Your shoots will get rejected. There, I said it.
It happens to everyone. Rejection is inevitable. But it’s not the end of the world. Or the end of your shoot, I promise!
If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again, right? You should always have a few target outlets in mind for your shoot, not just one. Start with your top choice and work your way down. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – you never know how that will play out.
Submissions get rejected all the time for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of work – you have to learn not to take it personally. You don’t know what is playing out behind-the-scenes of a publication or blog. I once didn’t hear back from a publication for nearly 6 months about a shoot – only to find out the editor was on maternity leave and some things had fallen through the cracks in her absence. It had absolutely zero to do with me, the shoot, or anything I could control.
My shoot has been rejected a few times – what should I do? Was it all for nothing?
So, before giving up completely if publication is your main goal, I would try the following:
1.) Go back and look at your photo edit very subjectively. There might be images in there that are hurting more than they are helping.
2.) Were you submitting to the correct publications? Be honest with yourself and if the shoot is a good fit. Only submit it now to outlets where you can see them absolutely accepting it.
3.) Grab our Submission Checklist and ensure you are submitting your shoot with the exact specifications laid out by the publication. You might have hurt yourself without knowing it by not following their submission guidelines exactly.
But what should I do if all my target outlets reject my shoot?
Try not to be heart broken (it’s hard I know, I’ve been there) – and then look to the next steps:
1.) Try a submission platform like Two Bright Lights or Matchology.
Sometimes these platforms have direct access to editors, or they are just easier for them and thus get priority over random submissions direct to their inbox. Two Bright Lights also just started an ‘Open Gallery’ feature that allows editors to search your galleries for what they are looking for. I love it because it gets my work in front of a bunch of outlets that run non-exclusive content, which allows our shoots to have a second, third and sometimes unlimited life – getting featured over and over again.
2.) Time to enact your other goals. Hopefully, if you’ve been listening to anything I’ve been saying you’ll have another purpose for your shoot beyond publication. If there will be no publication – it’s time to put those plans into motion.
3.) Connect with your venue and other vendors. Let them know the situation. Don’t be a Debbie Downer – jut let them know that it looks like you’re not hearing back from publications and you don’t want to hold back this content any longer. Make sure they are able to post your shoot and credit you (more info on how to do this in the most effective way possible coming in our course!), that way getting eyeballs on your work through them.
Want to ensure your work doesn’t end up on the chopping block? Grab our Submission Checklist when you sign up for our FREE Styled Shoot Resources and set yourself up for success!
All Photos by Jasmine Star