How to Sell Travel Photos to a Magazine

I'll be honest with you magazine work is hard in travel photography it's not like

we just go out take cool pictures and then people magically buy them. there's a

process there's a lot of work that goes into selling your work to a magazine or

newspaper for a story and news flash very little of it is taking photos we

arrived in Taiwan a couple days ago and I thought to myself since I'm not

vlogging daily anymore it would be fun to try to work at the same pace I used

to before I had the vlog back when I was selling the articles to magazines and

newspapers and doing a lot of editorial work and honestly I forgot how much work

it is after just a couple of days I've exhausted and it kind of made me realize

that it's probably a lot of good valuable information not a whole lot of

people have a lot of experience selling articles and photos to travel magazines

or newspapers or things like that so on this episode this is essentially a

complete guide to how to sell a story or photos to a travel magazine or newspaper

okay let's get into it if you want to put together a story for a magazine or

newspaper you need well a story or at least some sort of an angle it could be

something like the food maybe that story is local festivals

where the nature or hiking opportunities it could be about day trips to do

outside that city or culture and architecture having an angle might make

selling this story easier but if you're really clever you'll actually photograph

multiple things you'll cover lots of different things because then you can

double dip on a trip and sell multiple stories so what's the process of

actually selling your photos to a magazine or newspaper or editorial first

you have to decide if you're gonna pitch before or after you travel somewhere and

to be honest pitching beforehand only really works if

you have a working relationship already with the newspaper or magazine or the

editor for example I used to do a lot of work for the Toronto Star so before I

would go somewhere I would say these are some ideas for things I want to do and

some articles I want to put together and then they would come back and say yes

that's a good idea or no that's not a good idea and it works really well and

as easy but like I said it really only works if you already have a working

relationship with an editor the other way is to pitch after you get back from

a trip so just for simplicity sake let's say that we're doing that for this video

the second thing you're gonna need to do is think about some magazines or

newspapers that you want to pitch if you're really into food maybe think

about a food and travel magazine or a magazine that focuses on food or even

just think of a food and culinary magazine that might take a travel story

third you need to plan your shoot you can't really waste time when you're a

travel photographer because every day costs you money it costs you money in

your hotel your food you've got to make the most of it so plan your time usually

you do this before you go somewhere but you can do it when you arrive like we

are basically I sit with my computer open

and I try to plan out a day's schedule where I want to shoot sunrise the

markets I want to shoot the museums I want to shoot basically everything I

want to cover and then I try to figure out how I can do it in the most

productive way possible I don't want to waste my time I need to be productive

and then forth and finally we get out and shoot we do the fun part here's the

thing if you want to get into magazines and newspapers these days you need to

write as well long gone are the days where you could drop a series of images

without words to a magazine and they'd find a writer to attach to them

that's what stock agencies are for but luckily we live in an increasingly

visual world than a high quality imagery almost takes priority to good writing so

don't be disheartened if you're not Ernest Hemingway get out and shoot when

I finally get out to explore the destination I like to have a bit of a

shot list to follow it includes places like this this is Liberty Square here in

Taipei it's absolutely beautiful and unlike kind of what you've maybe

seen in the vlogs and videos before when I go to a place like this when I'm

shooting editorial I'm not trying to just get one big epic hero image

I need a variety of shots I really need four or five or six up to ten images of

every single location I shoot I need that hero image yes

but I also need shots of the details I need shots of people interacting

within the space shots of the space interacting within the city

and when they do things like the raising of the flags

I need photos of those moments as well

that way when the magazine or newspaper finally puts together the story they

have a bunch of images to choose through I took it dozen or so photos of Liberty

Square and then Jodi and I went off to explore the city and Taipei is actually

well kind of awesome I honestly had no expectations for this city when I

arrived which actually makes it a little bit easier to be intrigued and I'm

intrigued I'm drawn in by the massive temples and monuments I love the subtle

bits of history dotted around I love the narrow alleys the constant

street food and interesting characters it kind of feels like a melting pot of

all my favorite Asian cities wrapped into something that's distinctly

Taiwanese and yes there are plenty of photo ops

back in the early days when I was really searching to find editorial work I was

shooting everything and all day I was literally taking pictures and running

around 16 to 18 hours a day and well things are definitely calmer these days

who are getting around here in Taipei as well we're seeing as much as we can pack

into these three days and now we're actually heading just outside of Taipei

to a place called geophone I think which is an old village and it's supposed to

be really cool so let's head that way

we arrived in chill van in a heavy cloud of fog and drizzle and rain and honestly

we were a little bit worried we wouldn't be able to photograph anything but

luckily the town is so densely constructed that the rain can hardly

squeeze down into its alleys the chaotic nature of chief and I'm told is a result

