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July 16, 2009


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Andria of Andria Lewis Events

Thanks so much for this post, Sean. I was feeling a bit guilty about wanting my own images, staged by me. Now I know that it IS a part of my brand and it is simply a part of doing business.

saundra, event engineer

Great post, Sean. Especially with so many planners using photos that are not EVEN their weddings. Not stock photos, but other people's weddings.

I've hired my own photographer for our events for years to capture our design/decor. Sometimes I do use local photographers images, but that too is calculated. Letting others know that I work with with some of the big players in the wedding industry.

Linnyette Richardson-Hall

A timely post - especially for me as I move away from wedding planning into a more design-centric arena. I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments - my MY work.


I agree with you completely about "owning" your brand(including images). However, I view weddings as a "collaborative undertaking" (it is almost inherent in the industry)and that it is difficult sometimes to say who "owns" what. Many ideas come from the bride (perhaps she chooses the color scheme, or a unique accent or favor) and in most cases she is the one who has hired the photographer. The wedding planner might create unique decor to go with the bride's ideas and add her own artistic flair. The florist creates amazing designs. And the photographer captures all of these ideas.
The photographer wouldn't have these images without everyone involved.

I don't know what is right but I think its great when everyone works together and everyone benefits.

It is almost inherent to the position of wedding planners to "use" others' ideas unless they were to create everything themselves. Or, they could only take photos of something that they created solely (such as a favor), but then would clients hire a planner with such a portfolio?

It is definitely challenging to completely own your own brand. Even in the business of marketing, how do you own every thought.

Shanika Butts, Charlotte Wedding Planner

Great post! I have been considering the possibility of having my own photographer take shots of the details.

But I've always been concerned that this could possibly cause conflicts with the hired wedding photographer, who of course I would want to have a good relationship with for future business. Great post, it definitely got me thinking as always!

stephanie frazier grimm @ CoutureParties

Again, a GREAT post! As an Event Planner (and always wanting to do things myself) I bought myself a nice expensive SLR camera and took a few photo classes to learn the camera. Also bought photoshop elements to play around with the photos (only $100) That way I am able to document my ideas and add then to my website/portfolio/facebook/twitter. I know a professional photographer would take WAY better photos but this way I have them and do not have to rely on others to get my work. ps I am happy to share my photos of my work as long as credit is given where credit is do :)

Karla |Stylish Events|

This is a great post and it definitely brings an interesting point to consider as an Event Planner.

I agree that Weddings are a collaboration of many professionals but would also love and benefit from having my OWN images portraying my brand and how I want others to see it.

SEAN, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the previous comments though that it could possibly create conflict with the Wedding Photographer hired by the bride. It would also be helpful to hear from Photographers out there reading this post!

Renee Metty, Event maven

So true! Actually going through some re-branding exercises recently has taught be a lot about my brand. In the past, wanting to be all things to all people has made it difficult to just put a stake in the ground and really hone my brand. I felt like I was ruling out clients but I know in the long run it will keep my brand authentic and that is what is important to me. I also found in the beginning there was who I thought I wanted to be and who I am. I know now that focusing on who I am will attract the clients that allow me to LOVE my work. It also goes back to being authentic myself.

Sean Low

Sharon and Karla:

My position is this -- all commissioned art is a collaboration, but at the end of the day it is the artistry that transcends. I am not suggesting anyone step on anyone's toes, nor interfere with an event, but there is a way around it for YOUR photographer to shoot around the WP and be respectful of the client and their needs. It requires upfront communication and agreement from all sides. The point is that your are creating your own portfolio with your own point of view.


As a photographer -- I have no problem at all with providing other vendors with images that I have taken at their events for their use. And if a planner asked me to get a certain style of shot to meet their brand's needs, I would make it a goal to get that photo as well for them. However -- my client needs would come first.

I have no problem with a photographer coming in to photograph set-ups of things like flowers or the banquet room or whatever else. Where it gets sticky (and we get upset as the hired wedding photographer by the clients) is if they have lighting or other equipment that interferes with our work, if they are in our way and preventing us from getting room shots as well, or if they start photographing the wedding too.

It is a case of a few rotten apples spoiling the whole bunch, unfortunately. Around the wedding photographer circles there are plenty of tales of people who came in to photograph table set-ups for another vendor, then stuck around and shot some of the wedding reception as well ... and went on to use those photos in their own wedding photography portfolio. It causes confusion among clients, because they don't know which photographer was then the one that the client truly hired. That is why we get jumpy when we see another photographer there.

If you are a planner, florist, or other vendor - communicate with the photographer before the event and see if they can provide you with the images you would like to have -OR- let them know in advance that you have another photographer coming in for your shots. Most of us have exclusivity clauses in our contracts, so this is the best thing to do for your clients so that there isn't any issue on the wedding day.

(Whew! Sorry so long -- but I didn't see any other photographer responses here!)

Karla |Stylish Events|

Sean and Christine:

Thank you for addressing our questions. Your insight was very helpful!


How would you suggest getting a photog to call you back? I have one who has images of my work (invitations, unique place card set ups, etc), yet ignored two emails and a call, another who's ignored a call and email... needless to say it's very frustrating.


Thanks Christine and Sean. Very good points and thank you so much for clarifying your points of view!

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