Dear Preston: Should Photographers Share Their Images With Vendors?
February 17, 2015
Having planned and designed events for over a decade, I feel weddings are collaborative events that allow vendors to engage in a mutually-beneficial relationship. I recently planned, designed, and executed a large wedding and am finding the photographers are unwilling to share any images from the day. I find it frustrating to have poured my heart and soul into it, working to make certain every detail and moment was flawless only to wind up without any images to show for it. I would like to know your thoughts on this situation. Was I too presumptuous to assume the photographers would be open to sharing their images? Having never met an ounce of opposition in the past, I am a bit surprised. How would you handle this situation?
I am so sorry you are in this situation. I agree with you that collaboration is an essential component of success, but it is important to remember that it is not mandatory. Photographers make their living by selling their images in the same way we make our living by doing our respective jobs. I think it is a mistake to assume that the photographer in question will be sharing their images with you without an open dialogue. I agree with you that most photographers don’t mind, but some do, and it’s better to address any concerns beforehand.
My advice to you is to always make an effort to speak with the photographers beforehand and make arrangements with them so that there are no surprises. You might even suggest exchanging images for referrals. I know a lot of photographers who enjoy being profiled on sites and offering to add their link and contact information is often a worthwhile investment for up-and-coming photographers. A big part of collaboration is the give-and-take component. Work together and always towards an outcome that benefits both parties. If they insist you pay for their photos, then it goes without saying that you should choose the ones you will get the most longevity out of and ones that showcase the full range of the event instead of several with the same point-of-view.
Readers, I would like to ask to ask your opinion on this subject. As a vendor, do you expect photographers to share their images with you? Photographers, do you share your images with vendors free of charge?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.