Is my wedding photographer hiding us from her portfolio?

This post struck a nerve with the photographer community, and we wanted to include a few of their responses to make sure we reflected their take on the issue as well. Read on for a few more perspectives below…

Is my wedding photographer hiding us from her portfolio?
Yo, why are you hiding us, photog?!
Lace sleep mask by Blossom Body

I was married last year. We were happy with our photographer, and pre-booked an upcoming summer time family shoot with her. Now, six months after the wedding, I've realized that she hasn't posted any of our engagement, bridal or wedding photos to her website or social media, despite posting pretty much every wedding I'm aware she's been involved in (I follow her personal social media).

While our event was mildly offbeat, it's nothing that seems like it wouldn't fit in with her overall style. I have, however, noticed that I'm not nearly as thin or stereotypically pretty as many of her other brides and I can't help but be a little offended. Now I'm wondering if I should find a new photographer for our family photos — one who maybe appreciates our personal style a little more?

We totally get it: as a client, you want to see photography examples that represent YOU. That includes varying body types, physical abilities, cultural backgrounds, races, and the LGBTQ communities.

It's such an asset to have many different kinds of couples so they can display their many talents in capturing all kinds of people. I know that's what I'd want from a photographer. We've talked about it before, too.

In your case, it may be that your photographer is targeting only a few types of couples, which can feel really shitty when you're not within that mold.

Alternately, it could also just be that there's an element of the photos that just doesn't capture their work as well, be it lighting, venue issues, etc.

Many photographers also just don't have the space or time to post every wedding! So don't think that you didn't look stunning.

Regardless, of course you have every right to find a different photographer for your upcoming family shoot.

When you're vetting photographers, check out their portfolios to see if they highlight various body types and looks, if that's important to you. That will be your best indicator of whether or not they appreciate what you'll bring to their repertoire. And you will bring something awesome, be sure of that.

Best of luck!

Updated to add

While we stand behind our choice to share this reader's question, we want to acknowledge that we didn't do our part to include enough of the perspective of wedding photographers — and that wasn't cool. Here are a few perspectives from the other side…

"I only post the weddings whose look I want to be hired for. Once I shot a wedding on a yacht. I didn't post it because this really isn't the type of look I'm going for. My criteria are particular.
Likewise, I don't get offended when my tattoo artist doesn't put my tattoos in her portfolio." – Randi

"I don't think I'd personally be offended. And the way the bride looks definitely isn't the most likely reason the photog decided not to use the photos. If they are a particularly busy photographer, they may simply choose a picture here and there from some of their shoots. It's possible the photographer didn't feel she pulled her A game on some of the photos and didn't want to showcase them. Sometimes as an artist, you're not always as happy wiht your work as your clients. There are a lot of reasons that likely have absolutely nothing to do with the couple at all.

It's nice to be featured, but shouldn't the main concern be that you got photographs that you're happy with that you can show off to the people that matter to you? If you're happy with her work, I'd use her again. If you're that concerned with why she didn't use your wedding to showcase, you could simply just ask. She may have a good reason. It's unlikely that she would even think she's offending anyone by not featuring every single wedding. I think cancelling and being upset with her without talking to her about it could mean you'd miss out on some great photos!

You've already built a relationship with her and if you're really happy with the pictures, then you should definitely chat with her about your concerns." – Hailey

"As a wedding planner who also selects what weddings to highlight on my website and blog, there are many factors that come to play 1. Time of year. I might just be busy or I might want to attract couples in other seasons. 2. Venue. It could very well be at a venue that's not a favorite so I want to focus on attracting clients at other venues. 3. Diversity. I might already have a lot of weddings with the same colors & style. 4. Number & quality of photos. Maybe the photographer didn't take as many detailed shots as I like to work with. I really would not take it personally if your wedding is not selected!" – Tanis

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  1. I don't know about your photographer. For me, I fear I will overwhelm my potential clients with a portfolio that is too large. I also usually check multiple times that my clients are okay with their photos being included in my portfolio. I try to choose at least 1-2 photos from every shoot. I love the joy photography brings to people. If offbeat makes you happy, let's do it! These photographs are for you, not my portfolio.

    2 agree
  2. This is a terribly disingenuous article. During the busy season I barely keep up with editing and delivering let alone blogging. The irony is you're criticizing photographers for not posting certain types of weddings and couples(on an assumption basis), meanwhile you're entire business is built on not posting certain kinds of weddings.

