One of the hot topics within the wedding photography community is whether or not photographers should share their images with fellow wedding vendors after the big day. This recent article on F Stoppers has spurred a big debate within many photography Facebook groups and, while I agree with some of their points, I also disagree with a lot of the other points.
They are correct in saying that no one on the vendor team is entitled to receive photos from the wedding photographer. Whether the photographer chooses to share the images with the vendor team or not is completely up to them. At the end of the day, the photographer owns the copyright to the images and the photographer is only contracted to share the images with their clients – the bride + the groom.
Other Vendors: “But our contract with the bride + groom states that they must share their wedding photos with us”
Here’s the bad news about that. The bride + groom typically sign a contract with their wedding photographer that grants them personal usage rights only. The bride + groom cannot use their wedding images for anything other than their personal use and they cannot grant usage rights for the images to anyone else without the photographer’s permission. So legally, your contract would never hold up in court if push came to shove because the photographer is the only one who can grant usage rights to those images. The contract between the clients + photographer would supersede any contract the bride + groom may have signed with other vendors requiring them to share images.
So while no one on the vendor team is entitled to receive photos from the wedding photographer, I personally believe that wedding photographers definitely SHOULD share the images with the entire vendor team.
Let’s face it. Everyone on the vendor team works extremely hard to create something amazing for our clients. It just so happens that we, as photographers, have the tangible “evidence” of that hard work with our photos. While some photographers may take issue with providing images to the vendors for nothing in return, I have never had an issue with sharing images with the vendor team. The relationships I have built with the vendors in this industry are very important to me and I want to help them promote their businesses by providing amazing photos to them.
And I don’t get “nothing” in return, like the article suggests. It’s actually beneficial for me + my business too! I always politely ask that they give me proper credit when using the images for their own marketing purposes and most vendors are really good about it. Yes, there are definitely some vendors who use images without giving credit but, more often than not, most of them are happy to credit the photographer! In turn, they are sharing MY images with a totally different audience and that’s a good thing for me. It’s actually a win-win situation because they’ve got great content to book more clients with and, hopefully, I will have the opportunity to photograph more of their fabulous clients in the future because they are sharing my work with their clients. I can confidently say that sharing images with vendors has been a positive thing for my business and my relationships with vendors. For this reason, I will continue to willingly share images with the vendor team for the foreseeable future!
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