You are fully in Wedding Mode which means now is the time to make sure you’re touching base with the photographers that are taking photos at your venue.
We hear this from venue managers all the time:
I know it’s important to have current, high-quality photos of my event venue.
That’s why, at every contract signing, I ask the wedding couple to be sure to send me the photos of the venue from their event. But, honestly, they almost never do. I’m frustrated!
Since I don’t have much luck with couples supplying images, is it OK to ask them for their photographer’s info at the time of contract signing? And, can I make it a requirement in the contract for the wedding couple to provide me with photographs of the event?
—A frustrated (and photo-hungry) venue manager
These are great questions! And although it is frustrating to spend so much time on your photo quest, you’re right to make the effort because it’s so worth it!
PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE YOUR BEST SOURCE
Generally, venues request images directly from photographers since they hold the rights to them….and usually, photographers get permission from the couple themselves to use the wedding photos in their blogs, portfolios, etc. Photographers are not supposed to grant venues permission to use those photos without having that piece in place.
This process is a lot easier when the photographer a couple uses is on your preferred vendor list: There’s generally a reciprocal relationship with them—and, as we all know, when industry professionals support each other, everyone wins!
BUT IF THE WEDDING IS REALLLLLLY PRETTY…
Of course, if a wedding is particularly beautiful and Instagram-worthy, you can certainly ask the couple as well. It’s probably not a good idea to hit them up during the throes of wedding planning, but after the event, I think it’s perfectly appropriate to follow up with how pleased you were that the wedding turned out so lovely. In fact, tell them that it’s particularly photogenic…and would they mind if you used a few of their photos?
Note that in this case, you would STILL need to get permission from their photographer, who in general retains copyright over the images. So you can see why connecting with photographers is usually the most efficient way to go about getting the great pix you want!
At every step in your communication with photographers, assure them that you will include photo credit on the images. Also, it doesn’t hurt to mention how great their work is, and that you’d like to continue to recommend them (if this is indeed the case). Helping promote them encourages a reciprocal relationship.
As for making photo permissions a contract requirement…it is a creative idea, but I’m concerned that it would discourage bookings. People just don’t like being forced to do things. And, in all likelihood, you’d still have to chase for the images.
I KNOW THIS IS A TON OF WORK…
I know that this process is a lot of work and it’s extra hard when the responsibility of doing it falls completely on you (in addition to delivering an incredible event for your clients!). Believe me, all of us at Here Comes The Guide can sympathize!
But in an image-driven industry like weddings, this is becoming an increasingly crucial part of the event professional’s job. I hope at least that the tips above provide a bit of insight and some help.