Ever wonder how your images could end up in a national publication? Stay tuned for our tips on how to break into the world of freelance photography for magazines!

Do you have a good camera? Have you mastered the skill of producing beautiful images utilizing your gear?  Yes, you say? Well, what are you doing with those images? Do they sit somewhere on a hard drive going unnoticed? Maybe you have made prints of them to place in an album or hang on the wall, but really want a bigger audience to appreciate your work. And speaking of work, how can you get paid while growing your audience? It may be time to consider freelance photography for magazines.

Learn What Freelance Photography is Here!

How to Freelance Photography for Magazines

Magazines are all around us. We see them at the grocery check out, local bookstores, on the world-wide web and even on our smart phones. It can be an overwhelming task to break into freelance photography for magazines. Where should a photographer begin? The first step should be to determine the magazine genre that fits best with his or her photographic style. A photography portfolio filled with images of vacation locations may best match a travel magazine. Or, maybe the portfolio has more photos of local events. Then the photographer may want to try identifying a local interest magazine for his or her area. The topics are truly endless from fashion, to sports, hobbies… the list goes on.

Once the genre of a magazine is determined, it is time to do some research. Start a list of magazine titles that fall under this desired genre. It may also be advantageous to identify if the magazine is digital or hard print edition. Some will be both. Begin to evaluate the images in each of them. Even if the genre fits, the style of photography they publish may differ from the photographer’s. There is sure to be a publication or several that matches each style. Those are the magazines to submit your pitch to.

Freelance Photography for Magazines

How to Pitch Freelance Photography for Magazines

The next step is to write a pitch to the magazine(s) that have been identified. Remember, the person reading this pitch is busy working on current deadlines. So, make your pitch concise. Introduce yourself and interest in freelance photography for the specific magazine utilizing its name. Highlight any publication experience you may have. Provide a few links that highlight your work. This could be your own website, Flickr or portfolio. Be positive and professional. And remember to thank the editor for his or her time.

Once the pitch is ready, you will need to deliver it to the appropriate person. This is usually a photo or art editor but could be listed in various ways. Always try to determine who the most appropriate recipient of your pitch would be. You can find the needed contact in the publication masthead, or on the company contact page. The masthead on a printed publication is generally found inside the front cover, or on one of the first few pages. Email is typically the preferred method to send your pitch unless stated otherwise. Even if you find a phone number or address for the editor, refrain from dropping in or making an unexpected call. Remember, editors are busy people. They will respect you for respecting their time.

Do not get discouraged if a response does not come immediately. Continue working on your portfolio of images and researching other publications you can pitch to.

How to Make Money in Freelance Photography for Magazines

There are two ways a photographer can make money in freelance photography for magazines. The first is by submission. In this instance, the photographer has pitched the editor and has received a response of interest in an image already taken. You will need to negotiate several factors with the editor. How much money will you be paid for the image? What format will you deliver the image? How will the magazine use the image and for how long? The editor may have already included these details in the response you have received. However, if it is not included you will need to finalize those details. As with any photography work, it is best to ensure those details are included in a contract.

The second way a photographer can make money in freelance photography for magazines is by a commission. In this instance, the editor will contact the photographer to create a specific image for publication. There is not as much freedom for artistic creativity when commissioned. However, it is recommended to finalize the same contractual details as listed above. In addition to those details, the photographer will need to know what the deadline is and if the magazine will require the images to be edited. Often times, they will also request a caption for the photo.

How Much Money Does a Photography Freelancing for Magazines Make

How much can a photographer freelancing for magazines expect to be paid? Every publication offers various rates, but many seem to average between $200 and $400 per image. What if the editor requests your price on an image? You do not want to overshoot and scare the editor away from hiring you for additional publications. And most likely, you do not want to undershoot your value. Some photographers will allow the publication of work for exposure. Others will calculate the publication’s ad cost and reach to determine a fair price for their work. If you have been commissioned for a job, you will want to calculate the costs incurred to complete it. Those costs include travel, new gear if required, model and assistant fees and your time. One thing you do not want to do is make less on the job than you spend.

Once You Break Into Freelance Photography for Magazines

Congratulations! You made it! You may want to purchase the edition you are published in if the magazine has not supplied a complimentary copy. But first, once you make the break into freelance photography for magazines, you will have some additional business upkeep to complete. It is recommended to hire an accounting expert that can guide you with the process of taxes, business cost write-offs and other factors your physical location may require by law.