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Are Wedding Suppliers Lying To You?

Are Wedding Suppliers Lying To You?

Are Online Portfolios & Galleries REALLY A Suppliers Own Work?

I am so angry!

So, so angry I feel compelled to stop what I’m doing and write this up for you.

Quite simply I am fed up to the back teeth of wedding suppliers who have the audacity to claim the work of others as their own or use images in their portfolio of work belonging to another. It is fundamentally dishonest and immoral and misleads brides into believing the work they are seeing on a business’ website is actually a truthful example from that supplier’s portfolio when it isn’t.

How truthful are website images?

Today, another wedding supplier (oh yes this has happened before) – this time a Leicestershire styling & events company – has approached us to attend our wedding fairs. They have completed our application form and ticked ‘Yes’ to our question ‘Do all the photos on your website show your own work?’ – but we have run our usual checks and the truthful answer is a resounding ‘NO – NOT ALL THE IMAGES ON THEIR WEBSITE SHOW THEIR ACTUAL WORK – THEY ARE IN FACT PAID FOR STOCK IMAGES OF SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK‘.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just one image – but there are over 10 images on one page alone and none of them are genuine examples of their own work.

Now there is nothing wrong in using stock images per se (they are used by reputable companies and household names large and small worldwide – heck we very occasionally use them ourselves and I’ve bought one today just to show you the type of image a media business will use from stock – see the featured image above. It coveys the message I’m putting across to you when I don’t have time to organise our own photo shoot!) but there is plenty wrong when any company clearly makes the claim that a stock image, or worse still, an image they have stolen from someone else’s website, is showcasing their own work.

In this specific case the business used the words ‘see some of our work’ followed by a photo gallery full of images, most if not all of which were not their own work. That is misrepresentation. And if a styling/event company is as good and busy as they claim to be, then why do they need to buy stock images when they should have plenty of ‘real photos from real weddings’ they have worked on??

We expect every business we work with to have real examples of their work or if they use stock imagery – TO BE HONEST & CLEAR that those images are merely ‘inspirational ideas’ and not their own work. For heaven’s sake that’s what Pinterest is built on – sharing ideas and inspiration – not claiming it as ones own!

How To Use Google To Check Images On A Supplier’s Website

I’m going to show you how you can make your own basic checks on your wedding suppliers to identify whether the images you are seeing on their website are actually the work of that supplier.

  1. Open the website in Google Chrome (ideally using your laptop or PC/Mac)
  2. Right click on an image
  3. Select ‘Search Google For Image’
  4. Google will provide a list of all websites where this image can be found.
  5. You need to check whether this is a stock image (trace it back to a stock website such as www.shutterstock.com or istockphoto.com) or whether the image is also being used on other people’s websites and if so does the image originate from the supplier you are interested in or are they sharing a ‘generic’ image and claiming it as their own work.

After a few tries you’ll get the gist of what looks suspicious and what looks genuine. If the image is plastered across numerous websites the chances are it’s a stock image. Alternatively you may see a link to another supplier’s site claiming the work is theirs. You need to establish who is telling the truth! I have myself recognised a photo of one of my own preferred supplier’s hire items being wrongly used by a competitor claiming the prop item as their own! It’s quite shocking to see when it happens.

We aim to check EVERY business that wants to work with us. We will not use stock imagery to promote businesses that register with us or exhibit with us. That’s not to say things don’t from time to time slip through the net (we’re not the wedding police!) but we do our best to check that what a supplier is telling us is the truth – and you should do the same.

So for the record we are not interested in working with suppliers who are comfortable with misleading brides from the very moment they click on their website.

This is a standard we have worked to from day one and will always work to.

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

TEST 1

Let’s give it a go and test some images so we know what to look for.

The image below was sent to us by Lynne Gardner at Gardner’s Cakes.

  1. Right click on the image (PC/Mac or laptop)
  2. Select ‘Search Google For Image’
  3. You will see links to both Buckinghams website and Lynne’s website so you know it originated from Gardner’s Cakes website. You will also see a link to Zinc Floral Design’s page on our website – this is when Google has saved that page and our image has appeared on it for instance in the recent posts column or maybe the ‘related posts’ section. The image is probably no longer on the Zinc page but Google has archived it and is showing it in results. This is a genuine image from Lynne.

