I've fielded a lot of questions about Two Bright Lights and submissions lately so I thought I'd share my thoughts on this amazing application! Two Bright Lights is an integral part of my wedding workflow and it's one of the best time saving tools that I use!
I started using Two Bright Lights when it was first introduced several years back. I remember thinking that I had no idea what the program was or what it did exactly, but I knew I wanted to give it a try! You may be asking the same thing, what the heck is Two Bright Lights? Well, TBL is an online program that shares your images with blogs and magazines for publication for a yearly subscription fee. You can even allow vendors to see and/or download your images directly from the site as well. And don't be fooled, Two Bright Lights is MORE than just wedding blogs, so make sure to check out their editorial partners! Who knows, you could see yourself featured on all kinds of blogs!
So back to the beginning. I opened up TBL and had no idea where to start! (The format has been adjusted slightly from the beginning, but basically there is an upload area, an album/edit area, a submission area and a support area.) I uploaded some of my 2010 weddings and went to town, thinking that if I submitted everything, one would stick. (don't do this!) I was fortunate to have a few blogs pick up the weddings I shared and I was hooked. It was SO easy, SO simple and such a fast way to share my couple's weddings, my work and my name!
Before TBL, if you wanted to submit to a wedding blog, often times you had to upload, email or worse, MAIL, 5-15 images manually, often emailing back and forth with the blog editor. This took time, a lot of time, and it often could be come a problem in your workflow. With TBL, now everything is done with the click of a button, inside an online application and all together in one viewing area. You can click through vendors to add to your event, write a description, and invite people to view your images all in minutes. And imagine the delight editors now have when going through submissions! All applicable information is at their finger tips (and you better believe this makes editors happy and certainly increases your chances of being published!) Instead of taking me several hours to submit to a publication, now it takes me about 45 minutes from upload to information to submission. (And often while the images are uploading, I am using that time to accomplish other tasks). Don't think this is just for blogs either! Many print publications now use TBL, making the whole process of submission a piece.of.cake.
I use Two Bright Lights for two reasons: To affirm my couple's hard work in their wedding or engagement session and to expose a wider audience to my business, myself and my work. Simple as that. I absolutely LOVE sharing with couples that their wedding as been featured, and they absolutely love it too! By making it so easy to submit to publications, Two Bright Lights has helped me make this a part of my workflow for every session and wedding. Does it mean that every session gets published? No. But I've made a commitment to give every couple a great experience, and part of that experience is sharing their wedding with others and affirming their hard work!
When I first started using Two Bright Lights, I didn't take the time to research the publications that I wanted to submit too. Instead I just picked any old blog and hit submit. I would definitely NOT recommend doing this. Instead, take the time to research and look through all of the editorial partners in TBL to see what publications are looking for and if your work or your clients wedding is a good fit. You'll waste a lot less time if you do the this simple step ahead of time. I have a Google Doc where I've written down the various publications I want to submit too under several categories (New England blogs, etc) This helps me keep track of where I've submitted before and what blogs service brides in my region of the country. Again, this simple step of pre-planning has helped make the process of submitting much easier. And when something is easy for you to do, chances are you'll do it again and again!
Remember when submitting your content that the more information you can provide to an editor the better. Vendors, background story, correct spelling of names and dates, etc. The less work that the editor has to do the better. Also, take care with the images that you select. Editors want to see details, a few portraits, environment shots, and other images that tell a complete story of a day or a session. You image selection also depends a lot on the type of blog or publication you are submitting too, so make sure to keep that in the back of your mind.
Finally, if a blog or publication has accepted your work, make sure you say thank you! This seems like such a simple thing, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life this step can quickly get overlooked. Send a thank you email, tweet or Facebook message. Retweet their tweets. Share on Facebook. Post on your client's wall. Share, share, share. And if you can send a Thank You card, even better. (A blog I submit too has sent out thank you notes to ME for sharing a client's wedding or session!!) It's the little things that make a huge difference and just another way to show your appreciation!
Two Bright Lights has helped me book weddings, reach audience I might not otherwise, as well as give my brides a great experience! It's part of my workflow that I could not live without!
If you have any more questions about Two Bright Lights or submitting your work, share them in the comments below! I'm happy to answer! Happy Blogging!