23 November 2011

A Plea to Wedding Vendors

A polite plea to wedding vendors -  a plea for a teensy bit of understanding.

We photographers have a product we work hard to create - we compose an image, make sure the lighting and surroundings are right, take the picture, download the images, cull those that are not worthy of the final cut, process the proofs, and come up for air a couple of weeks or so after the wedding to show the couple their beautiful pictures. And it's so heartening to hear the ooos and ahhhhs from the couple, and nice too to get lovely remarks from the other vendors who were part of the day.

Now, there are some vendors I know well, I work with regularly, and I happily share photographs with them. They don't need to ask, it's my little thank you for recommendations or for how well I've been looked after by them - sharing my photographs of their work, their contribution to the wedding day is the least I can do. So I'm happy to offer before I'm even asked.

And then there's the vendors I don't know and I hear from with The Request ... "I love your work, your photographs are gorgeous. I'd love some photographs from Mr and Mrs YYY's wedding. My flowers / makeup / cake / cars / venue / table decorations look gorgeous in your pictures and I could do with some good photographs for my blog. I'll give you a credit on my site."

It's very kind of people to offer a credit. Thank you for asking for the pictures too - it's so nice to come across people who ask rather than just take the photographs off the blog or facebook page. But - and this is where I ask for the teensy bit of understanding - The Request is asking for our craft, our product for free. And you know, if you offered to pay, offered us wedding photographers a proper contradeal, a true exchange, well, chances are we'd say "Nooo, don't worry about it, I'll happily send you some pictures". But I'm starting to feel as though there is no value for the work that we wedding photographers do amongst some wedding vendors - oh, don't get me wrong, I don't think it's on purpose, I genuinely believe that some wedding vendors don't think about it or just don't get it, so I know it's not meant as an insult.

So my plea is this - if you are a wedding vendor, and you like the photographs of a wedding photographer who worked on a wedding you worked on, a photographer you don't currently have a working relationship with, please offer to purchase the images, or offer a fair exchange. It will go a long way to creating strong relationships that work. Next time, why not make The Request something that shows you truly value the wedding photographer who has showcased your work so beautifully.

Otherwise please don't be insulted if you find yourself receiving the kind of response that I've started to send to wedding vendors who I barely know who ask for photographs in exchange for credit on their website or blog - "Sure, it's £50 per image for full usage rights which you can pay in cash or as an exchange for your services."


  1. Hi Zoe,
    Thank you for expressing so brilliantly - I applaud and agree with you - suppliers (and some bloggers) really do need to fully understand the worth of any imagery they may be in receipt of - where often 30 images is requested as a min! - as well as the area surrounding copyright, licences and image usage rights. Sadly this area is very often completely mis-understood too.
    Best regards,
    Mary @ Ashford Daly

  2. Dear Zoe,

    Well done for your well-worded posting.

    I very much agree with all that you have said. We are often taken for granted by vendors who expect everything for free in return for credit. Credit does not bring bread to the table though referrals would, and referrals from these people are often not forthcoming. Once you say no, they will quickly move on to photographers who like the lip- service or to novices who are keen to grow their list of contacts.
    As you indicate, these vendors are not likely to be people who one may want to develop long term working relationships with so definitely not a loss to us.

    Well done for saying it as it is! :)

  3. Hi Zoe,
    A very well articulated post on something that occurs more frequently lately. I am all for working with other vendors, helping each other but sometimes it can seem a little one sided. Just because people can not see a physical cost in a file, that does not mean that there is not a cost to us in producing that file, and sharing it.

    Thank you again.