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Q: Half of my wedding clients do not want their official photos on their Facebook page or themselves tagged in official photos. (Facebook is mentioned on the contract and model release so that’s when it comes up.) They tell me they love their photos and they don’t mind them on my page and they can direct their friends to the link, but on their page, it’s an issue. 99% of my clients agree to me blogging about their session on my website. It’s Facebook that they have problems with. However, LOADS of other people at the wedding who have taken photos of them have uploaded their photos and tagged them on their pages, so you can see plenty of unofficial photos on their pages anyway – many of them, dark, blurry and hardly recognisable even.
This is frustrating for me because Facebook is where I market the most at the moment. I get clients from friends of friends having been tagged who have seen my photos of their friends. So the scenario above is not helping my marketing at all. – Lily
A: Definitely a confusing situation, especially when ‘unofficial’ images are being posted. It’s great that you explicitly mention Facebook in your contract and discuss the issue up front. Having that conversation beforehand is key. Well done.
Although we should preserve the right to display our own images, we unfortunately can’t force someone else to display them, even if it does help our marketing.
Facebook is an odd mix of public and personal, and everyone feels differently about it. Some people use it to share their lives, others just want to be available if someone needs to contact them. Internet privacy is a huge concern, and I don’t blame people for being hesitant. For example, I know many professors whose students friend them on Facebook, and they are justifiably uncomfortable with having very personal pictures associated with their profile. You should always be able to control what happens with your Facebook account (you hear that, Mark Zuckerberg?!?). You’re definitely taking the right approach by respecting their wishes.
There are a few things you can try though.
When clients consistently express concerns, it is wise to become an expert on whatever they’re concerned with.
Since this is a persistent issue for you, I suggest you become the world’s savviest Facebook Privacy Expert. Read up on all the current settings and privacy concerns. Know the options for how to make photos visible only to certain people, etc. Make sure you’re up-to-date and well-versed on the subject when you sit down with a client.
People fear the unknown. Pre-empt hesitance by offering information right when it comes up.
Remember what we learned from Pottery Barn about business? People love feeling informed. I bet a lot of the clients hesitate simply because they aren’t clear about what they can do to keep images private. They can’t keep up with all the Facebook changes, and so they’d rather just not deal with any of it.
So pull a Pottery Barn on them. Make a little 1-2 page “How To Keep Your Images Private on Facebook” guide, and hand it out with your contract, and go over it along with the contract. Make it clear what their options are for handling privacy settings. Include a few screenshots that show how to change their options. Knowledge calms fears.
If they still refuse tagging, you can politely say “Okay!” and leave it at that. When you post the pictures on Facebook, you might send them an email and say “I just posted your images on Awesome Photography’s facebook page. Feel free to go through your images and tag any that you’d like for your friends to see – it’s always fun to glimpse someone’s special day!” That way they can control exactly which ones they are associated with, and it doesn’t come off that you’re only after the marketing.
You always have the option to say that your contract is non-negotiable.
I don’t think I would personally make Facebook a deal-breaker for a wedding client, but don’t forget that you don’t have to take every client who comes along. You control how your work will be created and displayed. I have turned away a client before who had an issue with me owning the copyrights to my images. I suggested that the collaboration might not be a good fit, and we parted kindly. But it sounds like your clients are just gun-shy about privacy. Educate and keep smiling.