Newlyweds Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello might have cashed in by selling their wedding photos to a celebrity magazine, but instead they posted the pictures online, and the benefits could be priceless. Vergara shared 55 photos from her wedding weekend on Instagram, from the romantic, flower-filled setting to her first dance with her new husband. There are shots of her co-workers—Modern Family stars Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson—and a snap of the couple cutting their cake. It's like an extended magazine layout without the magazine. By sharing the photos via social media, Vergara was able to "give fans the best perspective on her special day: her own," said Instagram exec Charlton Gholson. She not only controls the narrative, she cultivates an image of accessibility, which could have an even bigger payoff.
Marketing consultant Dorie Clark said the move sends "a clear branding signal that you are of the people. Just because magazines want to pay you tons of money for your photos, you're not succumbing to that," she said. "You're a regular gal and you're releasing photos on Instagram the way your friends do. You're not a spoiled Hollywood starlet. You're of the people." That kind of image is more fan-friendly—and almost expected in the era of reality-TV, said Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of celebrity site HollywoodLife.com. "People who tune into the show love to see her being so happy and love to see her love story that she found true love with Joe Manganiello," she said. "She looks so beautiful and she's so excited, and you like her even better and you can't wait to see her back on her show." Ultimately, Vergara and Manganiello making their wedding pictures widely available could lead to even more coverage in celebrity media, Clark said: "You might get more publicity value than in cash value had you sold the rights exclusively." (Read more Sofia Vergara stories.)