Tips for Getting Published in a Pinup Magazine

The word ‘pinup’ came about from war times where those who were sent away for the war effort, pinned up photographs and posters of their wives, girlfriends and popular celebrities of the time on their walls. Such posters were popular and the girls depicted in them soon became known as ‘pin up girls’. The relationship between pinup girls and print media has always been strong but in todays society, where print media is no longer as popular as it once was, it may be more difficult to keep that relationship going. Thus enter, pinup magazines. Pinup magazines are generally small print publications with regularly released editions featuring photographs and sometimes related articles displaying all the wonderful pinups around the world.

Getting your photos published is pretty exciting, especially when it’s a shoot you’re very proud of. But not all submissions will be successful which can be a little heart breaking. I’ve often been asked if I have any tips on getting published so today I thought I’d share everything I know in the hopes to help you get published. Depending on where you are in your pinup journey, it may take you a few attempts to get published so if this is something you want, keep trying and working towards that goal.

Tip 1: Tell your photographer of your publication intentions

-Communication is key in most areas of life; photoshoots included. By telling your photographer that you wish to submit your photos for potential publication, it helps your photographer keep that intention in mind whilst shooting.
-If your photographer is aware of your publication intentions, it also means that they understand that there is a deadline for submissions. This can help your photographer tell you if they can guarantee your photos before the submission closing date.
-After your photos are taken, your photographer can keep submission in mind when editing and sending you your photos. Your photographer will be able to crop and adjust your images to suit publication restrictions (page sizes etc).
-If you are hoping for a front cover; tell your photographer. A front cover photo should be eye-catching, cropped with enough room for the magazine title at the top and should be well edited. Hopefully your photographer can help you with this during the shooting and editing process.

Tip 2: Create an interesting photoshoot theme

-When it comes to print publications, it’s all about visual appeal. When creating your shoot concept, keep in mind what theme or story you want to portray and really work hard on your location, set, props, outfits, styling and lighting. It all comes down to details.
-Make sure your theme is tasteful, respectful and isn’t offensive. Please keep in mind cultural appropriation and symbolism that may be upsetting to some viewers.
-If you plan to shoot a seasonal theme, do so early! Do not start planning a Christmas shoot during December when most magazines have already closed submission dates. Rule of thumb is that you should shoot your festive theme 2-3 months before the actual festive event to allow enough time to shoot, edit and submit.
-If you plan to shoot something a little more risque; keep in mind what magazine you want to submit your photos to as many will not accept implied or fully nude photos.

Tip 5: Try to look your best.

-Getting published internationally is very exciting and it allows you to reach a wide audience and connect with other creatives. You want to look your best so on the day of your photoshoot, take your time and try to achieve your best hair and makeup. It’s totally ok to hire or work with a makeup artist or hair stylist but remember to credit them when submitting your photos.
-Plan an amazing outfit; if you look incredible, you will feel incredible.
-Remember to pay attention to little details so no chipped nail polish, if shaving is important to you then please shave and check your body for stray hair bands, bra straps or tags sticking out.

Tip 3: When sending in your submission, read all submission information carefully

-This may seen an odd tip but it really is super important. If you plan to send your submission to a magazine, each magazine will have their own terms and conditions, requirements and submission methods. Most publications get flooded with submissions so if you don’t fulfil the requirements, you can be automatically rejected for publication. It’s not great to be rejected because you submitted your photos with watermarks, or didn’t include a bio or release form. These are all factors that can easily be fixed and get you a better chance of publication.
-These requirements are there to help the publishers of the magazine so by following their method as best as you can, I know it’s appreciated on their part. A lot of publishers don’t have the time to chase you for forms, credits etc so don’t waste their time.
-It helps to read publication notes to see if a magazine will accept previously published submissions. Some will be happy to, some want complete exclusivity.
-If you submit your photos to more than one magazine and you get accepted for publication, kindly message the other magazines asking them to cancel your submission, or if you have an online form you can control, cancel your submission that way. Do not try to trick magazines into publishing the same photos as thats dishonest.

Tip 4: Choose your best photos

-Most publishers will either have you send a Dropbox link or upload your photos to their submission form online. Publishers will have a photo limit (generally 4-10 photos) so send in your best photos. Do not send every single photo from a shoot (yes, this does happen).
-Do not submit photos with watermarks. I can tell you now they will not be published so please ask your photographer to send you unwatermarked photos for submission. If your photographer doesn’t want to send unwatermarked photos, perhaps ask them if they can submit photos on your behalf.
-Submit photos with at least 300 dpi. This is a quality issue and your photographer should be able to help you with this if you get stuck. As magazines do not want blurry or stretched images, by sending in photos with high dpi you will have a greater chance of publication. Note; if you have a 72dpi image, it doesn’t work to just change the dpi on photoshop yourself. Ask your photographer to help you.

Tip 6: Study your publication of choice

-If there is a specific magazine you wish to be published in, study the publication.
-Each magazine has their own unique style especially when it comes to choosing front covers. By taking notes on styling, lighting, themes etc, you can tailer your shoot to best suit certain publications.
-Keep an eye out for certain magazines asking for submissions to suit a certain theme. This can be a great way to narrow down your theme idea and work towards a general themed publication.


It may take you a few attempts to get published especially if you have your heart set on a specific magazine. As you go along your pinup journey, you will only grow in confidence and you’ll refine your looks and skills over time. This means your photos will keep getting better so soon, publications will be a lot easier to get. As you familiarise yourself with certain magazines and their submission process, you will also learn what forms and requirements are necessary and soon, submitting for publication will be second nature.

I cannot stress researching each magazines submission process enough. Most magazines will have a website that will tell you what their requirements are and how to submit. If you can’t find a magazine’s website, check out their Facebook or other social media. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some magazines go on breaks, some just stop publishing and others have ‘sister’ publications with certain themes. I always like to check the social media of certain magazines to make sure they are active or even still accepting submissions.

Getting published can be terribly exciting and I certainly remember vividly getting my first accepted submission and eventually my first front cover (I happy squealed). In order to be a pinup, you don’t have to be published online and it shouldn’t be a goal if it doesn’t align with your own values. Getting published should be fun so remember to enjoy the process. Good luck!

Note: I am tempted to write a little more on this topic; perhaps share my favourite magazines to submit to, or perhaps show the whole process from planning a shoot, shooting and then submitting. Please let me know if these topics interest you.

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.

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