The internet has made it easier than ever before to connect engaged couples with the suppliers they need to provide goods and services on their wedding day.
In the olden days, couples had to rely on things like looking up ads in the Yellow Pages, advertisements in wedding magazines and word of mouth to find their wedding vendors.
Unfortunately, the internet makes it extremely easy for unscrupulous individuals to create a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or all of the above and post photographs on it of their so-called “work”.
This can include photographers, videographers, dress makers, hair and makeup artists, bakers, stylists and more.
These people will either show examples of work they have not created and pretend that it is their actual work. Or they will admit they weren’t the person who created what is being depicted, but claim they can “produce the same” work for clients.
Apart from being misleading and unethical, these people may not even have any talent or skills of their own whatsoever – and you may not get anything close to what you are paying for.
Cheaper isn’t always better
There’s a saying “if you think that it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”.
Your wedding day is too important to leave to chance. If you have hired someone who has used stolen photos or stock photos of hair and makeup to do yours on your wedding day, can you be certain they will make you look as good as the photographs?
What about the baker? Can you be certain they can produce the quality of work that they showcase? You should meet with them to see examples with your own eyes. Have a look at Cakewrecks to see how often wedding cakes might not measure up to what you asked for.
Another thing to be on the lookout for is cheap knock-off designer dresses. There are a variety of sites, mainly in China, that show photographs of actual designer wedding and bridesmaid gowns… stolen from the designers’ own websites. When they arrive they often look nothing like what was promised, and leave a trail of heartache behind them. Take a look at the “Knockoff Nightmares” Facebook page to see some jaw-dropping examples of how reality didn’t measure up to expectations.
Reality vs expectation: Source, Bored Panda.
The photographer or videographer you have hired may have stolen images from other photographers elsewhere in the world. Sometimes it can be really obvious that the weddings illustrating their portfolio weren’t taken in Australia, but other times it can be harder to detect. Sadly, it is super common for there to be lots of shonks out there who think that because they have a camera, they can pass off someone else’s photos as their own until they build up a portfolio of work. There’s a website called Photo Stealers dedicated to outing them too, that’s worth checking out.
Everyone has to start somewhere, we completely get that, but honest and ethical suppliers will build up a portfolio of work that is actually theirs before they go out to the marketplace and offer their services to others for a fee.
How to tell if a photograph was taken by someone else?
It’s possible to determine if a photograph that’s being used on a supplier’s page has appeared elsewhere on the internet or not.
On your computer you can right-click on an image and save it to your desktop. Open your browser and go to Google and at the top of the page right-click on “images”. A search box will appear that shows a camera icon at the right side. Select the camera icon, upload the image and then click “browse”.
Google then searches the internet to find other locations where the image has appeared.
You may find that it has appeared on many, many, many other business pages – most of them pretending it is their work. Or it may just appear on a competitor’s site, and you will know that one or the other supplier has taken liberty and used work that doesn’t belong to them.
Or you may find that it belongs to a stock website, such as Shutterstock or Getty images or iStockphotos. If this is the case the vendor has probably purchased the image to use to display – it’s not illegal, but it is unethical if they are pretending that what is depicted in the image is something that they have created or if they are a photographer pretending that they took the photograph.
However, there are legitimate reasons why a photo would appear on other websites, so you do need to exercise discretion.
For example, a supplier may have been involved in a collaborative shoot with other suppliers, and the photos may appear on all of their websites and social media. Or the wedding photographer may have passed on photos to other wedding vendors for their use after a wedding.
Photographs may have been submitted to wedding blogs and directories and you may see them there as well.
If in doubt, ask questions, and don’t be satisfied with any dodgy answers!