If you’re on Instagram at all, you’re likely very familiar with “stories”, which are photos and videos you post that disappear after 24 hours. They are frequently used for people to give updates, post dog photos (guilty), and a lot of wedding photographers use them to post behind the scenes shots on wedding days that they are a part of.
But as a photographer, this is my plea to you: stop posting your client’s weddings to Instagram Stories. Let’s go over the reasons why:
You are at work, and you shouldn’t be using social media.
When you work in a creative field, the boundaries between work and play are often blurred (especially when much of your work is at cocktail hours and receptions).
But when you take your phone out and post a part of the day (say the getting ready, which is what I most commonly see) you are showing your client that in that moment, your phone is a bigger priority than they are.
I understand that you may be waiting for confirmation from a second shooter or a babysitter. There may be a logistical reason why you need to have your phone in your pocket on vibrate. But there is no reason to be on social media.
You are violating your client’s privacy.
It’s as simple as that – unless you specifically ask if it’s okay to post something, you are violating their privacy on their wedding day.
Imagine if you tag your couple in a post of somebody all dressed up – and their dad saw it before their first look. Or worse, their partner, who was scrolling through social media.
You never know who they don’t want to see things, and even if you ask, they are likely overwhelmed and may forget to think about a scenario like this.
Rather than post yourself, ask if they share anything to tag you in it, so you can repost it to your own stories. Your clients would love to help you out like this, and this way, anything they post is already out there approved.
Whatever you’re posting to Instagram, you could be taking pictures of instead.
It’s a pretty plain concept, right? If you’re posting a photo or video to Instagram, you should probably be taking that photo or video with your camera. Instagram stories for wedding photographers is a little bit too obvious, in the fact that you should obviously be taking pictures on your camera, not your phone. And clients will see this too.
While there’s a good chance you’ll have a fun loving client who thinks it’s awesome to be posted to your business page, remember this: that attention is not nearly as important as capturing memories for them. Doing your job well will always win you much better recognition than posting about them.
“But Makayla, I need content. People love behind-the-scenes!”
I get it, content is king. Instagram stories for wedding photographers seems like a match made in heaven. We all know that having the right stuff and posting the right stuff is the key to keeping engagement up.
But this is not the time or place.
If you want to have behind the scenes of you doing something, hire an assistant (on your own dime, NOT a client-paid-for second shooter) to take a few photos and videos of you throughout the day (and send them home before dinner – your client doesn’t have to pay for their meal). Then post the content the next day, and even add it to your website. But do not waste your client’s time by posting to social media in the middle of their event.
It’s okay – we’ve all done things we aren’t proud of. I hope you’ll reconsider your approach, and work on spending more time being present at your client’s events – you never know what incredible moment you may have missed otherwise.
Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN.
I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.
This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.
Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.
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