate by what you do... Like I said, that is my humble experience... No more no less...
Post scriptum: entering a photography-competition in function of gathering the most likes on social media is not having fun! (My opinion 😉) The one with the most social media influence will win. It is not about the photograph, believe me!
Below some throwbacks that I found in my archive. I also have other articles and publications, but every single image of these carries some very good memories. This means it was worth the publication . This means it is worth the re-publication 😆