This morning as I do every morning I was reading through my e-mail. And I stopped for a moment on the PPA’s latest forum dispatch as an article caught my eye. The article was titled, “Craigslist Stupidity Again,” and it made me more than a little curious.
Over the years I’ve seen “photographers” totally low-balling on Craigslist. 12 hour weddings for $800, and other such crazy stuff. You can’t make a living in the business pricing that way, and you certainly won’t leave your clients happy. So, seeing the title I had to investigate what crazy thing they were talking about.
Incredibly enough, the crazy thing in question is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of. A “new photographer” is offering to license other photographers’ wedding photos to put on his portfolio. Did you understand that? If you visit his website to see the type of work he has done, there is a chance you will be looking at someone else’s image that he licensed. That’s pretty nuts.
The full article can be read here. It’s located at the SLR Lounge which is a legit photographers hangout on the web. They even have the guy’s advertisement from Craigslist (sorry, I can bring myself to call him a photographer). Bottom line, he doesn’t have enough images for his portfolio yet so he’d like to use someone else’s in order to give potential clients the illusion he’s an established wedding pro. Ugh!
At least he offered to purchase a license
It gets worse though. Apparently some start up photographers just take other people’s images and pass them off as their own. They’ll take images off your site, crop out your watermark, and go for it. Fortunately thanks to EXIF data you can prove if an image is yours or not.
It’s one thing if potential clients don’t get your value proposition and want to devalue your work as a photographer. But how about other photographers devaluing your work and copyright by just stealing from you? That’s nuts. And if you think it isn’t an issue, think again. There’s a website all about it called Stop Stealing Photos.
The site doesn’t have a few examples. It has many. That’s sad, just sad. In fact reading through this morning’s comments the site recently caught a photographer using other people’s images to promote themselves on Facebook. The “photographer” chimed into the comments and apologized, but the whole thread is pretty darned interesting and worth a read.
In the end, my morning reading left me shocked. And I had to share this because I didn’t know this type of stuff was going on. I know for a fact there’s a lot of goofy stuff in the photo industry, fake photographers, etc, but this stuff just takes it to a whole new level!