Hey we didn’t have a clue once upon a time. After that we knew 100% more. The trick is to know you are as good as the next person. And keep your chin up. You can’t learn if you rigid with fear. And then you relax, then you learn! And then you know more. And then you publish your work and then the experience starts to come hard and fast. Be ready. And Publish your work! You will benefit from knowing you are good, good enough, better, best!
My first ever wedding film and photography was for Brent & Nick – blanked by the ‘official’ photographer from mentioning her name, she refused to share her photographs, so we made the digital stills from the film and were Featured in Gay Weddings & Marriage amongst other publications x 3!
1) best quality is absolutely vital
shoot great images and clips (always raw and always 4k or better always w gimbal or steadycam) follow – the story you love – this will be the story others love (most of the time) follow the action, calm yourself – see ahead a few seconds – flow with the schedule of the day – be candid or pose the couple or your subjects as much as they feel comfortable with and always have batteries, microphones and lights ready! Prepare yourself before hand. Keep the equipment you need in a small bag on you. And keep the batteries and sd cards there too. Mine is a Louis Vuitton pouch my Mother Gabe me before she died of cancer. I use it every time.
2) rigid structure format or free flow creative film and photography
when you film and photograph always start with a creative theme – even if it isn’t relevant to start with, it’ll come together. Obviously if you are shooting a wedding it’s done for you. So what if you want to make film and photo for the sake of it? Well then, take aim at your favorite topic and start filming. And then there is the creative side of the art of film and photo; the styled shoots! My fave is Halloween, then pets, the flowers and wedding rings, food and wedding decor and children – there are NO RULES. Just shoot the world as it moves, underwater, drone, hyper lapse, slow mo, edit with unusual transitions and get a story flowing. Your work can be as loose and unstructured or as tight and strategic as you like.
3) magazine submission through Two Bright Lights
you will need to open your account at Two Bright Lights – sign up for a photographer account – you can add video to your photographic submissions but not photography to your film submissions so easily (its complicated) they offer various account levels – pick your spend amount and marketing and set up your profile – take your time! Do it right!
4) find a good fit for your film and photography – such variety
4) read through the magazine requests and all the faq’s about how to submit – what they want and what you are interested in making – is it engagement portraits in North Carolina, or NYC. Weddings typically you’ll need shots of the couple, details of the cake, the decor, the rings, the dress, flowers, bridal party etc, for film it’ll be similar shots, make sure you get the venue and make sure you have all the vendor information for each film clip and photograph you submit. The wedding industry websites and publications thrive on growing their network using your submissions! It’s a massive digital marketing pyramid!! You supply the new vendors – they get new accounts. You get published, the magazines get their content.
5) album content defines what you submit – look at what the magazines use and want
put together the right content, open an album and chose the relevant event title: weddings – wedding styled shoot, lifestyle, party, etc, color themes, location: private residence, beach etc, it guides your through your choices. You will be advised to submit to publications matching your shoots theme. So be as revealing and open as you can as you go through the album creation phase, take your time. You’ll find the right opportunities present themselves.
6) picking the cover shot can mean failure or success a lot is riding on this image!
upload your best high resolution photographs – typically without branding – and select the Cover shot! You must try and get it perfect. Pick a good one! For film and photography submissions it’s tough because you can’t upload the film: just the photo. Make it one from the film if you can! Or one you know is a breath taking scene – similar to a breath taking photograph. It’s always great to show a behind the scenes shot if you do get one.
7) be prepared to write elegantly about your work – infuse it with your enthusiasm
you’re submission will benefit from a great written message; clear your mind, think why you did this, what was wow about it, then write your story, about the day, and how it came about, who you used and why. Excitement spreads. Enjoy your story: you get a chance to shine. They may use your exact words for their feature and then you can also say you are the author! save it, re-read and edit for grammar!
8) pick from the suggested fit or choose your own 5 non exclusive or 1 exclusive?
pick your publications – they’ll suggest good for for you, but you get to pick 5 non exclusive or 1 exclusive publication. I just learned my favorite online mag doesn’t take any submissions that have been offered to anyone else within a month of them receiving it. When you know your fave publications you’ll know what they like and don’t. Until then submit to non-exclusives you’ll know soon enough what works. Also, in a year the two magazines I love have removed their contract with TBL. They have figured out the formula works for them too. They have now set up their own submissions system – many are doing this now. Check the ones you like: most will have a submissions page on their website.
and drum roll – go out and shoot – don’t sit and wait for the ‘we want to feature you’ email to come in!
the rejection and the acceptance – nail biting doesn’t help anyone. So get busy: start a new project or go shoot portraits of the dog – don’t sit there waiting. Submissions are like job interviews. Once they call or email you with more questions it’s likely you’ll be featured! It feels great! But be ready to do some editing if asked. It’s worth it because thousands of people will see this and you will be able to share th badge on your social media for years. And you may find they re-use a good feature over and over again! Royalties? Forget it!
10) be brave, empower others – make a start, find a groove and make it stick – then prepare for change – coz it’s the universal constant brah
just because someone else has better stuff doesn’t mean they have a clue, be brave. Take a first, second, third step. Believe in your skill. And always do strive to build a team and empower those around you, also keep the ball rolling; seriously I’ve been published many times – my first feature was a gay couple who didn’t even want film, but I offered it for free to learn. I shot it all on smartphones, with gimbals, and gopros’s and the Sony A7rii. Also the Phantom4Pro for aerials. It was the most fun I’ve had. I had cameras everywhere. And it turned out brilliantly. It was a winner. Feature three times. Altogether. Don’t stop submitting to be published. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!