Seriously, people . . . what is the industry coming to?
All of us want a pretty website filled with awesome images, because we know that will ultimately attract clients. So what happens when you're just getting started and you don't have that much to show, or you feel that the work you do have doesn't measure up to the others out there?
Most of us get off our butts, learn how to create better images, spend some time practicing and then put the results on our Facebook pages and websites. It's the only way, right?
Over the past few weeks, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets have been buzzing with stories of so-called professional photographers who have populated their websites with stunning images. Unfortunately, these images were lifted from the sites of other photographers and were NOT the creations of the individual who owned the site on which they were being displayed.
Check out the case of this individual, documented fully on the Tumblr site "Photo Stealers":
As if that wasn't lame enough, the individual in question chose to defend their actions with multiple stories and "reasons" why the stolen images appeared on the website as a representation of the faux-tographer's own work. (Note: all of this individuals websites / FB Pages are now inactive.)
I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but it's not. Australian Portrait Photographer of the Year Sue Bryce has had her work displayed numerous times on other wannabee-photographers' sites, claiming it as their own.
Part of becoming and being a professional is the process of learning to create and then actually producing quality images.
- Using photographs that were not created by you without the permission of the photographer is STEALING.
- Using images which are not yours to represent work you have done is misleading the client and is called FRAUD.
Now, I do realize that the bulk of the individuals in this profession are honest, caring, upstanding people and would never even consider doing something like this. They work hard to learn the techniques necessary to produce quality images and build their businesses honestly.
There are no shortcuts. Building a business on false pretenses is just the beginning of a free-fall down an extremely slippery slope.
If you are going to call yourself a professional, then make sure everything you do reflects true professionalism.