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How I Forge Collaborative Vendor Relationships

One of the most rewarding paths I’ve taken as a photographer has been forging collaborative relationships with other wedding professionals. By recognizing the contributions of the many creatives involved in assembling a wedding, I can help foster a team environment that makes our wedding day experience more of a collaboration, and helps form meaningful working friendships. After the wedding, my approach to synergistic promotion creates a word-of-mouth buzz that allows my work to speak for itself.

It Takes a Village

I can’t create beautiful images of gorgeous florals, cakes, tablescapes, and even a bride, without the many talents of floral designers, cake designers, event designers, makeup and hair stylists… The list goes on. The beauty that is a wedding is the result of many, many hours of work, most of which we as photographers don’t see in-progress.

I try to respect the vision of each artist, by thinking about how they would want each item photographed, and take that into consideration when shooting. Of course I am shooting for my clients, but I am also shooting for my vendors so that they can have beautiful images of their beautiful work. After the event, I send out discs with relevant images in a timely manner, for their self-promotional use, along with a personal note.

Building Relationships & Creative Projects

In seeing a wedding as a collaboration between creatives, and in approaching each event as a team, I’ve formed close friendships with many of the vendors I work with regularly. I’ve attended networking events, private dinners, coffee dates, etc, and spent many hours chatting on the phone with some of my favorite wedding professionals. These friendships are authentic and rewarding – we share the unique and singular goal as artists of creating beauty for our clients. These are people I enjoy being around and want to work with. I recommend them to my clients, and they recommend me to theirs. Part of what I love about working in weddings is my relationships with these other artists – the collaborative creative energy drives and inspires my work. As Styled Shoots have become popular, I’ve also enjoyed working on projects in the off-season with many of my favorite vendors. These shoots are a great way to strengthen our working relationships and create promotional imagery.

Synergistic PR

Once I’ve created images of a beautiful event (thanks to my fabulous wedding team) it’s time to promote us as a group! As photographers, the onus is on us to submit our images to magazines and blogs. It’s a big responsibility, and one I don’t take lightly. I do everything I can to promote each wedding for every member of the team, not just myself. Here are some of the things I do that helps create this synergistic PR:

  • Blog each wedding with links to every vendor involved in the project.
  • Submit each wedding with a full vendor list to blogs or magazines.
  • Use Social Media to extend the reach – Tweet and Facebook with links to your vendor team both before/after the event as well as to promote any editorial features.
  • Once a wedding is published, repeat: Blog the feature, Tweet, Facebook with credits to   all vendors.
  • If it was published in a magazine I create a blog ready JPG of the magazine spread and send it to vendors to blog for more cross-promotion.

Featured Wedding Blog Post


As image-makers, we have a responsibility to the event team as a whole. By taking a collaborative approach we can form valuable relationships that lead to authentic friendships and help create word-of-mouth buzz about everyone’s work.

Written by Lisa Lefkowitz

Photographer Lisa Lefkowitz

Based in San Francisco, Lisa has been photographing weddings for the past ten years, earning national recognition for her fresh, lifestyle images. She specializes in film photography and brings a fine art sensibility to her wedding work.

Lisa’s work is frequently featured in wedding magazines and on blogs including Martha Stewart, BRIDES, and Style Me Pretty. Her images have been on the cover of PDN and been featured in an ad for Fujifilm. She gave a Platform presentation at WPPI in 2011 and will be speaking at this year’s PDN PhotoPlus Expo in NYC. Lisa’s attention to detail, low-key working-style and her personalized approach to each wedding has made her a favorite among brides near and far.

Lisa lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter.

The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!