One of the biggest problems I see, time and time again, are new wedding business owners trying to build their websites and social media but have no actual images of their own to use.
I work with many new wedding businesses and see this common problem, in fact today I had a chat with one of my members about this exact thing.
This blog post is to help you find images if you aren't ready to invest in a styled shoot yet, want to get the ball rolling and have plenty of content to use on your websites and social media. The Wedding Industry relies heavily on beautiful visuals to promote their businesses so let me help you.
Firstly I will tell you what not to do.
DON'T STEAL OTHER WEDDING BUSINESSES WORK
I have seen this too many times so this is the first port of call I will address.
Never assume that all images are royalty free. Maybe you are taking images you have seen on Pinterest or a Google search and using them for your own businesses, they belong to someone, usually the photographer. If you do find images, let's say on Pinterest, take the time to find out the source and credit that business.
Don't just tag found on Pinterest. How would you feel if you see your images tagged with just found on Pinterest?
Don't pretend images are yours when they aren't, you will end up with some serious repercussions if you are just randomly searching for images and using them as it is a breach of copyright.
You are also portraying work that maybe you aren't capable of doing yet, so don't dig yourself into a hole.
The only thing you will do is set yourself up on a bad footing with other business owners who will ultimately make you an outsider that will never be trusted or accepted into the industry. Want this for your business?
THE WEDDING WORLD COMMUNITY
As you enter the industry do be aware that wedding world is actually quite small.
Whilst you may think that everyone stays in their lane and has nothing to do with each other, you are very wrong.
Many wedding business owners are friends, they work together, watch out for each other and support each others businesses. If they recognise an image from another planner's wedding, or a photographer, videographer, they will alert them.
I have seen many businesses using images from other businesses, often innocently, or though more often not innocently, and then be surprised when they are targeted and asked to take them down.
There is some lame excuse which we have all heard before, my son built my website and didn't know what was on there?! My VA does my Instagram.....we have seen it all.
Wedding world is small, don't be arrogant thinking you won't be spotted, you will.
BE SAVVY AND RESEARCH THE IMAGES TO USE FOR YOUR WEDDING BUSINESS
By all means approach the venues you wish to be associated and work with and ask them for neutral images, but do check they are 'neutral'.
Venues will send images to new wedding planners and suppliers if they have had an 'official neutral shoot'.
They are all about promoting their venue so this is an option you can explore with venues you wish to be aligned to.
However, some wedding venues are also rather quick to grab images from other businesses, especially if you created a fabulous wedding there. They use them on their marketing materials with no credit to you. Even selling their own in-house planning services stating this is what they do whereas in fact you designed and created that wedding.
As an example, my weddings are featured in many suppliers catalogues and venues around Marbella, Ronda and Andalucia but there is no credit to my business or the photographers involved.
The venues have just assumed they can use them as they were taken there. So if you ask a venue for images do check they aren't tied to other businesses and they haven't be lifted from other business's work.
SMARTER WAYS TO FIND IMAGES FOR YOUR WEDDING BUSINESSES AS YOU START UP
There are many free royalty free image banks, Pexels, Pixabay, Freepik are just a few examples. Another great source to find royalty free images is on Canva, especially if you upgrade to the Pro Version.
There are also some amazing wedding stock image banks like SourcedCo.
They specialise in creating beautiful imagery for wedding business owners who don't have time to waste, don't want to do a styled shoot just yet but want to get their gorgeous websites and social media out there quickly.
SourcedCo offer a beautiful portfolio of stunning wedding images created by wedding pros for wedding pros, not just images but video content too which is brilliant given video and reels are the way forwards.
The SourcedCo. membership is just $365 dollars per year, which is around 330 euros or 275 GBP. You have access to their growing library of over 4000 beautifully curated wedding images, new content each quarter, vertical stock videos for reels and Tik Tok, a standard license to use all the content, images and videos without having to credit anyone.
SourcedCo. are perfect for anyone wishing to create an elegant, stunning wedding website and social media presence when just starting up.
CREATING YOUR OWN STYLED SHOOTS
This is something I encourage every wedding business owner I work with to do for a few reasons.
But only do this when you are feeling confident in your style, who your ideal client is and what images you need for your website and social media. If you do this too early it maybe a waste of time, but then practise is good too as you will learn as you go along. Many of my clients have finally nailed in on shoot number three.
The other benefits of creating your own styled shoot are.
You will start networking with wedding suppliers in your area who align with your wedding business and can start to build relationships and associations with businesses who are more established than you.
You will have personal content to blog about and tag those businesses in your blog posts and social media.
Develop a network of suppliers whom you align with and build lasting relationships with promoting all your businesses.
Soon I will do another blog post about creating styled shoots for your wedding businesses and all that is involved.
Some of these links are affiliates. I totally endorse them and wouldn't recommend them if I didn't feel they weren't worth every penny and you will be helping me keep my teenage daughter in clothes shopping!
If you are feeling stuck and not getting many bookings then do come over and join my Membership Club for Wedding Business Owners, it is just 29 euros per month and there is so much in there to help you go from broke to fully booked.