Submissions Guidelines (Detailed)

Premise and Preferences

We have some basic premises which help define the kinds of materials we are predisposed to publish:

Copyright Permissions

Writers and photographers retain copyright of their materials. We require copyright permissions from you as indicated in Submissions Form. (see below)

Please note: If these copyright permission conditions are not acceptable to you, we must decline your submission.

Our copyright permission form is now incorporated with our online form (See below).

Portfolio Submissions

We continually review portfolios for publication. Obviously, we can’t publish everything that is submitted, but we also can’t publish work that isn’t ever submitted! The best way to start is to send in the work and let us take a look.

We give preference to portfolios of related images or themes as opposed to collections of “my 10 best shots.” Unlike the images used to illustrate articles or techniques, the portfolios in LensWork are photographic essays intended to stand alone on their own merits. Consider them “mini-books” or small gallery shows, if you will.

We publish portfolios of 14-22 photographs in the Print and Tablet editions, but have the ability to expand this number in the Extended Computer edition. Typical submissions are 40-60+ images from which we can edit a selection ideal for the magazine and use all or most of the images in the Extended Computer edition. You need not have this many images to submit your work for review. If your project is more limited in scope, consider an Image Suite submission where we ask for 10-15 images and will select 5-9 for publication.

Selection Process

Please be aware that because we publish bi-monthly, our submission review sessions take place approximately every 60 days. Depending on when your submission arrived, we might have our initial review as early as next week or possibly 7 weeks from now. Thank you for your patience.

Each time we review newly submitted work, we can often immediately make one of two up/down decisions: we reject it, or we accept it for publication and place it into a  category called PBU (Publishable But Unscheduled — more about this in a minute).

If we decide not to publish it, we'll let you know that. We apologize that it isn’t possible to include comments or critiques with declined submissions.

For lots of submissions, there is a third option — we hold it over for an additional review cycle. Simply said, we’re not sure we can use it, but we want to take another look. We like the work, but often we want to think more about it and see how it “wears” with us over a little time. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right mix of work for an issue.

Upon acceptance: We will notify you via email. At that time, we will begin the layout and preparation of your work for publication. Please note that a specific date of publication may not yet be determined.

With each issue of LensWork, we select work for publication from the pool of accepted candidates on-hand, selecting all the work for the issue based on content and mutual compatibility. If your work is not selected for the next issue, we will retain your submission for scheduling in a subsequent issue. Please note that this can mean an “accepted submission” may be in the candidate pool for some time before it is ultimately published. It is not uncommon for a portfolio to be published six months or a year after acceptance. While we don’t request exclusive rights, we do require first right of refusal should you receive an offer from another publisher during this process. If this is unacceptable, please tell us so we may return your submission within your deadlines. We do not keep submissions for more than 18 months.

What to send

Complete submissions that are “ready-to-publish” are required. We do not review partial projects, samples, incomplete mock-ups, or other “take-a-peek and tell me if I should submit work” inquiries. Please be sure when you submit work for review that we have everything we need to publish if your work is selected.

Horizontal images (landscape orientation) should be not less than 3,400 pixels wide nor greater than 6,000 pixels wide. Vertical images (portrait orientation) should be not less than 3,400 pixels tall nor greater than 6,000 pixels tall.

Digital files should be flattened (no layers) and may be either RGB or grayscale mode images.

Duotone are not acceptable unless special arrangements are made prior to your submission. Images may be either 8-bit or 16-bit. Please note that 16-bit images will be converted to 8-bit for printing.
Images should be unsharpened, if possible. If they are already sharpened, please indicate so to prevent us from over-sharpening your images.

We prefer JPEG (maximum quality), but can accept PSD or TIF formats if necessary. Other formats will not be accepted for submission.

Title and Captions: If you have titles and/or text captions you would like us to consider including in your project, these must be embedded as metadata in the digital image file. This can be done using Lightroom's "Metadata" panel or Photoshop’s "Info" panel, or other software. Title should be “Title Case” and captions should be “Sentence case.” Do not use ALL CAPS or all “lower case.” We do our best to proof text before publishing, but we ask that you do your best to be sure all text is correct in both spelling and punctuation.

What NOT to send

We do not accept print submissions.
We do not accept slide submissions.
We do not review websites as submissions.
We do not review images via email.

We now accept submissions only via our online Submissions Form (see below) with images uploaded to our Dropbox (see link below).


We feature the names of all published individuals on the cover of each issue.
Photographers will earn an honorarium totaling $300, regardless of the number of photographs published. See the next sections for payment specifics.

In addition, photographers in either edition will receive 13 free copies of the paper version. (They come from our printer bundled in groups of 13.)

All published photographers will receive a complimentary 1-year subscription starting the following issue (or, if there is an existing subscription we will simply extend it six issues).

Honorarium Payments

The honorarium is split into two components: $150 USD (payable by check or PayPal) PLUS a $150 LensWork store credit which may be redeemed for merchandise or subscriptions via our online store.

Payment is earned only upon publication. Checks/PayPal payments are made within 90 days of publication. Please note that you may use your store credit honorarium to purchase any other LensWork Publishing products from our online store.

This payment will serve as compensation in full for permission to publish as outlined above. In addition, we will happily forward inquiries from interested parties for purchase or publication of your work or services.

Obtaining Additional Copies of LensWork with your Honorarium

We’re aware that a feature in LensWork provides a great opportunity to obtain beautifully printed promotional materials. To support your efforts (and get LensWork into the hands of photography-lovers) we make additional copies available at discounted rates. The deadline for ordering copies at the discount rate is one month before the issue date. These special rates are extended to featured writers and photographers and their galleries and reps (not resellers) as follows:
LensWork (magazines, U.S. Delivery):
$10.00 trade per copy (includes UPS shipping)
LensWork (magazines, Foreign Delivery):
Via Air: $10.00 trade per copy
(plus air post)

We are happy to apply the cost of additional copies against your cash honorarium. In addition, if you wish to purchase copies at these deep discounts with your store credit, you may do so, but you must inform us no later than one month before the issue date. This will allow us to adjust the quantities for your order before the magazine goes to press. After that point the remaining store credit can be used to purchase anything from our online store at our regular prices.

Please note that we do not reprint issues when they are sold-out. To ensure you have extra copies of the issue with your work, we recommend you order before the deadline and take advantage of the deep discount. If we have extra copies on-hand we will be glad to sell them to you at the special rate, but we are often sold-out within weeks of distribution — so please do not delay in your request.

How to Submit

Fill out our online Submissions Form and upload your images to our Dropbox using the link you will find in the Submissions Form. You do not need to have a Dropbox account. Just follow the instructions on your browser page. It will look like this and you can upload by clicking the button "Choose from computer". You can upload multiple files at the same time.

IMPORTANT: Please note that you will need to complete the Submissions Form and send it to us, or we will have no way to contact you about your submission. Be sure you enter your email address correctly! Also, be sure to include your headshot portrait and signature graphic. Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed.

There are 6 pages to the Submissions Form, so be sure you make it all the way to the end! Thanks.