The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned

Guest post by Mike Allebach
(Photo by Mike Allebach)
(Photo by Mike Allebach)

Imagine getting your wedding photos back and having them… well… suck. Blurry shots, bad lighting, cheesy poses. What happened to the gorgeous shots you saw in your photographer's portfolio?

Welcome to the scary new trend in wedding photography: Fraudtography.

Here's how it works: a brand-spanking-new photographer wants to shoot weddings, but it's kind of hard to book a wedding if you don't have any wedding photos in your portfolio. So they “borrow” a few fabulous images from established photographers and pass them off as their own.

It's illegal, but that's the photographer's problem. Your problem is that you see a portfolio filled with dazzling images, but you actually get an inexperienced photographer who's cutting his teeth on your wedding day.

Just last month, Offbeat Bride reader Marian Schembari wrote:

I had been speaking with a few wedding photographers… one in particular caught my eye. He had a ton of positive reviews and great examples on his website. He was also the least expensive by a lot. This worried me since I've always been taught “if it's too good to be true, it probably is.” So my friend and I asked [to see a full wedding]. The photographer got back to me right away with TONS of examples… photos significantly better than what he had on his website.

But my friend and I have sensitive bullshit radars. I immediately did a reverse Google image search on the photos he had sent me. Lo and behold, they were all over other people's websites. They were taken from photographers from France and India and Miami. Some had even won awards, and he'd just stolen them. Thankfully I lucked out.

That brought back bad memories for me. In 2008, a Russian photographer copied my website, added a few images from Moscow for that “personal touch,” and used my logo and images to promote his company. When I contacted him, he blamed his web designer.

Photographer Corey Ann, who launched the Photo Stealers website — StopStealingPhotos.com — to combat this trend, told me, “My best guess would be 5% of all photographers are using stolen images of some kind for advertisements.” Yikes. That's no Minor Threat.

So here are 10 ways to figure out if your photographer is the real deal, or if they're faking it:

Check out the photo element data: That's Mike Allebach's photo on another photographer's website!
Check out the photo element data: That's Mike Allebach's photo on another photographer's website!

1. Look for consistency

The best photographers have distinctive personal styles. If one wedding has a vintage wash, one has a deep matte edit, and one is clean and vibrant — and they're all equally amazing — there's a chance you may be looking at photos from three different photographers.

2. Meet the photographer in person

Trust your gut when meeting with a photographer. If something seems off, it's a sign that you aren't a good match. If they don't have sample albums to show you, take that as a red flag — it could mean they don't have access to the high-res image files.

3. Ask for references or reviews

If you don't see many reviews online, ask for references. If they have lots of raving fans, it's a good sign.

4. Check their social media

If the style and the quality of the photos on their Facebook page seem much better — or much worse — than what you've seen on their website, that's a bad sign.

5. Look for the wedding party

Bridal parties and guests usually make their way into at least a few photos in a photographer's portfolio. If you don't see anyone except a bride and groom, there's a chance your photographer's wedding “experience” only comes from workshops, styled shoots, and hired models — totally legit, but not the same as shooting a wedding in real-time.

6. Ask to see an entire event

When you see a whole event, you'll get an idea of the type of photos you can expect on your wedding day. Online wedding portfolios are wonderful, but they're a highlight reel of every wedding the photographer ever photographed. Ask to see a few full weddings, and you'll get a better idea of their abilities.

7. Consult with a wedding planner

Wedding planners have heard plenty of feedback from past clients and can recommend photographers who play nicely with others. [They can also save you money. -Eds]

8. Pay attention to geographical clues

I always would cringe when The Office would show driving scenes that were obviously shot in Southern California, not Scranton, PA. Unless the photographer is a destination wedding photographer, their photos should match the local scenery. A gorgeous mountain wedding in Idaho? Yes. A gorgeous mountain wedding in Florida? Not so much. Feel free to ask the story behind photos that don't match your local area.

9. Google the photographer's name

If your photographer has been caught stealing before, there's a chance that someone like Photo Stealers wrote about it.

