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Old December 24th, 2013, 10:57 AM   #1
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Using footage to promote yourself

Hi All - I have it in my terms and conditions that i can use the wedding footage online to promote my services/product. For most weddings I put a 2 minute teaser on my blog both for the couple to look at (it's usually within a few days of the wedding) and for SEO purposes as well as general advertising.

I just spoke to the groom of next Saturday's wedding and when I mentioned the blog post he said 'I don't want that - I don't want the world to see us'. Now I said OK to that as it's just one wedding out of many (I may regret that if I get awesome footage) but I wonder how he would have reacted if I'd have said 'well that's ok but would you please ask your guests not to plaster their unstable, badly framed and out of focus shots on Facebook or You Tube then!

Pete
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Old December 24th, 2013, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

I think he's being reasonable. The thing that is easy to forget is that the video you post isn't just about you - there are very real people featured in our footage - it's not just about our businesses.

We've heard from people before who had VERY good reasons not to allow pictures or even their names to appear on our sites (abusive ex-spouses for instance). Being nervous about being embarrassed is just as good a reason as any. I had a groom, a teacher, call me a year after the fact because his students found their wedding videos online and it had become a problem.

What you could do is, after delivering their video, then ask politely if they've changed their mind. Do nothing to push it, but maybe once they've seen they have nothing to be embarrassed about.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

For me, out of respect in my opinion, I keep all my videos private.

I don't put them all online, but for the higher end projects, I got to where I would make the couple a website within my own website and give them a direct link.

Now, for my 1-minute promo video, I use clips obviously, but there are no names and the moments are not what I would consider embarresing or inappropriate etc.
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Old December 24th, 2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Hi Pete

My contract also allows me to use footage "for promotional, demo or any other purpose" which really allows me to do anything I like with it BUT if the client specifically says no then I abide by his/her request... I did have an under-cover cop get married a few years ago so it was fairly obvious he needed to stay off the web totally!

It's really no big deal if you lose some promo footage even if it's the best you have ever done! In fact I would much rather NOT have my very best ever demo on line or to show the bride!! I'm much happier letting them see just normal footage so when they get their video there are no nasty surprises and the client only expects what she has already seen of your normal work and your end result never has to stand up to your very best outcome.

Just let it slide and you will have a happy groom!

Chris
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Old December 24th, 2013, 09:55 PM   #5
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
I think he's being reasonable. The thing that is easy to forget is that the video you post isn't just about you - there are very real people featured in our footage - it's not just about our businesses.
I agree with everything said, but especially with your take Robert. Well said. It's not about us, it's about them. I personally would never make it part of my terms that I may use footage online. If I want to post something, I ask the customer. Most love it. A few do not. It's all about what the customer wants.
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Old December 25th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #6
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

i add to that usual clause that they may request it be hidden/passworded from the public, so i still retain the right to show it to others, just not the open public
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Old December 25th, 2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the couple gives their ok, you still don't have permission from the rest of the bridal party, along with any guests that may be in the background.
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Old December 26th, 2013, 10:13 AM   #8
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

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Another thing to keep in mind is that even if the couple gives their ok, you still don't have permission from the rest of the bridal party, along with any guests that may be in the background.
You are posting filming notices at the entrances to the church and reception, right? That doesn't get you a contractual consent like a model release, but is nice to do if you're planning on posting publicly. If someone were to object, you just avoid them.

Or, if you plan on trying to get your videos posted on wedding blogs and such in order to gain publicity and business, I'd also get model releases from the wedding VIPs.
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Old December 26th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

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Or, if you plan on trying to get your videos posted on wedding blogs and such in order to gain publicity and business, I'd also get model releases from the wedding VIPs.
and then deal with the discounts or freebies this use suggests to the client. They pay you to take images of their day that you then use to generate future business? Most clients assume that paying means 'it's theirs". We've been getting very cross with Adobe's change of business model, as in you no longer have anything to own, you just borrow it - but aren't we saying this to the clients? You pay us to let you use our material
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Old December 26th, 2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Most are understanding that you'll be using the footage in promoting your business.
It's when you want to take it beyond your own website, I'd get additional permissions.

This may be relevant if it's a truly spectacular setting or some other atypical aspect you think it would be great to share.
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Old December 26th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

As far as I am concerned, I am hired to film the couple's wedding because they want a professional record of it, but it is their day not mine. I give the couple full copyright on the finished work and don't put their private day on line for my own use. I do ask that I am allowed to show their wedding as an example to potential clients on a visit, in the same way that they would have been shown a wedding by me on a visit. I never send demo videos to clients and never let them keep hold of them when I show them.

I would be very unhappy if a private video of part of my life that I paid for, was put online by someone for their own promotion.

Roger
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Old December 26th, 2013, 08:13 PM   #12
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Hi Roger

I look at online clips for a slightly different perspective than self promotion. I do have online clips and they are not there to say "Look how good I am" at all. My clips will assure a new bride who doesn't know me that firstly I can produce a wedding video and I'm a current producer and have done weddings over the current month not a hobbyist who might have shot his/her's relative's wedding 3 years ago. Secondly it does show not only my best video ever, but a current selection of my work so they know exactly what they will get. Let's face it, most brides look online for vendors unless they have a referral (even with a referral they still want to look at your website) so it's only sensible to be able to justify your claims on your website with actual footage for the bride's peace of mind. I would much rather have a bride look at one of my current clips and say "Yuk" than make wild claims and then have a bride come to me later saying "This is nothing like what you promised me on your website"

Early in the interview I do tell them that they get an online clip and their own webpage of their ceremony and most are delighted .. I have had one or two who don't want anything online and of course, I respect that request and nothing appears online.

