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How to Submit Photos to Magazines: A Guide for Photographers?

Today’s topic is ‘how to submit photos to magazines.’ Publications in magazines, victories in competitions, and participation in exhibitions are three pillars on which a photographer’s self-esteem stands. Globally, all this is our path to world fame, and here and now is the opportunity to inform clients and specialists from related shops (stylists, makeup artists, designers) that they are happy to work with you all over the world, which means they should catch their luck by the tail and working with you. Here I will tell you what to do to get your photos printed in magazines.

Why Does A Photographer’s Work Need to Publish in A Magazine?

First of all, you should understand that publishing in magazines is not about making money. But you don’t have to pay anyone if you don’t want to. By submitting your work to the magazine, you participate in an equivalent exchange – you give the publication content, and it is a piece of world fame for you. Another thing is if you enter into a customer-executor relationship, I will not consider this possibility in the article.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

There are magazines in the world on any subject, and whatever you shoot about, these photos can be in print. Some popular magazines are:

  • World-Class – Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Cosmopolitan – I have no experience of working with them yet;
  • Local Ones are magazines of your city, on their websites you can find contacts and send an email with your portfolio and a short letter about yourself and your willingness to cooperate;
  • Online Magazines – Don’t worry, these are still printed publications; you just won’t find them in the kiosk at the station. The easiest way to get into them is that there are many of them of different scales and statuses. Some are suitable only to overcome their fears; publication in others can be a serious reason for pride.

What You Need to Prepare for A Fashion Magazine?

Further, we will talk in detail about magazines from the fashion world. It is a huge field for the photographer’s self-expression, where you can show just a beautiful picture or raise sensitive topics, entering into a dialogue with the viewer.

But one in this field is not a warrior. You’ll need a team, a model, makeup artist, hair and clothing stylists – people who stand shoulder to shoulder with you and help tell the story.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

To be beautiful in the frame, you need to be beautiful in reality. For the story to be taken into the magazine, you need to comply with modern trends in photography, clothing, and makeup.

Think about composition and lighting, don’t dig into obscure concepts in preparation, and don’t be distracted by folds of clothing or a stray strand of hair in the process of shooting – let the professionals look after this with whom you will share the joy of publication.

How to assemble a team for a non-commercial project is a topic for a separate large article, but your very intention to collect a shoot for publication in a magazine can be the key to the hearts of specialists and the beginning of great co-creation.

How to Shoot Photos for A Fashion Magazine?

So, at the start, you may have one of several options:

  • One or more ready-made series of photographs for which you are looking for a suitable magazine;
  • A set of single solid shots for which you are looking for the correct magazine;
  • The desire to shoot something new and send it to a magazine.

We will discuss these options in detail below.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

If you want to get into a particular magazine, look at as many articles published in it as possible and be inspired by them when creating your series. Often magazines post a mood board for the next issue in the public domain – this is a direct guide to what type of series they want to see in your applications.

A particular magazine probably has a website with contacts and mail on it. Those that have the words editorial or submission are suitable for you.

Write a letter in English or the native language of the journal if you are fluent in it. A short greeting, if known – with the editor’s name, a brief introduction of you as a photographer, the name of your series, the names, and links to the Instagram of team members (models, stylists, makeup artists).

And a link to the cloud where you can watch your series and download it in one go. Most likely, you will write to a very busy person who will not download files one at a time or unpack a zip archive at random.

How to Get into Vogue – A Weekly Challenge from Fashion Magazines?

If you are mentally preparing for your first publication in a magazine, you should not expect that your masterpiece will immediately be accepted into Vogue. Although wait, it is in it that there is a chance to hit.

Every Monday from 8 am to 8 pm, you can upload two of your photos (single, non-series) to and get their assessment from real live Vogue employees. It does not mean that you will immediately be printed next to Steven Meisel. It is just an opportunity to show your photos to the moderators of the site of the world-famous magazine.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

They answered your pictures with “yes” or “no,” it’s effortless to understand: if “yes,” they remained on your portfolio page, “no,” they were deleted. There were stories when photographers who collected portfolios on this site received job offers in foreign projects.

Similarly, the ICONIC magazine allows submissions on Fridays from noon to 3 am.