10. Use a reverse image search tool

If you're still unsure about a photographer, run a few of their photos through Google Reverse Image search or Tineye.com, and it'll list any URLs where the photo has been used. (Photographers use this, too, to catch people who have stolen our photos!)

Bottom line: Trust your gut

If it seems too good to be true, don't be afraid to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Check out these other tips for choosing an amazing photographer:

Have you had experience with a fraudtographer — or any other shady vendors? What tipped you off? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments on The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned

  1. This does not shock anybody in the business and may even have been uncontrolled before we all went advanced. Notwithstanding the sort of photography these are great tips to take after

  2. I am really curious to see the photos ha. As a photographer I imagine that there could be a few things wrong with the photos. 1) Maybe there is a post processing added grain that she added that can be removed 2) Maybe she exported them accidentally at too low of resolution, it could be that her settings in lightroom are set too low and that she might not know it especially if she is newer to photography (or even if she is not). BTW You do not need the raws. For one you probably don’t even have a program that converts raw files to jpgs you need jpgs or tiffs to print. It sounds like one of these a) the photos were out of focus to begin with or soft focus. b) she added grain to them for her personal style or c) she exported them at too low of resolution. or….d) she accidentally shot them as small jpgs in her camera. Can you get the metadata info and look at the dimensions and the dpi? Dpi should be 300 and dimensions for the longest edge should be about 2000 to 3000. There is also a quality setting in lightroom that allows you to export at 100% 80% 60 % … the default is 60% maybe she doesn’t realize this. It needs to be 100%. If she just uses photoshop and uses camera RAW her settings for saving the files may also be set to low. Find out the photo info and if the dpi is 300 and the longest edge 2000 to 3000, If they are it is probably not a file size issue. Instead… it is either an added grain/preset/action or the photos are soft focus.thanks for informative and impressive marvelous post.Thanks

  3. said walking on the following which includes of one supermarket chain. Their profit is 3.6, their annual profit, employing the the organic sector the

  4. So I am curious. Why then, are there HUNDREDS of sites that allow free OR PAID downloads of stock photos if the person who purchases them can’t use them? I have wondered why photographers would even post their work for free download of stock sites but thought they may just be hobby photographers. I purchased 3 stock wedding photos from various stock sites that I was going to use to fill in a few gapes in my portfolio. I have only done 3 weddings and price as such. Should I not be using these stock photos? Why then would anyone purchase them? I am confused.

    • Woah. You should not be a wedding photographer if you have to fill gaps and buy photos. Actually, I will rephrase that. You are not a wedding photographer if you have to buy photos to fill gaps. You need to second shoot for people and gain experience if that is the case. But to answer your question those photos are up on sites for other types of ads . People use them even in silly medicine ads. I do not think any photographer puts them up on a stock photography site thinking that another photographer would claim them as theirs. If you are using photos on your site that are not yours you need to reevaluate yours skills and ethics. Couples hire you to do the job that you advertise if you are “filling gaps” then it is apparent you are not yet ready to do the job and you are offering false advertising. My advice to you, if you really want to be a wedding photographer get out there, second shoot, watch stuff on creativelive and other video websites talking about wedding photography, read more about photography and get real life experience .

