Should or shouldn’t you share the wedding photos with the other wedding vendors? This is definitely a hot button topic that pops up every few months or so in the wedding photography groups. There are both sides to every story but honestly find this question really interesting because the answer, at least for me, has always been YES!
Of course I will share the photos with the vendors who were involved with the wedding I photographed because why wouldn’t I? It’s there work too, right? Let me explain why I share the images and how I deal with image usage. You can also watch my latest IGTV video to hear me talk about this topic too!
How to Share Your Images
Once my wedding has be delivered to my clients, I will do a few things afterwards. I will either submit their wedding for publication (online or print) and reach out to the vendors to let them know they can now view the images and pick out their favorites. I give them limited access to the gallery so they can only view the images and choose their favorites to use on their website and social media. Once they are done with their selections, I’ll download the files, rename, resize, and send them to the vendor via Dropbox.
Allowing each vendor to pick their favorites has proven for me to the best and easiest way to handle requests for photos. This way, they can see the full gallery, pick out all the photos that they like and I still have full control of what images are shared online. Sometimes I will omit images that I know the couple doesn’t want released on social media, especially ones with children photographed. I’m always keeping my couples privacy in the back of mind.
I usually wait till have I have a few requests in my inbox and set aside some time to process each request. It can take anywhere from 10 -30 minutes per request so I need to do it when I have some available time in my calendar. If it’s my busy season, or I’m slammed with editing work, I will let the vendors know that their request will take some time as my priority is always my couples. No one has ever complained!
Photo and Usage for Vendors
In my initial email to the vendor, I let them know that if they want to use the images, they need to credit them properly. If they can agree to that, I’m more than willing to give them to them for usage. Just about everyone agrees, which is great, and I also send a very detailed Usage Agreement with the final photos.
I clearly state how the photos can and cannot be used. How they cannot be altered or edited in any manner. How they cannot submit the photos without my permission and if they want to use them for Advertisements, they need to get my written permission to do so. I also state that since the images are given to the vendors complimentary, if they do not follow these rules, they could receive an invoice for improper photo usage.
I do this so they know what the rules are and how to ensure that we have a good standing relationship. I want to give them the photos and I want them to use them everywhere BUT I want to make sure I am given proper photo credit where credit is due.
Also, I should mention that I would never CHARGE a vendor for images. I own the photographs but they wouldn’t have happened without the other vendors decor, design, flowers, vision, and artistry. They want to showcase their work too so why not make that happen as easy as possible for everyone?
Create Great Vendor Relationships and Networks
Do you know that the number ONE thing I hear all the time from every single new planner or vendor I work with is? It’s that that NEVER get any of the photos of their work - EVER!! How is that even possible? <scratches head>
By simply sharing images with the wedding planner, florists, caterers, venues, officiants, and every other vendor at the wedding, you are creating a great vendor relationships. They are going to be SO HAPPY you contacted them and shared your photos of their work, they are going to love working with you. And you know what happens from there? They show of your work on Instagram, or their website, or their blog and more couples see your photography. More potential clients SEE YOUR WORK!! Isn’t that worth everything to you? Well, it is to me! The vendor becomes your walking talking billboard for anyone who needs a photographer. You are the one they love working with because you share the images and you take great photos too!
I always say this but being nice in this industry is going to get you a lot further than being over protective about your photos and NOT sharing. Yeah, I said that! They will remember you if you don’t share, were rude, and terrible to work with. Do you think they are going to recommend you every again?
By sharing your photos, you are creating a network of vendors who want to work with you, who will support you, and hopefully recommend you in the future.
What Is Your Return On Investment?
I get it. It takes TIME to email the vendors, get their favorites, and send them the final images. I understand that maybe you didn’t get a referral from each and every vendor but hey, that’s how it goes, right? If you have a system in place and guidelines for vendors to adhere by when using your images, I (personally) think you are really going to be putting yourself at a HUGE advantage as a wedding photographer.
For me, the ROI (return on investment) takes time. It’s the long game that you have to play. Creating and cultivating lasting vendor relationships is so important. At least, they are in my opinion if you want to be doing this for a long time!
What If the Vendor Doesn’t Credit Me?
If you’ve given vendors your specific guidelines and they didn’t tag you on Instagram, Facebook, etc… feel free to nudge them with a quick DM. Just say “hey, can you tag me?” and most vendors will add the tag quickly and say they are sorry for leaving it out of the post. If they don’t respond, or continue to fail to give you the proper credit, feel free to email them about the issue. Last resort is to send an invoice for photo usage. I have YET to do this but hey, it’s in my usage clause so I could if I needed too.
If a vendor continues to leave off your photo credit, well, you know for next time that maybe you won’t be so eager to share with them before having a talk about your past experience with them. Speak up for yourself and make it known that it’s 100% NOT ok to do this! You deserve the credit because the photo are yours and they wouldn’t have them without you. It’s a two-way street!
And what if you didn’t like working with a particular vendor all together? Well, that’s at your digression if you want to share the images or not. You have to do what’s best for you!
Make it a WIN/WIN
Personally, I want my work to be shared everywhere with everyone, and I want to receive the proper credit when it is shared. I’ve had numerous people reach out to me over the years because they kept seeing my photography pop up for a few of their favorite wedding vendors so they wanted to work with me too. In my opinion, it’s a win/win!
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