One question I get asked a lot is, what do publishers really mean when they give general feedback. So today I’m sharing the most common reasons some submissions don’t make the cut. We’ll also be covering this inside our FREE Facebook Group!
The two pillars of great visual content are photography and styling. “Uhm, tell me something I don’t know”, right? That’s a no-brainer, however, the nuances of what goes into each are where most submissions don’t make the cut.
So here are the 10 most often reasons we see happen:
1. The overall style isn’t a match.
Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with it. The photography and styling are nice, but the style itself isn’t a match or it’s reason #2. A lot of styled shoots look VERY similar to one another.
2. The details or concept are ubiquitous.
Let’ just say like it is: the market is saturated. Competition in the wedding industry is fierce, so standing out from the crowd is a must if you want to have a thriving business. Often times, the stories being submitted are declined when they aren’t unique enough. The photography is great, the styling is great, there’s absolutely NOTHING WRONG with the submission. The only fall out is that it wasn’t unique.
Most blogs have been around for at least 7-8 years (Ruffled is 10 years old), so the volume of content that has been previously published is enormous. Chances are, someone, has already shared a similar concept or detail before but the good news is that you can always add a fresh perspective to it.
3. The styling or concept didn’t push far enough.
We can see where the team was going with it, but it fell short. Few things in life can’t be resolved with time or money, but if you’re limited on both, focus on fewer parts to a shoot but give all of your attention to the vignettes you’ll work on.
4. Not enough details.
Publishers want to see all of the details in fully styled vignettes no matter how small they are. These are not just wedding rings or invitation flat lays — we’re talking centerpieces, bar carts, dessert tables, reception lounges, entrances, and arches, you name it.
Photography is another one, for a few different reasons.
5. The editing is inconsistent
6. The composition of key images doesn’t look right. Or, too many images shot from the same distance or angle.
7. Out of focus or wrong depth of field
8. The posing mix doesn’t jive. Images are too far or too close, or the images look too stiff.
9. The lighting is harsh or too dark (the shoot got a late start for example, and the team wasn’t able to get started until noon)
10. The overall images don’t feel ready for publication just yet.
I created a free download that covers the most common mistakes and how to avoid before anyone embarks on a styled shoot. These are the most often the ones we think “Ahhh if only they did _____” when we get styled shoot submissions!
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Cover photo in collage shot by Alistair Vlok from this Hermione de Paula Bridal Collection.