Aside from the bragging rights, publication means tearsheets, which provide the ultimate boost for a modeling portfolio.
This particular post is designed to help "school" newbies and those currently learning the ropes of the industry about what to expect when it comes to shooting for potential magazine publication and to avoid making mistakes that could cause issues later on.
Before I proceed with my gems of wisdom, lol, let me first say that I am a girl scout when it comes to modeling. I've never been the one to rock the boat, act like a diva or behave in an otherwise "dramatic" manner. I follow the rules and make sure that I'm going by the book. There are models out there that don't or won't follow what I'll be writing about in this post and that's their call--I can't control or outright tell someone else what to do.
The purpose of this post is to inform you about a subject I am very familiar with, in the hopes that you use this newly gained knowledge to make better decisions when it comes to your own modeling careers. Now that I've said my piece, let's get to it...
Magazines Have Strict Guidelines
Whether it's a new magazine or a well established publication, all magazines want to stay fresh and ahead of the competition. Because of this, many now list very detailed guidelines for models and photographers interested in submitting their images for possible publication.
Many--not all--magazines will only accept images that have "never been published." However, the definition of what this means is much more involved than meets the eye. What many of you may not know is that this includes posting pictures on social media--even selfies or behind the scenes flicks. These types of photos are super common now that everybody's all Internet crazy but magazines are cracking down on their guidelines when it comes to this...and for good reason.
Selfies & BTS Photos
A behind the scenes shot may not seem like a big deal but once posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or elsewhere online, you've basically already let the cat out of the bag and many magazines could consider it as being "published," even if it's not the actual image(s) they've selected.
Think about it: everyone with access to your social media profiles are able to view your makeup, hair, outfit, maybe even the location (depending on what's depicted in the photo) so technically, it's no longer "new"--at least according to the magazine.
Does that mean you can't take any of your own fun flicks while on a shoot for a magazine publication? Of course not. You can take those pictures BUT do not post them anywhere until the magazine has been published and you've been given the green light.
Not sure what the guidelines are or what you should or should not do? Then ask before you post! Contact the photographer or ask him/her while on-set that day. Never assume anything when it comes to magazines and getting published. Assumptions get more people in trouble than anything. If the photographer isn't sure, they'll find out for you, more than likely by contacting the magazine.
Either way, don't get so excited to post your own photos until you know 100% without a doubt that it is okay to do so. The same goes for cases where the photographer gives you copies of the images from the actual shoot. It's super exciting to see the professional images that could appear in a magazine but until publication has been confirmed, sit on those pictures in the meantime. Don't post them or add them to your online portfolios.
And besides, tearsheets are going to do much more for your portfolio than the regular images from the shoot so even if you get copies of the photos from the photographer, wait for the real deal--those tearsheets!
Failing to comply with these guidelines could get your submission disqualified. What does that mean? The magazine can no longer consider it for publication because the rules were broken. Or if the images have already been chosen and scheduled to appear and the magazine finds out you've leaked photos, the decision could be made to withdraw your images and have them replaced with something else before the magazine officially comes out. Regardless of which one happens, both really suck so don't take the risk.
It doesn't take much for word to circulate about a model who got her publication pulled or had a submission disqualified for not following the rules. Whether the ripple effect is slim to none or creates a buzz, it's not a good reflection on the model from a professional standpoint.
Exceptions to the Rule
Before you start rattling off situations where you've known models to not follow what I've written and who still got published with no consequences, please know that I'm well aware that exceptions to the rule happen. But as I started earlier in this post, I always make it a habit to play it safe and that is the approach I will always teach/advise to those who seek my expertise about modeling. You don't always have to go with the "Monkey see, monkey do" mentality when it comes to models who break the rules.
The Bottom Line
Not all magazines are crazy strict about their guidelines but I can tell you that the biggest ones--namely the publications many aspiring and working models dream of appearing in--are Nazis when it comes to their submission guidelines.
Whether you are working with a photographer to create images to send to magazines for possible publication or whether you've been hired by the magazine directly to appear in it, please make it a habit of learning, understanding and following any rules, guidelines or instructions given when it comes to what you can and cannot post online prior to publication.
If your submission ends up not being chosen, then find out if the photographer will be sending the pictures to other publications. You don't want to ruin any future chances at getting published elsewhere so check in with the photographer once you find out what's going on and then take things from there.
Again, if you don't know or aren't sure what you should do, ask somebody, anybody. These kinds of inquiries are perfectly acceptable and won't make people look at you like you're a dummy. Little mistakes can lead to big issues in modeling so play it safe when it comes to submitting to magazines for publication and I promise you, the path towards becoming an established, published model with a great reputation will progress without a hitch.