A Modern Guide to Real Wedding Submissions

 A modern guide to real wedding features

For wedding photographers and event designers, the ways to market your brand and showcase your work are nearly limitless in today's world. If you are naturally drawn to more traditional real wedding features, you may already feel the compounding pressure to differentiate yourself in a time when editorial priorities continue to shift at some of our favorite magazines.

Real wedding features will only become more coveted as media companies continue to replace organic content with sponsored posts from advertisers.

But trust us - those beloved stories won’t disappear entirely. Writers will still be searching for great content, but are looking for something that makes readers linger over each element rather than flip right past. Today, we’re diving into some of the insights we give our clients, specifically photographers and designers, through a modernized guide of how to attract an editor's attention, and your ideal client.

The Essentials

Imagine you just watched a movie with all your favorite celebrities - anticipating every moment only to be left at the end feeling unsatisfied from a lackluster storyline. You think it had all the makings of something great, but had nothing to sink your teeth into. Stunning photographs only have true representation of an event when they are complemented by a compelling and personal story.

  • Tap into your inner author: Envision the trailer of that movie and condense your couple’s story into an opening few sentences of your submission email. Highlight the most meaningful and treasured moments, and even a few of the finer details, to build anticipation for what’s to come in your collection of photos
  • Showcase your team: Include a thorough vendor list with links to website and Instagram
  • Build a media-friendly collection: Sending around 75-100 photos gives editors a great pool to choose from and help find photos that really give a complete narrative of your wedding. More on how to curate these photos in the next section.

The Visuals

Quiet stolen looks, boisterous laughter and joyful tears will always give your collection life, only to be enhanced by a dynamic range of detail shots that establish a sense of place and time. Those kinds of sensory shots give powerful depth to the entire celebration; a close up of the vintage leather used in a custom invitation and day-of suite, the unique tabletop linens mirroring the bride’s lace from her gown, or the Victorian china displayed at dessert, inspired by a set that had been in the groom’s family for years. Colors, textures and details of almost every aspect should be respected and embraced. Bring along a styling kit (linen board, silk/chiffon ribbon, small vintage mirror, ceramic dish, and some extra flowers from the florist).  

Try and visit the venue or property ahead of time - that perspective will help you mentally dog-ear a few spots to bring the couple during golden hour, style that invitation suite or have a second shooter capture the ceremony from an alternate vantage point. Photos of the intricate tile detailing in the foyer, the overgrown lemon trees in the garden, or the antique velvet settee in the bride’s room will serve as the interlude from one photo to the next - tying all the day’s happenings together seamlessly. Finally, a thorough understanding of the day’s timeline is critical. You’ll mentally anticipate the traditional must-capture moments, but also have time to capture the more obscure happenings that make a celebration truly unique; a prayer amongst groomsmen before the ceremony, a stolen dance between the flower girl and her father in the hotel lobby, or the boisterous embrace of a grandmother to the bride at dinner.

Real wedding features have evolved into true narratives - told both visually and through written word. Being able to keep some of these considerations in mind will help you build a submission that truly represents your clients and your distinct work.

We work with a select number of wedding professionals through our Real Wedding Submission program, and our short-term consulting service. Let's chat more