These days, I keep hearing about this wedding being published or that wedding being published. We actually had a bride who, get this, chose another photographer because, “But… he’s published!”. Yes, this is a true story. She liked us better, she liked our work better, our prices fit her budged, his didn’t. Yet, the fact that he travelled to Italy or Europe or something once in the last ten years and had some wedding photos displayed on some obscure website meant she chose him. He also photographed some monkeys and that was in National Geographic. Hmm, not sure how that relates to weddings, but… Anyway, I’m really not upset by this, because, in all honesty, if she was swayed that easily to a photographer who wasn’t her first choice, then, she isn’t my kind of bride anyway.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m gonna put down the whole industry’s fascination with “being published”. I think it’s a great way for brides to see wedding ideas from literally around the world quickly and easily. My only advice is don’t let how published your photographer is be your deciding factor in who you choose. Some photographers spend inordinate amounts of time just getting published, some don’t even try at all. Yes, it’s true, you will rarely get published if you don’t actively seek it out. These websites don’t go looking for content, it comes to them, most of the time. But it does seem that “getting published” is the latest thing in wedding photography, and there are lots of places doing the publishing, thus, lots of photographers getting published.
We don’t spend a lot of time seeking out publication, though, to date, I have hundreds of images published around the globe (just thought I’d toss that in there ). Maybe we will in the future, but, we’ve been too busy photographing, meeting clients, and working on images to worry about it.
That being said, we were contacted by Marry Me Tampa Bay recently, who asked us if they could have access to some images we recently photographed. Yep, they FOUND US. See? It really does happen sometimes. Anyway, Jamilee and Eric’s Wedding will be published on Marry Me Tampa Bay. No, I don’t have details yet, just got the email this morning.
Another instance that happened recently is our photographs from Jake’s Grotto are in an article in Tampa Bay Magazine. While not exactly about us, they did choose nearly a dozen of our images for the article, so, that’s saying something.
Anyway, all I’m trying to say is this: Don’t get fooled by publishings, they’re not the true measure of your photographer, simply another criteria you can use to compare.Well... it's been a year and a half, and I have some more thoughts to add to this. We don't actively seek out getting our weddings published. We just don't. Why? Well... all the reasons stated above and more. Here's a dirty little secret: All those blogs that publish weddings, places like The Knot, Weddingwire, etc are not in the business of helping brides. Nope, not at all. They are in the business of selling advertising space. That's all. End of statement. To sell that space, they need readers. Readers want content. Thus, you have weddings being published along with whatever drivel they want to spew at you about what your wedding should or shouldn't be. Some things that some blogs and websites require to be published (this is not an exhaustive list, nor does each and every site require all or any of these things):
- Exclusivity. Yep, that's right, they want exclusive rights to your photos. What does this mean? Well... it means we can't share your photos with you or on our own blog, or social media sites until they run your article. Sometimes this can hold up your photos for months! Now, I don't speak for other photographers, but, I work for my clients and want to deliver their images to THEM. I don't work for these bloggers, and I won't follow their rules of exclusivity.
- No Credit. Hmm? You want me to turn over photos for your site to use and I don't get to have my logo on them? Wait.... I get a byline buried somewhere at the bottom? Umm.... yeah, that sounds fair. Seriously? Oh, and you can make copies of them and use them on other articles if you want to? What? No way. I respect my clients far too much to make their images usable by any Tom, Dick or Harry that writes a blog that they want to share with.
- Shoot List. This one really ticks me off. They don't care about your beautiful romantic photos. The couldn't care less how much you love each other. They generally have a list of DETAIL shots they want, nothing more. As I said, they're in the Advertising business. Their advertisers don't sell love, or romance, they sell.... STUFF. So... they want you to see stuff in the photos so you will buy the stuff their advertisers sell, giving the advertisers a reason to give the blogger money. Sure, a good photographer has photos of your details of your day as well as everything else, but.... I've seen a trend where photographers aren't shooting for their brides anymore, their sole aim is to get published. This thinking is dangerous for the client. If getting published is the priority, the bride and groom's day becomes secondary and well..... that's just not a good thing. I'd much rather do a great job making my client happy and having a website contact me and say, "We love what you did for so and so, can we publish a story about it?", than have to make sure I took the exact photographs at the exact angles and settings they require so I can send them pictures and cross my fingers they will publish it.
- I touched on this earlier, but... Mindset and Priorities. If the Photographer's Mindset and Priority are to get published, how much effort do they put into making the client happy? I do it the other way around. I make my client happy. I couldn't care less if that hipster blog won't publish it, so long as my client is happy. I'm not in the advertising business, and that blog isn't paying my bills. I work for my brides and grooms.