Photographer Steals Images to Coax Couple into Shooting Their Wedding

The sad truth is this happens more than we would like to admit. Hearing a photographer steal another's work as their own to pull in clients is truly terrifying especially for something as precious as a wedding. In this video Pye talks about the occurrences that take place multiple times per month to every day photographers just like you and hopefully sheds some light on how we can help keep this from happening again.Shawn and Amrita, just like any newly engaged couple, went on the search for their ideal wedding photographer to shoot their special day. Little did they know that said photographer was using another's photos to promote on his/her website to bring in clients. Check out the video to hear their story along with how Pye believes we can bring a more respectful and honest industry from photographers.

I have seen this happen to many friends of mine in the industry and it's heartbreaking for the clients involved in every instance. Thankfully Pye was kind enough to offer a complimentary session to the couple in a style they were hoping for from the start just proving our industry is more likely to succeed and create better relationships and stories with hard work and a continued respect for the industry and others. 

You can find more photos from the couples session with Pye here.

[via SLR Lounge]

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31 Comments

Anonymous's picture

Such a sad case. Surprise to see the couple hasn't sued. I know when I shoot weddings its very nerve racking because even if you're 100% confident in your skills, once the realization that this couples priceless memories hang in the balance you want to do everything in your power to exceed their expectations. I take it very seriously so should all photographers.

Bavarian DNA's picture

This is indeed sad, i can't imagine how he can live with what he did, not only him all who follows this dirty pathetic road. Since photography community are rising up, how about making a site that gather all sort of legit photographer of all kind, so people who are looking for any event, they can easily pick with a trust!!!
and for those couples, i think they should sue that fraud guy.

Anonymous's picture

This already exists. Most of the people who end up with photographers who use other people photos are unwilling to pay what it costs to hire the individual who actually took the photo.

Jaymes Poudrier's picture

Not entirely untrue. Although, the fraudsters often charge just as much as the original photographer. If the clients had known about reverse image search, etc they might have received a quality product and paid the same price.

Bavarian DNA's picture

I didn't understand the reverse image search means ?, in any case, sometimes you have an urgent need for unplanned event and you need asap a good pro photographer, in this case you may skip the long search... So there is a possibility for this to happen, but i do agree that anyone who have a planned event with enough time to really take a closer look on picking his/her photographer wisely. Some or the majority of the people thinks that the photographer price is over-rated and they have no idea how he/she is living and how they are managing their lives depending on the source of income and this is unfortunately sad.

Riley Johnson's picture

It's so sad to see this. If people want photos to show to potential clients, they should assist. They shouldn't claim others photo's as their own. Through assisting other photographers we can all get the chance to learn as well as "earn" our own photos. This person could have assisted with weddings and second shot, earned his own photos and work through that. Eventually he would have had the experience and photos to show as his own.

Brandon Adam's picture

This is totally off topic, but what was that glass he was using at 2:54 to get that through-the-weeds look? Can those be bought or was that found somewhere from a home decoration?

Andrew Griswold's picture

Good catch, didn't look like a special lens. Could have possibly created the effect simply by grabbing some extra grass around and placing in front of the lens. Pretty great though!

Pye Jirsa's picture

It was a piece of art glass. I buy pieces of art glass locally and drill holes in them to create different effects when shot through =)

Andrew Griswold's picture

Nice! Quite the effect good sir. Thanks for sharing

Jaymes Poudrier's picture

This has happened to sooooo many friends of mine. One guy did it to 30 couples in a month and was on the news running from reporters. It's horrible. I am not a photographer by profession. Having said that I never go to a wedding without my camera with a zoom lens as a backup just in case something like that happens. You would not believe the amount of times that has completely saved the cherished wedding memories they might have lost.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Nothing new here ... they out like 5 thieves a week some weeks over at www.stopstealingphotos.com
They just outed one on there that used pictures from a porn site in his SENIORS portfolio.

Actually this guy was outed in June.
http://stopstealingphotos.com/jacob-dylan-photography-los-angeles-ca/

Sara Smoot's picture

I've never heard of anything like this even happening... I guess I come from a very small town.

Ralph Berrett's picture

There is that old saying, "Trust, but verify".
I wish, I could say, "I am surprised", but I am not. There are a couple of nasty issues that need to be resolved, but I do not have the answers.

One nasty issue is the image theft and copyright violations, are used to create a lie about ones skill, abilities and persona. In the industry (photojournalism) I come out of we called it plagiarism. If you were caught doing plagiarism your career would be over, no one would ever hire you as a journalist again, basically you would be blacked balled for life. Personally I see no issue with that.

Recently Jasmine Star who apologized for her plagiarized blog posts, in which she blame being busy and not understanding copyright and attribution. It should be noted that she went to law school before becoming a photographer. https://fstoppers.com/news/i-was-wrong-i-need-apologize-anyone-ive-offen...

