From Pinterest and Instagram to blogs and magazines, we live in a visual world, and weddings are the perfect fodder. There’s a pretty good chance you found your planner or photographer while browsing your favorite blog or flipping through a magazine, and they count on having their work published and shared as a way to find even more great clients like you. But if you’re a little more private and really want to keep the images of your wedding to yourself—no matter how incredible they are—can you ask your vendors to skip the sharing? Our experts weigh in.
While vendors love being able to share their work (and brag about their fantastic clients!), you are 100 percent allowed to ask them not to share images from your wedding. No matter the reason, your wedding is a personal event, and if you want to keep it that way, it’s completely up to you! If you’re planning to ask your vendors to keep your wedding photos to themselves, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Do you have the rights to your wedding photos?
Before you even sign the contract with your photographer, pay close attention to the specifics. Most contracts specify that the client has non-exclusive rights to the images, with the photographer retaining the copyright. What this means is that since the photographer created the images, he or she owns them. Your photographer’s contract may also specify that he or she can use the images for advertising, on their website, and for display on websites, blogs, and in magazines—and that your photographer doesn’t have to run it by you before doing so. But don’t panic! If your photographer’s contract has a clause like this, ask about it before you sign. Let him or her know that you want to keep your images private, and see if you can negotiate or amend the copyright and usage clause to say so. An upside to having this conversation before you sign the contract and pay the deposit is that if your chosen photographer doesn’t agree to your request to keep the images private, you can still find another photographer without losing any money.
How strict are you about “not sharing” images?
While you’re discussing the use of your images with your photographer, there are a few things to consider. A portfolio is how your photographer (as well as your planner, florist, and decor company!) sells his or her services, and the more variety and examples of work he or she can include, the better. Think about whether you don’t want any images anywhere, ever, or if you just want to be able to oversee which images are used (and keep them off social media). If the latter sounds reasonable, talk to your photographer and other vendors about providing a gallery of selected images, curated by you and your SO, after the wedding for them to use. In this instance, the photographer will deliver your full gallery of images, and then you and your partner can go through and choose which photos you agree to have shared with other vendors. You can also include a line specifying where these images can be used—such as vendors’ portfolios, websites, and blogs, but nowhere else—that will let your vendors benefit from the images and the work they did while still keeping your celebration private. Make sure all of your vendors understand the usage you’ve agreed upon with your photographer, and consider adding a similar clause to the rest of your contracts so you have it in writing that no one can share the images, whether they’re the hairstylist or the caterer.
What about day-of social-media posts?
This is harder to enforce, but you can definitely ask your vendors not to post any images of your wedding on social media during the event—even nonprofessional images they take themselves. It’s a little iffy if your wedding is in a public place, but if you’re getting married on private property, simply stating that images of the event and the property cannot be shared should suffice. If you’re really concerned about maintaining privacy, draft a brief agreement stating that anyone working at the event will not post any images at any time, and ask each of your vendors to sign it before your wedding day.