Boudoir Photography Denver – How to Choose Your Boudoir Photographer – Photo Stealers
Welcome to another Boudoir Photography Denver edition of How to Choose Your Boudoir Photographer. Really, this information applies to ANY photography – this post could be called how to choose your wedding photographer, family photographer, boudoir photographer – pick your poison. But something needs to be said, because this could potentially affect YOU, the client, and leave you with a product that you didn’t know you were paying for.
It’s Friday night, and you’ve had a long week. You decide to go out to a new restaurant, and sit down with your honey, looking at the menu. You see a picture of an AMAZING looking cheeseburger. It’s big and juicy, with melted cheese dripping out of the sides, bacon sticking out of every crevice, fresh tomato and lettuce, and even some seasoned fries on the side. Because you came to EAT, the picture appeals to you and when the server takes your order, you confidently tell her exactly what you want. When she arrives at your table, you are starving and you’re waiting for that beautiful burger to be placed in front of you. Instead, you look at your plate and your stomach cries. Your burger looks smashed and stale. You lift the bun and see a teeny beef patty, some wilted lettuce and a questionable tomato, and a speck of bacon. You secretly wonder if someone ordered it yesterday and sent it back and they just left in the fridge until another sucker saw that beautiful photo and ordered it again.
Sucks, right? You didn’t get what you thought you were ordering.
You were promised one thing with a beautiful photo, and yet the delivered product paled in comparison.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that some of my photos had been stolen for use on another site. Basically, another photographer perused Google and chose the photos they liked, to advertise their own services. This is not the first time and probably won’t be the last. Not only were the images stolen, but the text was even lifted from another website. Here’s what’s scarier: when the text is searched, there are at least 5 other “professional” photographers that plagiarized the same text from the original website.
Seems kind of sleazy, right? But other than looking out for the sleazy actions of others, why the heck do you care if you’re not a photographer?
If you choose to hire a photographer that has stolen photos from others, not only are they stealing, but you will probably not get what you pay for.
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Professional photography takes so much more than a fancy camera, but that’s a conversation for another time. If a “professional” photographer steals photos for use on their website, and you, as a consumer, browse that website when looking for a photographer – what is your assumption? Most clients will assume that photos on a photographer’s website are their work, their art. There are, of course, exceptions – especially when it comes to memes or other humorous information, especially in blog posts. But in a gallery, in a portfolio, if you see an image on a photographer’s website, you naturally assume that the photographer that owns the site, took the photo.
Sadly, that is just not the case anymore.
If you see a photographer’s website and you like what you see, you contact them. You’ll talk about price, logistics, and other information, and when you decide to hire them, you are hiring them based on the information that was shown to you online. If the photographer has stolen the photos, chances are they most likely cannot recreate the photos that they have on the website. The lighting, camera settings, atmosphere, posing, emotion, and SO many other things are products of the artist’s experience, and typically photographers that are stealing work are newer photographers that don’t have the skills to pull those things off.
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not bashing newer photographers. Everyone starts somewhere. But to steal another photographer’s work for your galleries and portfolio is not only ethically wrong, but deceiving to potential clients.
So what can you, as a potential client, do to protect yourself? Here are my top tips for making sure that the person you hire is the person that took the photos:
- Ask to see a full gallery. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, ask to see a full wedding. If you are looking for a portrait photographer, ask for a full gallery. With boudoir that is difficult, but even boudoir photographers should be able to show you some full sessions.
- Check out someone’s reputation. How long has someone been in business? Do they have any online reviews that aren’t necessarily from their website? Do they have a Facebook page, with engagement and history? Or did they just pop up a couple of weeks ago?
- Do your research. Really READ the website. Read the blog. Is this a person you can work with? Is this someone you identify with? Or is this someone that is posting photos that make you uncomfortable? Do they have a continuous style? Or does one photo look COMPLETELY different from another?
Do your homework. I have clients that follow me for a year before they contact me. They tell me they have been stalking me – especially because taking your clothes off in front of someone is such a vulnerable position to be in. And when they tell me that – I am 100% okay with it. They want to KNOW me, they want to know why I do what I do, not just see a gallery – and as a professional, I understand and support that.
At a restaurant, you can send the burger back, and hope that no one spits on your replacement. With a photographer that has stolen photos, you have invested time, money, and usually a lot of emotions into a session, only to be disappointed. With boudoir it’s even MORE investment – you had your nails done, your hair colored, and sometimes some painful waxing. If the photographer you have chosen is questionable, you could be very disappointed when you see the results of all of your hard work.
If you’re a photographer? Don’t steal.
Seriously. Everyone starts somewhere, and true artists are always their own worst critics. But if you are unable to take photographs that are as “good” as others, work your butt off to get there. Join local photography groups, take online courses, learn about business. Do NOT, under any circumstance, use photos from another photographer’s website for your galleries or portfolios.
I got a t-shirt with this on it last week, it seems rather appropriate:
Ladies: when you are thinking about how to choose your boudoir photographer, please be careful. Actually, this applies to everyone – be careful who you hire. Photographers: don’t steal.
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