    2 agree
    • i don't think it's disingenuous to suggest that a photographer remember that all kinds of people get married all the time – fat, thin, tall, short, white black asian latin@, LGBTQ, straight, people with disabilities and the perfectly able-bodied. whether those weddings are offbeat or not, a photographer looking to reach the widest possible range of clients does him or herself a disservice by limiting the examples of weddings in a portfolio to just the prettiest clients or the spendiest venues.

      someone shopping for a vendor might be turned off because the photographer doesn't have any examples of a bride that "looks like me" or a wedding venue that's similar to their own – can the photographer work with my giant, boisterous family? will i be fat-shamed, openly or behind my back, because i don't look like a runway model in my dress? will the photographer respect my cultural heritage, alternative lifestyle, or other non-traditional [whatever] of my event? how comfortable would i be, having someone follow me around who has no evidence of working on an event like mine?

      and it's not just talking about blog posts with dozens of beautifully-edited photos and a few paragraphs' reminiscence – the writer notes that she has seen zip from the photographer on any social media account at all.

      1 agrees
  3. I agree with Sean. This is an extremely negative article that only serves to put unnecessary doubts into client's minds while accusing photographers of something most are not doing.

  4. Words can not describe how bad this article is.
    1st Like Sean said "you're entire business is built on not posting certain kinds of weddings."
    2nd Photographers may not have time to post something from the 100+ shoots they do every year.
    3rd I personally feel weird about using my clients for marketing material. Who wants the most personal & intimate day of their life to spread all around the internet to make money for other people?
    This article is just sad, wedding industry click bait.

    • I think it needed to be said, though. If Offbeat Bride are getting questions like this, then there must be other brides/couples who maybe have that experience where they feel like their photographer doesn't give as much to their wedding as others on their marketing. And I'm not saying that's true, but think about it from the pov of a couple who's spent the run-up to the wedding and planning looking at all photographers' work. Surely, the point of the blog/marketing/portfolio is for couples to imagine themselves in the position of being the photographer's clientele? If they only have a portfolio to go by, of course they're going to aspire to be on the blog/portfolio.

    • I think the photo is one the editors thought was an appropriate image for the article, being a bit wedding-y while hiding someone's face. The Etsy link is probably just to give credit/state the photo's source.

      (Unless you got that and were just being sardonic – it's hard to tell over the 'net!)

      1 agrees
  5. I have to agree with the other comments. There are so many reasons as to why a photographer isn't able or doesn't want to feature a certain wedding, and it is not something any bride should feel offense over (to which I can be sympathetic for, but not apologetic towards).

    Is she happy with her images? Does it represent her style and did she feel respected and well serviced by this photographer? That's the whole point of hiring a professional, and it seem those things were fulfilled so much that she wanted to stay with that same person. Not only do we not have the ability to feature 40+ weddings a year, but many of those weddings have elements that will not attract new brides to our services (poor venue choice, lacking in certain shots because of circumstances out of our control on the wedding day, it looks the same as another wedding already featured, the list goes on). Not to mention having every wedding featured goes against all design and marketing laws for websites. You select your best work and what's current for your target market. No professional photographer features every single session and wedding, or even posts a single photo from certain sessions, it's completely unrealistic. She will be sorely disappointed if she expects this from a great local professional.

    This article will only further damage client and professional relationship and sow seeds for inevitable distrust. Your own blog is built on selective content, so I would hope those who approved the article's response can view it through that lens.

    1 agrees
  6. It seems like a lot of the comments don't really address the question at hand. The photographer who took their photos has posted at least a few photos of the majority of the weddings they've done – but not from the questioner's. It's not a question about how much time it takes to edit, whether everyone should be suspicious of photographers, how many photos should be posted… it's literally just "they're posting everyone else's weddings, but not mine".

    Personally, yeah – I want to work with someone who celebrates along with me. If they only post thin, straight, cis folks, I want to work with someone else.

    I hope the wedding photos were good, and you definitely don't need to continue to do business with a photographer that you are questioning your relationship with. It's ok to let it go and find someone who fits your family better.

    5 agree
    • Yeah, I think the comments hit the nail on the head.
      Offbeat only shows certain wedding images & they are criticizing a photographer for allegedly doing the same thing. WTF?

      • Offbeat posts weddings with queer, tattooed, trans, and fat folks. That's kind of their thing. They would be totally justified in criticizing a photographer for not doing that.

