TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Setting up your account
    1. Activating your Account
    2. Filling out your Profile Information
    3. Filling out your My Page Information
    4. How to Check your Account Information
  2. Creating your first album
    1. Getting Started
    2. Uploading Images
    3. Tagging & Vendor Crediting
    4. Vendor Permissions & Photography Access
    5. Album Story
    6. Client Questionnaire
    7. How to Delete a Photo
    8. How to Select a Cover Photo for your Album
    9. How to Rearrange Photos in your Album
  3. Creating your first submission
    1. Submitting an Album
    2. Selecting Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive
    3. Researching & Selecting Publications 
    4. Editor Requests
    5. Publication Matching Tool
  4. Submission Status: What does it mean?
    1. Checking your Submission Status
    2. Active Submissions
    3. Re-submitting for Publication
    4. How to Delete a Submission
  5. Messaging Platform
    1. Intro to the Messaging Platform
    2. Checking your Messages
    3. When to Contact an Editor
  6. Re-submitting an album for publication
    1. How to Re-submit an Album
    2. How to Check Where you have Already Submitted
  7. Your published features
    1. Live Feed & Badges
    2. How to Share your Published Features
    3. How to Leverage Published Features with Clients
  8. Best practices and building editorial relationships
    1. Album Upload Frequency
    2. Interacting with Editors & Publications
    3. Checking Editor Requests

A. Setting up your account

1. Activating your account

To activate your Two Bright Lights account, check your email for an activation email. Should you not find it in your inbox, check your spam folder. If you need any additional help in activating your account, reach out to support@twobrightlights.com.

2. Filling out your profile information

To fill out your profile information, log in and head to the upper right hand account avatar icon and click ‘My Account’. From here you will be brought to your Account Info where you can input your contact information, business information, social media and more.

3. Filling out your My Page information

Your My Page is your public way of communicating your business with the rest of the Two Bright Lights via the ‘Community’ page. Here you will fill out three parts: Profile, Published In, and Portfolio. Your Profile consists of a background image of your choosing, the Published In section showcases where you have been published which you can add to and edit at any time. Lastly, the Portfolio section allows you to display your favorite photography.

4. How to check your account information

You can check any of your account information by logging in and heading to the upper right hand account avatar icon and clicking ‘My Account’. Here you can review Account Info, Subscription, Settings, Permissions and Badges.

 

B. Creating Your First Album

1. Getting Started

To begin using Two Bright Lights, you will upload photography into albums and then create submissions to our many publications. Follow the below steps to create your album:

1. Click on the ‘Albums’ tab

2. Select ‘Create Album’

3. Categorize your album into one of the five options (wedding, engagement, family, party or lifestyle) and then select the appropriate subcategory.

4. Add details, such as location, vendors and album story

5. Select Album tags

6. Upload images

7. Notify vendors

A great resource is to review our How to Get Published in a Wedding Blog guide for tips and tricks to the submission process. Even if you are not submitting weddings or to wedding publications, there are some useful takeaways in getting started through the submission process.

2. Uploading Images 

To add images to an album, simply click on the ‘Add Images’ icon that will appear once you click into the album itself. With a premium account, you may upload up to 150 images per album. We work with several image storage platforms to make your upload process easy: Dropbox, ShootProof, SmugMug and Zenfolio. You can also upload images directly from your computer, if you prefer. When you click into any of the image storage platforms, a new window will appear that prompts you to sign into that specific company’s account. Once you have signed in, simply select the images you wish to upload and click ‘Choose’. The images you've selected will then be uploaded to your album. Images should be uploaded as high-resolution file, 5 MB in size as a JPEG format. We suggest uploading images with a minimum size of 2000 pixels wide

3. Tagging & Vendor Crediting

Editors want to give credit to everyone that participated in the event, so submissions with more vendors are more likely to get accepted. You can add vendors to your albums by clicking into the album, selecting ‘Edit Album’, clicking ‘Vendors’ and then clicking ‘Add Vendor’. Once you have searched and selected vendors they will automatically be added to the album. Should you need to remove a vendor, hover over the existing vendors and select ‘X’ to delete them from the album’s vendor tags.

