Many wedding photographers want to get their work featured in a magazine or an online editorial website without really knowing what steps to go about making this happen. I got my first editorial feature on the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine through a help of a friend/fellow photographer back in 2007. It was then that I got to develop a relationship with their photo editor Diane Rice. Since then I have had the privilege of getting couple more weddings and some images from other events featured on there. Rather than giving you tips on how to go about submitting work, I thought it might be best to hear the advice from the main source. I recently had a chance to interview Diane and wanted to share that interview with everyone out there that might be interested in finding out more about what the photo editors are actually looking for in a photo submission.
Kenny Kim: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up being the photo editor for Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine?
Diane Rice: I’ve wanted to be a photo editor ever since I was a kid and I worked on my grade-school yearbook. I loved the feeling of collaborating with a team and creating a tangible product people can enjoy. I still thumb though my eighth-grade yearbook from time to time, and it’s interesting to compare it to what I’m doing now. I guess I’ve come a long way …
I went on to study graphic design and photography in college and later landed my first job as an assistant photo editor for a local newspaper group on Long Island, New York. When I wasn’t working the photo desk or covering local events, I freelanced as an assistant wedding photographer for a friend. I loved how intimate and unique each wedding was and how important the role of the photographer was in memorializing the event. So when I moved to Florida and started working for DWH, it was a natural fit! It was a perfect combination of two of my passions — being part of an amazing team and weddings!
KK: I’m sure you guys get lot of submissions for your magazine. Can you tell us about the process you guys go through for selecting images for the featured wedding section?
DR: First and foremost it’s about great photography! After we close an issue, I’ll go though all the submissions that came in over the past month and flag my favorites. I look for solid submissions where the collection of images tells a cohesive story about the couple, from great portraits to lots of details. The real weddings we feature are about both informing and inspiring our readers. Also, It’s important for us to make sure a good range of locations are represented, so I usually break submissions down into groups according to region. Once I’ve narrowed down the selection and made my top picks, I sit down with the art director and editor. We look though the selects and determine which ones tell the best stories and give us the most visual variety between the pages.
KK: What are some common mistakes photographers make when they are submitting their work?
DR: The biggest frustration for me is an incomplete submission, such as if I don’t have the proper information about a wedding (location, date, bride and groom’s home state) or if there are only couple shots and no details. This puts extra work on me to call in the missing elements. Often I’ll disregard the wedding entirely and defer to a submission where the photographer followed our guidelines. You have to appreciate a photographer who puts the effort into making things easier on us.
Another frustration is when photographers neglect to ask the couple’s permission in advance to not only use their photography editorially, but also to share their personal details. It’s always disappointing when you fall in love with an event only to find out the couple isn’t interested in sharing their story.
KK: What should the photographers be shooting during the wedding that you guys are looking for in a wedding?
DR: All of our real weddings are anchored by one main image, which sets the tone of the story. For this we ask our contributors to shoot an artistic, candid, environmental portrait of the couple, usually a horizontal or easily cropped vertical. We like the place to shine as much as the people! The mood/style/essence is what we’re trying to capture. Our tagline is “the travel magazine for brides and grooms,” so for us it’s important to capture the vibe and unique nature of each destination, especially since many of our bides have never been to their destinations of choice prior to their weddings. Also, we love the unique details! The shoes, the bouquet, the rings, the cake, the food, the decor and very pulled-back images of the ceremony so the setting shines!
KK: Are there any specific destination locations you guys have not covered that you would love to feature?
DR: Wow, that’s a tough one. We’ve covered a pretty wide range of locations in the three-plus years I’ve been with the brand, including Easter Island, a mountaintop in New Zealand only accessible by helicopter, remote atolls in the South Pacific, and African safaris. However, I have yet to receive a submission from Greenland or Iceland. I’d love to run one … especially if they had dog sleds!
KK: What do you think is the ratio between local vs. destination weddings? Are there pros and cons to planning a destination wedding?
DR: In 2000, destination weddings made up 5 percent of the bridal market; today, they comprise 20 percent of the market — and with 2.2 million weddings each year in the U.S., that’s a substantial number.
A wedding away is surprisingly cost-effective. Many destination venues offer free planning help. Plus, you save on decor because with a destination wedding, your location supplies the theme — when you choose an amazing backdrop, it doesn’t take much to dress it up. Also, destination weddings tend to have smaller guest lists and often span a few days, which means — now that you’ve gotten your nearest and dearest together, you can actually spend quality time with them!
There are admittedly some additional logistics to consider. Planning over the phone can be tricky — it’s not like you can just run over to the florist after work to tweak your order. The trick is finding trusted vendors you can rely on to interpret your vision. Planners can be a huge help.
KK: Can you tell us a proper step for publication submission for Destination Weddings & Honeymoons?
DR: The first thing I ask is that photographers obtain permission from each couple before submitting their photography, and that they confirm the wedding qualifies as a destination wedding. By DWH standards, the couple must travel 100 miles or a two-hour drive from home. All submitted weddings must have been shot in the past year. I generally ask photographers to submit 100-150 images, including environmental portraits and lots of details via CD/DVD. Oh, and don’t forget to send a copy of the submission form. You can download our submission guidelines and view upcoming deadlines here:
KK: Any other advice would you give to photographers or in general?
DR: Never stop learning — keep up to date on the trends, read blogs and photographer forums, pick up magazines and study what kind of images are making it into print. Photography, more than many arts, is a medium of the moment, so we need to stay informed and keep our fingers on the pulse of society. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun with it! Shoot what you love and what charges your creative mojo!
Thank you so much Diane for your time and sharing! You can find out more about the magazine by visiting their website or joining them on facebook. You can also follow Diane on twitter @DianeRicePhoto.
I have couple of workshops coming up that you guys might be interested in:
1) England one day workshop hosted by Sarah P Photography – September 21, 2011. Corsham, Wiltshire, UK. Visit this website for more information:http://store.kennykim.com/england_workshop/
2) PhotoVenture IV with Kenny Kim & Friends – Special Guest Bob Davis
November 14-20, 2011. Venice, Italy & the areas surrounding that region. Visit http://photoventure.kennykim.com for more information.
At both of these events, I’ll be going over some topics related to destination wedding photography. Hope to see you at one of the events!