As an editor, I receive so many editorial submissions on my desk every day … lots of press releases, hair fashion images, press kits and other PR materials. I must share with you that the materials that really get my attention are the most professional in looks, content and relevance to my readers. Here are my top tips for submitting your work in its best light … work that is editor-worthy and more likely to be noticed and published.
Choose the Right Model: Client photos can be beautiful, but modeling may not be their area of expertise (meaning they don’t know how to work with the camera – body angles, facial expressions, etc.). If you would like to submit imagery for editorial consideration, you’ll need to invest in a professional model. Psst: Some up-and-coming models are sometimes willing to barter for hair services!
Selecting A Photographer: Likewise, you or a friend may be great with an iPhone or a point-and-shoot camera, but those don’t necessarily make for editorial-style shots (but go ahead and post those to your Instagram!). If you’re serious about getting your work published, you’ll need to hire a professional photographer. If money is tight, again, bartering is sometimes an option. Also, you can post a query at a local photo school for aspiring photographers who may not require a fee and merely want to boost their resume.
Find (and Possibly Invest in) Proper Shoot Space: You need a controlled environment for an effective shoot. Pick a place where lighting, weather, etc. aren’t factors.
Know Your Audience: every magazine has a different ‘personality’; when submitting a photographic collection for a magazine, make sure the images truly cater to the specific publications you’re most interested in working with. Review past examples of photos they have published, and you’ll typically see a general “vibe.”
Personalize Your Pitch: When pitching your collection for a magazine, don’t send it in a BCC to multiple publications, or copy/paste the same text for each editor you address. Personalize every pitch. Instead of saying “Dear Sir/Madam,” address the person by name and explain why you’re reaching out to them specifically for editorial consideration (for instance, you loved a specific shoot you saw in their magazine last year and it inspired by you; or, you’ve been reading their magazine for a long time and are a fan of something specific that magazine offers in terms of content). Trust me, editors know the difference between a blanket pitch, or a stylist that truly knows and understands their publication and wants to be a part of it.
Follow up: Allow some time to pass after your initial email (five to ten business days), then follow up with the editor if you haven’t heard back. Just let he/she know you want to make sure they received your imagery, and to please let you know if he/she has any additional questions or general feedback on your shoot, as you would like to work with them in the future. The “feedback” portion is vital! Sometimes if a photographic collection just isn’t a fit with the magazine’s upcoming editorial content, an editor will file it aside and assume the stylist doesn’t care to hear back unless it’s a “yes” for publication. However, if you ask for insight, the editor 1) knows that you’re open to constructive commentary, 2) are truly interested in perfecting your craft, and 3) really do want to participate with their magazine. An invitation for feedback indicates your seriousness to perfecting your editorial shoots. It often takes multiple times shooting to create a truly editorial-worthy collection – that’s the norm! But if you begin to establish a relationship with specific editors, they can offer ideas and suggestions for the future, and will be more likely to move your name to the top of a list when considering upcoming collections for publication. (Note: Two follow-up emails max. You don’t want to flood an editor’s inbox, and if she/she doesn’t respond, they may have urgent matters they are attending).
Keep Shooting. Whether your first endeavor shooting a collection was published or not, keep going! Practice makes perfect, and editorial-style hair artistry is a different skill set that behind-the-chair styling (the former is styling for the camera, rather than for the client). It takes time to master. Reach out to your industry peers for advice; it often takes one DM on Instagram – so many of your pro-beauty colleagues LOVE to share how they execute their shoots. Eventually, with enough know-how and practice, you’ll find your work in the pages of a magazine.
Alyson Osterman-Kerr is the Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine. She has spent the past 13 years as the long-respected editor for a publication that is devoted to educating, elevating and inspiring salon owners and stylists. Alyson is responsible for developing and directing the content and shaping the voice of each issue, both in print and in digital. firstname.lastname@example.org
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