Updated: Apr 25
This summer has been the best summer in terms of growth and the work I’ve been able to create. The clients, and incredible adventures I’ve had have been top notch. However, I’ve also experienced an insane amount of blatant disrespect for my work and my livelihood, and I feel as though it's time to speak up about it. Below are 5 reasons why I no longer give away my images to other vendors:
#1 Another vendor's marketing content is not my responsibility When shooting a wedding (or anything else), it is not my job to provide marketing content for other vendors. Vendors are not entitled to my images. Images are for the couples who hired me to capture their day.
I used to allow vendors to use my images, and have been betrayed almost Every. Single. Time. by those associated with the event and not. Because of social media and how easily accessible everything is now, there's no relationship between myself and that vendor. They didn't pay for the image, hell, most times they didn't even ask permission to use it. Therefore, it doesn't hold any value to them, and they don't care about how I'll feel or what I'll say once they've taken it. This creates a disconnect and leads to broken relationships, and the misuse of my images. I’ve had my images stolen, "re-edited" with an IG filter, and published countless times without permission, payment or proper credit. All of these things are the biggest forms of disrespect to me, my work, and my livelihood, and truthfully it sucks the life out of my passion for what I do. #3 Exposure does not pay the bills
Do you work for free? I don't! My couples had to pay to hire me, so why shouldn’t vendors have to pay to use my photos to market their businesses? The second money is even mentioned, I get eye rolls and noses in the air, and I just don't understand it.
Why is it seen as a negative to pay someone for their work? I can't pay my bills or put food on the table with exposure. I don't know where the entitlement comes from, but stop it. It's one thing to ask how to go about obtaining and using images, but it's a whole different ball game when I get a message (from someone I don't even know) that says, "Send me pics. Here's my email." I'm sorry, what?! First of all, hello...?
#4 I don't go to another vendor expecting a cake or a bouquet for free. I pay for it. If you see value in something, pay for it, don't steal it, and don't expect it for free. Supporting each other's businesses by paying for services, or purchasing products IS A GOOD THING. This creates a mutual respect for each other's businesses and a good working relationship, which hopefully turns into referrals for the both of us! You have to be able to provide something of value in return. And don't bother mentioning how many followers you have, because I don't care. Which brings me to my next point. #5 Character and Relationships My brand matters to me. Who I associate with and collaborate with matters to me. I don't care about how many followers you have, I care about the kind of person you are, and if you're taking my work without permission, payment, or credit, then we obviously don't share the same values or level of respect for each other's work. I recently called out a vendor for taking an image of mine (after already explaining to her that she would need to pay for it), and she blocked me after I told her to take the image down. No reply. Just straight up blocked me. This is not a person or business owner that I want to be associated with.
I want to build connections and have real working relationships with other vendors, but that can’t happen when my images are stolen, or when people send me reaaaaally entitled and presumptuous emails or DM's. Can we at least just agree on one thing: That no one anywhere works for free, especially after COVID? Much like everyone else, I couldn't work for four months. That's a huge chunk of time and business lost! To put it simply: If my images are good enough for you to promote your business with, then they’re good enough for you to pay for. If my clients have to pay for my work, then so does everyone else.
I want to work with you! But I want to work with people who want to work with ME, too. People who value my time, energy, money, and effort that I put into creating the images they want to use.
I'm not saying everyone needs to operate this way, but this is what feels right for myself and my business, and how I'll be operating, moving forward!
If you're interested in purchasing image licensing for your business, please visit the link below for more info on image licensing and fees.
www.stephanniecamossephotography.com/for-vendors Thanks for coming to my TedTalk!