Getting Published

Some people may say that print is dead and blogs have taken over the medium. Some say that even the idea of a paper magazine, in a world full of portable electronic devices, is absurd. However, the reality is that magazine sales are stronger than ever and the opportunities to get your work out to the world is increasing day by day. Getting published anywhere is something great although at this stage in the game, it may seem a little mysterious but I will try and steer you through.

The benefits of having your work published on paper is that it there forever. In the world of blogs, your work is there for an instant and then gone like the flavour of your bubble gum. Not saying that blogs are bad or anything but for photography, getting your work published on paper is a really good thing. Think about when you first took a really nice shot of some scenery or the woman cleaning fish at your local market, what did your friend and family say? Probably something like “you should work for National Geographic!” Not, “hey, you should put this on facebook” Also think about how many people collect those magazines.

So that being said, how does one get into the area of magazines and published photos? Well a lot centers around luck or at least in my case anyway. Having your photos up around the internet on sites like Flickr, Trek Earth, Nat. Geo’s My Shot, or any public photo sharing site, increases your chance of some one looking for shots to find yours. Typically when magazines (not all, but some) have a story about say… “Korea” they need to find photos to go along with the story and if they don’t have people already there or that have shots, they hit the internet. Thus, it is important to tag all of your photos and have your email address on all of your shots. Additional information on the location and date taken are an asset.

The other main way to get your stuff published is to find magazines that are looking for articles. You need you write a bit (or maybe not… it depends) and submit it to be editor or whoever is in charge of submissions. This may not always get results but it is worth a shot. If I get a good idea for a story, I will put some words down, get some shots and find out who would want tis kind of story. Great Korean magazines like 10 Magazine are always looking for submissions and articles. This is a great way to showcase your work and reach a wider range of people. Also, try submitting your work to local newspapers and magazines from your hometown, they may want to run a story about a local person living and working overseas.

Things to think about

1. You Are Not Going to Get Rich
By getting your work published, does not mean an instant pay out (if any), so don’t expect much. Basically, focus more on getting your name out there. You may get some perks along the way like free tickets or gift certificates, but all in all, be happy with that. Especially larger magazines from the West, they want to find photos that they don’t have to pay for. So most of the time, you will get credit, possibly a free copy of the magazine and that is it. However, the chance of someone seeing your photos, who will pay for your work, greatly increases the more you get your work published. Keep in mind, that you are in Korea, you already have a job so you are not exactly losing money.

One thing to consider is what would happen if you stuck your nose up and said “no” Some people think that holding out for the highest bidder will get larger payouts and more respect. Well, maybe if you are a working photographer and have established prices and someone is trying to get a discount. However, if you are starting out and want to get your name out there, why not showcase your photos?

Some photographers that I met years ago had sort of the previous idea. They did very great and professional work, to the point where they constantly looked at me as an unknowing, bumbling amateur. They waited for the large publications to contact them and ruthlessly sought out high paying jobs and took nothing less. Now, their sites do not get updated and they have moved on from the world of photography, using their thousands of dollars worth of gear to photograph friends or the family goldfish. I picked up the odd jobs that they left behind or simply didn’t want. I feel that I have greatly benefitted from that because I got offers that I couldn’t even dream of when I first picked up a camera.

2. Get Credit Where Credit is Due
Blogs and such love free stuff. If you can write well, you probably can get your stuff printed for free. This is great but make sure that your information is there. Make sure that they put a link to your work or something to get a hold of you. Sometimes publications may forget to include the photo credits and I feel that is sort of like steeling in a way, especially if it is for free. A credit is a very “basic tip of the hat” and if a publication is not willing to do so, don’t work with them. How else are you going to establish YOUR name if no one knows that you are the one taking the great shots for whatever-magazine or whatever-blog. Make sure you get credit for your work.

3. Don’t Get Angry Over Criticism or Requests
Ultimately, you are working for someone who may have a different idea or use for your talent. If you submit photos and they ask that you redo them of use a different style; DO IT. Don’t get angry about why they didn’t like your stuff or why they want you to change it, just get them the photos that they want. If they like it and your name is on it then you both win.

3. Try and get a copy or a link
If you are getting printed try to get some links or even a printed copy. This goes well beyond something that hangs on your Grandma’s fridge. Should you decide to take the plunge when you get back home into the world of journalism or whatnot, having actual proof in your portfolio is an asset. You may get charged a fee for this “service” but it is worth it because the chances of finding the magazine in Korea are slim.

4. Do Your Research!
If you are just hammering out photos to any magazine that remotely looks what you took a photo of, i.e. I took a picture of a horse so I am going to send it to “Horse Lover Magazine” your chances of getting published are slim. Find out what standards, quality and subject matter the magazine is looking for along with who to send the photos too. Be familiar with the content of the magazine and have some knowledge about the subject matter.

5. Read
Here is a link to a great article about how to get your photos published. Take a gander at the comments section too as it will provide you with additional information.


  1. Sungjin Kim Reply

    Really helpful article for me!

  2. Pingback:Gwangju News is Looking for Photographers | The Sajin

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