of a gold brush in the late 1800s at that time town grew so quickly that

there was no time for planning a lot of the constructed ends

tea houses and shops are still here to this day

Jody and I taken a traditional tea ceremony wade through crowds of people

and try to capture the five on the streets the other thing I should mention

before we have to eventually leave Taiwan is that when you're shooting

magazines or newspapers editorial in general you shoot a lot portrait

orientation I know things tend to look better landscape orientation but

magazines are shaped in portrait orientation newspapers are shaped in

portrait orientation and they tend to buy a lot more portrait than they do

landscape so landscape might look better but portrait actually sells better the

other thing is there's no harm in doing both shoot one portrait and switch it up

and do landscape don't delete one or the other because it looks better because

you'll be surprised that many times an editor comes and says hey I like this

photo but you have it landscape or portrait orientation so yeah shoot both

do you ever pick up that phone stop it

trying to make the most of one last morning here in Taipei I've just logged

up Elephant Mountain to try to capture a sunrise which was a bust but it is our

last day in Taiwan and I'm trying to make the most of it

but I'm also kind of exhausted after shooting for three straight days I have

no idea how he used to do this six days a week every week but still I'm enjoying

the work the city and the sights regardless of how odd they become Jody

and I are eating at a toilet restaurant for lunch yes you heard that right

then after losing our appetite we jump in an uber ahead to Shi fen where I'm

promised lanterns and waterfalls

I wish we had to find all the things I can't say bye

I think I actually shot as many photos as one possibly could in three days so

it's time to do the bulk of the work we're flying home early in the morning

back to Manila I'll take you with me the actual work is still to come over three

days in Taiwan I shot nine locations I took about 600 photos and I'm leaving

with about a hundred keepers I'm exhausted

some might even say delirious the world's smallest escalator enjoy your


okay I'm a home in Manila and now the real work begins as one of my travel

writer friends always says this is where the misery begins in my opinion this is

where you decide if you like making photos or if you want to be a travel

photographer it's fun taking pictures in the field we all love that part of it

but it's hard when you get home and you have to face the reality that it's a job

that you have to pitch you have to find magazines you need to work and then on

top of it you need to face a lot of rejection so I'm gonna try to quickly

very quickly run through what now happens once you get home first of all

you find magazines step one find the magazines the way I do it is I open an

Excel spreadsheet and I kind of list them based on category that way in the

future if I'm looking for magazines again I don't need to research for

everything and where do you find the magazines well I don't want to sound

really sarcastically snarky but Google you google it you google things like

travel magazines or if you're doing a story on food you google something like

food travel magazines or a list of food travel magazines something like that and

you'll find that there's a ton of magazines out there so once you do find

them then check them into your spreadsheet step two is you submit your

story but of course how do you do that well the good news is that basically

every single travel magazine and newspaper out there has a list of

submission guidelines out on their website so go to their website and find

the submission guidelines or another trick is to go to and enter

the URL of the magazine with a colon after and then add submission guidelines

to the end of it and it should help you find that page that you need it's also

smart to add that link to the submission guidelines to your Excel spreadsheet

that way you don't need to search it in the future those submission guidelines

will tell you exactly what you need to do to submit your story follow those

things step three is to plan your submission now even though you have

submission guidelines that you need to follow you really do have the

opportunity to still pitch and I'm gonna put a link to an old video up here about

how to pitch but basically be brief be quick and try to somehow show your

credibility as a travel photographer in like the initial email that you send

them really be careful about things like spelling errors and grammar and not

following the guidelines as soon as you like don't follow the guidelines and

editors just gonna delete the email a lot of times you'll need to do a quick

blurb of your story so like a hundred word blurb from your article needs to go

into that email so just be prepared for that

number four what about the photos again follow the submission guidelines because

they're gonna tell you how to do it but usually it's via a Dropbox or onedrive

or something like that most of the times I send like 8 to 12 images I don't send

all like a hundred that I took on that trip because I want the editor to be

able to focus on the best images and images that are relevant to the story I

also never watermark the photos because I think it looks tacky

I send full-sized images because they're not gonna steal an image nobody's that

stupid and finally I don't crop the images I keep the images at normal size

because if they want to crop it down they can later themselves but they're

gonna want the whole image to work with for their design and in general just

don't send weird like Thomas heat and configured crops to magazines just send

them the whole size number five is to submit so you just hit hit Send on that

email and you sit and you wait and you wait for number six which is rejection

rejection happens a lot in fact sometimes it's even worse because you

don't even get the rejection editors just don't get back to people you'll

send a piece to ten twenty thirty different publications and you'll never

hear back from them maybe you'll hear one or two when they'll be rejections

rejection is a part of this industry and you just need to take it and strive you

also can't take rejection personally if somebody says

you're writing these improvement improve your writing work on it if they say your

photos aren't good enough get better at being a photographer take the rejection

learn from it and grow and remember that if you get a lot of rejection that's

normal everybody has this happen to them and also remember that even if you get a

hundred rejections it only takes one or two like positive emails for you to

eventually build a relationship with an editor and the more you do this the more

you pitch and the more relationships you build with editors the easier the career

becomes so what do you think about being a travel photographer now do you still

want to be a travel photographer it is a lot of work it's a really hard work but

it is so rewarding there's nothing cooler than opening a magazine and

seeing your photo giant across two pages or on the cover of a magazine or

something like that it is so rewarding when you do make it happen so if you

want to make it happen go up make it happen there's nothing holding you back

you don't have to go to Taipei to make a travel story there's travel stories in

and around your hometown wherever you live in the world I guarantee you that

so that's it for today's video I'll see you guys on the next episode on Tuesday

where I'm gonna talk about the Canon RP crazy little camera talk about that in a

couple days I'll see you there peace