For me I'm not trying to promote myself but purely assure the bride that I can produce an acceptable wedding video and have been doing so on a regular basis over the last 23 years.

Chris
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Old December 27th, 2013, 04:23 AM   #13
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

I'd like to give a stills shooters perspective on this subject as its a bridge we crossed quite a few years ago.

Its only relatively recently that its been feasible to put video online comprising anything other than the smallest and lowest res of clips, let alone for there to be a high enough market penetration of high speed broadband for prospective clients to view in any numbers.

The angst and yes the holier than thou attitudes were widespread when it became straightforward to put extensive stills galleries online.

We all assumed that every client would want password protection and indeed this was was case when you floated the subject at consultations. What more could there be to know? End of.

But it wasn't the end of.

I had probably 150 galleries online all password protected. Then my hosting company had some sort of technical hitch and access to all the galleries was locked. There was no easy way to fix this at either end and I would have to set up the individual protection for every client all over again, possibly even having to use new login details.

I contacted the clients and to my surprise virtually no-one wanted password protection. Indeed in their hindsight they saw it as a PITA because they had had to inform every friend and guest of the login details, sometimes more than once.

After that I transitioned from password protection being the default to open being the default, with protection being available on request. There is never anything risque or embarrassing in wedding galleries and once they have seen their own galleries virtually every client couldn't care less.

That was years and years and years ago. I now think of photographers who hide their regular work as highly likely to be charlatans. Or inexperienced and unknowingly making wrong assumptions about clients preferences. I should add that I never use surnames online and I always remove all the metadata from the JPEGS (using Exif Cleaner).

Some whose style involves a heavy amount of retouching or stylising do have a point - sort of - because they don't want prospective clients to see full weddings "warts 'n all" instead just the ones they have worked what they would regard as their magic on - small selection of hero images. But that does of course raise Chris's issue about clients not receiving what they think they are going to receive having seen only a bunch of fashionista greatest hits galleries. Bit like clients assuming that a documentary long-form is going to be a bigger version of a cinematic short-form.

In the stills part of the industry things have matured to the point where it is common practice to charge clients extra if the photographer cannot use some of the work in their business. This is perfectly legitimate because the methods of finding new clients have moved away from print and paid online advertising to blogging, social media, and SEO. If you cannot use these methods same as everyone else is doing then your costs to obtain new clients will be significantly higher and this needs to be reflected in your business model pricing.

Apart from that prospective clients do like to be able to browse complete weddings - its reassuring as Chris points out - and it provides ideas and helps them plan their own day. With video I doubt whether there are many casual visitors who are going to comb samples for compromising material - which they won't find anyway.

Obviously if you work in a niche then no-use may be legit but you shouldn't just assume that because your client is a secret squirrel police officer or a minor celebrity that you need to give up on what is now the most important source of new business (other than recommendations).

The whole area of blogging, social media, and SEO is like a tsunami about to hit the cosy world of wedding videography. I've been able to get on page one for loads of video associated search strings with virtually no effort. Basically no-one else bothers much with it. Take a look at what happened with stills and then remember you should fix the roof whilst the sun is shining.

My own contract clause is this (and that as well is online):
2. Display: The client(s) hereby allow(s) the photographer(s) videographer(s) to display any photograph video and other content covered by this contract and to generally promote the business in advertising, brochures, magazine articles, websites, sample albums and prints, venue and other vendor samples, and other such material, providing that the content is used lawfully and without damage to the client(s).

I've had countless management consultants lawyers accountants actuaries etc as clients. Even the lawyers seldom if ever query it; if they do it tends to be the newly qualified ones who might take it as a game to play.

Guests etc are at a public event where there is an expectation that attendees will be photographed and videod. This means - in the UK - that they cannot trump you with a privacy claim.

Pete
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Old December 27th, 2013, 06:52 AM   #14
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Very informative post Pete and it seems that stills have much the same issues. Seriously in the last 10 years I have have TWO (yes just two!) out of over 300 weddings who didn't want online videos. The one was the undercover officer and the other (who initially wanted it for Mum in the UK and was more than happy she had it) phoned me after 12 months wanting it immediate removal so I think maybe hubby got tired of her nonsense and left so she wanted all traces of her wedding removed. I did it on the phone then and there.

Overall this seems to be a molehill being perceived as a mountain! In my experience (and yours too) brides love putting their wedding online and often share it on Facebook too so those who claim that brides are against online content must have been unlucky and caught the 1% that don't want online content.

Like you my clause gives me the right to use content to show other brides but I'm also quite happy to delete the clause if it worries a bride. Most WANT to get as much exposure as possible for friends and family and are highly unlikely to worry about privacy and such issues on their special day!!

Just for other's interest, I never disclose any surname or any personal data online so John and Janet are not going to be exploited by scammers looking to commit identity theft.

Chris
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Old December 28th, 2013, 05:44 AM   #15
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Re: Using footage to promote yourself

Does anyone else use the facebook aspect of self-promotion. Because, whilst my work on my website etc... ceratinly helps attract clients, I don't need EVERY one to go online.

But another promotion method (which I know lots of people do) is to add your clients as 'friends' on Facebook and then share the video with both of them tagged.

This means the video is visible to all their friends on their news feed.

I had a couple recently who asked me not to put it on Facebook - which was annoying, as i really liked them, and would have been keen to gain more bookings from their circle of friends and family.

Some people are just quite showy (like me) whilst others don't want to be looked at.

You have to respect that - but as a business man - I'm going to push myself and my work everywhere I can unless I'm specifically asked not to.

You wouldn't have a clothes shop with just a counter, but keep all the product for sale in the back.
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