TEST 2

Now in contrast search Google for this image (below)

  1. Right click on the image
  2. Select ‘Search Google For This Image’

The image of the chair covers can be found on countless websites all over the world so the chances are this is either a stock image (and doesn’t reflect the work of anyone who has used it) or it has been ‘lifted’ from the website of the authentic owner and repeatedly copied and used, probably without permission.  (And if that owner sees this and wants to send me their credit info I will happily add them!)

Update:- I found the stock image website for this image https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-24636797/stock-photo-wedding-hall

Don’t Jump To Conclusions

Remember suppliers and photographers share their images online all the time but usually only if they are credited so if you see their work on a blog or website it doesn’t automatically mean it is without their permission. Usually there will be a link back to the suppliers website. If an image has been shared across several blogs (real weddings for instance or styled shoots) then it will appear time and time again. But a stylist is highly unlikely to offer a real image of their work to be used by another stylist. The same goes for florists and cake makers. If you see the same bouquet shot on more than one florist’s website then you should be thinking something is a little fishy!

5 reasons why a supplier’s images might genuinely be on third party websites:

  1. Wedding blogs (but there is usually a link back to the supplier’s website)
  2. Collaborative shoots
  3. Wedding directories
  4. Sister companies
  5. Digital magazines

Furthermore, suppliers may use an official product image on their website or the official image of a brand they supply (e.g. a supplier might use the official ‘product image’ for a prop or hire item).

If you’re a new supplier reading this and just starting your website or gathering your images, you are better to use just 2 or 3 great shots of your own work than use misleading stock images. You probably mean no malice by bulking out your website but it really isn’t worth it. Everyone has to start somewhere and brides would rather go for a talented honest newbie than a dishonest old hand.

After all, who wants to hire a supplier that would happily mislead them from the get-go?!!!

Right Click Doesn’t Work

Some suppliers, especially photographers, deactivate the right click on their website to avoid having their work copied but if in doubt ask (or try and check images on their Facebook page instead) – I promise that any genuine supplier will be only too pleased to put your mind at rest and give you their references.

In Conclusion

I really hope you have found this helpful. Dishonest suppliers are not the norm – most suppliers are wonderful, talented individuals that only want the very best for you and your wedding but anyone who would happily mislead you about what is and isn’t their work has no place being on your wedding team.

Leave me a comment below or contact me directly with any questions, your own experience (supplier or bride) or if you need some help.

Happy ‘safe’ planning!

EJ xx

Black and White Wedding Photography with Paul Massey

Black And White Wedding Photography With Paul Massey

“Rich skin tones and deep blacks, great for portrait work”

I feel that black and white is particularly strong for wedding photography. It has a timeless element to it and for me will never go out of fashion. It is a real strength of mine as a photographer and I have always enjoyed working in black and white. In fact my first job in the photography industry was nearly 30 years ago in a black and white darkroom in East London. It was here that I developed my love for photography and in particular black and white work. I would process films for some of the biggest fashion photographers in the world such as Albert Watson and Nick Knight.

I know immediately with some images I shoot that they will work in black and white and there are two styles of processing my work that I really like.

If I am shooting in low light situation such as a church during the ceremony I will make these images very contrasty and grainy. These images do not have a lot of mid tone and the grainy nature of them gives a real documentary feel to the images. I also like this look when I am shooting the first dance or my signature shot of the boys smoking cigars.

The other style I love has really rich skin tones and deep blacks, great for portrait work. When I find an area that has gorgeous light coming through it I know that it is here I will be able to produce stunning portraits for my clients. When this is the case I will position my subjects in the light and just study how the light falls on them. I asses my best position and the best position for them so that I can shoot incredible work for them. These are the portraits that really stand out and for me I feel this is some of the best work I produce.

When looking at a photographer’s work really take a good look at the quality of the black and white work. Is there a full range of tones? Is there pure white and deep black in every image? If the blacks are not deep, rich images can look flat and muddy and have poor impact. This can tell you a lot about a photographers experience and technical knowledge.

 

12 Questions To Ask Your Cake Maker

12 Questions To Ask Your Cake Maker

Wedding cake maker Helen Alborn is based in Leicestershire and one of our ‘Be Loved’ suppliers. She has been awarded 5 stars from the F.S.A. and was a Regional Finalist in The Wedding Industry Awards in 2015. She prides herself on using only the freshest ingredients for all her creations.

Semi-naked wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Semi-naked wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

1. Is my wedding date available?
Small wedding cake suppliers book up fast especially for summer months so once you’ve confirmed your venue it’s time to book in your cake. This isn’t a confirmed booking until a deposit is paid and the final design and flavours can be discussed during a consultation.