        But that's not even what they did here. They said literally what half the photographers here are saying – it could be due to a lot of reasons, from time, to lighting, to business focus.

        I don't get why so many people think that it's weird to say that yes, you can choose to use a photographer who makes a point of celebrating people who look like you. It may not be reasonable to expect a photographer to go above and beyond, but it is very much something that you're allowed to take into consideration when deciding where to get future photos taken.

        1 agrees
        • Yeah, the brides comment in the blue above doesn't mention anything about "queer, tattooed, trans, and fat folks" so I am really not sure which point you are trying to make.

          Again this article took something so small & decided to turn it into Jerry Springer wedding industry click bait.

    • Yes, this really stands out to me. Maybe it's not a standard marketing practice, but it's very clearly this photographer's marketing practice, and most of the comments aren't bearing that in mind – if most of them said "well that's a weird practice, and maybe the photographer is moving over to the more standard method" I'd give them more leeway, but at the moment the comments just smack of having read the headline without the article.

      Honestly, the comments have put me off wedding photographers far more than the original article. If you wanted to make your profession appear to be populated by people who don't read, lack empathy with their clients, and launch into defensive tirades online, well, you've done it. I'm very grateful the photographer I'm using hasn't commented here!

      5 agree
  7. Hey, guys! Just wanted to let y'all know that we absolutely heard your concerns — this post was a bit of a misfire. We've updated the post to add several photographers' perspectives, and appreciate all of you who commented and contacted us directly with your concerns.

    We do our best, but sometimes we miss the mark. This was one of those times, and we're sorry.

    1 agrees
  8. I can't help but notice that all of the critiques are coming from people working in weddings – photographers and planners.

    This wasn't an article about the wedding industry. It was a response to a letter. I'm puzzled that not a single one of the responses considers for a second that a photographer might not put up photos from a wedding where they didn't feel the bride met their aesthetic standards. That happens a lot, and I don't understand the outrage that someone might even consider that a photographer is doing it.

    No one is even coming at this with an angle of "I make sure that I put up photos of all my clients / photos that represent the diversity of all my clients". It's just straight up "No photographers do that, why would you insinuate anyone ever does that, we're just really busy, that's all?!" Like, none of you do things to make sure your client base can see themselves or similar people are represented in your social media or portfolio? No reassurance, no suggestions for how people can make sure their photographer is a good fit, nothing?

    I'm looking for a wedding photographer right now, and I can definitely say that this isn't a good look.

    3 agree
    • Because it's not a big deal!
      My dentist doesn't have a photo of my smile on his website or Instagram. I'm not upset about that, I'm not trying to have Dental Health Weekly write an article about it.
      Get a life!

      • Dentists don't post photos of their patients. Probably because they aren't photographers, and it would be really weird for them to do that. Photographers DO post photos of their clients, so get ready to be shocked, but yeah, folks expect them to post photos of their clients. You don't think that's reasonable, cool. It just means that we'd be a really bad fit for working together, that's fine.

        I really don't get the "Get a life!" anger over suggesting that a wedding site answering a bride's question about a photographer isn't ludicrously unreasonable.

        3 agree
    • You say you're looking for a photographer right now and also assert that photographers don't feature weddings because brides haven't met "their aesthetic standards". You even specifically say "That happens a lot".

      How could you possibly know that as a non-photographer? I don't mean to attack you at all—how you feel is how you feel—but you're ascribing motivations to an entire class of creative professionals based on what reads like a big assumption. This is what the many photographers replying are responding to.

      I'm not a photographer, but I know a few and I am a designer. My portfolio and Instagram include examples of maybe 15% of the work I do… if that much! I am very particular about what I advertise, and it's based on my own internal criteria of my best work. I realize that's not perfectly analogous to wedding photography (because no people) but I think it's a huge folly to assume that someone not broadcasting a wedding on social media or their portfolio has anything whatsoever to do with the couple featured.

      I also read the question slightly differently. This question was written by someone *after* their wedding, so we can assume she/he selected a photographer based on an existing portfolio she/he saw themselves in.

      So it's not a question of general representation, just about being personally featured (advertised, really), which I think is problematic. It's not a photographer's job to advertise each one of their clients. If a client wants to see their photos shared widely, then that's something they can always do via their own channels.

