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Lately, I’ve been thinking, should wedding photographers charge NOT to post photos of their weddings? You read that correctly. Should they charge an extra fee to not post pictures from weddings that they photograph? I have my own philosophy about this, but I want to explore, what I consider, a phenomenon that is new to the wedding industry.
Photographers Need Content
Actually, all websites need content. To keep users (and Google) happy, websites should have fresh content. As does the insatiable content monster that is social media. A lot of photographers and other businesses, will do work for free just to generate quality content. Everyone has done it. This does help with marketing in general. Is not social media content of a business considered marketing? So, it has become almost synonymous with having a website and social media presence to have fresh content on a regular basis.
For most photographers, this is easy. Pictures make great content. For wedding photographers, we have quite a few pictures from weddings at our disposal. Blogging the story of a wedding day, and the wedding pictures that go along with it, is great in providing content. Every facet of the emotional realm happens on a wedding day. Good wedding photographers will capture this. Wanting to share the photos has become commonplace…for some people.
There are some folks who want to keep their wedding day intimate, personal…and private. It’s really not the world’s business what a person’s wedding was like (starting to sense my take on this subject?). Couples put a lot of themselves into their wedding days and a lot of couples only want to share that with their family and friends. More and more of my wedding clients are requesting discretion when it comes to their wedding day pictures. Because of their professions, whether they are in law enforcement, the military, are lawyers, doctors, teachers…the list goes on. Because of a particular profession, couples don’t want their wedding photos shared with the general public.
But other than a profession, some folks just don’t want their pictures posted online. Why is that unreasonable? I recently was part of a photography forum discussion about this very subject. A wedding photographer was struggling with what to do about a client who didn’t want their wedding pictures shared on social media. I simply commented, “What is the struggle? Our job is to make our clients happy. If this is what they want, we should honor that.” Surprisingly, the poster’s response was “I need content on my blog so that people know that I’m busy. I need to post every wedding.”
I was taken aback by that response as well as the responses of a lot of the other folks that commented to the post. Most seemed to agree. You should be able to post what you want when you want. If a client doesn’t want you posting their wedding, you should charge them a fee. That is when my head almost exploded (still struggling with my position on this?). You are charging your client a premium to document one of the most important events in their lives. Or, you should be if you are any good at it. If that couple doesn’t want their pictures posted, then it should be a simple decision not to post them. However a lot of wedding photographers disagree with this.
I’ve chatted with some with whom I have a great deal of respect, most of them, charge extra. A nationally recognized figure within the wedding photography industry concurrs with this sentiment according to comments this person posted on Facebook. There are a lot of professional photographers that agree. Clients should be charged an extra fee to NOT post their pictures online.
I am not one of those photographers.
After thinking about it long and hard, I keep coming back to the same logic and feeling. I charge an above average fee to document a wedding day for my clients. My main goal is to make sure that I take beautiful wedding pictures and keep my clients completely happy. That is all that matters. Everything that I do from the time that I first meet with them, do their engagement pictures, organize and plan their wedding day timeline is with that in mind. Everything. Everything revolves around making sure that I get beautiful wedding pictures and that they are completely happy. So if my client requests that I not post their pictures, I don’t post their pictures. It’s that simple for me. Making sure that my clients are one million percent happy outweighs the need for social media and website content.
It seems that, in the modern age of constant, and oftentimes, disposable information the need to fill the content void has clouded the view of a lot of photographers. Keeping the client happy is lost in keeping the social media beast well fed.