What Editors Look for in a Submission

Last year we wrote a blog post on why getting published benefits you and your creative business & how to do it. This is something we teach to our workshop attendees in more depth at our events because we really believe in the power of being published. Not necessarily for notoriety reasons, but more for the reach that bigger publications have to offer you. You're being put in front of different audiences you might not be able to reach on your own! Creating styled shoots for publication is also a wonderful time to design something for YOU. These shoots aren't your client's vision; they're yours. There's something to be said about creating just for the sake of creating. The added benefit of designing styled shoots you love is that when you share them with your followers you're also saying to them "look, this is what I can do, this is what I want to shoot or want to design. This is my aesthetic!" And hopefully by showing your followers what you WANT to do more of, you'll actually start booking weddings, events, design clients who want your signature style.

We know the process of getting published can be a long one; sometimes even frustrating! So in order to help you, we interviewed 3 of our favorite online and print publications to ask them what they look for, their biggest turn-off in a submission and what their magazine or blog's aesthetic is.

white sparrow barn - ashley slater photography
white sparrow barn - ashley slater photography


"Our aesthetic reflects our mission—elegant and meaningful. We look for imagery that reflects an idea of merging the beauty of fine art and the beauty of the honest every day. Someplace in the middle is what we love most." -- Katie, Founding Editor of Cottage Hill Magazine

"The Style Me Pretty aesthetic is bright, clean and classic. Think timeless romance but with a modern twist. We publish weddings and events of all shapes, styles, and sizes but every feature has that little extra something that makes it feel unforgettable." -- Stephanie, Editor of Style Me Pretty

"We love clean, bright and colorful imagery with great natural light when looking at a submission. We have a whole style guide that we happily send over to people who reach out before a shoot, this often helps increase the chances of being featured on the site." -- Caitlin, Editor of Glitter Guide

white sparrow barn - ashley slater photography


"We only accept real stories or tutorials. We stick to real-life inspiration or information to share with our readers through love stories, entertaining, home, lifestyle, and travel. Even though we may celebrate fine art imagery and lovely essays, at the core we still appreciate good journalism, meaning, we look for features that are indeed newsworthy and relevant to the current culture." -- Katie, Founding Editor of Cottage Hill Magazine

"Incredible photography, inspiring details + decor, and beautiful stories that resonate with our readers. Whether we're publishing a real wedding, engagement or event we love to include words straight from the couple that gives our features soul and depth." -- Stephanie, Editor of Style Me Pretty

"We look for ORIGINAL & UNIQUE stories -- we are more interested in setting trends vs. seeing the same ones over and over again! I can't emphasize this enough. We turn down so many submissions because they aren't new and fresh." -- Caitlin, Editor of Glitter Guide

white sparrow barn - ashley slater photography
amy osaba events - ashley slater photography


"It is very obvious when someone sends out a mass submission, meaning, they have sent the submission to every publication just waiting to see which ones bite. And honestly, we editors do talk, and none of us appreciate a submission that is not intentional or does not show some sort of effort to provide information or insight to our specific audience. At Cottage Hill, we care deeply about our readers so we love when someone submitting work creates a submission that focuses on them rather than just trying to get published. Care and consideration can go a long way." --  Katie, Founding Editor of Cottage Hill Magazine

"The number one reason work gets declined is the quality and styling of the photography. We're an image-driven site, so naturally, we look for that in every single feature published on the site and social media. Our readers want steal-worthy, aspirational content and it all begins with imagery that stops them in their tracks." -- Stephanie, Editor of Style Me Pretty

"A few things -- first of all we need to be able to quickly look at images, so anything other than a Dropbox link is a pretty big turnoff for me personally. I don't want to download images or have to enter passwords etc, I like to quickly be able to scroll through a gallery to see if the piece is a good fit. 

Secondly, our readers are always looking for something to gain from a story, we aren't a site that just publishes pretty parties or editorials (though I personally love reading these types of posts) so for us the submission needs to have a full story and takeaway for our readers, whether that be recipes, how-to's or a DIY tutorial! Its a turn off when someone submits something like an engagement session and clearly doesn't read our site!" -- Caitlin, Editor of Glitter Guide

amy osaba florals - ashley slater photography

We're so thankful these ladies took the time to answer our questions! We know they'll be helpful to you as you put together your submissions in the future. Be sure to refer back to our post on why publications are beneficial to you + how to do it here! If you don't even know where to start with designing and executing a styled shoot, we'd love to help. Each of our two day Bloom Bash workshops teaches you exactly how to go about it AND have a gorgeous styled shoot set up for you to practice styling and photographing. You can add all the photos to your portfolio, too! This year we're coming to Nashville, Austin and Grand Rapids. Check them out here. Hope to see you there!