      • Let me rephrase that. I have done 3 weddings. I have thousands of dollars in equipment and have years of experience in other areas. I over shoot at all of my weddings. The gaps I am referring to are client gaps. The clients that booked me booked when I first started. One was free and done in a bar. One was paid and done in a concrete building with no decor at all and the bride wore a camo dress. The last wedding I did was the first wedding done at an actual venue, decorations, reception, ect. I don’t want to post all of the images from the first two weddings. I feel like they would attract the types of clients I am trying to get away from. I no longer want to work with clients who want a full 8 hour wedding for $100. For that reason I purchased 3 images to use in a small gallery that I planned to post to my website. I was going to post 3-4 images from the last wedding, a few of the detail pics from the first 2 and 2 maybe 3 of the stock photos so that all the images didn’t seem to be from just ONE wedding. I am on the vendor list of over half of the larger venues here in my area however they won’t start giving my name out until they begin booking 2017 brides. I wanted to be sure to attract clients that are not….um…well, I want to attract clients that are interested in what I have to offer them and not JUST look at price. While I am on the lower end of the price bracket I am way more than $100 for 8 hours and I frankly am tired of wasting my time on emails, consults, and phone calls only to be told that I am way beyond their budget and they will have a friend with a cell phone do them for free. The rest of my images are MY OWN in all other parts of my website except for random photos for blogs. I have a photo of a baseball up for a post about little league… To say someone shouldn’t be a photographer because they need to fill gaps before even clarifying is one of the most disrespectful and demeaning things I have read in awhile. As others have posted before you, we all start somewhere. I however, have been in business since 2012. Yes, 2012 and I have had 3 weddings. There are 15 other wedding photographers in my area. I am continually turning down wedding clients due to price so that was why I considered the stock images. I am up front with how many weddings I have done, I have a few images where I was the second shooter but I do not have permission to post those images on my website HOWEVER I can show them in a portfolio, and I DO when I have consults. To be fair, I haven’t posted any stock photos to my site yet, only the baseball image on my blog. I was really genuinely confused because of sites like unsplash where you can download the images and you have complete control over them. They are under a cc agreement so the people posting the images KNOW that they relinquish rights to the image the minute it is posted and that anyone can alter and use the images however they see fit. It is right there on the site, multiple places, and you have to agree to it when signing up. That is what I meant by “why would a photographer sign up for that”. 

        • Using someone else’s images to promote your own photography work is false advertising. Period. It is literally illegal.

          Even if you mention somewhere on the page that some of the images you didn’t shoot, potential clients are unlikely to read it, and likely to bounce from your web page before contacting you if they do, because why hire someone who is unwilling to show their own work?

          Fill the gaps in your portfolio doing second shooting, for free if necessary, find clients that have low budgets but good taste, collaborate with other local vendors on a styled shoot if the gaps are in things like detail shots, but three weddings is very little experience, and all the equipment in the world, and experience shooting other things, won’t change that.

          Or, just show the one wedding, if that’s the work you like and the clients you want. You don’t have a ton of experience, and there is nothing wrong with being upfront with that; if that wedding is high quality, you can book from it.

          And to be frank, I work as a wedding album designer and I have dealt with the aftermath of far too many weddings when the photographer couldn’t make good on what they promised (or what’s in “their” portfolio), either in missed shots or badly taken shots. Bad reviews will hurt your business more than missing shots in your portfolio.

          Stock photography, even free to the community stock photography, is not about other people claiming the work; they get used for things like blogs about weddings. Frequently they get used with credit attached, so it ends up being advertising, or they are put up by hobbyists. (CC doesn’t always mean generically free, btw, if its CC-BY that means you must publicly attribute the work.)

          • ?

            Offbeat Bride

            Jeliza replied to your comment on The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned:

            ?

            Jeliza

            Using someone else’s images to promote your own photography work is false advertising. Period. It is literally illegal.

            Even if you mention somewhere on the page that some of the images you didn’t shoot, potential clients are unlikely to read it, and likely to bounce from your web page before contacting you if they do, because why hire someone who is unwilling to show their own work?

            Fill the gaps in your portfolio doing second shooting, for free if necessary, find clients that have low budgets but good taste, collaborate with other local vendors on a styled shoot if the gaps are in things like detail shots, but three weddings is very little experience, and all the equipment in the world, and experience shooting other things, won’t change that.

            Or, just show the one wedding, if that’s the work you like and the clients you want. You don’t have a ton of experience, and there is nothing wrong with being upfront with that; if that wedding is high quality, you can book from it.

            And to be frank, I work as a wedding album designer and I have dealt with the aftermath of far too many weddings when the photographer couldn’t make good on what they promised (or what’s in “their” portfolio), either in missed shots or badly taken shots. Bad reviews will hurt your business more than missing shots in your portfolio.

            Stock photography, even free to the community stock photography, is not about other people claiming the work; they get used for things like blogs about weddings. Frequently they get used with credit attached, so it ends up being advertising, or they are put up by hobbyists. (CC doesn’t always mean generically free, btw, if its CC-BY that means you must publicly attribute the work.)

            ?

            Reply to this email to reply to Jeliza.

