How do I get my Real Wedding submission published?

Oct 11, 2017 | Industry

As Wedding Sparrow is sent approximately 100 submissions a week, it's getting increasingly more difficult to get published with the amount of styled shoots, real weddings, anniversary sessions and engagements we see come through the website. We love to give feedback on why we turn down submissions but unfortunately there just aren't enough hours in the day! So today we're talking about our most sought after submission of all - the real wedding...

We know that not all real weddings are detail heavy, exotic locations and feature 6ft tall model brides and grooms but that's okay. We're not looking for those, just some well thought out photography of a couple's perfect day. Here's what we look for in a real wedding:

STYLING - We see all too often, the over-use of styling and props in a wedding to make it more 'submission worthy' and it doesn't always work. Our brand is all about timelessness and ultimately the vast majority of styling 'props' simply date the event in question and make it trend-driven. Not something we look for. We see weddings with brides holding golden sprayed pineapples in the middle of a mountain setting. The question we ask? Why?! It's props for the sake of props and has no meaning. Less is more when it comes to styling and don't forget to use your talents as a photographer/florist/stylist to get a wide range of images to ensure the wedding has depth and variety.

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Fall wedding flowers - Katie Hyatt Photography Pin it

IMAGERY - In terms of photography, we see lots of wedding details that are shot as a second thought. If we think about stationery as an example, we often see the suite haphazardly placed on the nearest floor surface next to a window for the natural light on the day of the wedding at the reception venue. When this image is placed within the submission and it has to complement the outdoor portraits, linen tablescapes and organic florals, the dark wooden floors of the reception venue never make the stationery look good. Never shoot the details of the wedding without thinking of not only the wedding as a whole, but your BRAND too. Take styling boards to every wedding or simply some linens in your branding colors. This ensures you're never relying on the venue itself for places to put the details (bouquets included!) and when you come to blog the wedding on your own site, the background colors of the linens (usually a range of natural colors so they suit every wedding) makes sure that these images don't look out of place on your own site either.

Don't underestimate the use of space either. Space can be so emotive in an image and we love to see a great use of space. We also love to see out of focus shots, macro shots, emotive shots and details such as movement, make up details (Editor Sara has a thing for lips!) and the classic back of head shot (this does great on Instagram and Pinterest!).

How do I get my Real Wedding submission published? Pin it
Fall wedding ideas - Katie Hyatt Photography Pin it

SHOOTING CREATIVELY - We don't mean asking your couple to get out of their comfort zone and shooting something that's not them but we know that as your clients, you need to deliver their images to them and make them happy at the end of it. We also know that not every couple's wedding day is your dream wedding either. Even the biggest wedding photographers get those dark ballroom weddings that they don't necessarily want to feature online (they don't want to attract more of them) but we know they use their creativity to 'shoot for themselves'. Get the shot for the client, then get a shot for you. Think the wedding isn't publishable as it stands? Move some details to a location where you can shoot it so it looks more on brand for you. Shoot the paper ahead of time preferably to free up time on the day. If there's a planner/stylist involved, consider mocking up a table outdoors if the indoor reception is far too dark/has crazy lighting/has an interior that isn't complementary. Don't forget, these shots are for you and your portfolio to blog/submit and the couple should of course get the images of their set up as it stands. You'll be amazed at how different a wedding can look when the images are curated well enough, and that curation starts with you on the wedding day itself.

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KEY BRAND WORDS - Before submitting to any publication, you need to research what their brand is all about. Wedding Sparrow is all about light, natural, muted, organic, authentic and quality work. If you send us dark, bright, heavily saturated, over styled weddings, it's a straightforward 'no' from us due to the lack of brand consistency we would offer our audience.

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Think you've covered all the bases above but your submission has still been rejected? It could be; we already have something very similar coming up in the editorial calendar; your submission could be 'off-season' for us (note - we schedule 3-4 months in advance so are usually a season ahead at least); we may have seen other editorials around the web that have looked very similar and we're trying not to saturate the industry with the same focus. We hope this helps a little!

Got something you want to submit to us? Head on over to our Submissions Page!

vendor details

See the full real wedding featured here by Katie Hyatt | Florals and planning: Mary McLeod for Amy Osaba | Ceremony Site: Dunaway Gardens | Reception Site: Serene | HMUA: Jennifer Neiman | Cake: Kristina Limoges | Invitation: Papel & Co | Vintage Fabric Ring box: Shop Gossamer | Antique Gold Ring box: Saint Signora | Furniture Rental: Blue Eyed Yonder | Dress: willowby by watters | Dress shop: merlili bridal boutique | Ring shop: Mr. Diamond | Linens and bouquet ribbons: Silk and Willow

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