One of my goals this year was to get published preferably in a fashion-based magazine. I was happy that I got published in GMARO, a French-based magazine! Got the cover too! I really love the quality of the magazine. When I look through it, it reminds me of magazines like GQ and Vogue. Really. I couldn’t have asked for a better publication for my first!

I think getting published is one of the biggest accomplishments a photographer can ask for. It signifies that if someone is willing to spend the money to publish someone, their work has reached a certain level of quality and appeal. And with GMARO, I was very flattered as it was one of my top choices to get my first, published shoot.

I’ve read time and time again, to get published is that you study the magazine you want and create your shoot accordingly. But my thinking is: don’t you want your best work that defines you out there instead of someone else’s vision? Especially as your first published shoot?

A client hires you for your style. They will want certain looks, poses, whatever. But at the heart of the shoot, it’s your style that defines the shoot. Sure, you might tone things up or down depending on the client-shoot as long as it doesn’t go too far away from you shoot. And it shouldn’t as they wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. But doing some new and creative things on a shoot can be very cool and rewarding. Especially if it makes your work better. An artist should always be evolving.

I suppose I’m lucky. Finding a magazine that whose taste and mine match up shouldn’t be too difficult. The big difficulty was I wanted to get published by the magazine I REALLY liked! That’s what I was really nervous about.

I probably spent about 10 hours researching magazines that would publish someone’s editorial. I mean, the list runs the whole gamut from W Magazine and wilder to the very conservative. I need to narrow down my choices to what would work for me. Then I would have to go through them and decide, which one I would be proud to be featured in. The whole process took almost two days.

Then I started to submit to magazines that fit the bill. Pretty easy process actually. Kavyar.com makes it super simple for magazines to accept submissions. While not every magazine accepts submissions the exact same way, it’s great that it’s so centralized. Kavyar.com keeps track where you submitted the images and as soon as a magazine accepts your admission, the other magazines you submitted will be notified that you’ve been picked up! I wish this was available 5 years ago!

Now, the way some of these magazines who accept publications was a bit of a revelation…. •

Purchase cover. You can pay to get the cover of a magazine. For let’s say, for $350, you can get the cover of a magazine.

Editorial purchase. You can pay to have your editorial featured in the magazine. Rates vary but I’ve seen it for as low as $50.

 Interview purchase. They can do an interview on you and be featured in the magazine.

Other purchases. The magazines have other items that you may want to pay for. Placement in the magazine. Bundled purchases.

Free submission. You may or may not get featured in the magazine. Depends on the quality and style of your editorial. I took the free option.

I took the free option.

I wasn’t being cheap. I simply wanted my work to stand on its own. If my work isn’t good enough for someone ‘to want’ my work in their magazine, I don’t want to be published until I am.

GMARO was the first magazine I submitted to. As soon as I was done with the second submission, they responded with wanting my work in their magazine! I don’t think more than 2 hours had passed from the time I first submitted and the end of the second. Surprised! I was so happy and pleased. I was very pleased. When I looked through GMARO, I felt I was going through an issue of GQ magazine. Which I love.

The one thing I was concerned about was other editorials within the magazine. The ones I thought I thought were a little too racy or didn’t fit well with my work. I wondered how they were going to make it work. So the time to wait started. It would be 3 weeks when the magazine would get published and I’d see what they do.

Shock! Utter shock! I got the cover! I had absolutely no idea that was going to happen. I purchased an electronic copy with physical copies when they became available. I was extremely happy with the content of the magazine. All top quality. If the magazine had “Elle” or “Marie Claire” on the cover, it could totally pass. I was not only impressed with the fashion and photography, but the graphic design was top notch.

What I also learned was this: there were multiple “April” editions of the magazine. Gosh, there must have been at least 20 of them! I could tell some of them had a particular theme. Some were racier than others (they’re French-based after all) and others were focused on other themes. At first, I thought that was a little strange. But then I thought “These folks are super-successful and they are making money!” Good for them.

This was a great experience. I received tear sheets from GMARO and sent them to the model, her agency and the MUAH. I think one of the best things that to come out of this is: a marketing tool. When you’ve been published, it’s easier to get clients. Especially with my work: people. I mean, obviously if you get published in a big magazine, you’ll get more work. Hopefully. But just getting published is a good thing. I guess, and I understand, when people know you’ve been published in a fashion magazine, a French one at that, they are more impressed and likely to have you be their photographer. They don’t know that it wasn’t paid. Or that I may have paid to get published. Which has much less value in my eyes. You see, I dig into someone’s credentials.

I see it all the time: “Award winning blah blah blah”. Then I look at the award and research it. More than half the time, it’s an award I would hold very low value. One time, a videographer won an award given by a credit union! I knew there was something up. His work just wasn’t that good. Unfortunately, it happens much more than you’d like to think in other industries as well. I wonder why people don’t research people’s credentials. I’ve seen camera company ‘ambassadors’ who are, in my opinion, very mediocre. Someone I know in one of these ambassador groups said “You should try. You get to try new gear and get it lent to you and other cool things…”

My thing is: I want to be and compete with the best. That’s why I moved to New York City. I can fake being a great photographer anywhere. But when you race and win the LeMans car race, there’s no denying. You are the best.

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Ricardo Gomez Photography

Originally from San Francisco, Ricardo is now a New York-based photographer specializing in fashion, beauty and commercial photography.
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