The 5 Biggest Mistakes Photographers make when Submitting their work

About half a decade has past since I launched Ben Trovato, and I can safely say I’ve looked through ten thousands of emails and submissions from fashion photographers worldwide. Maybe even more. I’ve always tried to go through every single one of them, however, some photographers make going through their submissions unnecessarily hard. Meaning an editor might skip the submission altogether without even having seen your work. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes photographers make when submitting their work:

1. You didn’t follow the submission guidelines

This is probably the biggest mistake of them all. Failing to meet submission requirements will most probably eliminate your submission from the race altogether.

The guidelines are there for a reason, most probably in order to streamline the process of reviewing the work of hundreds of hopefuls. If you are serious about your ambition to get your work published in a specific publication, you have to read and follow the guidelines listed on their site.

2. You haven’t done your research

People attending my talks always have a good laugh when I arrive at this point. The name of my publication Ben Trovato is an Italian expression meaning Well Found, based on our mission to focus our posts on new and undiscovered talent. It looks like a name, and I forgive you (not really) if you thought it was the name of the founder of the magazine.

However, if you were to submit your work to Ben Trovato, and you started your email by writing “Hi Ben,” I wouldn’t even read the rest of your email. Why? Because it shows that you have no idea who you are communicating with. It is completely unprofessional to contact a publication without knowing who they are and what they stand for. Do your research.

3. Your work doesn’t fit the style of the publication

Always make sure your work fits the specific publication’s aestethic before shipping them your work. Submitting a gritty New York style editorial to a magazine like Mirage would be a giant waste of time for both you and them.

4. Your email is too long

If you’ve done your research, you know who you are addressing, and you know your work would fit perfectly for the publication you are submitting to, don’t send them a long email with your whole life story. Keep it short and to the point. Remember, the editor is probably skipping through a whole lot of these, make it easy for him or her to make a decision.

Same goes for links to your portfolio, zip-files, heavy pdfs, or a wetransfer download link. They don’t want it. Put your low res photos directly in the email so that the recipient can easily scroll through.

5. You’re mass emailing, and we know it

This point consolidates all of the above. Sending out a generic email to a long list of magazines and editors might land you a feature somewhere, but it will most surely annoy a large amount of the recipients. This business is hard enough as it is, don’t risk getting on anyones blacklist.


I stress this to aspiring photographers time after time: You can’t afford to be lazy in any aspect of your business in this industry(!), at least if you have any ambitions of making it big. Most of what I mention in this post comes down to common sense, and should be integrated in your submission routines.



Marius Troy