Wedding Photographers…How Much Is Too Much?

24 Jun

So…I generally try to stay out of potentially controversial topics being the peace loving, non-confrontational person that I am…but…  Today, we’re going to do a survey.  I want your feedback!  But first, let’s start with the facts.

Details

1: Wedding season is here.|
2: Every photographer has their own contract regarding photo rights, usage, etc.

Now, for the purposes of this blog post, let’s break wedding photos down into two catagories…those with recognizeable faces, and those without.  The images without people, or images in which they can’t be recognized, are important for both the couple (who 99% of the time won’t remember the details of the day without the photos) and for the photographer’s marketing portfolio.  However, as any good wedding photog will tell you, it’s the portraits that are the most important part of anyone’s ‘big day’.  Our job isn’t just to capture the decorations of the day.  It’s to capture the memories, the joy, the smiles and the love.

Shoes

All in all, a noble endeavor.  Romantic, sacred, once-in-a-lifetime memories that you have the honor of recording so that their grandkids, grandkids kids can see the moment that two people started their life journey together.

When you put it that way, sounds like the photos are something pretty important, no?  It does to me, anyway.  And for that reason, the couple’s privacy is one of my top priorities.  Not to say I think they should squirrel their photos away never to be seen….but I do believe strongly that they should be the ones deciding who sees them, and when.

RingsTie

Now, as I said, every photographer has their own contract detailing the usage of photos taken at a private event, releases and all that legal jazz.  And often, a simple, “Hey…do you mind if I post these on my blog for marketing?” is all you need.  But with more and more blogs, facebook pages, and websites cropping up with…well…the entire meat-and-potatoes of an event, I have to wonder if every one of them asks first.  I mean, contractually, they may not need to…but should they?  How do the couples feel about the whole world seeing their images?  As a consumer, do you like the idea of seeing all of the key images from a wedding on a website?  And do you like the idea of strangers seeing all of yours?  Or do you prefer the use of password protected galleries?

GettingReady

It seems to me that as competition grows stiffer, photographers put more and more of their efforts on display to show potential customers what they can do.  Furthermore, there is a cultural shift with the younger “look-at-ne” generations who have become acclimated to putting their whole lives on display via things like Facebook and Instagram.

But from your perspective, how much is too much?  Or is there no such thing?

Any and all comments are welcome!  I’m curious to see people’s thoughts on the matter.

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13 Responses to “Wedding Photographers…How Much Is Too Much?”

  1. bulldog June 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Now this I find interesting… in the old days before computers and all that has now come with it, to select a wedding photog one went to their studios and looked at the many photos they had hanging on the wall… did one ever ask if they had the right to hang those photos..?? No.. yet every Sunday newspaper carried photos of all the weddings that took place over the weekend.. was this not the beginning of a type of FB..?? What was the copyright agreements on those photos that said who it was and who took the photos.??
    When I take photos in public places I try my best not to capture faces, but then as you know most of my photos are of animals, and they couldn’t sue me anyway…
    But we come to the point.. should all these photos be posted as ads for the photogs?? Why not, the families are going to plaster the photos all over their FB pages etc, why not you…????

    • seeingspotsphoto June 27, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      I like your idea about the evolution of newspaper to FB. Good point! lol And yes, the contracts are all different, as are the usage rights agreed on. It just find the cultural shift on the topic interesting and wonder at the cause. 🙂

  2. Carissa June 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I have to agree with Bulldog. I mean, how did they hear about you? Through your work from other weddings!!

    • seeingspotsphoto June 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      haha Can’t disagree with that. Word of mouth marketing is very important.

  3. The Wanderlust Gene June 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    But there’s a difference between your pasting a portrait photograph on your blog/site etc., and posting the entire album! I know I’d be furious if somebody posted my wedding pictures, even if I did intend to flog them off to the highest bidder for international distribution 🙂

    • seeingspotsphoto June 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      It’s interesting, I think, that we all agree to the basic copyright laws that allow photographers to make use of their photos (primarily for marketing in these cases) as they see fit, but as a client, we want a say over how many get used, who sees them, etc. Seems as though the trick to being a successful wedding photog is finding a good balance between our needs and the client’s wishes.

      Just as interesting, the “accepted” balance seems to be shifting as technology changes. I agree with Noeline (below) though…respect for the client should play a big role in our decisions!

      • The Wanderlust Gene June 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

        It’s a bit of a moral thing, isn’t it? They pay for the images, and iff it weren’t for the client you wouldn’t have the product … 🙂

  4. Noeline Smith June 26, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I think posting ‘general’ shots, such as the examples here is probably OK, but definitely permission should be asked before posting recognisable people shots. If it were my wedding, or my photographs, I would want permission to be asked/granted for all shots. After all, you’re contracting someone to take photos so what happens to them afterwards should be down to you – and if you’re the photographer, surely there should be some customer respect/privacy …..

    • seeingspotsphoto June 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      I agree whole-heartedly. Based on our rights laid out in our contracts, we probably CAN post whatever photos we want for marketing (so long as we aren’t selling photos without a specific model release)….but should we? Where do we draw the line? That’s a great point about having respect for our customer’s privacy.

  5. perfectlight June 27, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    generally i stay away from weddings as they are not my cup of tea but if i have to do it (and i did it on request) one stipulation in the contract is that i can use the photos for my own promotion. as a result, none of the newly wed couples can say “oh, we didn’t know”. but there is something else here, something new in the photography: the digital era. everybody taking part at a wedding are carrying a mobile phone with a camera, half of the people present there have different types of point and shoot or even a dslr. they are taking photos and photos are published on facebook (let’s say) on the next day if not instantly. so, where is the privacy? is it ok that one of those pics to be on social media but not ok if one of mine is? i do believe that the days of complete privacy are long gone and with a bit of research one can find anything on the internet.

    another interesting fact: i am a sport photographer so the problem with privacy is no different here. none of the players that i photograph signed any contract with me. the moment they step on the pitch, they are exposed – their photo can be seen on social media, newspapers etc. do i need permission from them to publish the photo? i don’t think so, i think it is the nature of the game, the moment they are on the field, they are victims of hungry photographers.

    • seeingspotsphoto June 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      These are all such interesting perspectives…In the case of sports photography, I will say, I generally view it as I would a concert. If it’s in a public venue, or on a public “stage” then it becomes almost a record of event. In my mind, private events are a whole different ballgame (if you’ll pardon the pun. lol)

      • perfectlight June 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

        i wouldn’t call an event “private” as long as everybody is coming along with a camera phone and an instagram account

  6. Inga June 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Of course it’s important for photographers to post wedding shots so people can find out if they’re any good. But I must say there’s a difference between posting a few portraits and the entire wedding album. I wouldn’t want that if it was my wedding.

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