If you cannot locate a vendor in our system after entering their name into the search field, you can create a new vendor account for them. To do this, click on the ‘Search’ icon while including their business name in the search field, select ‘Create a New Vendor’, enter their business information and click ‘Create’. They will then be automatically be added to the album’s vendor tags.

4. Vendor Permissions & Photography Access 

 To review and adjust vendor permissions or for those who have been tagged in your albums on Two Bright Lights, simply go to the account avatar in the upper right hand corner, select ‘My Account’, click ‘Settings’, then ‘Preferences’ to change the toggle. The Default Sharing setting prevents vendors from downloading high resolution, non-watermarked versions of your images. You can also prevent editors from downloading high-resolution versions of your images. Note: Watermarked images are not recommended, as they will discourage editors from selecting your feature.

5. Album Story  

The Album Story provides the context to complement your photography and plays an integral part of the editors' writing process. Be sure to include all the basic information from the event: For example, if you're creating a styled shoot album, share the inspiration for the shoot as well as the goal of the shoot. If you're creating a wedding album, include how the couple met, why they chose their venue, etc. You're welcome to leave the paragraph crafting to the editor; a bulleted list will work fine to accompany your submission. Please note that the Album Story is considered mandatory to the submission process.

6. Client Questionnaire 

The Client Questionnaire is a pre-formatted list of questions for your client to fill out to provide details about the wedding or event that your photography in a particular album captures. The Client Questionnaire is important to include with your submission because it allows editors to learn more about the couple or event that is featured in the photography you submitted. It is not required, but it is strongly encouraged to make your submission stand out for editors. Often times editors need this information to create a strong feature and typically won't select with submissions that do not include the questionnaire for publication.

7. How to Delete a Photo

To delete a photo in your album, click into the album and click 'Edit Album'.  From there select the photo(s) that you would like to remove by clicking the checkmark in the upper right corner of the individual photos. The will prompt a blue bar in the upper right side of the page to appear featuring a Trash Can icon. Click the Trash Can icon and follow the prompts to delete the photos. When you're finished click 'Save'.

8. How to Select a Cover Photo for your Album 

To change the Cover Photo of your album, click into the album that you wish to update. Then hover over the image you wish to make the Cover Photo of the album and select the 'Cover' button on the image. You will then be able to reposition the image and click 'Save'. 

 9. How to Rearrange Photos in your Album

To rearrange or reorder the photos in your album, click into the specific album you wish to change. From there hover over the image that you wish to move and do a hard click on the image. From there drag the image to your desired order within the album. If you wish to bulk rearrange, we recommend deleting all the images in the album and re-uploading them in the desired order you wish them to appear in. 

C. Creating your first submission

1. Submitting an Album 

To submit an album, follow the below steps:

  1. Click on the ‘Submissions’ tab in the navigation bar
  2. Click ‘Create Submission’
  3. Choose the album you wish to submit
  4. Review all album information and edit, if necessary
  5. ‘Agree’ to the Two Bright Lights Terms & Conditions
  6. Select the publication(s) you wish to submit to
  7. Click ‘Next’
  8. If you choose, add a note to the editor regarding your submission
  9. Click ‘Submit’

2. Selecting Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive

An editor's exclusivity policy determines what content they receive and how they plan to use it. If an editor is exclusive, it means that they do not want content that has been submitted or featured elsewhere. You can only submit to one exclusive editor at a time and can only submit elsewhere if the editor has decided not to accept your submission and releases it back to you. A non-exclusive editor is one that will accept content that has been submitted or featured in another publication. You may submit to multiple non-exclusive publications at a time.

What happens if an exclusive editor accepts my submission?

If your submission is accepted by an exclusive publication, then it will remain exclusive to that publication for a set amount of time following the date of publication. Editors have exclusivity periods ranging from 1 to 6 months.This information can be found on an editor’s profile page, which you can locate by clicking 'Community' in the main menu then searching for the publication. You will be automatically notified when the album is available for resubmission.

3. Researching & Selecting Publications 

How do I decide which publications to submit to?

In the last step of the submission process, you will see multiple ways to narrow down the list of publications. First, you will be required to select the editor's exclusivity policy, which will limit how many publications you can select. You also have the option to narrow down the list by the category of content the editor accepts. Or if you are looking for a specific publication, type the name in the search bar. The best way to decide which publications are the right fit for your album is to do your research, our ‘Community’ page is a great place to start.

