As a maturing photographer, at some point you will overcome family’s members and friends audience and will try to sell your photos to different sources. Basically there a few which you probably have heard already about: you can create your own website or use one of many photo sharing websites, you can upload to a photo stock site and wait while a photo will be sold for a dollar or less, you can try to sell to a magazine, or participate in a photo contest. While nothing wrong with first two options and you definitely have to use that, the payoff is very low. Sooner or later you will start looking for additional sources with a greater return even though a competition might be higher. One of the sources is easy to guess and it is magazines which still accept photos from freelance photographers.
Let us do a quick research: there are more than thousand publishing companies in North America producing magazines, journals and tabloids with total number of magazines published in US alone is greater than 20,000. There is also a Canadian market with approximately 1,200 titles and this number is growing. It is possible to say that these magazines are covering wide variety of topics if not all imaginable (allowed by low).
Most of the magazines allow simultaneous submissions so your chances to utilize a good picture may be unlimited. Magazines’ needs are also vary; you may be surprised to find out that some magazines are looking for quite ordinary things that are not what your friends would admire or look nice in a family album. And if you have a collection of photos regarding same subject you always have a choice.
If that sounds exciting, let us look what it takes to sell photos to magazines. We will skip a part where you take pictures keeping in mind what and how to present to the widest audience.
So, first of all, select and group about 20 to 50 photos related to one or similar subject, select about dozen of absolutely best of that collection and make thumbnails;
Make a search to find several magazines that are interested in that subject;
Read the submission guidelines and send a request to an editor, attach thumbnails; if you have a story associated with pictures, indicate that;
Once you get a confirmation of acceptance from the editor, submit pictures as the editor indicates & burned on CD, by email or uploaded to magazine�s FTP site;
Now you’ve done… with this magazine, but you can repeat the process with the other magazine and increase the likelihood of being published and paid.
Now you may ask, if that process is so easy why people struggle to sell photos to magazines? Well, except technical and artistic parts of the photography process, it is hard to find a better magazine for pictures. Those that are on shelves of every book stores rarely accept photos from freelancers, and those that except might not be widely known.
There are databases to help photographers to find out magazines they may approach. Some allows to look for magazines based on different criteria such as: multiple subjects list, magazine�s location, payment level and media type. There is also a possibility to make a free text search. The information you get about the magazine contains magazine’s title, website and short description, publisher company, editor’s name and email address, needs or requirements, payment range, contests if applicable, a link to photography submissions guidelines. There are also other services that you can use.