Wedding Photographers Called 'Abusive' and 'Unprofessional' for Refusing to Work With Influencer for Free

Wedding Photographers Called 'Abusive' and 'Unprofessional' for Refusing to Work With Influencer for Free

A pair of British wedding photographers have found themselves called “unprofessional” and “appalling” after declining to work for an influencer for free. A PR rep of the influencer had requested 1,000 photos and two videos, and in return would offer their followers a 25% off the photographers’ services — a discount the photographers don’t even offer.

Photographers Frankie Lowe and Laura Dunning of Betrothed & Co were the lucky souls recently contacted with such a kind offer. The PR woman, known as Melissa, contacted the duo to discuss shooting the wedding of “a well-known social media influencer.” In return, the photography duo would have their business “extensively promoted” to a combined Instagram and Facebook audience of 55,000 followers. As if that wasn’t cheeky enough, the email concludes: “Just so you’re aware, we have approached four other similar businesses in your area, so a fast response will be beneficial to your business.”

The couple were baffled at the expectations of the request, given that in the grand scheme of influencers, 55,000 followers isn’t particularly impressive. They responded:

As I’m sure you probably know, 55,000 is not usually the level of following which can command the free transfer of products worth between £3,000-£4,000 in total, especially when you take into account bots, duplicate accounts, and the types of followers who are not our target audience.

They also drew attention to the PR’s brazen “offer” of discounting their product, adding: “It’s helpful to know that in advance that being linked with your client will automatically knock 25% off the perceived value of the product we have spent so many years honing.”

Melissa responded to the email threatening to “name and shame” them if they were to respond and “continue with this abuse.” She even went as far as to guilttrip the photographers by mentioning that her client’s mother has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Choosing to kill them with kindness, Lowe replied back once more, even directly addressing the issue of the PR’s client having a parent living with cancer.

The pair eventually uploaded screenshots of the exchange to their Facebook page, which you can now read here.

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71 Comments

Studio 403's picture

Bravo, In my state in the US, when I get that kind of disdain, arrogant, and presumptuous hog, I tell them I have this book named "Pigs in the Parlor". Then reply with, I know pigs have better manners than most freeloaders. I suggest your fine a more suitable parlor.

Terry Hernlund's picture

A simple "No, thank you" wasn't good enough? *rolleyes* Drama. Pff.

Fritz Asuro's picture

Nope. The response was perfect.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

The opinion that a "no thank you" would have sufficed start to get old real fast. FFS since when should other people dictate a proper response or limit the expression of professionals?

It was a polite and proper response, the influence industry is filled with clowns, and to not weed them out really hurt the real professionals working as influencers that put in the work and understand the value of both their work and others.

vik .'s picture

I'd just block listed him with no response at all. Back and forth with this kind of people you risk to get bad publicity or a heart attack. Nope, Life moves on. No drama here.

Penny Fan's picture

Disgusting 🤢

davidlovephotog's picture

Hold on, still reading "The Case for Influencers and Why They Can Be Valuable to You" on this site.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I'm running out of popcorn

LA M's picture

mmm hmmm....no cohesive message in our industry...and here is the result

Eric Crudup's picture

The reply wasn't very professional either. But it got them attention, which I guess was the point.

Scott Wardwell's picture

I think the reply was very well handled. Me, I would of told them to take their 55,000 followers and pound sand.

Eric Crudup's picture

Eh, I disagree. If you're going to say something negative in a professional capacity, be direct. Being snarky and sarcastic isn't professional.

But again I think the point was to cause drama so they could post about it for social media hits, so it worked in that sense.

And yeah, the "influencer" should go pound sand for this entitled request. :)

Jonathan Brady's picture

Drama may not have been the point. It could be he just decided to have fun at someone else's expense and THEN decided to share it to not only point out the BS that "influencers" think they're entitled to is just absurd but also because the entire scenario is just funny.

Deleted Account's picture

Sarcasm in the British way. It's perfect.

Scott Wardwell's picture

The whole point of this is that this "Influencer" thinks she is entitled to other people's labor and it wouldn't just stop there. How does one structure a contract for the extent of services to be provided, for free, I might add? How much is a mention on her feed really worth?
If she doesn't want to pay hard currency for these services, then she doesn't really value the photographer's services and I would not want to be in their shoes on the day of the event as the demands and criticism will just escalate. She has already proven he can be bought cheap. Can he say the same about the expenses he will incur to meet such ridiculous demands? He has become her bitch and she knows it.
Providing goods and services on the expectation of exposure is a fool's game at best. It will just suck you dry leaving a desicated husk where you once stood with nothing to show for it. IG Influencers are the worst kind of vampires.

Jacques Cornell's picture

"The reply wasn't very professional either." My reply would have made a sailor blush.

S M's picture

Extremely selfish and condescending. I’m just glad not everyone acts this way in the world.

But I’m not surprised by these kind of brute force tactics. Hell, someone was demanding a border wall to be built and funded by a foreign power not all that long ago...

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Only if that border wall could also keep out these influencers. That'd be great.

