Apr 19, 2016

Tips for Submitting to Two Bright Lights | For Wedding Photographers

Today I’m writing to all my fellow wedding photographers in the world and sharing a few tips for submitting to Two Bright Lights. If you don’t know what TBL is, head over HERE to find out and, if you’re a professional photographer, I would HIGHLY recommend signing up!

I’ve been utilizing Two Bright Lights for four months now, and I’ve had 4 of my submissions published, with three more that have been accepted to be published in the future. I made a goal at the beginning of 2016 that I wanted to be published at least 12 times this year, and I’m happy to say that working with Two Bright Lights has shown me that my goal is completely achievable.

When I used to think about submitting to blogs and being published, I would get so overwhelmed and just avoid the whole topic. Everything seemed too hard, my work seemed too mediocre, and the idea of getting a rejection email was too much to handle. So… I avoided it, until this year. I found Two Bright Lights and realized the value in having your work published and building backlinks to my website.

And now, I’m going to share with YOU my tips for submitting to Two Bright Lights! (Oh, I had to throw in a little pretty in this post, so thank you to Delaoche Florals for providing these gorgeous flowers!)

Purple, pink, and green wildflowers sit in a bouquet formation on a wooden fence. Florals by Deloache Florals

Okay, first things first for submitting to TBL: SHOOT FOR PUBLICATION

One thing an older photographer said to me when I first started submitting to blogs was that I needed to change how I shoot to have images that editors want. He said, work you do for clients may be perfect for the clients, but editors are looking for a certain look and feel. They are looking for details, a variety of poses, wide shots, venue shots, and vendor connections.

SO, first thing you need to do is change how you shoot. Shoot to feature and bring attention to your couple and your vendors! Shoot details out the waaaaa-zoo, too, okay? Change the way you’re shooting to not only serve your clients but to also tell a beautiful story with a variety of images.

Things like details shots of your couple holding hands, their shoes, a kiss on the cheek; it can be anything, really. Just remember you’re shooting to tell a story, so tell it fully, from every angel and every view. Leave no part or your story untold!

A large rose gold engagement ring sits on a piece of ivory lace in Columbia, South Carolina.

Second thing you need to do, assuming you already have a TBL subscription, is to search through the editors’ requests and RESEARCH which blogs you’re submitting to.

Just creating a random wedding submission and sending it to random publishers is only going to annoy the publishers who are getting submissions they didn’t ask for and disappoint you when you get rejection emails! You need to be looking through the requests from editors, writing down which blog you want to submit to, build your submission gallery off of their request, THEN submit, once you have what they are looking for.

Set yourself up for success in this, photographers! Do the grunt work, research which blogs you want to be featured on, what type of images they usually feature, what the style of the blog is.

Two Bright Lights even provides its members with vendor profiles so you can look deeper into what certain editors ask for. For example, some blogs want up to 100 images in the submission, while some want their galleries to be culled to 50 images or less. It’s up to YOU to find out what your editor and goal blog is looking for!

Be INTENTIONAL about who you submit your work to. Editors aren’t random with who they publish, you should not be random with who you submit to. Also, I encourage you to create a list of “goal blogs” that you’re dying to see your work on. Make those goals, shoot to be featured by those blogs, and submit to them! Nothing about this process should be random.

I currently have ten blogs that are on my “goal blog” list, and I’ve gone through and written down what their style is, what they normally feature, and my ideas for what I want to send to them. Be intentional, that’s all I can say!

A grouping of wild flowers by Deloache Florals sits on a wooden fence.

Third on my list of tips is to FULLY build your submission! Two Bright Lights allows photographers to include an album story with their submissions and add in vendors that were involved in the shoot. Don’t skip this!  In fact, I suggest not submitting anything with less than four tagged vendors!

Editors like to feature multiple wedding professionals, so the more vendors you can add in to your submission, the better, in my eyes. Don’t forget the little things, like the bride’s shoe brand or the ring designer! Get every single little name from EVERYTHING you shoot so you can give credit to those vendors and the editors can too!

