If there is a golden rule regarding the submission of material to the press, it is surely to know something about the market and make contact with a relevant editor before sending material. Editors continuously complain than many submissions are entirely unsuitable. For this reason it is wise to provide return postage and packaging for unsuitable material.
Before submitting anything to a newspaper it is important to study carefully its editorial requirements. Look in detail not only at the subjects covered but also at style, content, treatment and extent. Perhaps most important of all is to understand what the relevant editor requires in the immediate future. What is being planned for travel sections, fashion magazines etc? There is little point in submitting material similar to that which has just been published, or work that does not fit in with future plans. There is a great deal of high-quality material available, and however startling your submission may be it will come back by return of post if it is not relevant.
Another consideration is whether images might be more acceptable if accompanied by a relevant article. Editors are generally attracted to complete packages of words and images that provide everything required for publication. This saves then time, trouble and money. Images submitted without an article must be highly relevant and then slotted into an article or feature written by someone else.
In general it is better to submit material via email. Make sure that the format of your disk or CD is acceptable to the editorial office, otherwise you time and effort will have been wasted. Editors who accept paper-based submissions will expect them to be well written on A4 paper, correctly typed and double-spaced, and professionally presented. Presentation can easily make the difference between acceptance and rejection.