            Here’s a recap of this post and conversation:

            The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned was published on Mar. 3rd by Offbeat Editors.

            ?

            Imagine getting your wedding photos back and having them… well… suck. Blurry shots, bad lighting, cheesy poses. What happened to the gorgeous shots you saw in your photographer’s portfolio? Welcome to the scary new trend in wedding photography: Fraudtography. Here’s how it works, and what you can do about it…

            There were 73 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context:

            ?

            confused

            Jul. 1st 9:59 AM

            So I am curious. Why then, are there HUNDREDS of sites that allow free OR PAID downloads of stock photos if the person who purchases them can’t use them? I have wondered why photographers would even post their work for free download of stock sites but thought they may just be hobby photographers. I purchased 3 stock wedding photos from various stock sites that I was going to use to fill in a few gapes in my portfolio. I have only done 3 weddings and price as such. Should I not be using these stock photos? Why then would anyone purchase them? I am confused.

            ?Reply

            ?

            Deb

            Jul. 1st 10:45 AM

            Woah. You should not be a wedding photographer if you have to fill gaps and buy photos. Actually, I will rephrase that. You are not a wedding photographer if you have to buy photos to fill gaps. You need to second shoot for people and gain experience if that is the case. But to answer your question those photos are up on sites for other types of ads . People use them even in silly medicine ads. I do not think any photographer puts them up on a stock photography site thinking that another photographer would claim them as theirs. If you are using photos on your site that are not yours you need to reevaluate yours skills and ethics. Couples hire you to do the job that you advertise if you are “filling gaps” then it is apparent you are not yet ready to do the job and you are offering false advertising. My advice to you, if you really want to be a wedding photographer get out there, second shoot, watch stuff on creativelive and other video websites talking about wedding photography, read more about photography and get real life experience .

            ?Reply

            ?

            confused

            Jul. 1st 12:12 PM

            Let me rephrase that. I have done 3 weddings. I have thousands of dollars in equipment and have years of experience in other areas. I over shoot at all of my weddings. The gaps I am referring to are client gaps. The clients that booked me booked when I first started. One was free and done in a bar. One was paid and done in a concrete building with no decor at all and the bride wore a camo dress. The last wedding I did was the first wedding done at an actual venue, decorations, reception, ect. I don’t want to post all of the images from the first two weddings. I feel like they would attract the types of clients I am trying to get away from. I no longer want to work with clients who want a full 8 hour wedding for $100. For that reason I purchased 3 images to use in a small gallery that I planned to post to my website. I was going to post 3-4 images from the last wedding, a few of the detail pics from the first 2 and 2 maybe 3 of the stock photos so that all the images didn’t seem to be from just ONE wedding. I am on the vendor list of over half of the larger venues here in my area however they won’t start giving my name out until they begin booking 2017 brides. I wanted to be sure to attract clients that are not….um…well, I want to attract clients that are interested in what I have to offer them and not JUST look at price. While I am on the lower end of the price bracket I am way more than $100 for 8 hours and I frankly am tired of wasting my time on emails, consults, and phone calls only to be told that I am way beyond their budget and they will have a friend with a cell phone do them for free. The rest of my images are MY OWN in all other parts of my website except for random photos for blogs. I have a photo of a baseball up for a post about little league… To say someone shouldn’t be a photographer because they need to fill gaps before even clarifying is one of the most disrespectful and demeaning things I have read in awhile. As others have posted before you, we all start somewhere. I however, have been in business since 2012. Yes, 2012 and I have had 3 weddings. There are 15 other wedding photographers in my area. I am continually turning down wedding clients due to price so that was why I considered the stock images. I am up front with how many weddings I have done, I have a few images where I was the second shooter but I do not have permission to post those images on my website HOWEVER I can show them in a portfolio, and I DO when I have consults. To be fair, I haven’t posted any stock photos to my site yet, only the baseball image on my blog. I was really genuinely confused because of sites like unsplash where you can download the images and you have complete control over them. They are under a cc agreement so the people posting the images KNOW that they relinquish rights to the image the minute it is posted and that anyone can alter and use the images however they see fit. It is right there on the site, multiple places, and you have to agree to it when signing up. That is what I meant by “why would a photographer sign up for that”. 

