Hey there, fellow wedding vendor! You’re receiving this blog post because I’ve just sent you a gallery of wedding photos from a wedding that YOU worked on and provided awesome work. I am so stoked to be working with you!
I want to see you and your biz grow and thrive, that’s why I’m sending you the finished images, so you can share, share, share away! In this short blog post I’m going over some best practices for when you share images created by Zoe Larkin Photography. Much of this will apply to photos received from other photographers, but it’s always best to check as each wedding photographer approaches vendor photo sharing differently.
I’m so thrilled you’re interested in using our images on your own websites, social media pages and more!
Building mutually beneficial relationships with wedding vendors
I see relationships as the currency of the wedding industry. I try my best to foster real relationships with wedding vendors in which we work together before, during and our clients’ big day.
It’s my belief that every wedding vendor should be able to use the images that showcase their creations. After all, without your unique talents, the wedding wouldn’t have been what it was.
If you catch me at a wedding and we’ve 30 seconds to take a shot of you working, go for it! Don’t ever feel shy to ask the photographer for a photo of you spinning records, installing flowers, serving the delicious food etc! The couple also loves to see the vendors that made their day so magical.
I love to share images with vendors from weddings in which the couple have signed a model release. This permits me to share the images with you, as the couple have already signed off on this in their contract. There are some couples that request for their images to stay private, having contracted our non-usage fee. In these cases, you will not receive any photos from the wedding, nor will we be posting them anywhere publicly.
Why are these guidelines in place – why bother?
To some, it’s ‘just a picture’. What’s the big deal? To us, this is our entire livelihood so we are all, to varying degrees, protective and particular about how they are used.
We’re not trying to be difficult or demanding. Just protecting our work. It’s often misunderstood in the digital age. The photo already exists and the client has paid for them, so what difference does it make how other vendors use them?
Well, there’s a whole world out there of copyright law and intellectual property and crediting someone for their work (just like we credit ALL vendors that the clients make us aware of). It’s a world that even I don’t fully understand, so I just ask what to me seems fair for all parties.
We want to do right by our clients, the vendors that we love to collaborate with, and our own business too.
I simply ask that in exchange for images you’ve received at no cost to yourself you agree to adhere to guidelines I’ve outlined below. This is in order to make this a fair trade, which benefits both my business and yours.
Rather than asking you to sign a formal contract, I’ve simply outlined the best practices. I politely request you read through the information so we are on the same page.
Please let me know if you have any questions if anything is unclear or you have an idea for using the images that isn’t covered here! Usually the answer is a big yes 🙂
When sharing to Instagram
Please add a ‘@’ in the caption below the image that makes it clear who the author of the photo is.
An example is below:
It would be great if this includes the entire vendor team but if you don’t know it, don’t let that dissuade you from posting (this is more for photographers and planners that have to be careful to credit everyone, as they were the ones either holding copyright of the photos and assembling the vendor team). You can always copy & paste the vendor list for any wedding you’re a part of, that’s probably easiest!
Something else that would be appreciated is to add a ‘tag people’ tag. This is the one that looks like this:
Note for Instagram mentions
Credit must be given to Zoe Larkin Photography as the author of the work, every time it is posted to social media. Don’t worry about that bugging me if it’s months or years after the wedding. I still would like to be tagged.
Please tag at the time of posting.
Thank you in advance!
Crediting Zoe Larkin Photography in social media posts.
My social media handles are:
Instagram @zoelarkinphoto (this is the only social media platform when I am currently active. I do not check the others).
You can also add a hyperlink to www.zoelarkin.com on the social media platforms that allow it (all platforms but Instagram)
When sharing to your website
When sharing to your website, I request that you add a live hyperlink (URL) back to my website, www.zoelarkin.com.
The reason why this is so important is because of SEO. It’s called a backlink and it adds authority to my website when you link to me from your website.
This ultimately helps me increase my visibility in the search results by demonstrating to Google that my site is worth linking to! = )
All the cool DJs whose images I’ve used on this page will get a little boost because I’ve provided them with backlinks ; ). Great for their Google rankings and free publicity for them!
Other best-practice conditions when sharing our images online
- The use of filters on photos is not permitted.
- Don’t crop or alter the photos, beyond forced cropping (for example on Instagram’s 4 X 5 portrait ratio).