Writing a good album story is also SUPER important. I’ve provided one of mine below so you can see how I write them. It’s kinda like going back to high school and writing an essay with all the required things in it like, the couple’s name, the location, city, state, a bit about their story. but you want to give the editor a quick look into your album in a clear and well-written way.

This is an example of an album story I wrote today for a wedding I just submitted:

“George and Becky are a perfect fit, and their wedding day at the Springdale House and Gardens was absolutely beautiful. From the gorgeous florals from the Bouqs Co. to the Tiffany earrings George surprised Becky with while she was getting ready, everything was perfect. The bride and her girls danced to Taylor Swift during their portraits, and they really showed off their dance moves for DJ Marky Mark during the reception. The bride’s sister and maid of honor made a surprise music video for the couple and showed it during her toast to the couple. So many of the bride’s closest friends and family worked together to create the video, it brought tears to Rebecca’s eyes! Their wedding hashtag was #supportGraymarriage, and the bride’s sister said she wanted them both to know that their whole families support their marriage by creating the surprise video! It was an incredibly beautiful and moving wedding in Columbia, South Carolina.  Enjoy!”

Image of rose gold ring on a purple silk throw in Columbia, South Carolina.

Okay, so by now, you have a gorgeous submission that is perfectly hand-picked for the blog you want to submit to. Your images are sized correctly (you can find what your chosen editor likes in their vendor profile provided by TBL!), your vendors tagged, and you have a beautiful album story, now it’s time to SUBMIT!

Two Bright Lights allows you to either submit “exclusively” or “non-exclusively” to different blogs, and this means when you submit “exclusively” to one blog, you are telling the editor that I have send this submission to you and only you! Some editors require exclusive submissions and content because they want the chance to feature the images and ONLY them to be able to.  “Non-exclusive” submissions mean that you’ve sent this to multiple other editors or these images can be found somewhere on the internet already. Some blogs require exclusive publications so they do not feature content that other blogs have already featured, while some allow you submit to as many other editors as you want.

It’s all up to you and about how intentional you want to be about your submissions. And be warned, if you submit one album to too many editors, you could get a rejection because the photos are available to too many editors.  So no random submissions, my friends, be intentional.

I hope these few tips for submitting to Two Bright Lights have helped you, and I hope to see so many more photographers earning successful publications via Two Bright Lights!

Jess

cheers

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  1. Corey Potter

    April 20th, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Nice post Jessica!

    I think this probably one of the biggest untapped potentials when it comes to photography and SEO. Glad to see some practical advice on how to get noticed!

  2. Morgan Anderson

    April 20th, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Wow these are awesome tips!! I’m definitely going to reference this next time I submit. Thank you!!

  3. Alexandria Shea

    April 20th, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Great Tips Jessica! I will definitely be implementing some of these soon. Thanks for the advice :)

  4. Aimee

    April 20th, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I love this! I just recently subscribed to TBL and I am so excited to start making submissions! I remember a teaching by Jasmine Star where she talks about how she shoots detail shots specifically with publication in mind. Making sure to get vertical and horizontal photos of every detail so that when they are choosing which photos to place where they have enough to choose from and such. This post was very helpful and a great reminder to do research beforehand! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Bill Grant

    April 20th, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks Jessica for collecting this info. I’ve been looking to get published and I think TBL would be a good path for me.

  6. Melissa

    April 20th, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I love this collection of tips. Very helpful! TBL is a game changer and I love what I’ve learned from you about utilizing it better!

  7. Megan

    April 20th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Love TBL! and your tips are spot on!! thanks!

  8. Alina Thomas

    April 20th, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    This makes me consider submitting my work through Two Bright Lights. Loved all your tips!

  9. Kelly

    April 21st, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks so much for the great tips! I would love to start using TBL and this was so helpful!

  10. Linda

    April 28th, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Awesome. Thanks for the TBL submission tips.

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