            ?Reply

            ?

            Jane

            Jul. 1st 12:34 PM

            Using someone else’s images to promote your own photography work is false advertising. Period. It is literally illegal.

            Even if you mention somewhere on the page that some of the images you didn’t shoot, potential clients are unlikely to read it, and likely to bounce from your web page before contacting you if they do, because why hire someone who is unwilling to show their own work?

            Fill the gaps in your portfolio doing second shooting, for free if necessary, find clients that have low budgets but good taste, collaborate with other local vendors on a styled shoot if the gaps are in things like detail shots, but three weddings is very little experience, and all the equipment in the world, and experience shooting other things, won’t change that.

            Or, just show the one wedding, if that’s the work you like and the clients you want. You don’t have a ton of experience, and there is nothing wrong with being upfront with that; if that wedding is high quality, you can book from it.

            And to be frank, I work as a wedding album designer and I have dealt with the aftermath of far too many weddings when the photographer couldn’t make good on what they promised (or what’s in “their” portfolio), either in missed shots or badly taken shots. Bad reviews will hurt your business more than missing shots in your portfolio.

            Stock photography, even free to the community stock photography, is not about other people claiming the work; they get used for things like blogs about weddings. Frequently they get used with credit attached, so it ends up being advertising, or they are put up by hobbyists. (CC doesn’t always mean generically free, btw, if its CC-BY that means you must publicly attribute the work.)

            ?Reply

            ?

            Reply to this email to reply to Jeliza.

            You received this email because you’re subscribed to discussion of The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned. To no longer receive other comments or replies in this discussion reply with the word ‘unsubscribe’. Sent from Offbeat Bride. ?

        • I am not saying that you should not be a photographer. I am saying that putting up work that is not yours is very wrong. Most of us built our business from going out and getting the images we wanted. If you are having trouble getting the clients you want and the decor etc maybe do your own stylized shoot with your own models. A lot of vendors would even be willing to work with you often. Like make up people, dress shops etc… Stylized shoots are great ways to get published as well. Id also talk to any photographer you second for and explain you’d really like to use a few images online. I am not being disrespectful, I am trying to offer advice. I can guarantee that any trained photographer would be able to spot the photos that aren’t yours. The thing is an experienced photographer can make even the cheapest weddings look amazing. Please don’t take this the wrong way. It is not the clients or the weddings that are making your work not up to par. I’d say stick with it. Style your own shoots and develope a strong personal style.

          • ?

            Offbeat Bride

            deb replied to your comment on The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned:

            ?

            deb

            I am not saying that you should not be a photographer. I am saying that putting up work that is not yours is very wrong. Most of us built our business from going out and getting the images we wanted. If you are having trouble getting the clients you want and the decor etc maybe do your own stylized shoot with your own models. A lot of vendors would even be willing to work with you often. Like make up people, dress shops etc… Stylized shoots are great ways to get published as well. Id also talk to any photographer you second for and explain you’d really like to use a few images online. I am not being disrespectful, I am trying to offer advice. I can guarantee that any trained photographer would be able to spot the photos that aren’t yours. The thing is an experienced photographer can make even the cheapest weddings look amazing. Please don’t take this the wrong way. It is not the clients or the weddings that are making your work up to par. I’d say stick with it. Style your own shoots and develope a strong personal style.

            ?

            Reply to this email to reply to deb.

            Here’s a recap of this post and conversation:

            The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned was published on Mar. 3rd by Offbeat Editors.

            ?

            Imagine getting your wedding photos back and having them… well… suck. Blurry shots, bad lighting, cheesy poses. What happened to the gorgeous shots you saw in your photographer’s portfolio? Welcome to the scary new trend in wedding photography: Fraudtography. Here’s how it works, and what you can do about it…

            There were 76 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context:

            ?

            confused

            Jul. 1st 9:59 AM

            So I am curious. Why then, are there HUNDREDS of sites that allow free OR PAID downloads of stock photos if the person who purchases them can’t use them? I have wondered why photographers would even post their work for free download of stock sites but thought they may just be hobby photographers. I purchased 3 stock wedding photos from various stock sites that I was going to use to fill in a few gapes in my portfolio. I have only done 3 weddings and price as such. Should I not be using these stock photos? Why then would anyone purchase them? I am confused.

