Kim Forrest is one of WeddingWire’s editors. She manages content creation on both WeddingWire and EventWire. Kim has been writing about weddings for nearly a decade, and has been quoted as a weddings expert in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and more.
The editorial team and I peruse dozens of real wedding submissions each and every day and often encounter issues that make photos – even those of clearly beautiful weddings – difficult or impossible for us to publish. Here are some of the most common “mistakes” that we wanted to share to hopefully help make your submissions stronger and rack up those publication credits.
Just a note before we get started – these are just some common themes and I speak only from my experience at publications I have worked for. All publications are different, so be sure to read their specific instructions before sending along a submission (here are our guidelines for WeddingWire and Project Wedding, in case you’re interested).
Mistake #1: Too Many Black & White Images
Yes, black & white photography is classic, artistic, and frequently stunning. However, a blog wants to show a wedding’s color scheme to help inspire its readers. So while a few carefully chosen black & white images can be a lovely addition to a submission, keep the majority of your images in color.
Mistake #2: Not Enough Details
Again, a real wedding is all about inspiring readers – and readers want to see details, and lots of them! Send photos of the cake, the floral arrangements, the escort cards, the favors, and on and on. Blogs can only show a few couple portraits, so put the focus of your submission on the details – and make sure they are photographed clearly, individually, and straight-on.
Mistake #3: No Solo Shots
All too frequently, we receive real weddings that only feature photos of the couple together with no images of a bride and/or groom solo. Readers want to be inspired by a bride’s hair or makeup, or a groom’s style – so be sure to include solo shots (as well as close-ups of hairstyles for the brides) in your submission.
Mistake #4: Too Many Horizontal Photos
Publications need to receive a mix of horizontal and vertical photos to create a visually-appealing layout. Vertical images also look and perform better on Pinterest, which is a major source of traffic for most sites.
Mistake #5: Night Photos
If you’re photographing details, try to get photos during the day rather than at night. It’s so important for details to be well-lit in order to capture the interest of readers.
Mistake #6: Too Many People
We love wide shots of a decorated ceremony or reception space, but these photos look clearer and perform better when there aren’t lots of guests cluttering the photo.
Mistake #7: Image Collages
Do not send collages of your images – we’ll take care of that part. It makes it so much easier for us to view images when they are presented individually and clearly.
Mistake #8: Not Asking Permission
Make sure you have the okay from the couple before submitting their wedding to a blog or publication. Many publications will want to contact the newlyweds for an interview and all too frequently, they will be unaware, unavailable, or not interested in being published which puts a feature in major jeopardy.
Mistake #9: Too Much Text
It’s a good idea to include important written information in your submission – the wedding date, location, couple’s names, and a brief write-up about the event – but don’t go overboard with the text. Editors want to see a succinct story to get a sense of the wedding’s style and feel, but there’s no need to try to write the story for them unless you’re asked to do so. A short paragraph is all you’ll need.
Mistake #10: To Watermark or Not to Watermark?
We fully understand the importance of fully crediting photographers – and most blogs and publications will clearly credit and link to you whenever they use your image. Because photos on blogs and other sites can run quite small, a watermark can come off as looking obtrusive and make an image less visually appealing. Because of this, many blogs and publications will be less likely to publish a submission that includes watermarks.
Be sure to check out our 2013 WeddingWire FallBook for some examples of the real wedding submissions we feature and to get some ideas for how you can vary and improve your submissions!