Pitch your photos: email a link to them
MARK Wagstaff, an art editor who has worked with monthly rock magazine Mojo for about 15 years, gave tips on pitching photography to editors at the London Freelance Branch meeting in March. (The Economist's Emily Bebrow advised at the same meeting on pitching words: see here).
Mark described how Mojo (like a lot of periodicals) has recently seen "a shrinking of editorial teams, shrinking of reliance on the freelance writers, designers and photographers."In this climate, Mark concedes opportunities for freelance photographers to sell to magazines aren't what they were. "A lot of the stuff that's commissioned is columns and regular aspects of the magazine, front and back section stuff which now is just being written in-house, and I guess the company now being able to hold on to copyright." Mojo's website doesn't yet generate much revenue, so there's almost no paid commissioning for web-only.
And Mojo is a "heritage rock magazine" with lots of "Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan," so "the majority of stuff we do is archive" because "Dylan's not interested in being photographed by Mojo unfortunately." (But see here for a successful example of a syndication site for mostly 1980s rock photos founded and still run by an NUJ freelance photographer.)
Mark says there's always a market "if stuff takes our breath away" and "there is a core of photographers that we commission" but "you have to keep plugging away" and have the patience and persistence for "dealing with breaking into that inner circle of freelances."
Practical advice? Pitching is not so much a face-to-face thing now: "if I left my desk to talk to everyone, I wouldn't get the job done... pretty much everything these days done electronically. "Mark recommends the best way to pitch to picture editors now is to "get a website, send an email with a clickable link to a website: it's really important that isn't clunky". (It should be user friendly and load quickly.)