How do I learn more about TBL’s Editorial Partners?

You can learn more about our editors in two places within your account:

1) By checking out their profile pages. To find an editor's profile page, click on the ‘Community’ tab in the main menu. You can then search for the publication and click into their profile to find their contact information, estimated response time and much more.

2) By reviewing active ‘Requests’. In clicking on the ‘Requests’ tab in the main menu, you will see a streaming list of editorial requests. This list is your go-to spot prior to submitting - you can see which editors are looking for content in real time.

4Editor Requests

To review active ‘Requests’ from our editors, click on the ‘Requests’ tab at the top of your screen, you will see a streaming list of editorial requests. This list is updated in real time as requests come through.

5. Publication Matching Tool

Our Publication Matching Tool is the underpinning of how our editors' publication profiles & requests factor into the recommended publications you will see suggested throughout the submission process. There are 3 parts to the Publication Matching Tool: The Editor Publication Profile, the Matching Algorithm, and Matching Publications. You can read here in-depth how these elements work together to suggest the best publications for our submitters, saving time and effort on both sides of the submission process. On the submitter side, during the submission process Matching Publications can be found highlighted in an orange section once the submitter decides if they wish to submit to Exclusives or Non-Exclusives. 

D. Submission Status: What does it mean?

Once you have successfully submitted your album, you will be brought back to your Submissions page. From here you can track the status of all submissions, which are in the following categories: Pending, Submitted, Accepted, Published, Not a Fit, All or Drafts. To sort your submissions, click on the icon that matches the submissions you want to see. You can also use the Search or Advanced Search Functions on the top right of the page to find specific submissions.

1. Checking Your Submission Status

To check your submission status either click into the specific album to review its status or click on the ‘Submissions’ tab. The below are the statuses you may see and what they mean:

Accepted for Print: The album has been selected for a feature in the publication’s print magazine

Accepted for Online: The album has been selected for a feature in the publication’s online publication

Accepted for Partial Feature: The album has been selected for a feature of a few images in the print publication

On Hold: The album is being considered for use at a later date

Not a Fit: The album was considered, but will not be featured

Viewed: The album has been viewed, but the editors have not reached a decision

Pending: The album has been submitted, but the submission has not yet been approved by the content owner

Submitted: The album is in the editor's account but it has not yet been viewed

Released: The album has been removed either due to submission expiration or account downgrade.

2. Active Submissions

An active submission is anything with the status of Submitted, Viewed, On Hold, Accepted or a Submission that was published less than 2 months ago.

3. Re-submitting for Publication

Once your album has been marked ‘Not a Fit’ you may re-submit your album. You may do so from the submission page itself and select one new publication OR you can a create an entirely new submission with the album and select up to five publications to re-submit the album to. 

4. How to Delete a Submission

To delete a submission that has not yet been marked as Accepted, click into your Submissions tab. Click the corresponding status tab to locate the particular submissions you wish to delete (often times it will be located under Submitted or On Hold). Make sure that you are viewing the page in List View by selecting List View on the right hand side of the page. Once in List View locate the Trash Icon on the submission you wish to delete. Click the Trash Can icon and follow the prompts to delete the submission. Common situations when submitters will delete a submission include but at not limited to if they submitted to an Exclusive and decide that they wish to submit to another instead, the client featured in that submission has changed their mind about being published, or if you wish to make serious updates to the album before submitting it to the publication again. 

E. Messaging Platform

1. Intro to the Messaging Platform

If you are a paid user and have an active submission with a Two Bright Lights Publication, you and the editor can communicate back and forth directly on the platform. The messages are on a submission by submission basis so the publisher will always know exactly which album you are talking about. 

2. Checking your messages

There are two places that you can check your messages:

Open the submission and click on the message button. You will be able to read and send messages there. Or click the chat bubble icon at the top right of the Two Bright Lights screen. There you will be redirected to your messaging inbox and can create, read or respond to any messages for active submissions there. 

3. When to contact an editor

We recommend reaching out to editors when you have a question regarding your active submission, are following up on a submission, are reaching out about a time sensitive matter, or need information in a feature corrected. Editor's time can be very limited, so the Messaging Platform is meant to be used as an asset to the submission process instead of a casual chat tool. 

