In newly released screenshots, Canon UK’s official Instagram has been caught messaging photographers in an attempt to use their images free of charge. The verified account admitted that Canon “regularly gathers images to potentially use on [their] social accounts.”
The post appeared in a Facebook group designed for photographers to seek advice from industry peers. The photographer who shared the information, who I’ve chosen not to name, has posted a screenshot of a message from Canon UK’s Instagram. The message also requested details of the image in question, such as where it was taken, what camera and lens were used, and the shutter and aperture settings.
Quite why a company of Canon’s standing feels the need to message photographers on such an informal basis remains a mystery. I’d like to think – being a camera manufacturer and all – that Canon would have adequate budget to acquire such images or to pay to shoot their own.
Commenters of the post have suggested it may be the work of an external social media company. One drew particular attention to the phrasing of "We found this work and absolutely love it," suggesting it seems reminiscent of a contractor tasked with finding free content for Canon. Others took a more light-hearted approach, writing “Free Exposure in exchange for a Free 1Dx Mk ii please :-)” and “We found this Canon camera and absolutely love it, we wondered if you’d be happy to share it?”
It’s somewhat of a catch-22, because many photographers would undoubtedly allow the usage, because they’re honored to have received recognition from the manufacturers of the very camera they’re using and undoubtedly because they’d hope that allowing such usage could potentially lead to some kind of partnership with the brand. Of course, it’s likely fair to say most will never end up hearing from Canon again.
Should photographers receiving this message be quoting a usage fee?