Most wedding photographers give their photos away for free to other vendors after the wedding.
It’s good business and you’ll hopefully get referrals from those vendors (if they are cool). If you ask vendors to pay for photos you will likely get a negative response from them. It’s just the way it is. Too many photographers, over too many years, have given free photos to vendors. Myself included.
But if you think about it: you are giving away something very, very, valuable.
For a florist or baker, getting amazing photos of their products requires time, money and effort. And any business owner worth their salt knows that the quality of marketing materials is what makes or breaks their business.
For a vendor to set up and pay for a shoot to get photos outside of an event will cost them from $200 – $2,000. You bet your photos from the event are worth something!
Here is what I propose: ask vendors to make a donation to a cause or charity that you care about. Don’t put an amount on it, just ask them to donate what they feel the photos are worth. The pay-what-you-want approach plays upon people’s principles of generosity and can have surprising results. It also allows smaller vendors to pay what they can, and larger, more established vendors pay even more.
Here is the email I send to vendors asking for photos after the wedding:
This is an actual email I send to vendors when they contact me for photos. Feel free to copy it!
The best part is you are finding money out of thin air, and getting it to people who really need it:
Roman Franciso is a great friend and worked with me on some tricky weddings. I was devastated when I found out what he is going through and having two daughters of my own, knew that I had to help in any way I could. As a parent, the happiness of your children is the center of your life. DONATE HERE.
Mark Cornellison is also a great friend of mine and his son Aidan is battling stage 4 kidney cancer. They just relocated form Eastern Washington to Seattle to be close to the doctors and facilities that Aidan needs in his fight against cancer. If you are looking for a way to help others, I urge you to help Aidan too! DONATE HERE.
By changing your approach to sending photos to vendors, you can change the world, one cause at a time.
And as a bonus, you are giving value to photos that may otherwise be taken for granted.
Something given away for free has a value of — you guessed it, nothing!!
By asking a vendor to donate to a cause in exchange for photos, you are giving a monetary value to those photos and elevating their worth in the eyes of the vendor. They will be SURE to use them.
Try it, and please let me know how it goes in the comments! I’d love to hear your stories!