7 Dos and Don’ts of Getting Published

The 7 Dos and Don'ts of Getting Published | via the Rising Tide Society

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1. DO tag your fellow vendors

There are lots of excellent reasons to tag ALL the other stellar event professionals in your submission. Those vendors will promote you in return and you’ll grow your professional network. When the submission gets published, they’ll be automatically alerted and will share on their social networks.

But the #1 reason to tag the fellow pros that you worked with is that publishers are looking for that information! 70% of editors say that it is critical to include vendors in your submissions, and 89% say it is very important.  Nearly half of the editors we surveyed want to see 8 or more vendors tagged in an album. So grab those business cards, and get tagging!

2. DON’T over-edit your event photos

One consistent piece of advice publishers on Two Bright Lights share with new submitters is to keep the editing of photos to a minimum. Most publishers are looking for images with natural light and true colors. So keep your photo processing uniform, and be conservative with your filters. Check out previous work that has been published to that blog, magazine or website to see the style of photographs they prefer, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Dos and Don'ts of Getting Published | via RTS (Photo by Krista A. Jones)
Photo by Krista A. Jones Photography

3. DO include plenty of details

Editors want to publish the best looking photos, for sure. But they need a great story to tell too! And they don’t want to have to do all the heavy lifting. Include as much of the backstory and as many of the details as you know. If you aren’t the event or wedding planner – call them! They usually know lots of great little nuggets since they spend so much time with the party planner or the bride and groom.

Worried that you aren’t a great writer? Don’t be! The publisher will finesse the story, they just need the raw ingredients. One editor even told us they’d be thrilled with a bulleted list of details if the submitter is not a strong writer. And often it’s the details – along with great pics – that cinch the submission.

Dos and Don'ts of Getting Published | via RTS (Photo by Krista A. Jones)
Photo by Krista A. Jones Photography

4. DO brag on social media

Would you like a good excuse to crow about that fabulous wedding you just got published on ALL of your social media channels? 86% of editors are more likely to publish a photographer again if they used social media channels to promote a previous feature. Your fellow vendors will love it too, and in turn will share your post to their social media followers. Don’t forget to tag the bride and groom or party planner so their friends and family can see the publication too! We call this the “network effect” of getting published – and it starts with you!

At Two Bright Lights, we make this super easy. Once a feature gets published, you’ll receive a notification with the options for social sharing right at your fingertips. So get sharing!

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5. DON’T skimp on photos

Two Bright Lights allows you to submit up to 150 images per event in an album – don’t skimp on pics! Take advantage of this generous limit to really show off the event. The images need to tell a story, so keep them in the order of how they took place…with one exception: Be sure to use a really knockout cover image, because first impressions really do count!

We asked publishers what kind of pics they were looking for and they said: More detail shots! Think from the perspective of future brides, for instance. They use real weddings as inspiration for their own event, so the photos you choose should give them lots of new ideas.  

One detail oriented publisher shared their perfect photo formula with Two Bright Lights: 5 invitation shots, 5 shots of the venue/signage, 15 getting ready shots, 5 ring shots, 10 detail shots of the clothing/accessories, 10 first look shots, 20 couple portraits, 5 wedding party photos, 10 ceremony decor and detail shots, 15 ceremony shots, 35 reception decor and detail shots, 5 cake and dessert shots, 10 reception shots/party shots, 0 family portrait shots (unless they are really neat or important to the story of the day), 0 Food shots (unless they are really cool), 0 shots of guests (unless they are cute old people, dogs or kids). Great feedback!

Dos and Don'ts of Getting Published | via RTS (Photo by Krista A. Jones)
Photo by Krista A. Jones Photography

6. DO choose publications carefully

There’s an old adage that says “There’s a lid for every pot.” The same is true for submissions! Find the right publication for your album and avoid mass-submissions. Publishers can see where else an album has been submitted and they want to know that you think this album is perfect for them, so choose five to ten publications at most. Be sure to read the submission guidelines for each publication that you are targeting. Don’t waste your time – or theirs – by submitting to publications that are clearly not a fit.

7. DON’T forget a personal note

66% of publishers surveyed were more likely to open, review, or accept a submission that included a personalized note. It only takes a few moments, but it can be the thing that gets your submission noticed. Include a few teasers about the event, then make it specific to the publication. Why is this the perfect album for that blog, website or magazine? Make your case in your personal note.



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Alison Bernstein

Alison Bernstein is a new media executive with more than 20 years of experience in lifestyle, pregnancy, parenting, and weddings. She’s held positions in product, marketing, business development and content development. Alison is currently the Vice President of Photography Marketplace for XO Group, envisioning the role photography plays in a content-driven marketplace and building products that connect photos with the professional services featured in them. She is also the General Manager of Two Bright Lights, a network that connects photographers, event planners and vendors with over 500 publishers across the country and around the world.

Prior to this role, Alison was the Vice President of Product for XO Group, leading business and product development for the $10 million fashion and jewelry vertical, charged with growing the business and continually developing cutting-edge products for the bridal consumer. Alison has overseen syndicated partnerships with MSN, Google, AOL, and Yahoo, and has launched award-winning integrated advertising programs for sponsors including Estee Lauder, Pantene, and Four Seasons. Alison has led traffic-driving efforts through content distribution that has translated to millions of new visitors discovering The Knot, The Nest, and The Bump over the past sixteen years. Additionally, she oversees brand development projects and opportunities in entertainment for XO Group.

Alison has appeared numerous times on TODAY, CBS This Morning, MSNBC and local NBC, FOX and PIX news segments across the country. Alison graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Anthropology. She resides in Westchester with her husband, three kids, and various household animals.