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Wedding Photography for ‘Exposure’ is NOT a ‘Win-Win’


An old wedding advice article has resurfaced, gone viral, and riled up a lot of photographers and non-photographers alike.

Back in 2013, the celebration-centric publication Holidappy published an article for budget-conscious engaged couples titled “How to Have a Free Wedding.” Among the 8 tips offered is one (Tip #5) with the heading “Have A Free Photographer.”

“A professional photographer can easily cost you around $800 – $3,000,” the author writes. “Now that is a waste of good money.

“As photographers run their own business, you may want to approach them and strike a bargain: cover your wedding and they can use it as a platform to advertise their business. That is a win-win situation there.”

And in case you can’t find a wedding photographer willing to cover one of the biggest days of your life for nothing but “exposure,” the Holidappy recommends that you find a friend or family member to take advantage of.

“Exploit these talents lah!” the article states. “You will be more comfortable and confident striking pose upon pose when you know the person behind the camera. No fees at all.”

The article is making the rounds on the Web again and rubbing many people the wrong way. Its comment section is being flooded with fresh outrage over Tip #5, which was also shared (and slammed) in the popular subreddit /r/ChoosingBeggars, where it has been one of the biggest posts of the year.

Compared to other occupations, photographers seem to have a higher rate of being asked to trade their talents and time for exposure — the conversation would be rather comical if a plumber were approached with the same request. Even (presumably wealthy) celebrities are trying to get free wedding photography these days.

But as the response to Holidappy’s article shows, photographers across the industry are speaking out in an effort to change the culture and public perception.

“To any couples with a wedding on the horizon I can’t urge you enough to hire a professional photographer… this over the caterer, over the venue, over the dress, the rings, just do it,” Redditor prpslydistracted writes. “Why? Because I painted a bridal portrait for the parents a year after the wedding when a friend volunteered to take their photos free! They’ll be wonderful! They were horrid. The bride was in tears after seeing them.

“A good photographer is worth every penny. Hats off to them.”