I’ve spent the last week dipping in and out of Scott d’Almeida’s wonderful Solo Exhibition. The topic of how to self publicise and raise funds to help pursue photography as a career came up and although I’m relatively new to the world of photography and have only actively started to pursue it as a career over the last year or so, I thought I’d share some of my knowledge and resources on how to get your work out there.
For some, the idea of entering a competition or approaching a gallery is incredibly daunting. The thought of rejection or being told that your work isn’t good enough would put all but the most confident of us off! However, people who don’t win competitions are not publicly disgraced and gallery owners don’t laugh in your face, they simply say that your work isn’t suitable for them or “no thank you”. The same goes for submitting images to magazines. You’ll only get a critique if the mag offers it (which only photography magazines generally do) and if you’ve asked for it. Apart from that, they’ll reply if they like your work and won’t if they don’t!
So what have you got to lose?? (Just to clarify by the way… I’m terrified too, but I have given it a blast a few times with great success.)
Many of you will already know a lot of the information that i’ve put together here. It’s mostly links and general info so I dare say you’ll be sleeping half way through!! Hopefully some of you might find it useful. :)
So here is a list of magazines and competitions to get you started and maybe even earn some cash or get a prize….
There are 3 ways that I know of to get your work noticed by magazines.
Many of the websites have an Editor’s Choice or Photo of the Week chosen from all the uploads, which then appears published in the magazine. They almost always have a bit for you put in your website too which is a great linkback. There are loads of them out there but here’s a few, mostly from the UK:
Many of you will already know about this one. It’s a photography magazine made up solely of reader photos. Go to their website, set up a profile and add your images to their challenges and themes. If your image gets picked, you get published and paid $100US!
Photoanswers is a great resource for budding photographers. They have an online gallery where you can upload and categorize your work, allow comments and feedback. The people here are great for feedback (if you want it). They have a Photo of the Day which is displayed on the Gallery page and also an Editor’s Choice section. Sadly neither of these appear in the mag itself but it’s still great exposure! For how to appear in the mag, see section 2.
Has an online gallery which allows you a profile page where you can upload images. People can comment and rate your work and you can ask for constructive feedback from your fellow peers. They also have a Photo of the Week which is chosen from all the recent uploads and as far as i’m aware usually appears published in the mag (correct me if i’m wrong)!
Has an online gallery with the same features as above and an Editor’s Choice section which is picked monthly. One or more of the Editor’s Choice pics are usually published in the mag! I was emailed by one of the guys from Photography Monthly because they’d seen my work on their online gallery and wanted to use it for an upcoming issue!
Digital SLR Photography-
-Has an online gallery and an online Editor’s Choice which appears published in the mag! Another way that I got published.
Digital Camera Magazine
Has an online gallery from which a Photo of the Day is chosen and featured on the website. They also do an Editor’s Choice bit online and a Featured Photographer. See section 2 for how to appear in the mag itself.
Almost all photography magazines have some sort of Reader Gallery. Usually it’s a submission by post but some take a submission by email. Details of how to submit are usually printed in the magazine. Most of these mags also have a Reader Rescue or critique section which you can send your photos into if you want feedback.
Digital SLR Photography
Have a Reader Showcase section which accepts submissions by post. I saw one of the guys from here on RB published in this months! The Editors Choice mentioned above is also published here as Online Showcase. Every published photographer receives some sort of reward, usually a piece of kit such as a bag or memory cards!
Have a Reader’s Picture’s section which features a few different photographers, one of which is the Editor’s Choice. All published photographers receive £50, the Editor’s Choice also gets something extra like a bag. Not bad! They take submissions by post and via email see here for details. I sent them an email submission and they asked to see more via CD, I sent it and appeared in a double page spread in the Reader’s Pictures section! It’s a weekly magazine, which means they feature a lot more photographers.
Digital Camera Magazine
I haven’t picked up a copy of this for a while… but they used to do a a section called Hotshots which also featured Shot of the Month. They take submissions for this by post and email. They also used to do a section called Your Mission which is like a mini themed contest. Top 6 or 7 pics are published and submission is by email or post also.
Have a section called Reader Portfolio which takes submissions by email.
Has a section called Showcase which accepts submissions by post. However the team there are always looking out for images in the online gallery mentioned above.
National Geographic Magazine
Have a section called Your Shot which you can submit 1 photo a month to. You get a little online gallery and every submission, which is done online, is in with a chance of being picked for The Daily Dozen. Over the month, Daily Dozen shots are voted on by the public with the highest ranked getting published. The editor then picks a second shot from the pot and both are featured in the magazine!
Lonely Planet Magazine
Have a section in the mag called Postcards which features reader travel photos. You can email them with where you’ve recently been and if they like your images they’ll get in touch! Another way that I got published.
You can send a general submission to a Photography mag for consideration as stock to be used anywhere within the magazine. If they like your work, they’ll keep it on file and if they have a use for it, you might get published and paid as a freelancer. The same goes for any magazine. If your photography is tailored towards a particular genre such as sports, travel, weddings etc., you can send a specialised submission to these types of mags for consideration.
My knowledge of submissions like this is limited and i’ve never done it before but this is what i’ve been told. Send a CD of around 20 images accompanied by a contact sheet of thumbnails which is easily referable to your file names on the CD. Also send a covering letter with information about yourself as a photographer and information about each image such as where it was taken, who’s in it. Pop it all in an envelope and address it to the Editor of your chosen magazine. If anyone reading this (well done for getting this far!) knows of any other info regarding this please elaborate below!
