» Top Tips for Working with Photographers

This post is by Jennifer Reitmeyer. Jennifer has worked in the wedding industry since 1997. In addition to owning MyDeejay, an award-winning wedding entertainment firm serving the Washington, D.C. market, she also maintains a wedding business blog, WeddingIQ, and a blogging and social media service for wedding businesses, Firebrand Messaging. Jennifer is available for small business coaching, speaking, and writing opportunities. Read more at jenniferreitmeyer.com.

In the wedding industry, we all rely upon one another to make our events fabulous and to market our businesses. Perhaps no vendor type is as integral to the marketing process as photographers. Photographers hold the key to the images of our work and of the happy couples and their guests enjoying that work – and it’s pretty hard to create a website, blog or social media presence without those images! That’s why it’s important to build good relationships with photographers, which requires a combination of respect, courtesy and (sometimes) patience.

Photographer guiding clientsI spoke with my friend, colleague and WeddingIQ co-editor, Kyle Bergner, who also happens to run a photography business of her own. She was happy to share some tips for working with photographers and getting the images you need.

Here are five things you can do to respect, and receive images from, photographers:

Ask permission, not forgiveness. Obviously, we all want pictures, and it can be frustrating to wait – especially when those pictures are sitting right there on the photographer’s blog or website, or when our clients have offered them to us. It’s important to remember that the photographer owns the copyright to his or her work, and only the photographer can grant permission for you to use it. Keep in mind, also, that requiring images as part of your contract with your clients doesn’t obligate the photographer to provide those images – a client can’t control the photographer in that way!

Be patient. Photographers are ridiculously busy people! Unlike many of us, their work isn’t done when the wedding is over – they still have post-production, and sometimes album creation, to finish before they can move on. And that’s in addition to all the other things that go into running their businesses and living their lives! Email the photographers with your request, and feel free to follow up if you don’t hear back, but remember that “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” Don’t wait until the last minute before your marketing deadline to request images, because you’ll likely be disappointed.

Include attribution. If you’re using a photographer’s work, it’s only logical that he or she should receive credit. For online usage, such as your website, name the photographer and link back to his/her site. On social media, tag the photographer (not just in the image itself, but also in the caption so people can actually read who’s responsible for taking those fabulous photographs!). In print, list the photographer’s name and company – and ensure it’s spelled correctly! When in doubt, ask the photographer how he or she would like to be credited.

Don’t alter the image. That means don’t remove the photographer’s logo (as online images can quickly be spread everywhere, with the photographer getting no credit for his/her work!), don’t add your own logo, don’t crop the image, don’t filter it, don’t do anything to change the image at all unless the photographer has agreed. Consider this – you wouldn’t want someone hopping on your DJ equipment and playing songs as though they were you, or changing around the blooms in your floral arrangement while claiming the design was yours. We all have a particular standard for our own creative work, and photographers are no different.

Give something back. Obviously, links back to the photographer’s website are golden, but if a photographer has gone above and beyond in providing you with images to use in your marketing, consider referring them to your clients when the opportunity arises. You can also gift them with something in trade – flowers, a token gift – whatever. At the very least, be sure to say thank you! And in all communications, just be nice. We’re all humans here, and should be treating one another with kindness any time we interact.