by Theresa A. Husarik
So you want to make money doing something you love, but you don't know where to start? Well, here are some of the things that helped me get a foot in the door:
There are a variety of resources to help you get started with getting your pictures into books and magazines. The first thing you have to do is find the publishers who are publishing the types of pictures you enjoy taking, and find out how they want to see a submission.
Go to the magazine stand or your local library or book store and leaf through some of the magazines. Find those that print images on the theme of what you like to shoot.
The contact information is usually just inside the front cover. Some will have a specific address for editorial submissions, or they might even list their submission guidelines right there. If the guidelines are not listed, write a letter, and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope requesting the guidelines. Be sure to get the guidelines first, you don't want to waste the busy editor's time if it is a magazine that does not take cold submissions. And, once you do get the guidelines, follow them. Again, you'll be wasting their time if they want to see a certain format and you did not follow it.
It is easier to "sell" a package than it is to sell a few unrelated pictures. Read several issues of the magazine you've chosen to get a feel for the type of articles they are running. Come up with an idea that has not been done before (or recently) and suggest it, or put a new slant on a classic theme. Back it up with great pictures.
This is a daily or monthly publication that lists current needs from various publishers. The listings consist of anything from last minute needs to fill a space in an already decided on layout, to requests for entries for not-yet decided on projects. The needs can be very specific (such as a "We need picture of an eagle with a brown trout in its talons"), but if you happen to have it, you may get published! It is pretty pricey, though ($325 a year for the daily needs). More Info.
This book, updated annually, lists publishers' contact information, the types of subject matter they publish (and sometimes an entry will have a wish list for the coming year), and most of the time the submissions guidelines. It is a wonderful resource.
Armed with information from the above research tips, send a query letter to your selected publishers, along with a stock list and non-returnable samples, and get yourself on their mailing list for wants
If you don't already have one, or don't know where to begin, check out Getting Started on the Web for tips on what to look for, what to include, etc. Also, remember that if you don't have time to do your own, let Wild Things create a site for you.
If you have pictures of, say, your local tourist attractions, call (or email) the travel council to see if they would be interested in using them on their website. Or if you like to do wildflowers, check out the web for sites that are devoted to flowers and query them. It is a good thing to request at the very least, a credit, and a link back to your home page. You may or may not be paid for having your pictures displayed on various web sites, but the exposure potential is outstanding.
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