A lot of people are doing this every day. They are getting paid $100, $200, even $500 per image that is included in a publication. And if you could sell 10 or more photographs per month – you’re well on your way to a six figure income.
Is it hard to find companies willing to pay these prices for one photograph? Not at all. It’s just a matter of finding the right magazines willing to pay the right price. There are thousands of magazines in publication today, and they all need photography. Add in websites, online publications, and internal commercial communications, and you have a ton of opportunity available to you.
Step #1 Identify your interests
We would all love to be an award winning photographer with National Geographic magazine. But the possibility of starting out at the top is close to never.
Don’t shoot for the top. Instead, choose smaller publications that hold interest to you, and provide you with an easier opportunity to jump in.
Look through the magazine and see if you can see your own photographs in the layout. Do you photograph in similar styles? Do you photograph in the proper locations? A magazine on skiing in Colorado probably wouldn’t use a photograph of people lying on the beach.
Step #2 Choose your targets
As you go through magazines, find a handful (10 to 20) that you would like to be published in. Again, make sure they have interest to you, and a good prospect for the style of photography you create.
Head online to their websites, or check within the magazine for points of contact. Most magazines have a marketing director or creative director. Keep that name in your file, and use it when you send in your work. If you can’t find a name, either call the main office and inquire a point of contact, or send it Attn: Marketing Director.
Step #3 Get your samples together
Go back through your photography and choose images for submission. You may also want to look at editorial calendars for the publications to submit photographs according to theme. Write up your resume, and include descriptions of your photographs. If you have a website, you can also refer to it for even more samples.
Step #4 Repeat
Don’t give up after your first mailing. You won’t always get a lead or a sale from every mailing. Your work may not fit into a current publication. Or they may be under deadline and your work simply is overlooked.
The most crucial step is not to give up. Target well and continue to connect. Once you get in, expand from there.