While I was writing an article for the Model Mayhem EDU section, I landed on James Patrick's profile. In case you don't know who he is, James Patrick is a highly published fitness, commercial, advertising, and editorial photographer based in Arizona. He has extensive experience as a photographer, in addition to working as a marketing professional, website strategist, and a public speaker covering a variety of topics including photography, marketing, and business development. You can check out his website by clicking HERE, and/or you can like his page on FACEBOOK.
I have read countless threads on Model Mayhem by models wondering how to get published in magazines, as well as a variety of answers. Since getting published is such a commonplace topic, I thought that I should ask someone like James, who has a wealth of experience in the industry, and share his knowledge with anyone who wants to learn from the best.
So, I asked him the question: What do you believe is key to getting published as a model?
Below is his answer. When I read it, I felt like I learned a lot, and so will you.
JP: I would argue that there are several keys to getting published as a model. The first is the find the right publications to pitch to. As mentioned, each publication is going to have their own look and needs in a talent. Even within a specific genre you will have a variety of publications that will each carve out their own market segment. So, for a talent, it begins with a lot of research. What are the publications in the genre that I want to pursue and that I could be applicable for? Then it is about picking up that publication to study it. What are the features they run? Where are they taking submissions? Who is working for it? Who are the decision makers for the publication? And there might be more than just one. For some publications it could be the Editor in Chief. It could be the lead photographer. It could be the Art or Creative Director. It could be a section editor. What is the best way to get in touch with them? This is not a one-time step either. Doing research on the industry you want to be a part of is an ongoing discipline. Staff and contributors at publications often change. It is important to know that who you are pitching to is still working there.
The next key would be establishing a professional rapport with one or multiple decision makers. It is often not enough to just contact them and say ,“I want to be a part of your publication.” That would just make you one of the thousands that say the same thing. Being able to build that trust and connection is important. You begin to illustrate to them the most important thing which is WHY you would be good for them to feature. Understand that those who work in the publishing industry are extraordinarily busy. Often times they are not just working for one publication, but they are part of a publishing house working for several editorial projects. They receive hundreds to thousands of pitches. The prime way to stand out is to illustrate what makes you unique and different and why it would benefit the publication to feature you (or whatever it is you are asking them to feature). That is just a core principle of media relations in general.
When it comes to pitching; you have to be very clear and specific. Who you are, what it is that makes you important/different/relevant and why it matters to the publication. Also state what it is that you are asking for. Are you just wanting to be featured as a talent? Or are you interested in writing for them as well?
Show the client that you can do what it is that they need you to. Thus when you are sending over relevant samples of your work, focus on the relevancy of the images. This is where having a professional portfolio comes in handy. If they are not the type of publication that features talents in swimwear or lingerie, that is not the type of imagery you want to be showing them. Show them that you can shoot what it is they run in their publication.
The immediate follow up key I have to that is persistence. You may not get your first pitch picked up or even responded to. You may not get your second one noticed either. Or your third. But you may get your fourth or fifth noticed. Magazines like to see that you are invested in them and being persistent is a key to this.
Another key I would say is that when you get a job or a feature that you over-deliver. You reinforce to the publication why it was a good choice to hire you. Realize that when an editor hires a new model or a new photographer it is them putting their trust in you to do the job right. These editors also have bosses that they report to. Over delivering and doing an outstanding job on set allows that editor to go to his or her boss proudly with the feature.
The last key, and I would stress that this is something that is greatly overlooked, is to stay in touch with the client. They have already expressed the willingness to hire you. And if you did a great job; chances are they may have something coming down the pipeline at a later date. It also illustrates to the client that you were in it for more than just your benefit. It shows that you were and are truly invested in building a long-term relationship with that publication.
Sounds like a lot of work – but that is what separates those who desire to have something happen from those who have the drive to make it happen. As mentioned above, this is not a set it and forget it. Marketing yourself to the media (or whoever your clients may be) is an ongoing discipline and effort. But it should also be one of the most fun and challenging aspects of what you do as a talent.
I would like to thank James for his great insight into the world of getting published and I wish him all the best.
I hope that you found this article as informative as I hoped you would. :)