I am frequently asked how I manage to get my photographs published in magazines. More complicated than it may seem to some, it is a lengthy process that first requires me to make a photograph an art director or editor will deem worthy to be included in their publication. If one of my photographs is going to pass muster it must be topical, timely, and better than all other photographs (and they are often numerous) being considered at the exact same time for the exact same issue.
Take in point my experience recently with American Cowboy magazine. Three of my photographs were being considered for the cover of their August/September 2014 issue. Below are the proofs, which is where the art director or editor takes your photograph and drops it into their project to see how it will look. Photos still need to be adjusted and cleaned up for the final product, which is why you don't see them extend to the top of the cover in two of the examples below. The proofs are then showed to others and then ultimately one photograph is selected.
Which of the photographs below do you think they finally selected?
The answer? None of them. After spending all of the time to prepare images, tag them, and upload them so they could be considered the editor notified me that they had selected another photograph for the cover. This, you see, is the standard process. Every month photographers all over the world have a new tap dance to perform and whole new batch of photos to prepare for consideration by magazines all over the world. It takes a lot of time. And it often ends with disappointment.
In this particular case I suspect the cowboys featured in my photos above, while topical, were dressed a tad too warm for an August/September issue. Alas, the editor told me not to fret—she said she very much liked the photos and told me my cowboy photography would be considered for future issues.
And then the process will begin again.