Granted Star did not plagiarized images but words to advance here career. So we see it from the beginner to the established pros.

Next we see photographers promising things that they can't deliver. I wish that I could say this is a surprise but if anything this is becoming more common.

I learned a hard lesson a couple of years ago, "Portfolios Lie". I once hired a second shooter who had a good portfolio and decent reputation, to help cover a conference that was 3 days long taking place in two hotels.
Their Portfolio looked good and they had experience shooting weddings, so I thought they would be a good fit. Boy was I wrong, this shooter did not know how to shoot manually or understand exposure. I would literally run to the hotel next door and set the exposure, or shoot the images myself.

I found out later, that this shooter would book a shoot then hire a second shooter. The second shooter would do most of the work or set up the shots, then this photographer would claim the work as their own.

So now when I hire, a second shooter, I require a degree, certification, or a lot of work experience with references and another photographer as a reference.

The last nasty issue here is that we are the most unregulated industry. There are no standards, no requirements and no account ability in the photography business in the USA. Some countries require apprenticeships. In the USA any fool with a camera can call themselves a professional.

What's the answer, regulations, licensing, trade associations. I do not have the answer. I do know we are seeing the value of photography industry and photographers being undermined because of these issues.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Doug Gordon was caught at the same time then caught again recently (it cost him his Nikon Ambassador Sponsorship).

Andrew Griswold's picture

Wow, can't imagine having that stripped away.

Anonymous's picture

Im sorry, but I personally did not "Enjoy" this video, it sickens me to the bone that these situations happen. And I do understand that this video does not want to disclose any details/names about the offender. But dont you think that brides and grooms out there needs to know? Personally it would've been much more informative if the photographer was exposed. There's a whole site/blog about these offenders: as Eric Lefebvre mentioned: http://stopstealingphotos.com/
Just my 2 cents

Pye Jirsa's picture

Hey Daniel, if you really want to find out who it was, the story was already posted to the website you mentioned a while back. There is no need for us to post names, we wanted to simply tell the story. The offending photographer has already removed the images and their entire site. Were we to post the photographer's name and show the images he captured from the wedding day without the permission, then it would be simple for him to come after us to have us pull the video and even more. Not to mention, we would be using his images without approval which puts us into the same boat (even though you maybe could legally argue to our favor). Bottom line, we just wanted to tell the story.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

" Not to mention, we would be using his images without approval which puts us into the same boat (even though you maybe could legally argue to our favor)."

Fair use Editorial. you are talking about the images themselves in a newsworthy way. If this isn't a clear cut case of fair use then I don't know what is.

As for Libel, you have all the proof you need to defend yourself against that. they would be laughed out of court.

Karma Wilson's picture

I agree, this would be editorial use as far as my understanding of editorial use goes. However, I do appreciate how fair and informative Pye was in this article.

Anonymous's picture

I completely concur with you Pye Jirsa, you did mention this in the beginning of the video. and for what it is, you have successfully told the story of the couple and the bad and good deed in the end, and I applaud you for it. So, I'm not being negative at all. I merely replied to the closing few words of "Hope you enjoyed this video". and in reality, although I have found it interesting that a video has been made about something like this, I did not enjoy the situation of it, because of what happened.
But i did feel cheated/horrified afterwards, cause knowing even more, by just watching the video alone, (for instance if i were to stumble on this video on youtube alone, and have the vantage of reading comments) that somewhere out there, there's someone working "hard" from work of others.) Is disturbing. I have had my fair share of plagiarism, and even from Photographic institutions using my images as advertisement without my consent, just to name one incident.
So this is a touchy subject for any photographer making a living from photography alone.

This is a site for photographers, not brides. Chances are that as photographers we will hire someone we've worked with before to shoot our own weddings. I would completely agree with you if this were a site about wedding planning or something like that. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a site out there warning other brides about wedding vendors.

Anonymous's picture

Yes Jennifer, indeed this is a site for photographers, but I have seen a couple of articles not really touching on anything photographic, but this is besides the point... The video was uploaded to youtube, a much wider audience, than Fstoppers.

I guess it comes down to what story the writer wanted to tell and what goal they wanted to achieve. For me, it's much more powerful as a "this is happening all over the industry" kind of story rather than trying to specifically expose a list of people. There isn't any reason FStoppers should be pitted against stopstealingphotos.com. The goals were simply different.

By not sharing the names of those fraud, they are sending the message tha they can get away with it.

disgusting practice.... (the stealing that is...)

Anonymous's picture

They wanted a wedding "à la carte" but the menu was changed.
Disgusting

Cagomoc Reed's picture

I hate faketographers..

user-24145's picture

There are some people who want to come in the industry and be "that guy" and they don't have enough confidence to demonstrate their skill so they take matters into their own hands.

Martin Melnick's picture

I want to see some of the photos that the 'fraud' photographer delivered to them. Really curious.

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