It is worth noting that these resources can either accept a random photo of a grandmother in the countryside or reject a studio fashion that you have been working on for three weeks. It is unlikely that the editor will approve a frankly weak work of a well-known publication, but an intense work can quickly be rejected. The reason is simple – the picture does not fit the spirit of this particular magazine.

Alternative Way

There are many excellent magazines globally, which are much easier to get attention too. They are found on the aggregator site, where any creative specialist can send their immortal masterpiece to a magazine looking for content.

There are two possibilities here:

  • Use a free account and send up to ten applications per month;
  • Upgrade to a paid version, send unlimited submissions per month, and see automatic sorting by rating (number of social media followers) of magazines.
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

As my practice shows, out of ten thoughtfully sent applications, getting 5-6 approvals is pretty realistic, and the number of subscribers of the publications of interest can be viewed manually. The free account is quite viable.

How to Choose A Magazine for Publishing Photos?

Attention, not all magazines are equally helpful. There is no dispute about tastes, but everyone has them. Check out the magazine’s Instagram before submitting your work. Please take a look at that cover. Are you sure you want your work to be among these pictures? If yes, be bold. If not, there is a chance that having received the publication, you will bashfully hide it on the table.

While you are looking for a magazine, magazines are looking for content. Most of the magazines on Caviar consist only of photographs, from front to back cover. Among the works sent by photographers, a couple of advertising publications were hidden – this is the magazine’s earnings. But no one will leaf through something consisting of one advertisement, which means that the magazine needs you as much as you need it.

And not all of them are so popular to choose meticulously. There may be a fairy tale on adjacent pages, portraits with rhinestones on the nails, and a psychological story with complex accent lighting. Are you sure you want to add your work to this mess?

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

Pros Any genre has a chance to be in print.

Cons – Let’s assume that magazines exist not only to satisfy authors’ egos. The audience is also looking at it. Let the lovers of every genre enjoy the genre. Yes, and yourself – find yourself among like-minded people.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

Most magazines will reject you if you don’t fit the genre and subject matter. Sometimes the editors don’t just say no; they might write you a letter saying, dude, this is a super cool story, but it doesn’t fit our publication. But we have friends – another magazine; we forwarded your work to them. Send them an application, and I’m sure you’ll be welcome there. It happened to me.

If you want to go to a specific journal or couldn’t find it on Kavyar, look for its website; it contains contacts mail for receiving submissions (applications). Please send a photo, series name, team credits (a list of team members), wardrobe credits (names of clothing details and brands that released them). Done, you are amazing!

How Magazines Select Photos for Publication?

Let’s now look at what magazine editors are looking for when choosing photos for the next issue.


It’s a fact that there has already been a series in the magazine at least once. Kavyar takes care of this automatically and does not allow the same footage to be sent to another magazine that requires exclusivity.

When you submit your photos to a magazine, choose the magazine thoughtfully. You can then send the same shots to another, but not any – as a rule, all the cool guys require exclusivity.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

If a magazine claims publication exclusivity, it means that you and your team have promised not to publish these photos anywhere before the agreed date (on the page with the application, there will be a line exclusivity ends with the date).

Nowhere is nowhere. If this agreement is not respected, they threaten not to publish you or even expel you from the Kavyar platform. The likelihood that someone will watch your stories (especially before submitting a series to a magazine) or that a foreign magazine will check what you have on your Facebook wall is minimal. Still, you make such a promise by applying.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

Outside of the Kavyar platform, the terms and agreements on exclusivity will have to be checked and observed independently.

Experience shows that the pleasure of showing the world a published work with a magazine logo is worth the wait for the vouchers and the end of exclusivity. The wait can take a couple of weeks to several months, warn the team.

Number and Quality of Photos

Magazines take a series of 4-8 frames on average. Sometimes it happens from 2 right up to 28. If the series was accepted, you need to understand that not all frames will likely be published, but a selection of the best ones, according to the editor. Give him plenty to choose from, but send only the best.

Most magazines ask for JPG format, sRGB color profile, aspect ratio 8.5×11 for vertical frames (300 dpi, 3300px long side) and 17×11 (300 dpi, 5100px long side) for horizontal. The specific requirements of a given journal are always indicated in the call for work description.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

If your work is excellent, and you are a lazy person, photos will be accepted in any proportion, as long as the size is right. But then the layout designer will have to cut your masterpiece to the desired proportions at his discretion, and he should have time for this.

