Professional Courtesy, Dude: Website Designer vs Wedding Photographer

I was sent an article yesterday. It is entitled “A Photographer is One Ingredient In a Recipe of Many.” I was asked to read it and provide my thoughts.

It’s written as a response by a website designer who, in her own words, “was just sent the MOST OBNOXIOUS email of my life from a wedding photographer,” and she is writing on her business site to set the record straight with a message she says everyone needs to hear.

It appears the website designer was creating a new site for a wedding vendor, and was provided a link to what I assume was an online gallery of wedding images. Designer downloads images and receives an email from wedding photographer inquiring as to the reason for the download. Website designer explains she is designing a website for a vendor who worked the same wedding and is pulling images to use on the new site.

Here’s where it gets interesting….

The designer goes on to say, and all in upper case letters: “WHAT I GET BACK IS A LECTURE.

(I can appreciate that. I am occasionally an “all caps” kind of gal, myself)

According to the designer, the photographer suggested the designer email ALL photographers to ask permission before using vendor images. The designer was shocked, justifying the use of the images by saying these are “images of THEIR (the vendor’s) work… images that were made possible by MY CLIENTS who made the wedding day BEAUTIFUL for these photographers to capture.

I believe the phrase, “DUDE. Got any friends left?” was also part of the mix.

The designer goes on to state that without these other vendors, a wedding photographer would have nothing to photograph. (And without clothes, the photographer would arrive naked. And without a camera, they wouldn’t be able to take pictures. And… yeah, not sure that’s the best argument, but okay.) She reminds the reader that it takes a team to create a beautiful wedding.

The designer wraps the article with the quest “Why am I getting heinous emails from a photographer lecturing me because my client wants to use images of HER WORK on HER OWN WEBSITE??

And after reading all this outrage on both sides, I got another cup of coffee and pondered some deep thoughts. And after pondering, I arrived at this conclusion:

Two words: Professional Courtesy.

See, it does, indeed, take a team to create a day for a bride and groom that they will always remember. I’m sure I speak for more than myself when I say the work of talented florists and bakers and seamstresses and hair/makeup artists, and chefs and wedding planners are indeed, all appreciated by wedding photographers. Hey, it’s super fun to photograph a beautiful wedding, right?

But, that’s not really the point, is it?

The issue at hand is that because we DO all work together, professional courtesy is essential to maintaining good relationships.

I wasn’t privy to the details of said exchange between designer and photographer, but why wouldn’t you want to contact photographers before publishing their work on your website? Why would you not want to extend that courtesy? What’s more, why become upset when that suggestion is made?

It’s called respect and professional courtesy.

To the indignant photographer: realize that vendors want to use your images and, more importantly, you should want them to, provided attached to the image is a logo or photo credit or link. I mean it does no good if a potential client has no idea who took the photo, right? It’s an easy solution.

And lastly, to the equally indignant web designer: just because an image contains a vendor’s product doesn’t mean the vendor now owns the images. You should know this. You’re a web designer. Dude…


About the author: Missy Mwac is a photography satirist, a lover of bacon, a drinker of vodka, a lover of sparkle, and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can connect with her on her website, Tumblr, and Facebook. This article was also published here.


Image credits: Header photo by Charles Deluvio, CC0