Saturday, August 17, 2013

You Know That Awkward Moment - Oh Look, That's My Photo!

You know that awkward moment when, much to your surprise, you run across your photo out on the Internet being used by a commercial enterprise to help enhance their business?

I don't hang my shingle out as a full-time professional photographer, but I have invested time, energy and money into gear that makes my product of value to me in order to enhance my work on the blog.  Which, in turn has led to paid food related work.

I took this picture last weekend when out garlic festival hopping.  I like it well enough, though I think it is a bit bright.  Oh the challenges of shooting candids outdoors on a sunny day.  Interestingly, at the time I took the picture, I turned to have a chat with someone from a photography club. In our conversation, I lamented about photography 'theft' as I have had pictures, including others of garlic, 'lifted' before.  I guess garlic photos are a popular commodity.

In this particular case, my photo was cropped so that my name and website were removed and the company's advertising was overlaid on the photo. No photo credit of any kind.  At least that could have been a gesture. I won't lie, seeing my name and website get cropped did sting.

I am left to wonder why I was not approached to be asked to use the photo.  I am left to wonder why someone did not think it was worthy of some kind of remuneration but was worthy of use to further their product sales.  Are these intentions of malice? Oversight? Is the overriding view of the public that everything out on the Internet is considered fair game, even if you put your name on it?

In the past, my response has varied. Sometimes I have asked for a photo credit and link.  Sometimes I have asked for the photo to be removed.  Sometimes I just sigh and move on.  I have also been advised on more than one occasion to send invoices and skip the neighbourly chats. Starting in February, I have been putting my name and my web address on each picture, hoping to curb the 'wandering' that takes place unbeknownst to me.

Fellow photographers, how do you feel when you see one of your pictures get 'pinched'? How do you handle it? Do you have different reactions depending who takes it and how it gets used? Is this just something we have to get used to?

When asked for a photo, when do you give them away and when do you ask for 'payment' and/or attribution?

God bless the pretty garlic. She is so darn tempting.


  1. This theft of your photo is shameful. I would definitely send the thief and invoice and if they don't pay, I would tweet the fact that they lifted your photo without any credit. Posting that fact on FB would be good for them too!
    Though my photos are not *theft-worthy* I have recently started watermarking them. I try to put the watermark in an area of the photo so that if they try to crop out the watermark they effectively render the photo useless.

    1. I put my name and the blog name in such a way as not to be intrusive. Maybe I am being naive but I had hoped that it would make people pause if they were considering doctoring the photo up. That it would suggest that it wasn't a stock photo. I haven't approached them yet but I wonder if they will give a rationalization that resonates with many. There is a real education issue on this topic with the general public.


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