- It’s totally fine to make creative carousel posts, reels, or combine our work with clips and snippets that you took (for example, a makeup artist’s before and after videos).
- Please don’t use these images for TV commercials, billboards, print ads. That is beyond the scope of free usage and will require a paid commercial license. I would also consider it appropriate in this case to get the couple’s express permission, as it’s beyond the scope of the signed Model Release.
- Please don’t sell the images on, nor create assets intended for resale or other distribution, whether digital or physical.
- Please don’t share photographs with any other businesses. If anyone’s interested in using them for any reason, please refer them to me. I’m happy to share them with any vendor that was involved in the wedding providing they are polite and respectful.
- Please don’t ask the wedding couple directly for the gallery link. This puts them in a tough position, because they’re already bound by the terms of our contract, which forbids this.
- No assignment of copyright shall be implied. Copyright remains with the content creator.
- No additional images, videos or other content assets will be provided. All content is provided “as is”.
- If work has been shot by an associate, you can mention their name (only), but there is no separate IG or website which relates to associate-shot weddings. It’s still @zoelarkinphoto.
Permitted uses examples
- Social Media (like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn). Ads on these platforms are permitted, with credit only (see below).
- Website usage on your own website (such as blog posts, page headers, portfolio, sales page or your homepage).
- Email marketing & distribution (for example email newsletter)
- Printed flyers and mailshots
- PR Assets with restriction
Tips for best, best, best practices (we’re talking gold star)
I get it, we’re all busy, we’re all tired. But in the spirit of vendor cooperation, a little courtesy goes a long way and can undoubtedly help your business.
I don’t want to rant. I’ll leave that to this totally over-the-top article on Secret Life of Weddings that did the rounds a couple of years back.
As photographers, we are often the second vendor to be booked, after the venue (and sometimes planner if they have one). I’m often in the position to recommend other vendors.
The sad fact is, if I never hear a word from you, it’s tough to recommend you when I have nothing to go on! Instead, let’s build relationships! OK we may not go out to brunch every month, but at the very least we can chitchat about that awesome wedding, share a bit about what we excepl in and are looking for in our clients, lift each other up and exchange a few words of gratitude.
You’d be surprised that probably 80% of the times I’ve sent wedding galleries out to vendors, I’ve heard not a single word back. It can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening to know that after all this work I put in, and how excited I am to have new vendors to tell my clients about, I am met with what I can only assume is indifference (or just being so low down in priority lists, it doesn’t happen).
I’ll continue to do it, but it makes life much sweeter when we know our significant efforts are appreciated.
- Be mindful that photographers have taken the time to share images with you. Just like you, we have an enormous amount of work we do (after every wedding), not to mention running businesses in an extremely competitive space.
- Honor the photographer’s requests when giving you free images to use to promote your business. If in any doubt, ask.
- Express your gratitude with a word of thanks, an offer to take them out to coffee or a little something that will make their day. Don’t just use the images without even acknowledging the person bothered to give them to you. Or even worse, not even bother to use them.
Don’t be shy to share!
I love sharing my work with fellow vendors and hope to see my photography on your Insta and website soon. Share away ; )
I also love to hear feedback for example if I could have captured your creation in a different way, please tell me. Or if there are certain shots you’d like to get the at the next one.
I’m here to help you succeed. I’ll always be happy to make the time to chat on the phone and answer any questions. Some photographers threaten lawsuits if their incredibly restrictive rules are broken. I’d never do that. I do understand that with the best will in the world, sometimes credit isn’t given.
What is important to me is that we can keep in touch and build a great working relationship. And you remember me when making vendor recommendations! Relationships are everything in the wedding industry.
I share images with you in the spirit of building relationships.
Wedding vendor photo sharing is a tricky subject. I respectfully thank you for your adherence to this informal agreement.
Looking for new photographers for your vendor referral list? Read about my services here: Bay Area Wedding photographer – Info, pricing, about & portfolio then contact me to chat! Hope we can continue our relationship here.
This is so beautifully and articulately put. Thank you.
Thanks so much Gwen! Appreciate the comment
You really are super photographer and business person. Connecting all these dots and making our vendor hustle as simple as possible is just rocking. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kirk Wilder @ ACME Floral Co.
3 Comments on Wedding vendors: best practices for photo sharing