If you don’t hear back from them, don’t worry! After a couple of weeks follow it up with a phone call to see if they received it. That gives you an opportunity to ask if they accept submissions this way. If they tell you that your work wasn’t suitable, ask if they can elaborate, they might not want to. Either way, don’t be disheartened, just keep improving your work and try again! One thing to bear in mind is that magazines tend to work about 2-3 months in advance so if you have a bunch of winter shots, don’t send them in December, send them in September!
I’ll start with some wee titchy ones and move onto the biggies. Rules and how to enter are all on their websites.
Earthshots Photo of the Day Contest
No cost to enter and no prize, just bragging rights and a bit of exposure. You get a linkback to your website and you can also add the winner badge to your website. Open to every country.
Calumet Photo of the Week
Winners get published in the Calumet Focus magazine. It’s worth a go, i’ve won it once! It’s free, no prizes, just bragging rights at being published and a linkback to your website. You’ll also appear on their weekly e-newsletter so you reach a pretty good audience!
Popular Photography Magazine runs alongside American Photo Magazine and run a number of competitions on their website. Free to enter online with cash prizes and exposure on their website.
Burrard Lucas Competitions
Matt and his brother Will are both photographers and run competitions on their website. Free to enter and open to worldwide entries with some great prizes.
Karl Taylor Photography Competition
Karl is an accomplished photographer and runs monthly competitions on his website, free to enter with great prizes like bags etc and you get showcased on his website. Open to amateurs.
Intrepid Travel Competition
Intrepid Travel run a yearly competition with monthly prizes and 1 overall winner. Intrepid try to use competition entries in their brochures. Free to enter by post and open to all photographers worldwide. Winner gets an Intrepid travel trip for 2 to the tune of $3000AU!
The Times Travel Photo Competition
A monthly comp with 4 weekly winners and 1 overall winner. Excellent prizes and free to enter. Amateurs and UK residents only.
Lonely Planet 100 millionth Guidebook Photo Competition
Free to enter online with a stonking grand prize of a round the world trip for 2! Open to amateurs and professionals worldwide.
Amateur Photographer of the Year
Run by Amateur Photographer Magazine with free email entry and great prizes!
Urban Photographer of the Year
Open to all amateur and professional photographers worldwide with entry online. Free to enter with excellent prizes. This year the grand prize is a weeks trip to Jordan for 2! Still a relatively small competition with only 6000 entries this year so get in quick!
Photographers Lounge – Open Shutter Competition
Photographers Lounge is a gallery based in Dorset, UK. They’ve just started running competitions. Open to all international photographers with entry online and an entry fee. The prize is a month long exhibition of your work in their gallery.
Friends of the Earth Photo Competition
Open to everyone internationally with cash prizes. Appears to be free to enter via email or post.
American Photo Magazine – Images of the Year Contest
International competition open to both amateur and professional with brilliant prizes and recognition for the winners! There is an entry fee for this one.
Epson International Pano Awards
Open to professionals and amateurs worldwide with brilliant cash prizes as well other goodies! Entry fee applies.
National Geographic International Photography Contest
Open to selected countries and states including the UK, Rep Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Enter online, fees apply. Great prizes and exposure for the winners.
RPS 153rd International Print Exhibition
Entries are open to amateur and professional photographers worldwide, fees apply. Entry is by post. Cash prizes and of course as the title would suggest an exhibition of 125 images with worldwide press coverage!
Garden Photographer of the Year
International and open to amateur and professional. There is a fee to enter but the great thing about this comp is that they offer feedback on your images after the judging! Great cash prizes but best of all, the top 100 are exhibited at Kew Gardens in London!
Take a View – Landscape Photographer of the Year
Created by renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite this competition has fantastic prizes and offers the winners excellent recognition. Entries must be of UK and Ireland and a fee applies. There’s a total prize fund of £20,000 with the winner scooping a whopping £10,000! There’s also an 8 week exhibition of best entries and a book published!
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Open to amateurs and professionals from all over the world. Entries are made online, fees apply. Brilliant cash prizes including £10,000 for the overall winner. Winning and commended images will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London and then tour around the UK and Worldwide. A book is also published!
Digital Camera Photographer of the Year
Open to both amateur and professional photographers worldwide. Amazingly it’s free to enter, even though it’s said to be the biggest photography competition in the world! It takes in more than 120,000 entries, so there’s some pretty stiff competition! Cash prizes including £10,000 for the winner and an exhibition in London!
Photographer of the Year
Run by Practical Photography Magazine entries are open to UK residents only. Fantastic prizes with the overall winner scooping a Spirit of Adventure Cruise for 2!
Travel Photographer of the Year
Again open to amateur and professionals worldwide. Excellent prizes including Intrepid Travel trips and loads of other goodies! Exposure for winners and runners up is fantastic including exhibitions and books. Entry fees apply.
World in Focus Photo Contest
Open worldwide (with some exclusions) to amateurs and professionals. Brilliant prizes including National Geographic Expedition trips. Enter online, fees apply. Winning entries will be published in National Geographic Traveller Magazine and exhibited at the World in Focus Gallery which was in New York last year!
Sony World Photography Awards
Competition is separate for amateurs and professionals but entries are accepted worldwide. Entry is free for amateurs with a prize of $5000. For professionals there’s a winning prize of $25,000! All winners receive VIP tickets to the awards in Cannes and are exhibited at the Winner’s Exhibition and published in the Winner’s Book! Not sure that it gets much better than that!!
There is, without doubt, some amazing talent here on Red Bubble. I’ve seen too many photos to mention that are worthy of publication and/or awards. There are plenty of people doing very well for themselves on here. People who have been published and won awards, but for many of us, like I said above, it’s a very daunting thought! There’s a wealth of information here guys. So… Big deep breath…. exhale and GO FOR IT!!
If anyone has anything to add, please do so below! :)