    • I'm a wedding photographer and I agree with you. I totally understand why some photographers don't include every client in their website portfolio or on social media – and that's their choice. It's just not a choice I can make for myself. Over the last year it's become increasingly more important to me to ensure I'm showing as much diversity in my portfolio as I can and highlighting racial diversity, LGBTQ+, and a variety of body types in my work. I'm not perfect at it, but I'm working hard at getting better at it. I also make the choice to show every client I shoot on social media and my blog. It's part of my client's experience with me, they love it and I want to strive to give them all the same positive experience. I also think it balances out my work. Not every wedding has that perfect magazine look to it, some are casual , some are at venues I don't want to shoot at again, but I love the people I get to photograph and that's more important to me. I'm terrible at keeping up on my blog, so if someone hasn't made it on my blog yet, it's because it's the bottom of my task list, but everyone does eventually.

      Regardless of being a wedding photographer, I totally sympathize as a person with the poster. If it seemed like my photographer was showing all her weddings on social media and mine wasn't there it would make me feel uneasy too. I was actually recently photographed professionally myself, and my portrait photographer never put me up on her social media which stung. Am I too fat? Too alternative looking? Are my tattoos offensive? These are all questions that run through my mind and I think it's natural for someone with a more alternative look to wonder that in this situation. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to ask why, but I'd encourage the poster – if she likes this photographer's work and continues working with them – to ask if she'll be able to see any sneak peeks on social media this time around and it might be a good way to start the conversation. I also think it's completely reasonable to search out a photographer who you feel will represent you and provide you with the same experience as their other clients.

      6 agree
      • Thanks for being honest and upfront, Carrie! I'm not a photographer, but as a customer, I know I'd have the same reaction as you and the OP if I hired a photographer who updated her website with new weddings weekly (or however long) but left the work they'd done for me out of it. I'm sure most newly weds are reasonable people, but it must hurt to expect to see your wedding on their social media because that's what the photographer has always done only to have it look like you weren't their customer at all.

    • I post all of my favorites from every client I work with on my blog and social media. The "busy" excuse is just that– an excuse. I find time to do it, and I almost always deliver wedding photos within a week (along with the blog + social media post).

      2 agree
    • It doesn't really matter if some photographers don't blog a client who doesn't fit their aesthetic because we have no way of knowing why someone doesn't blog every wedding. This article very much made it sound like that's what a lot of people do, and it simply isn't the truth. It was a one sided article that was indeed rather hypocritical coming from someone who only posts certain types of weddings. Lots of us only post certain types of weddings for a very good marketing reason, i.e. I don't want to shoot church weddings as a rule but I do shoot them sometimes. That means I won't necessarily show them because you attract what you show, and I prefer to attract a client who wants an outdoor wedding, so I show those more on my website. There are a million other reasons that you see in the comments here. Bottom line, this article (especially the title) was a bit accusatory and made photographers in general look bad when they aren't doing anything wrong.

  9. Did the venue post photos of this wedding?
    How about the bakery?
    Did the floral designer post photos?
    What about the officiant?
    Who else abused this poor woman?

    1 agrees
  10. As a long time offbeat bride reader, I'm quite surprised and frustrated by the way you've decided to respond to the criticism from the photographers.

    The original post makes it pretty clear
    1) this photographer does post (at least in passing about pretty much every wedding)
    2) the letter writer doesn't look like the people on the photographers site
    3) the letter writer wasn't mentioned any where at all.

    Yes, there are a lot of reasons why a wedding might not be featured (I've worked as a wedding photographer, you post what you want to shoot more of). But the fact that the letter writer thinks she may have been left on purpose (because maybe this photographer only wants to shoot more skinny
    people weddings), and the fact that so many photographers are not only completely dismissing the possibility that could be the cause, but are acting as though it is shouldn't even be mentioned as a possibility, is quite frankly horrifying.

    I feel like its makes offbeat bride less of a space to share feeling marginalized, or to offer up experiences that are painful.

    It must feel so awful to think that your photographer may have felt you were not worthy to be on their site. And then to have random strangers insinuate you must be a spoiled brat to care.

    Its one thing to include the fact that there are many reasons that a photographer might not post, but it feels like your article has taken the side of the photographers posting quite hateful things on facebook.

    I am just very deeply disappointed it seems like you have completley disregarded someone's personal experience and instead sided with vendors who clearly have an agenda.

    5 agree
    • Our goal was to ensure that several perspectives were represented. If we missed the mark (…again! …In a different way!) then it might just be time for me to go back to bed. My editors and I are trying our best but sometimes it's just all a big ol' faceplant.

