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Photography Question 
Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005

Getting Photos into Magizines??

Is there anyone out there who is currently selling Photos to Magizines from the Photographers Marketplace book? How long have you been doing it? How did you begin? How much do you average bring in each month... I'm looking at getting into this and was curious how others are starting. Thanks!

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4/8/2008 7:22:50 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  After about 30 years in this end of the biz, I can safely advise you as follows:

A degree in journalism with a minor in photojournalism;

Shooting for the Chicago Sun Times;

Only the IRS knows for sure although on the average it's never enough;

Take a year to study business law, the rules that apply to this biz especially in the realm of contracts and torts and some law of mass communications; study marketing and presentations; negotiating; develop a strong portfolio in as many specialized areas as you can and keep refining your skills; learn and understand how to edit your own work and to be your absolute best and worst critic; learn how to write query letters; get a postage meter; go to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, make the rounds of as many publications as you can with all your promotional materials to drop off and leave and then take a lot of editors out to lunch; and learn how to fulfill the needs of particular illustrators, art directors, editors and assistant editors; never EVER represent skills you don't have in order to get an assignment; find a very high end stock agency to accept you like Corbis or Getty.

I can tell you also there aren't any shortcuts. Getting a pretty picture published once is usually a matter of being in the right place at the right time. OTOH, making a career out of this takes years to get established in this niche of the industry working at it on a full-time basis. That was my experience and my friends at various other publications agree with that time frame. In addition, it takes being retained/assigned by numerous publications to make it these days, not just one or two. Having a rep you pay a commission to helps as well.

The realities are that based on the competition you face in a recession, the number of wannabes out there with digital point and shoot cameras who envision themselves trotting all around the world in a "glamorous profession" may I suggest weddings?
Good luck. ;>)

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4/8/2008 6:14:06 PM

Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  Hi Mark, thanks for the advice. I actually took some photojournalism classes in college and loved it! I grew up in Chicago and my father worked for the Chicago Sun Times for 11 years. Study up on Business Law huh? Doesn't sound fun at all.... but I'll definitely need that, it sounds like. I'm already shooting weddings, parties, etc... I have been stuck in this level for 3 years now... I want to take that next step I want it so bad, but I guess I'll need to wait a bit. Thanks Mark for the insiders tip

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4/9/2008 3:26:37 AM

Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  I was rereading your response Mark, I know your a professional and I mean no disrespect at all because your images are just amazing, but that really wasn't the question I was asking. You went about it the correct way at that point in time, what I'm asking is with the book "Photographers Marketplace 2008" or whatever year edition you have... how are people getting into those? It's filled with thousands of Magazines telling you exactly what they want, how they want it, and how many they want. It has names, addresses, everything all in one place. It actually seems to take all the dirty work in the process you explained above (but I'm glad to know what that process involved)so I guess I'm asking if anyone out there is using that book Photographers Marketplace and making money out there.

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4/9/2008 4:03:16 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Photographer's Market can point you in the right directions and tell you where to "dig" to find your pot of gold.
The rest is up to you.
Once your photographic and business (and writing) skills are honed, this reference book can help you make contacts.

You should also be reading the mag's you plan to solicit to see what kinds of images they are buying.


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4/9/2008 4:18:10 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  No disrespect taken, Julie. Bob is exactly right on both counts. The book only gets you pointed in the direction of publishers willing to consider work from freelancers. What guidelines they offer in the book are based on what the editor or assistant editor or whomever, was feeling on the day they responded to the survey. Those guidelines, as you might suspect, change on a day-to-day basis.

In addition, as far as contacts go, the publishing industry is fairly unstable. Wholesale staff changes occur frequently like the crew aboard a ship. When one captain (editor) leaves, many others follow. Another issue to be aware of.

When you approach an editor, your work needs to be your best, presented in a pristine manner. Sell the sizzle AND the steak. Show them you know both how to find creative solutions to photographic problems; how to work with all sorts of people under as many circumstances as you can demonstrate; perform in a timely manner under deadline and tell stories with your photographs, even a single shot.

Remember, there are thousands of people with the same book. All of them are competing for the time of various publishers to notice them. There's not enough time. Even if you're a diamond in the rough, you need to rise above the surface to be noticed. AND once you get to that point, you have to work very hard to stay there. Your work and approaches to various people in the industry determine that. Remember too, you're only as good as your last published shoot. It really IS a constantly evolving process.

Lastly, most of the mags in Photographers Market don't offer much compensation. You're not going to get rich at this, at least for a long time until you get established. That's essentially where knowing contracts, rights of usage, negotiating and fair market value come in.

And absolutely, you have to regularly read the mags you plan to submit to and really really REALLY analyze the work you see there.

Your father wasn't Don Horwitz was he?

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4/9/2008 9:22:10 AM

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