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A Wedding Photographer Flatly Refused and Told an “Influencer” Bride “No Free Pictures!”

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For some reason, you can’t escape these people right now…

Social media “influencers” are everywhere these days, and while I still can’t believe this is a job that pays money, apparently these people feel like they’re entitled to free stuff in exchange for promoting the business or service on Instagram and their other platforms.

If you’re going to ask for as much as this bride did, though…you might want to make sure you’re as big of a deal as you think you are.

In case you missed it, this morning Frankie and I got an email from a “Social Media Influencer”. Frankie replied and hilarity ensued.

Posted by Laura Dunning on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The bride’s agent, a woman named Melissa, emailed Betrothed & Co to ask for a documentary-style video of pre-wedding events, an hour-long video of the ceremony, and over 1,000 photos of dress fittings and the wedding in exchange for some social media posts.

Posted by Laura Dunning on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The note read:

Good morning,

My client is a well known social media influencer who is planning to be married at the — on the 10th April, 2021. In the lead up to her wedding, beginning this summer, she would like a documentary style video (an hour long) and photos taken at the bridal fittings which can be shared with her followers. On the day of the wedding, she would like a video documenting the whole day (must be 1 hour+ in length) and a package that includes approximately 1000 photos.

In exchange she is willing to extensively promote your business to followers on Instagram and Facebook (combined amount of 55,000) including Story Shout Outs and will offer a discount of at least 25% on your packages.

Just so you are aware, we have approached four other similar businesses in your area so a fast response will be beneficial to your business.

The bride has 55,000 followers which, while not a small number, is on the slim side for someone making a living using social media.

Also, she wasn’t done.

She also wanted to offer her followers a 25% discount on their own wedding services with Betrothed & Co.

Frankie, one of the owners of the video and photo company, replied with a fair amount of snark. Rightfully so, in this writer’s opinion.

Posted by Laura Dunning on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The response:

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for your email, and we really appreciate the offer. We don’t usually offer our services for anything other than our regular going rate, however we would consider making an exception in this case. Firstly, we would just like to check if there might have been a typo in your original email, specifically relating to a missing zero in the amount of combined followers your client has across all of their platforms?

As I’m sure you probably know, 55000 is not usually the level of following which can command the free transfer of products worth between 3-4k in total, especially when you take into account bots, duplicate accounts, and the types of followers who are not our target audience. As another example, we have friends who have more than 55000 followers on one single platform, and they have even been known to pay certain suppliers a fair days wage for their goods and services.

Having said all that, I’m aware that this wedding date is nearly two years off, so if you are confident predicting that by April 2021 your client will have gained the minimum level of following that can realistically put them in the category of “influencer” then we would be happy to make some sort of arrangement. However, we would in this case require a clause in the contract stating that promoting us in your Stories to anything less than half a million followers across one single platform by the time of the wedding will trigger the full price in pounds sterling for the services you have requested.

It continued…

Posted by Laura Dunning on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Thanks also for your thoughtful suggestion of a 25% cut in our fee for any followers that book through your client’s promotional posts. Previously when we have received recommendations and promotions from high-value clients, we have been able to actually raise our prices in reflection of their strong reputations. So in that vein, it’s helpful to know in advance that being linked with your client will automatically knock 25% off the perceived value of the product we have spent so many years honing.

Finally, we really appreciate how valued as artists and professionals you have made us feel by informing us that you have only sent this exact same email to four other companies, and that a fast response will secure us the wedding rather than any artistic considerations. Likewise, please get back to us as soon as possible if you have any further questions, and we can start to get something locked in the diary.

Thanks!
Laura & Frankie
Betrothed& Co.

And that’s when things started to heat up (hilariously for everyone not requesting free wedding services).

Posted by Laura Dunning on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Good afternoon,

Frankly my client and I find that kind of unprofessional email appalling and we will no longer be considering you as contenders to shoot what would have been a very lucrative wedding for you. It would of been a great opportunity for you to network with other social media influencers and some celebrities who will be making TV appearances later in the year. On top of that we have had other businesses reply to us with additional offers of goods and services (basically paying us to work with them) rather than giving us a load of gyp like what you have.

This wedding is really important to my client as her mother has been diagnosed with cancer and it’s really unfair of you to be so mean when you could of just said no politely.

Please don’t email again as we will have to name and shame you if you continue with this abuse.

Regards,
Melissa

Frankie just couldn’t resist replying again, despite the threats, and her smartass tone rises to the level and eloquence of poetry.

Posted by Laura Dunning on Friday, June 21, 2019

Hi, Melissa, Frankie from Betrothed & Co. here

First of all, I would like to offer you a few apologies. I know we did encourage you to get back with us as soon as possible, and whilst we really do appreciate your swift reply, we would have been equally happy for you to take a couple of deep breaths before hitting “Reply.” Believe me, no one hates grammar pedants more than I do, but giving your email a little once over might have been prudent given that you supposedly work in the communications industry.

Secondly, apologies if our forthright attitude means we’ve forfeited the opportunity of networking with “Celebrities who will be on TV later this year.” (Or, in non-PR- speak “People who have never been on TV.”) We’ll just need to take this one on the chin and try to rebuild our business as best we can.

Also, it’s been a long day and I’m possibly being a little slow, but I’m struggling to find any abuse in our last email to you. However, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here, and if you can point out the offending “abusive” passage we’ll apologize straight away. (As an FYI, abuse doesn’t include sarcasm or snark – which I’m occasionally guilty of! – but for example, using a term such as “gyp,” – a racially abusive term derived from the word “gypsy.”)

Posted by Laura Dunning on Friday, June 21, 2019

Putting any ill feeling aside, I would like to offer heartfelt solidarity about your client’s mother’s cancer. I lost my own mother to this horrible disease 15 years ago, so I can imagine what your client is going through. That being said, it’s slightly strange that you use that as tool to guilt-trip us with when absolutely zero mention of this was offered in the original email. Speaking personally, it would have been the first thing I would have mentioned if I was seeking a freebie from anyone, as there are countless stories of wedding photographers offering their skills completely gratis to the families of people suffering from terminal illness. In fact, these are just about the only circumstances where I know of wedding suppliers being happy to give up their time for nothing. I’m possibly being a bit of a sentimental so-and-so, but maybe this might have been a better angle for you than just offering a few Instagram posts in exchange for several days skilled work.

Finally, one last apology is in order for going against your request to never email you again. We’re just a couple of hardworking creatives trying to make a living in a very challenging industry, and occasionally that means standing up for our profession and valuing our craft. If by my replying again you’d like to start the “naming and shaming” process, then please be my guest. I’m fairly sure the shame will appear, but possibly in unexpected quarters for you and your client.

Kind regards,
Frankie

PS: Forgive my nosiness, but who IS your client? I’m, like, super curious by this stage! ????

She’s the hero we all need in this trying time of influencers and social media “coverage” of everyday life.

No word on who the betrothed influencer is, but here’s hoping she outs herself at some point, because we’re all dying to know!