      2 agree
    • Seriously, this. I read this site because it's super supportive of folks who don't fit the traditional wedding mold. The comments here and on FB are *way* off from every other article I've seen on the site. Nasty, disrespectful, and ridiculously petty.

      I'm also disappointed that OB is backpedalling so hard for photographers on this one when they bent over backwards in the original response to say that there were a lot of reasons the photos might not be posted.

      3 agree
  11. Obviously, this is someone writing in sharing their experience. This bride's feelings do not necessarily reflect Offbeat Bride. I can't understand why all these photographers are getting offended and defensive about someone asking an honest question about something that is bothering them. It's much more productive (not to mention professional) to put her mind at ease and explain the legitimate reasons her photos might not be featured, rather than attack Offbeat Bride as a whole. Frankly, I don't think OBB needs to defend this post. That said, I would go with my gut instinct. If you feel like you are being shunned, or if you are simply uncomfortable, find someone else.

    5 agree
  12. Sincerely gobsmacked at the rising levels of opinions ruling every corner of this virtual reality.

    I'll explain: as a "following" fan of Ariel based on my intrigue for her then-phrase "word mercenary", her authenticity in transcending the otherwise bland blogs of the day through to the present and a personal keen nose for just interesting people, I have been online since the black screens, saw it all go to the dogs after the summer of AOL and as a highly sporadic commenter in general, I initially wanted to start my comment here today with:

    "STOP!! Enough of all the negativity!! Don't you see what is happening? Would you have this conversation if the soulless attempt at context and validation called Facebook didn't exist?

    This thread is spiralling into your average youtube comment section under a 55min woodturning video, for pete's sake get a grip, it's about an anecdote in the subjective context of a person in a place that only exists because 2 billion people agree it exists, it is not about a moral puzzle, a world changing event or human values assesment? What's more important ; to have or to be ?

    This ( what is happening here in this small corner of the web ) is representative for the essence of why "the web" merely "seems" to "work" or "connect", ( it only ever works to connect when cash is involved ) for addicted earthlings it's based on projection and binaries transporting them to a screen, and when tubebarfights break out, it is just venting that communal subconscious frustration because basically we're all shouting in space, when things don't fit into neat little controlable apps or forms, and if cords or egos are struck to such degrees then the only thing that is showing is the personal trauma of the ventilator.

    We are basically not binary, we reach out and/or in or up or down if that is what is needed, have bad days, misinterpret, get bewondered, have precious inspirations, personal victories and/or losses, but you translate that to binary or screens and it becomes a like, an emoti-con, a random omg, a surrogate to our depths and levels.

    Connect yourselves with the solution, because the thought is unbareable that it litterally is all up for grabs without a second thought and that all can be downgraded, unfollowed or deleted due to mere assumptions, form or bad hairdays, ( Black mirror anyone ?) it's projection more then ever, by the mere nature of the medium and has a lot more to do with ego or personal trauma than helpful goodness or love, where there is drama, there is no love …"

    But then I thought:" Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to offer everyone involved a cup of tea and to listen to each other and connect …"

    All the best everyone, bless. x

    1 agrees
    • Paul, if you remember me as a "word mercenary," then you go back back. Thank you for following along all these years! <3

  13. Apparently this is an unpopular opinion in this thread but… I'm hearing a lot of "I'm offended that you're offended" in these comments.

    Perspective is great! Thanks for sharing your insight, wonderful people and photogs of the world! But also, you seem to (accidentally, I'm sure) be coming down really hard on someone who is asking a question that seems to be rooted in society-created anxiety and I mean… That's kind of shitty. Accidentally or not.

    Whether your — or any other photog's — intention is to consciously leave out brides/humans who look a certain way for the #aesthetic, or if it simply got away from you or you aren't aiming for a certain clientele or whatever is less the problem here. The /real/ problem is that not enough vendors in and outside of the wedding industry make a conscious effort to dispell the shitty ideas we have about what humans should look like.

    Weddings especially are a vulnerable topic for many, which as masters of capturing human emotion in still image I don't need to remind you. Just like… Consciously think about why someone might be upset by your art when sharing your insight and opinions. Life is hard enough already, y'know?

    3 agree
  14. The fact that it's been a year since this girl got married & she can not stop thinking about it proves she is crazy.

    1 agrees

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