Time, it would seem, is nonsense, but you have one series, and the layout designer has a complete magazine. Respect the work of others and increase your chances of getting published by doing what you are asked to do.

Magazines love it when a series has both horizontal and vertical frames when the framing in the series has both a large and medium, and a general plan and details.


Almost everyone demands that the models change makeup, bows (from the look, this is what the model is wearing) and this is important – that different brands appear in the description of clothes. If there is only one brand, it will be taken for an advertisement and rejected, if the bow is one in six frames – we are still talking about fashion here – some magazines may reject your application for this reason.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

And let the onion parts be from different brands. If you are working with a clothing designer, call an accessory designer or add a couple of non-designer details. You can write something like “mommy’s chest, grandma’s closet, stylist property” in the description of clothing items if you do not know or, for some reason, do not want to mention the brand in the publication.

However, there may be exceptions to these rules. I had a series sent to me by Imirage Magazine about one model, in one look, with the same makeup, and in 2:3 frame proportions because I’m lazy. The application was accepted, not just accepted, but given a cover!

Do what makes your eyes burn, don’t get hung up on technical parameters, don’t complicate for the sake of confusing, and try, try new things!

How Much Does It Cost to Publish Photos in A Magazine?

Publication in many magazines, including very cool ones, is free. However, there are fully paid editions, guaranteed paid publications (with more photos per upload), pay for publication on the cover, speed up your work’s publication in the magazine, and other options, depending on the publication.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

And in some cases, you may be refused in these options (by returning the money), read carefully what you agree to. I have no experience using paid services on Kavyar, so I can’t give specific advice.

What Should not Be Forgotten?

When filling out the application, you will enter data about the entire team under each frame. Here it would help if you were careful – do not forget anyone, do not seal anywhere. It is better to ask the team how to write their names in Latin letters correctly and how they want to be signed in the publication. If you make a mistake and want to correct this information later, this is a paid service in all magazines.

They usually write Surname Name, a separate line – an account on Instagram. All the fields that need to be filled in on Kavyar are signed; much is automated, it’s hard to make a mistake, but an error will cost money or an apology to the team member whose last name you have distorted.

It is important to clarify here that the article’s author is interested in copyright in a minimal amount. To send photographs to a magazine, receive loose-leaf sheets, and rejoice in recognizing your work by someone other than your mother, deep knowledge of this issue is not required. If you are afraid of pitfalls, discuss this issue with a specialist before applying.

The author of the article is published in magazines, participates in exhibitions, and exists on the Internet under a fictitious creative pseudonym, which is not legally fixed in any way and is not associated with a passport name. And it does not have any disadvantages for itself.

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

Suppose you need publications for a unique talent visa or other activities that require a clear connection between you and your achievements. In that case, you may need to go the other way, and consulting with a copyright lawyer is necessary here.

Since the creation of a photograph, the author has been considered the photographer and the copyright holder too. To submit pictures to the magazine through Kavyar, you will have to check the box in front of the phrase “I am the copyright holder of the works in this submission.”

How to Submit Photos to Magazines?
How to Submit Photos to Magazines?

A photographer can send photos to a magazine, but you don’t need to ask a makeup artist, retoucher, or stylist about it. However, they can also create a portfolio on this site, and published publications will be displayed on their pages.

Do I need a model release to publish photographs of people in a magazine? Magazines and Kavyar do not require it. Submitting photos to a magazine is for non-commercial use. Do you understand why you need it and love papers? Sign up.

By submitting photos to the magazine, you give the magazine the right to publish pictures on its social networks, on the website, and in circulation. It does not affect your right to be an author in any way, and it does not make the journal the exclusive copyright holder.


Now you know much more about getting into magazines than I did at the time of the first approved application. Go ahead. See what other teams are doing, get inspired, act boldly! And remember, in extreme cases, strangers will tell you “No.” It is not a reason to stop doing what you are doing. One magazine will refuse, another will agree.

By the way, no one forbade sending your series to several magazines simultaneously or sending what was filmed a year, two, three years ago; just remember about exclusivity. And never give in to the lack of technical means, equipment, money, the best moment.

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