Last weekend James and I shot an unbelievably beautiful and moving backyard wedding in Evanston that our clients requested we keep (mostly) private. (i.e. No images with recognizable faces posted to the blog, Facebook, or elsewhere.)
Due to their jobs they preferred their wedding not be searchable online where their own clients or others could stumble upon all their photos with the click of a mouse. I absolutely loved these two after meeting with them and knew I wanted to work with them regardless of their privacy requests, so we happily obliged.
For those not in the wedding industry – this may seem like no big deal… but for those in the industry – you may have heard this talked about over and over. You see, there’s an interesting belief in the photography community that if clients don’t allow you to use their wedding images however you want and would prefer you not blog them or post them to Facebook – that it isn’t worth working with them. I heard this from so many photographers when I first started out that I really honestly believed it to be true.
Then back in early 2011 I had my first real life couple in our initial meeting tell me they didn’t want me to share their images anywhere, or post a blog – and I was forced to look more closely at how I really felt about the situation. And I realized (way back when) that it really all goes back to what I talked about in my “What Success Means (to me)” post… That is: First and foremost we are doing our job for OUR CLIENTS. This is not about us getting comments on our blog post, published on a wedding blog, or likes on the photos on Facebook. This is about capturing beautiful photos of their most precious memories for them to keep, remember, and cherish always.
And while I do understand portions of the argument against working with private clients… Yes, someone cannot Google search the venue where you shot the wedding and find you. Yes, someone cannot see the images somewhere on social media, or in their Facebook news feed and decide to book you.
But what CAN happen – is your clients can be so happy that you respected their privacy and cherished them as people that they personally will refer their friends and family to you! What can happen is you’ll be working and bringing in money to support your family on a date you may have otherwise not booked. What can happen is you can work with such awesome people (who just happen to not like their likeness posted all over the internet) – that will come back to you time and time again for photos throughout the years following their wedding. What can happen is you can make lasting relationships with some pretty fabulous couples… the kind that make you want to be a better person, and you feel so blessed to know.
I’d say that the good definitely outweighs the bad here. And even more – maybe someone equally private sees that you are happy to work with any and all clients – and books you because you won’t make a fuss about not being able to blog their wedding.
**Disclaimer – I realize everybody has their different take on this and that is fine! But I have found that this policy works A-OK for our business. Also, I realize that if ALL your clients were private ones you wouldn’t have any work to show in your portfolio… but that is never the case. There will always be people who would love for you to share their images, and there will always be a few people who would prefer they keep their private moments private. (Out of the 90 clients who have booked us over the years for elopements/weddings, only 3 of them have requested privacy.) Regardless of which type of client they are – if they love you, your work, and want you to document one of the most important days in their lives – I’d say that’s a win right there! And if you are equally stoked about the idea of working with them – I can’t imagine turning them away!
Respect people’s wishes and chances are they’ll shout your praise to anyone willing to listen… and that’s more than any little blog post or Google search can do.