            ?Reply

            ?

            Deb

            Jul. 1st 10:45 AM

            Woah. You should not be a wedding photographer if you have to fill gaps and buy photos. Actually, I will rephrase that. You are not a wedding photographer if you have to buy photos to fill gaps. You need to second shoot for people and gain experience if that is the case. But to answer your question those photos are up on sites for other types of ads . People use them even in silly medicine ads. I do not think any photographer puts them up on a stock photography site thinking that another photographer would claim them as theirs. If you are using photos on your site that are not yours you need to reevaluate yours skills and ethics. Couples hire you to do the job that you advertise if you are “filling gaps” then it is apparent you are not yet ready to do the job and you are offering false advertising. My advice to you, if you really want to be a wedding photographer get out there, second shoot, watch stuff on creativelive and other video websites talking about wedding photography, read more about photography and get real life experience .

            ?Reply

            ?

            confused

            Jul. 1st 12:12 PM

            Let me rephrase that. I have done 3 weddings. I have thousands of dollars in equipment and have years of experience in other areas. I over shoot at all of my weddings. The gaps I am referring to are client gaps. The clients that booked me booked when I first started. One was free and done in a bar. One was paid and done in a concrete building with no decor at all and the bride wore a camo dress. The last wedding I did was the first wedding done at an actual venue, decorations, reception, ect. I don’t want to post all of the images from the first two weddings. I feel like they would attract the types of clients I am trying to get away from. I no longer want to work with clients who want a full 8 hour wedding for $100. For that reason I purchased 3 images to use in a small gallery that I planned to post to my website. I was going to post 3-4 images from the last wedding, a few of the detail pics from the first 2 and 2 maybe 3 of the stock photos so that all the images didn’t seem to be from just ONE wedding. I am on the vendor list of over half of the larger venues here in my area however they won’t start giving my name out until they begin booking 2017 brides. I wanted to be sure to attract clients that are not….um…well, I want to attract clients that are interested in what I have to offer them and not JUST look at price. While I am on the lower end of the price bracket I am way more than $100 for 8 hours and I frankly am tired of wasting my time on emails, consults, and phone calls only to be told that I am way beyond their budget and they will have a friend with a cell phone do them for free. The rest of my images are MY OWN in all other parts of my website except for random photos for blogs. I have a photo of a baseball up for a post about little league… To say someone shouldn’t be a photographer because they need to fill gaps before even clarifying is one of the most disrespectful and demeaning things I have read in awhile. As others have posted before you, we all start somewhere. I however, have been in business since 2012. Yes, 2012 and I have had 3 weddings. There are 15 other wedding photographers in my area. I am continually turning down wedding clients due to price so that was why I considered the stock images. I am up front with how many weddings I have done, I have a few images where I was the second shooter but I do not have permission to post those images on my website HOWEVER I can show them in a portfolio, and I DO when I have consults. To be fair, I haven’t posted any stock photos to my site yet, only the baseball image on my blog. I was really genuinely confused because of sites like unsplash where you can download the images and you have complete control over them. They are under a cc agreement so the people posting the images KNOW that they relinquish rights to the image the minute it is posted and that anyone can alter and use the images however they see fit. It is right there on the site, multiple places, and you have to agree to it when signing up. That is what I meant by “why would a photographer sign up for that”. 

            ?Reply

            ?

            Deb

            Jul. 1st 1:32 PM

            I am not saying that you should not be a photographer. I am saying that putting up work that is not yours is very wrong. Most of us built our business from going out and getting the images we wanted. If you are having trouble getting the clients you want and the decor etc maybe do your own stylized shoot with your own models. A lot of vendors would even be willing to work with you often. Like make up people, dress shops etc… Stylized shoots are great ways to get published as well. Id also talk to any photographer you second for and explain you’d really like to use a few images online. I am not being disrespectful, I am trying to offer advice. I can guarantee that any trained photographer would be able to spot the photos that aren’t yours. The thing is an experienced photographer can make even the cheapest weddings look amazing. Please don’t take this the wrong way. It is not the clients or the weddings that are making your work up to par. I’d say stick with it. Style your own shoots and develope a strong personal style.

