Tips For Successfully Submitting Your Photos to Natural History Magazines

At the 2011 Wild Photos conference we attended a session about submitting photos to natural history magazines. Three panelists each made a presentation and then made themselves available for an additional Q&A session. The panelists were as follows:

Ruth Eichhorn (Germany)
GEO

Kathy Moran (USA)
National Geographic magazine

Sophie Stafford (UK)
BBC Wildlife magazine

Here’s the best bits and top lessons learned:

  • Enter photography competitions from the magazines in question – it gives you visibility and they’ll recognise your name more with each submission.
  • A unanimous top tip was know your publication – you’d be surprised how any people submit blind to a publication. Get to know them (better still, subscribe). Get to know their styles, seasonal preferences and don’t be arrogant enough to request or assume a portfolio as a first submission.
  • Be aware of the competition – it’s a VERY tough market out there.
  • Be aware it’s likely they will ask for exclusivity – each magazine varies in their request so do your homework.
  • Visit their website first – often the submission information is detailed on there. Don’t bombard editors to request answers that are freely available.
  • Submit your images with a brief description / story but don’t go overboard – a good photographer is rarely a good writer.
  • You’re less likely to succeed if your pictures have been published elsewhere first – so give them first option at the story.
  • The editors rely on  photographers to tell them what’s happening in the field – do your homework and send them interesting stories and submissions that capture something new and unusual.
  • Don’t overlook common species captured in an unusual light / with a unusual story.
Also available in our news archive are blogs containing tips for winning submissions to the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and becoming a commercial photographer.
Good luck! I hope this information helps!

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