In a typical wedding, dozens of vendors come together to make the bride's day special. All these vendors have one thing in common: the photographer doesn't owe them a single picture.
Over the years, I have worked hundreds of weddings and maybe a thousand different vendors. Most are great, lovely people that I enjoy getting to see every Saturday. But just because you spent three hours getting every hair in place doesn't mean you are entitled to use all the photographer's photos of that hair.
You are not entitled to my work.
Build a Relationship, Earn Photos
Digging up old weddings and finding photos that make your work look good takes time. When I have a mutually beneficial relationship with a vendor, I am happy to do that, because I know this will help my business or personal life, too. When I get an email from someone that says something like "I know we've worked together a lot, can you make a gallery and send it to me," I'm not that apt to take time away from my family to look up what weddings we have worked at together. I may not even know what weddings you also worked. Don't expect me to do all the work so you can get pictures for advertising, especially if there is little to no benefit for me.
But if a vendor fosters a mutually beneficial relationship, I am much more willing to take time out of my schedule to help them out. Scratch my back and I will scratch yours.
Are you a baker? I like cake. Are you a planner? I like more clients. Is your venue a hotel? A free night's stay would be rad. Are you a hair stylist? Can you cover up my bald spot?
Imagine if a wedding vendor approached me after an event and wrote: "I loved the work you did on Bride Z's wedding, would you mind if we listed you on our website as a preferred vendor and used a few pictures on our website and social media? How would you like to be credited and are there any special hashtags you use?" I would be flattered and eager to work together.
Usage May Be out of My Control
Sometimes, I may really want to work with a vendor, but it is out of my hands. To use my pictures to advertise your business, you need permission from the photographer and permission from whomever is in the photos.
Several times over the years, I have been put in the unenviable position of having a client mad at another vendor and not wanting me to share the images with them. I had a bride that washed all her makeup off after the hair and makeup artist left and redid everything. Then, I got an email from the hair and makeup artist looking for pics from the wedding for her portfolio. Do you want pics of her removing your makeup in her wedding dress? Because I have those.
Other times, brides and grooms may be very private. I've had couples where one person had a security clearance and job that kept them from being on social media, so they didn't want us to use any images online. That goes for their other vendors, too.
The bride also may be seeking to get published in a blog or magazine that has an exclusivity clause or other rule where they cannot be published anywhere before that article with pictures goes to print.
Photographers, your images have value, which is why other vendors want them. Use your images to benefit yourself. Use your images to create relationships and make sure other vendors respect your work and your imagery. Vendors, respect photographers enough to offer something of value when asking to use our images to market your business. Don't act like you are entitled to our images.