G Carpenter's picture

Heck, even that pales in comparison to a guy decreeing “Mandates” upon his subjects, demanding they pay extra taxes if they’d chosen NOT to buy into a protection scheme.

Richard Twigg's picture

This whole "I have a lot of followers give me everything for free" business is getting tiring.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think within a year or two virtually all advertisers will demand solid proof that a given influencer actually has a real audience before engaging in deals. The logic behind an influencer as a marketing tool is super sound and valuable to brands but followers are a terrible metric to determine if someone is an influencer or not. I could have 55000 followers in the next hour if I want, just cost me a few bucks. But all 55000 of them would be useless. I think we will fall into a cadence where all the faux influencers can't really make demands anymore so this endless buzz from them will simmer away.

Andrew Morse's picture

Honestly, I'm betting that social media platforms are going to explore ways to authenticate an influencer's influence. Not because it's necessary, but rather because I can't see Facebook or its subsidiaries liking the fact that people are using their platform to make money without getting a slice for themselves. Instagram is already headed down that path - they separated the "creator" account this year which has already initiated the distinction between consumers and influencers. Maybe next step is they add a score to creators.

Ryan Cooper's picture

For sure. I think within a few years all advertisers will demand proof of audience and demographic. Following count will be more or less irrelevant.

JetCity Ninja's picture

evolution of "mommy bloggers."

Jordan McChesney's picture

A so-called “influencer” with a fragile ego? Inconceivable!

Yin Ze's picture

He/she should charge them double.

JetCity Ninja's picture

you're both right. it's a husband and wife business.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

They (hard working professionals) should charge 'em (freeloaders) double! :)

Thomas Villadsen's picture

Read about an ice cream truck, i think it was in LA, who charges "influencers" double. Love that concept.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Yep, I applaud that guy. My post above borrows his concept. :)

Deleted Account's picture

Hang on, I was jus reading another article that tells us we should consider giving these twats breathing space?
The sooner people stop taking about this new race of people wanting shit for nothing, the sooner they will go away and we can resume normal programming:

Deleted Account's picture

Btw, can we have Melissa’s details? I’m sure all of us hard working people are looking for a PR person who can help our businesses.

Bryce Booth's picture

Melissa Harington as can be seen on the bottom email, not that she actually exists.

Martin Van Londen's picture

Cheeky. AF.

Samten Norbù's picture

I see a lot of people that found the answer a bit too offensive ... but if you consider how annoying it as become to be since we have those self-called "influencer" brats that demands everything for free just because they spend their days inventing a life on social media, they are quite soft.

I'm sooooo fed up with those snowflakes that have literally no sense of respect for other's work !
That's why I gave up being active on most of social media that give nothing but a feeling of sad emptiness.

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

Influencers are the scum of our society. It seems to me, that "influencer" is a new synonym for "I'm a parasite and I don't want to work"...

btw it was a great response to say: "Bugger off!"

g coll's picture

Narrowmindedness will get you nowhere, Gion. Like it or not Influencers can get your name to reach a lot of people and places far more than you realistically can yourself. Heck, it is their sole job to go places and meet people.

Gion-Andri Derungs's picture

I think that is the wrong thinking. All I reached in my life, I worked my ass off and never expected from others to get me there. I think that is the only way, that you can appreciate, what you achieved. Maybe so called influencers can reach many people... but that is only true, if those people are real (i doubt that) and to be honest 50k followers... really?

g coll's picture

Well maybe 50k is too low for the follower count I agree but in general I don't think Influencers should all be pigeon-holed into the "parasite" box. With a favourable follower count and agreeable terms for both parties I think hooking up with an influencer is something worth considering.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think the main challenge is that we have true influencers which are a tiny minority of high profile spokesperson types who work hard to build a meaningful and large audience and fake influencer who represent the majority of people making these sorts of demands that have no real audience but spent some money to make that follower count soar.

The former represent a potentially valuable business interaction while the latter are scam artists. The problem is that it is really hard to figure out which is which.

T Van's picture

The only influence I want to be under is a gin and tonic.
I'm not much on following the herd.
Baa

Simon Woodcock's picture

Great response. And fair!

Patrick Klein Meuleman's picture

What has her mother who is diagnosed with cancer suddenly has to do with this?

Oliver Saillard's picture

Yep. If your mother has cancer, just marry now, not in 2021.

Matthias Rabiller's picture

But then, for sheer lack of preparation time, the biggest point in the wedding would be them getting married rather than the wedding being picture-perfect-fairy-tale like on all accounts. It would totally miss the point. It's all about priorities, see? ;)

Oliver Saillard's picture

How blind was I! Thanks for the input.

g coll's picture

I think the idea of wedding photographers (or any kind of photographer for that matter) working with an influencer is a great idea. Both parties just need to work out suitable terms for each other.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Exactly, being an influencer should not mean getting paid up front or get free stuff right away. Simply, this principle does not engage any interest in mutual trust, just power over the other. They should share the risk and that's what these cases of influencers are avoiding 100%.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

The influencer’s PR’s request was so entitled it puts my First World problems to shame.

Deleted Account's picture

Social media influencer?
Is that a category of worker paying taxes?

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