Wedding Vendors: The Best Way to Get Photos of Your Work From the Wedding Photographer
So this is either going to be a very informative post for you or it's going to be a touchy post for you. I have heard more stories from one end of the spectrum to the other regarding this subject and what I'm about to say below only speaks for us, Craig Photography. We do not speak for the whole industry because when it's all said and done: the wedding photographer holds the copyrights to each image they take. They do not have to give anything to anyone except their contracted client. But I thought since the new season is on the horizon I'd take a moment to talk about some new ways and ideas on how to get those photos of those gorgeous flowers, or the cake, or that food you slaved over for.....ever. :) Historically we have been kinda bad with this so we're hoping that these ideas will help us all to bridge the gap.
1. Touch base ahead of time. Establish a relationship with the photographer. Let them know you would love to have some images when it's all said and done. You'd be surprised how many wedding vendors we work with that have absolutely no interest in obtaining any images of their work from a wedding. But telling us ahead of time strikes my memory when it's over and I get another email from you reminding me.
2. Let's make it easy. I can tell you that if you are a past wedding vendor and you have asked for images and it took me forever to get them to you, it's because there wasn't any super simple way to get them to you. Technology is making leaps and bounds but a few years ago, you had to email me the numbers of the images you wanted, I went in and searched for them, imported them, burned them to a CD and then snail mailed them to you. Hated every moment of it. Nowadays, I give vendors the link to my clients' websites, have them create a folder on the site and name it for their business. I upload those photos to Dropbox (which is a free service) and "invite" them to that folder and they can instantly download all the images to their own computer. Life just got real simple.
3. Remind us. Lots of times when you ask for images we are in the thick of the busy season and we forget. If I say I will get you images, I will, but you might have to remind me. I know you may think you're pestering us but for me, that's not true. If I don't want you to have images, I will tell you. If I say I do want you to have them then I mean it. With so much on my mind I easily forget things like that. So don't hesitate to email me a reminder!
4. Be one with the quickness. I don't know about any other wedding photographer, but John and I have a super-fast workflow for editing so most times that wedding we just shot on Saturday is already out of our computer by the following Saturday (I'm a purger. I can't start something new until everything else is done and since we have a wedding just about every weekend we work fast). So if I pass that wedding website link on to you, make sure to get that folder of images done as quickly as you can. Once I get that wedding out of my computer, I now have to go digging around in my external hard drive to get your images, rather than just going right into my computer. It's an extra step and it tends to keep me from getting your images to you fast.
5. Don't compete with us. So here is the touchy part. Like I said, sometimes it takes time to get images from some photographers and some photographers just don't want to give up the goods for one reason or another. Couple that with how inexpensive decent digital technology has become and we are now dealing with situations whereupon we show up to photograph our day and we find we are competing with other wedding vendors for our photographs. Lots of times this isn't necessarily a bad thing (other times we realized too late that other wedding vendors were actually looking to open up a photography branch of their business and used our weddings to build their portfolios. BAD wedding vendor! BAD!!!). If you created those gorgeous flowers and you want a photo of them, fine by me! But what we're now finding is that other wedding vendors are beginning to push that further and further. I'm not saying it's intentional. It makes sense that if you created those gorgeous flowers, you might initially just want a photo of that bouquet. Then it's "Well wait! Let me get that with the bride." And then it's all the bridesmaids, then you get the idea that you want a photo of the entire wedding party....then in a few different poses. And before we, as the wedding photographers, can turn around twice you have posted them to your blog and our contracted clients and all their families and friends are rushing to your blog to see the very first images of that special day and you're getting emails asking where they can get a print of a few of them and emailing me asking why I didn't take that same photo. See our issue here? Our photography is our livelihood. It's special to us. We're super siked to be the first to offer our clients the first glimpse of their photos. We're super siked that they chose us to honor their day with our creative imagery. So when we have other vendors encroaching on our skill, our job, our creativity, our role for the day...well....it pinches a bit. I can't speak for all wedding photographers, but I can say for us, you will always get your images and there will never be a need to bring along your own camera. I'm not saying I don't understand why you do it. I have heard lots and lots of stories where some photographers won't give up any image for anything (even money). So what's a wedding vendor to do?? A-HA! Buy a DSLR for $400 and take photos of their own stuff. Brilliant! It makes sense. I get it. But all we ask is to think of us before you start shutterbugging away. I don't bring my own bouquet just in case I don't like yours. I don't bring cupcakes to set up beside the cake you made and I certainly don't bring an iPod filled with music I believe will get the dancefloor hopping just in case the DJ can't do it on her own. For Craig Photography, if you respect our craft you can have just about anything you want. We have even had vendors seek us out to take very specific photos they want. GREAT! We want you to get what you want. The more specific, the better!
6. Give proper credit. There have been a lot of times where wedding photographers have given other vendors images only for it to be used all over the place with no credit to the photographer. Go thru that a few times and it's easy to see why some photographers just don't feel the need to share. Some photographers put watermarks on their photos but if you don't want that on the photo, make sure to tell the photographer that you will put their name nearby the photo with a link back to their site. The most important thing to us is the link back to our site so if you can offer that and honor it, you will always get anything you want from me.
7. Be nice. I've never had anyone be rude but I have heard some nasty stories about some wedding vendors being pretty demanding of other wedding photographers and it makes me think of the age-old saying: you catch more bees with honey.