Tips on unmasking wedding suppliers who lie on their portfolio.
There’s nothing worse than doubting the honesty of someone you’ve put your faith and trust in. That nagging doubt that all is not what it seems. Rest assured most wedding suppliers are honest, hard working businesses, passionate about going above and beyond. Sadly though, the wedding industry does have its fair share of unscrupulous wedding suppliers who lie. Those shameful people who want your money and will lie through their teeth to get it. This isn’t a pleasant subject by any means but I thought I’d share some tips on what to look out for during your wedding planning journey so at least you can be on your guard.
How truthful are website images?
When you start to plan your wedding you’ll probably turn first to the internet and social media for ideas and inspiration. This is where you’ll find and follow your favourite suppliers, saving the ideas you love and getting a feel for what you want for your own day. Most of the suppliers you see will post genuine images of their work but over the years I’ve seen my fair share of wedding suppliers who lie both on their website and social media channels. There are some people who think there’s nothing wrong with adding a competitor’s images to their portfolio and claiming that work as their own. Shameful, right?
I’ve personally seen a wedding planner share a cake on her instagram claiming it to be something she personally arranged for her client when in truth the image was the work of a cake maker in the USA and nothing to do with the wedding planner at all. Did she even have a bride and groom? Has she even planned a wedding before? In my opinion this is fundamentally dishonest and immoral and not a good start to forming honest relationships with her clients. This is why it pays to do your research.
This is a true story. Once upon a time, in a county not that far away, a styling company approached us to attend an event we were organising. They completed our application form:
Do all the photos on your website show your own work?’ ‘Yes’ they answered.
Well I guess over the years I’ve developed an eye for these things because something looked amiss. We ran our usual checks and discovered we were right. The true answer was a resounding NO. They were in fact using 10 paid for stock images on their portfolio page and touting them alongside the title ‘See some of our work’. That, my lovelies, is misrepresentation. We have to ask ourselves why they would do this? I can only conclude:
a) they’ve never actually styled a wedding b) their own work isn’t good enough to show off c) they want me to think they’re bigger and better than they really are
The problem is, if they’ll lie about that, what else will they lie about? Needless to say, they weren’t invited to the event.
Using stock images correctly
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with using stock images if used correctly. Stock images are used by reputable companies worldwide. We occasionally use them ourselves. I deliberately bought a stock image for this post to demonstrate the type of image a blog, magazine or newspaper might use to accompany an article. The big difference is I’m not claiming to have done the makeup or taken the photograph; and yes, unbelievably I’ve found stock images on photographers’ websites too.
It’s the claim that the image is ‘our own work’ that is so very wrong. Even if a supplier doesn’t directly claim an image is their own work, isn’t it surely implied if they’ve added it to their website portfolio or shared it on social media without clarification or credit to the originator?
Stealing images from competitors
The lowest of the low are the people who steal images from a competitor’s website and claim the work as their own. Incredibly this does happen. I have industry friends who have had it happen to them, on more than one occasion. I will never understand what goes through the mind of someone who thinks this is ok. I guess they have no moral code or conscience about ripping off someone else’s work. I can only assume they don’t care about ripping off brides either.
How To Use Google To Check Images On A Website
I’m going to show you how you can unmask suppliers who lie about their work. It’s easy to make your own basic checks using the Google Chrome browser. You’ll be able to source where images originate from and if what you are seeing on a website is actually the work of that supplier.
Open the supplier’s website in Google Chrome (using your laptop or PC/Mac)
Right click on an image
A pop up will appear – select ‘Search Google For Image’
Google will provide a list of all the websites where this image can be found.
If the image originated from the supplier it should appear at the top of the list and be the only website listed. (Google will also show you ‘similar’ images but you’re looking for the exact same image.)
If the image can be found on several websites look at the web address below the image – do they point to Pinterest, a stock image website or another supplier’s website?
Pinterest is often where people go to help themselves to images. Check for the Pinterest url in the results
If you find the image used on a third party website you need to dig deeper. There could be a genuine reason for it. Check the web address. Is it a wedding blog that has featured that supplier for instance? Is there a link back to the supplier? Is there a credit to the supplier?
Don’t Jump To Conclusions
Suppliers and photographers share images online all the time. Think real weddings, editorial shoots and wedding blogs. If you see someone’s work on a blog or website it doesn’t automatically mean it has been used without their permission. Usually there will be a link to the suppliers website. But a stylist is highly unlikely to offer a real image of their work to be used by another stylist – especially without a credit! The same goes for florists and cake makers. If you see an identical bouquet shot on more than one florist’s website then you should be thinking something is a little fishy!
6 reasons why a supplier’s images might genuinely be on third party websites:
Wedding blogs (there is usually a link back to the originator’s website or at least a credit)
Official product images
New business just starting out?
If you’re a new wedding business just starting out you’ll no doubt be building your website and looking for images to use. You’ll be starting off on the right foot if you use just 2 or 3 great shots of your own work rather than adding misleading stock images. You probably mean no malice by wanting to bulk out your website but it really isn’t worth it. Everyone has to start somewhere but brides would rather go for a talented honest newbie than a dishonest old hand. A good investment would be to hire a professional photographer to take some pro shots of your work or jump in to a collaborative photo shoot.
When right click won’t work
Some suppliers, especially photographers, deactivate the right click on their website to avoid having their work copied. If in doubt ask or try and check images on their Facebook page instead. Genuine suppliers are only too pleased to put your mind at rest and show you their reviews and references.
Dishonest suppliers are thankfully rare but it pays to be vigilant. The majority of suppliers are wonderfully talented individuals with genuine portfolios and glowing references. Anyone who would happily mislead you though does not deserve to be anywhere near your wedding.