 

F. Re-submitting an album for publication

Once your album has been marked ‘Not a Fit’ you may re-submit your album. You may do so from the submission page itself and select one new publication OR you can a create an entirely new submission with the album and select up to five publications to re-submit the album to. 

1. How to Re-submit an Album

To submit an album go to the 'Submissions' page or the 'Albums' page. If you click on the particular submission that you would like to re-submit on the 'Submissions' page, you can only swap in one publication to take the place of the one before. To submit to more publications you will need to create a new submission by going to the 'Albums' page, selecting the album and creating a new submission.  

What if I want to remove the submission from one editor and re-submit to another?

When you resubmit an album, you are removing a submission from one editor and sending it to another. The re-submit option is available for any album that has one of the following submission statuses: Submitted, Viewed or Not a Fit. To resubmit an album, click the Re-submit button (arrow circling a paper airplane) that is available when you place your mouse over the submission from the Submissions page. Note: If the submission is Viewed or in Submitted status, resubmitting will take the submission away from the editor it is currently submitted to and will send it to another editor. Using the Re-submit button will only allow you to choose one new publication to submit to. If you would like to send the album to more, you will need to create a new submission with it.

What if I want to send the submission to additional publications?

Albums can be submitted to only one Exclusive publication at a time. However, you can submit to up to 10 Non-exclusive publications at one time (although we suggest a maximum of 5). To create another submission of the same album, click on the Create Submission button on the Submissions page. Since the Album Story and client information are saved with the album, you simply need to select the album and continue with the normal submission workflow.

2. How to check where you have already submitted

To check to see where you have already submitted an album, click into the album you wish to check the submission history on. When looking at the full album view, click 'History' at the top right hand corner. This will display a drop down of all of the publications that this particular album has been submitted to. 

 

G. Your published features

1. Live Feed & Badges

To see the features that are getting published in real time through Two Bright Lights, take a look at our Live Feed. Once you have been published in a particular publication, you can choose to include this on your Two Bright Lights 'My Page'. You will also have the option to feature the publication's badge (if available) on your website once you have been featured by them. To access your badges go to the account avatar in the upper right hand corner, click 'My Account' and then select 'Badges'. Here you will be able to download the badge or generate the HTML code to include this on your website or email signature. 

2. How to share your published features

Once you've been published it's time to use your features to share your business and further market your services. We recommend emailing your clients to let them know that their feature is live. This will encourage them to share with their friends and family, which will expose your business to potential leads. You should also share your features on social media (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are our recommended social media outlets) to show your followers your work. You should also contact the vendors that worked on this shoot so that they may also share it and feel recognized for their hard work. Lastly, make sure to highlight these features on your business' website, as having link backs to and from your site will positively impact your website's ranking in Google's ranking. Learn more about marketing your business here. 

3. How to leverage published features with clients

Published features are a great way to show potential customers or those you are currently in talks with to choose your when deciding which photographer, vendor, or business to go with for their particular event. Not only does it show how your services come to life, but it will also convey to them how credible you are as a business and aid in building trust with them during the decision making process. Make sure to include your published features as examples of your work when conversing over email with clients or have the publication's badges prominently featured on your site with links to the published features. 

 

H. Best practices and building editorial relationships

1. Album Upload Frequency

A good rule of thumb is to keep the photography that you upload for submission to be images that were taken within the past year. This is because photography styles, event details, and trends change and editors will be looking for fresh photographer that keeps with their audience's interests. Additionally, you should be uploading new albums every few months or so. This will keep your submissions fresh and can help in getting your work featured in more publications due to the variety of your work. 

2. Interacting with editors & publications

Creating relationships with editors and publications can be a great asset to your business. While our on-site Messaging Platform is not the place to network with editors, we encourage you to follow the publication on social media and keep up to date on their features. If you keep a pulse on what this publication looks for and they see your work as a good fit when you submit, this opens a great opportunity for you to create a publishing relationship with them via Two Bright Lights.

3. Checking Editor Requests

To stay on top of what editors are looking for in real time, take a look at the 'Requests' tab on site. Here you will see an ongoing list of requests from editors across all of our publications for specific submissions they would like to receive. These requests are constantly updating, so make it a habit to check here to see if you work would be a great fit for what they are looking for.




Photo Credit: Unsplash, Mia Domenico