            ?Reply

            ?

            Reply to this email to reply to deb.

            You received this email because you’re subscribed to discussion of The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned. To no longer receive other comments or replies in this discussion reply with the word ‘unsubscribe’. Sent from Offbeat Bride. ?

      • And as far as real life experience, you can only do so much for free. Plus doing it all for free attracts the wrong clients (thus why I have the images I do). If I posted those images, i’d continue to attract the ones looking for a free photographer, or those who spend $10,000 on a dress and then purchase nothing else. I took a break from weddings for a bit because of the first 2 I did. I knew I didn’t want to be doing those. I made an exception for the 3rd and it lit that fire again for me. That is why I am JUST NOW on vendor lists. Because I have very little work to show, I have a hard to getting booked for second shooter gigs and the ones I do get booked for have a VERY strict policy about posting the images. All my friends are already married so relying on first impressions and consults have been my only option. They way I thought about it, as long as I was upfront during the consult, I had more images in the gallery that were mine and NOT stock, and as long as I used MY OWN images to show them during the consult, I was not false advertising. Especially if the few stock images were of the same style and quality that I provide. 

    • Well, I think one reason people purchase them is to create advertisements for unrelated things… In an unrelated field, I would buy images like that when creating posters or flyers, you know? It’s dishonest to pass someone else’s photography off as your own, even if you *did* pay for it — it’s not a representation of what you’ve actually had experience with or can provide the client.

      • ?

        Offbeat Bride

        clarabelle.marie replied to your comment on The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned:

        ?

        clarabelle.marie

        Well, I think one reason people purchase them is to create advertisements for unrelated things… In an unrelated field, I would buy images like that when creating posters or flyers, you know? It’s dishonest to pass someone else’s photography off as your own, even if you *did* pay for it — it’s not a representation of what you’ve actually had experience with or can provide the client.

        ?

        Reply to this email to reply to clarabelle.marie.

        Here’s a recap of this post and conversation:

        The scary new wedding photography trend: 10 tips to avoid getting burned was published on Mar. 3rd by Offbeat Editors.

        ?

        Imagine getting your wedding photos back and having them… well… suck. Blurry shots, bad lighting, cheesy poses. What happened to the gorgeous shots you saw in your photographer’s portfolio? Welcome to the scary new trend in wedding photography: Fraudtography. Here’s how it works, and what you can do about it…

        There were 72 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context:

        ?

        confused

        Jul. 1st 9:59 AM

        So I am curious. Why then, are there HUNDREDS of sites that allow free OR PAID downloads of stock photos if the person who purchases them can’t use them? I have wondered why photographers would even post their work for free download of stock sites but thought they may just be hobby photographers. I purchased 3 stock wedding photos from various stock sites that I was going to use to fill in a few gapes in my portfolio. I have only done 3 weddings and price as such. Should I not be using these stock photos? Why then would anyone purchase them? I am confused.

        ?Reply

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        Clara

        Jul. 1st 12:30 PM

        Well, I think one reason people purchase them is to create advertisements for unrelated things… In an unrelated field, I would buy images like that when creating posters or flyers, you know? It’s dishonest to pass someone else’s photography off as your own, even if you *did* pay for it — it’s not a representation of what you’ve actually had experience with or can provide the client.

        ?Reply

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  5. Yes, I’m aware of that and always want to put my watermarks on pics for web and social media, but time is the winner. Unfortunately. And of course I found couple of my images on other “photographers” web pages.

  6. I think the best way to avoid this kind of problem is to always indicate watermark to your images. Also, be careful with sites you visit. It would help if you know what your doing when you go online into the virtual world.

  7. It all started with copying images from my websites to other websites. It followed with the advent of Facebook and now Instagram. Everyone is giving the same excuse, it’s their designer or intern

    • Yep. As a publisher, I had to make my peace about a decade ago that anything I shared online would be stolen, shared, and abused. It’s just the cost of admission for the internet, I think.

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