Blue Hydrangea Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Blue Hydrangea Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

2. Can you help if I have a fixed budget?
It’s best to explain your budget right from the start before sending a photograph of a cake extravaganza you’d love. Remember it’s the intricacy of the design and time it takes that effects the overall cost. Some decorators will say prices start at £x and others will work out a solution which fits your budget and theme.

Patel Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Patel Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

3. Do you offer cake tastings?
It’s usual to be invited for a cake tasting and a consultation at a convenient time to discuss design ideas. You will be asked what flavours you’d like to try. Some bakers may charge for this service but this is usually deducted from the price should you proceed to order a cake.

Button Bouquet inspired wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Button Bouquet inspired wedding cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

4. Do you bake your own cakes?
This may seem an odd question but it’s fair to know exactly what you’re paying for. Professionals bake cakes from scratch using fresh ingredients and offer an extensive range of flavours and fillings including for those with dietary requirements. Others may only use cake mixes perhaps adding fresh milk and eggs and some simply decorate ready-made cakes.

Wedding Cupcakes by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding Cupcakes by Helen Alborn Cakes

5. Are you registered with the council and what is your food hygiene rating?
All cake suppliers should have no problem with you seeing their kitchen and showing you their business addressed star rating issued by the Environmental Health Department of their local council. This provides peace of mind that your cake baker reaches the high standards you’d expect for hygiene, but remember this is no guarantee of food quality.

Wedding Favour Cookies by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding Favour Cookies by Helen Alborn Cakes

6. Can I see a portfolio of recent cakes?
Every cake supplier should happily show you photographs and reviews of actual wedding cakes they’ve made recently for clients and this will give you a good idea about their skills, quality, consistency and versatility. Social media has made this easy for you to research in advance using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just make sure it’s their work you’re seeing!

Mice Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Mice Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

7. How will you display our cake?
Many venues have cake stands that you can use and cake suppliers may also have a selection of stands to hire for a small charge. These may require a deposit, refunded on the safe return of the stand. Your supplier may also liaise with your florist if you’d like to use fresh flower arrangements.

Lily Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Lily Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

8. Do you deliver?
Most cake suppliers will insist on delivering and setting up your wedding cake to guarantee it arrives in perfect condition. Local delivery is often included in the price.

Wedding favours by Helen Alborn Cakes
Wedding favours by Helen Alborn Cakes

9. Are you insured?
All cake suppliers should have full public liability insurance. If in doubt ask to see their Certificate of Insurance.

Helen Alborn Wedding Cakes and Favours in Leicestershire
Helen Alborn Wedding Cakes and Favours in Leicestershire

10. How long will my cake last and can I freeze leftovers?
Provided your cake hasn’t been frozen prior to it being decorated there should be no problem freezing it. Your supplier will normally provide boxes and instructions on how best to store your cake.

Ivory Roses Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Ivory Roses Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

11. When do we pay you?
After a cake tasting and consultation, a quote will be put together and sent to you itemising everything that was discussed including the venue, set up time, cake flavours, design, stand hire, delivery, terms and conditions etc. A non refundable deposit is usually paid to confirm the booking and your supplier will indicate when the final payment is due.

Buttercream Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes
Buttercream Wedding Cake by Helen Alborn Cakes

12. What happens on the delivery day?
Your cake should be delivered and assembled at your venue at the time and place arranged. An Allergy Advice Sheet will be given to the venue indicating any common allergens which may be present in the cake should any guests need to know, along with details of inedible content and storage boxes for leftovers and decorations.

Planning for Rain

Planning For Rain
Rainy Wedding Day

Ian Bursill Photography

Here comes the rain again and it’s a stark reminder even a summertime wedding doesn’t mean it won’t chuck it down on your big day. You have to face facts. There’s no point getting silly over the possibility of rain. It’s the UK for crying out loud and even the best host can’t do anything about the weather. Having said that, you can and definitely MUST make a sensible plan of action to prepare for it.  If you want to tell yourself it won’t rain on your wedding day then good luck, off you go, have a super day. If however you want to plan your day like a professional then read on.

A BRIGHT PAIR OF WELLIES WON’T CUT IT!

