Any wedding planner or photographer who works on getting their real weddings and styled shoots published knows that the submission process can be a lengthy one. First, you have to cull the perfect set of photos for each outlet you submit to (well, at least you should for the best chance of getting published). And if that weren’t enough, you also have to craft a description or design statement that “sells” your shoot to the editors.
Why is this important?
Some editors are more likely to accept your submission (as long as it’s a fit aesthetically) if you have beautifully written content ready to go. This saves them the time of writing something themselves. For others, the images are only half of the feature. While we live in a world where we often tune out words and just focus on the pretty—hello, scrolling through Instagram mindlessly—words are what really bring weddings and styled shoots to life. Words are what give them meaning. Each submission’s story is an opportunity to “sell” your styled shoot or wedding before the editor even sees the photos.
Here’s an example:
My mom (owner of the wedding venue, The Corner District) and a group of vendor friends teamed up to put together a shoot that was reminiscent of my grandparents’ wedding. They had just celebrated their 65th anniversary and were in town visiting. We brought them by the venue to “pick something up”, then surprised them with their wedding recreated. We had a duplicate of their wedding cake (that we later brought home so they could eat it to celebrate), my grandmother’s restored wedding dress that a model later wore for the shoot, their wedding portraits, and fun vintage details that reflected the era and their wedding design. There were tears, laughter, and even my grandpa whipping out his smartphone to take pictures to show to their friends. It was such a special day and so much fun to show them what my mom and I do for a living, in a way that truly meant something to them! We made sure to get some portraits of them, too—the perfect memento of all that has blossomed from their love and the happiness of reminiscing on their wedding.
The blurb above is more or less what I sent to editors to try to get this styled shoot published. And here’s the response I got: “You know I am in love with this! So sweet! I would love to feature it!” If it wasn’t for my story, the editor might have just seen some pretty pictures with super vintage details and wondered, “why are there portraits of someone’s grandparents mixed in here?”
How do I write a great description?
First, go through the photos one by one and jot down things to include in the submission description. I know what you’re thinking. . . yes, it does take a long time. However, it will help you recall the details. I do this for my wedding PR clients and it helps me craft a beautiful story—and I wasn’t even at the wedding or styled shoot. You can do it, too.
Remember that sometimes it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impact. If it was a real wedding, what special details or personal touches did the couple include? Did they name their signature cocktails after their beloved pets? Perhaps they used vintage china from the bride’s great-grandma in the décor. Don’t forget to include these types of details.
Styled shoots can be a little trickier as there’s likely not a real couple to talk about. However, when designing this shoot, you must have had an inspiration couple in mind. So talk about them! I have a client (hi, Skylar Caitlin of Chancey Charm Houston) who is amazing at using an inspiration couple to both pull off stunning shoots and also “sell” them to publications. Here’s a snippet as an example:
“Our couple would want to bring Old World glamour to the natural Texas countryside. By tying in subtle French inspiration and natural styling, our design goal was to meld their love for European travel with an appreciation of their Southern upbringing. For a venue, I knew instantly there was no other choice than The Clubs at Houston Oaks. They have a 15th century chapel on property that was brought over from France and serves as their main wedding ceremony site. The entire property is full of these meticulous details that I cherish as a designer and played perfectly into the inspiration couple’s profile.”
I’ve written the description—now what?
Once you have a beautifully written design statement for your shoot, you can reuse this content over and over. Repurpose it for each submission you send to a publisher (tweaked per each outlet’s submission guidelines or preferences, of course). Use it on social media when sharing the photos after the article has run. And use bits and pieces on your website when showcasing the photos. The time it takes to write a thoughtful description will be time well spent, friends!
For more information on Something New for I Do’s wedding PR expertise, get in touch! We would love to chat. And don’t forget to check out my last two posts: 6 Tips To Get Your Shoots and Weddings Published Every Time and Why It’s Important to Read The Fine Print When Getting Published.