We had the chance to read a blog post today that hit home. I highly recommend this read to all photographers, especially those who spend hours reading blogs, looking for inspiration to further their craft. It is one thing to follow certain photographers who you admire, to be inspired & to try to become a better photographer. It is another to try to copy everything about that photographer & essentially steal their brand. This article hit home with us, as sadly, we have had to deal with photographers (seemingly intentionally) copying us as well.
Like the ladies who wrote the article, we want to say that we don’t think we know everything. Additionally, we LOVE to help other photographers & spend a decent amount of time each day answering a lot of emails from other photographers and we love and welcome new photographers to the industry! It is in our nature & personalities to want to be friendly, welcoming, caring & sharing. That being said, it hurts when people that we have helped think that it is okay to copy us. Exactly. We have encountered our wording on other photographers (local & non local) websites. We have encountered an exact wedding party pose, in an exact location copied by another local photographer…copied 2 weeks after we blogged the image. Each “couple” in the wedding party was posed in the exact same way we had posed them, in the same location. All that had changed was the color of the dresses & the faces. We have had VERY specific details of our conceptual shoots copied. All of this in our exact same market. As the authors (simply bloom) of that blog post said “If you took a book, changed all the names of the characters, and called it your own, that would be plagiarism, not inspiration.”
In situations like the above mentioned, we feel that it is our business right & responsibility to protect the brand that we have spend so many hours creating. Just like the authors of that excellent blog post, we have spent hours pouring our heart & soul into every aspect of our business, right down to our images, the look of our blog, logo, colors, blog posts, and we even are specific/choosy about where our work gets published/featured! We have worked tirelessly to find out what type of imagery we love creating, how to be different from others in our market, to offer our clients something special & unique. When we notice a copyright violation, whether it be our wording, an image stolen, our branding copied, or even a conceptual shoot being copied….our first line of action is to nicely email to offending party & mention the copyright infringement (give the benefit of the doubt that it was an oversight). If things are not corrected within 72 hours, we use our company lawyer and take appropriate legal action. We have worked far too hard, for far too long, to let our brand be ripped off.
We have heard from people who like to copy “nobody can claim that they invented the wheel. Nothing is unique, it’s all been done before”. While that is true in many aspects …. (ie…somewhere in the world, someone has done the pose that you just “thought of”), there are certainly things that have not been done before . The article’s authors have done very specific shoots, with specific props….things that they did “invent” all together….and have had them copied. We have done conceptual shoots where that exact model, wearing that style of dress, in that glowy light, in that exact pose, with that exact processing has definitely NEVER been done before. So, in regards to that shoot, we did invent THAT wheel. Therefore, to take those elements (all or most) and re-create that look, is a blatant copy. It is not right to hunt on that person’s facebook page until you can find the “friend/client/model” that they used for the shoot, contact that client, and set up a shoot that is extremely similar. Other photographer friends have had their exact logos copied… their exact photos lifted/stolen & put into other photographers portfolios. It is a widespread industry problem that goes on far too much.
To be a true artist, is to see something, get excited, feel inspired and giddy and want to go out and shoot!
We love being inspiring for other photographers! We hope to be inspiring! It was a huge, huge honor when wedding bells named us one of Canada’s most inspiring wedding photographers of 2011. We have been known to do up inspiration boards for new & upcoming photographers who wanted some ideas of a conceptual shoot that they could do. Each year we mentor photographers both in class room style & during a live wedding or stylized shoot. We are happy to share! We just want you to take our passion & energy & create something that is YOUR own with that.
So readers, go read that article! It is well written. Please know that we are friendly people, who LOVE having you here. We have numerous photographer friends & love the photography community. We do speaking engagements, mentorships & love to answer emails. You are welcome here, please visit anytime to be inspired & fall in love with your craft all over again. However, if you are here to copy our branding, wording, ideas, exact shots, etc….perhaps this is not the place for you and we would ask that you do not frequent this blog.
As professionals, we all owe it to our amazing and trusting clients to bring an experience and photos that is unique and special.
Radelle & Kari
p.s. comments have been disabled. If you agree with our blog post & simply bloom’s blog post and want to make the industry better & more creative…please re-share them.