Some blogs will tell you a bright pair of wellies and a fancy-schmancy umbrella will solve everything but in my experience it takes a bit more planning than that to ensure you’re perfectly prepared. When you read this post please bear in mind I’m writing it mainly for those of you having a marquee/tipi/barn/outdoors/DIY type of wedding BUT pretty much all of my advice stretches to solid structure venues too. What do we say when planning a wedding? Never take anything for granted! So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

1. Insurance

Whatever wedding you’re planning, large or small, you should consider getting insurance. You might want to think about this even more if you’re planning an outdoors wedding – if there is a hurricane (highly unlikely but it has happened) your tent providers must put Health & Safety first and may not be able to erect the damn thing at all! With that unlikely but all the same possible scenario in mind you’d do well to put insurance on the top of your list. Make sure you CHECK THE SMALL PRINT to ensure the policy covers everything you expect it to and if in doubt, ask the insurers. John Lewis have a handy comparison chart for you to work out the amount of insurance you might need.icon

2. Flooding

Ask all, but especially waterside, venues about their flooding history. Does the land flood badly when it rains heavily? This may sound extreme but the field behind us becomes a lake in quite a short space of time when we have heavy rain in our village. If the land is prone to flooding ask the venue what THEIR Plan B will be. If they don’t have one you might want to reconsider this venue!

3. Parking

If necessary is it possible for guests’ cars to be parked nearer to the marquee/tipi? I know of one venue where you literally walk over half a mile to get to the marquee. That’s all well and good for your friends embracing the rainy festival spirit but it’s a massive no-no for a hostess to expect her elderly guests to walk this far in the pouring rain {or for some, even in bright sunshine!}. No one wants to lose granny to pneumonia because of your poor planning! Bear in mind too that no one wants to be pushing their car in their best suit at one in the morning when it’s stuck in the mud. Check for hard standing parking where possible. I’ve seen this happen at a friend’s birthday party. It took five of us to get him moving. Times that by all your guests and hey, we’ve got a mud bath!

4. Flooring

If you’re having a marquee/tipi check with your provider about the type of flooring they provide. No one wants to be squishing around on soggy matting thank you very much. It’s details like this that often make the difference between quotes so before you rush off to book the cheapest, compare the quote like for like.

5. Brollies and wellies

Check with your transport provider what they provide in case of rain. It wouldn’t hurt to pack a pair of wellies for each of you too – just in case things get a bit muddy! There are plenty of wedding friendly wellies to choose from online if you want to stick to white or cream but of course you can go for pretty florals and bold colours to match your theme.

Rainy Wedding Day

Ian Bursill Photography

6. TLC for your guests

Ask your ushers to, well, usher your guests to shelter to and from the church or venue using large brollies. This is especially important for your older guests. The last thing you want is them getting drenched and sitting around all day in wet clothes – not good. If it’s forecast to REALLY chuck it down, consider getting your ushers some festival ponchos to keep them dry if they don’t have a suitable raincoat. They’re really cheap to buy so you might even consider providing them for your guests if they have to walk some distance to your marquee or tipi.

7. Coat Rails

Your beautiful chair covers will look just lovely with dripping rain coats draped all over them NOT! To avoid wrecking ‘the look’ you’ll have to take matters in hand if you’re DIYing your venue. Invest in a coat rack or two and plenty of hangers.  Ikea sell a range of affordable coat rails although some are sturdier than others so check the reviews! A good hostess will allocate a suitable place for coats whatever the weather so check with your venue/tent providers to see if they provide this as standard. If not, get on it and make it happen.

8. Photo Oooops

That venue you visited that sold you on the outdoor photo opps? The sweeping lawn, glorious flower beds and amazing woodland. Just where will you be standing if there’s a rainstorm going on? If you’re booking a venue purely because of the amazing grounds then you MUST address this question. Study the inside of the building and identify {ideally with your photographer} the photo opportunities. If the inside of the venue is naff then decide whether you want to take the risk. It’s your call.

9. Towels

If you’re having a DIY outdoor wedding take some towels to dry off benches and chairs after the rain has gone.

10. Little Ones

If you’ve planned outdoor games to keep the little ones amused it might be wise instead to have an indoor games table. Pile it high with board games, puzzles, crayons and toys to keep them occupied – ideally positioned away from the cake table if they’re going to be running around. You don’t need a smashed cake to add to your rainy day!

Let me finish by saying it rained on our wedding day and when our carriage driver put up the hood I asked her to take it down again. How often would we get the chance to journey along the coastal road in a horse and carriage! We wanted to make the most of it and would you believe after a few yards the rain stopped and the sun came out. So I guarantee no matter what the weather, if you’ve accepted the possibility of rain and prepared for it you’ll have a blast.

Bridesmaids In The Rain With Umbrellas

Folega Photography

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