How to Sell Photographs to Magazines

Photographs differ in subject, as do the magazine cover stories. The range can be vast – politics, sports, entertainment, disasters, technology, social concerns, food, cuisine, fashion, comical situations, serious concerns, health, education or nature, all things great and small.

The scale and focus could also be different – local to state, national and international, or rural or urban, or glamor or plain and truthful reporting. There exists a place for every slot and every setting. It is therefore essential for you to understand the market for your work. After knowing your market, it is much easier to find potential customers for your work.

First, compare and assess your work

Before approaching suitable magazines, first study the photographs already published in the magazines that are relevant to your category of work. Make an honest comparison of the work you want to submit to those magazines. After an impartial assessment, if you feel your work is as good as the work published, then you are ready to approach the magazines.

Care to be taken while submitting your work

Write or send a mail to the magazine’s photo editor giving a brief idea of your work. Give the details of your website in your mail, if you have one. It is easier for the photo editor to visit the site and view your work. While sending photographs by post, attach a stamped self-addressed envelope to ensure return, in the case that it is not accepted.

The monetary aspect

The money offered for accepted work depends upon the magazine management. There are well-paying ones and also lower-paying magazines. However, sometimes there is a general structure of fees common between several magazines. If they place your shot in the cover page, you will get paid the most for your photograph. The double center spread is a close second.

The points to look for, while sending your work:

It is in your best interest not to send your work to any other magazines after selling it to one magazine. If you get caught for doing that, it is likely that you will lose the magazine as your customer permanently. Also, understand some basic things such as the copyright laws. Whenever you click a photograph, it carries your own copyright. Generally, the custom is that a magazine can publish a photograph for one-time use. Therefore, if they are publishing the same photograph twice in a period of five months, you must be paid by them again, the second time.