Once again I have been the subject of some nasty little man (claims to be a photographer) having a pop about my website and the fact that I use stock photos on my article pages and blog posts. I have to say that I am getting pretty frustrated with this troll and would really like to send him a personal response and let him know what I really think of him and his trashy site, I am going to remain the bigger man and let it all wash over me, and I am not even going to name and shame him. I have to say though, this is becoming increasingly difficult to do.
Right then…… I am going to point out that I do use stock photos but only on SOME of my articles, blog posts and tutorial webpages. If you actually look around my site you will see that I have many posts, articles and blog posts where the photos were taken by me. If you have a look at my site you will soon see that I use stock photos for posts, articles and tutorials about all types of photography where people are involved, and I have very good reasons for this.
Stock photos comprise people who have given their consent, via a model release form, for their photo to be used online in the public domain. These people clearly don’t mind their faces/bodies being used for such purposes (if they did they would never have signed the model release form right?) so I use them on my posts to break up the text and make it easier to read and to give the blog some visual impact to enhance the reader experience. I never claim the photos I use are mine, nor do I ever suggest they were taken by me – the photos are just there to add a bit of interest and no more.
You may wonder (like this internet troll seems to) why I don’t use my own portrait photos, boudoir photos and wedding photos? The reason for this is CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY and trust in me as a photographer. Since this internet troll keeps on having a pop at me I can only assume he either knows nothing about client confidentiality, or simply doesn’t care about client confidentiality. If this bloke doesn’t know what client confidentiality is I suggest he researches it, because it is a key thing in any type of portrait photography and especially when dealing with wedding gigs, boudoir shoots and photos of children. If this bloke doesn’t care about client confidentiality any potential clients of his should be made aware of the fact (and find an alternative photographer) since this attitude is totally unethical and unacceptable.
I know there are some photographers out there who try and make additional money with their portrait shot selling them on stock sites and the like, and these photographers ask permission of their models beforehand and obtain a model release form, i.e. everything is done above board. When I first started out in portrait photography I asked some of my models if they minded me using their photos for other money making ventures, and whilst only a handful of them said “no” I never bothered submitting photos of those models who signed the model release form giving me permission.
If the shoe were on the other foot, i.e. I was the model looking for a photographer, and found someone who did post photos of their models all over the internet I would not touch them with a barge pole. Even if the photographers said my photos would not be used for any other purpose or on the internet I would still have doubts in my mind, and if I saw other models the photographer had taken portraits of I would have that niggling feeling that there is always the possibility of my photos ending up sprawled all over the internet, which I wouldn’t want. If I were looking for a photographer to take my portrait shots I would seek one who doesn’t use any of their portraits online at all. Okay, there is the chance that these photographers could also put my photo online but if they haven’t plastered photos of other models online why would they want to with photos of me? Basically, I would feel a lot more comfortable, and more likely to use a photographer with paper portfolio or a portfolio saved on to a hard drive than a photographer with an online portfolio or, worse still, a photographer showing examples of their work by visiting several different websites.
If I am responsible for posting just one photo of a paying model on the internet (with or without permission) what I stand for would be shot to bits in the blink of an eye, I would be a total hypocrite and I would lose out on photography gigs (and quite rightly so) as a result. My local reputation would be in tatters and all the energy and hard work in setting up my photography business would be totally wasted, and I have worked too hard to damage it for very little gain.
Confidentiality is key to me, and my photography business, and I want to make sure that every potential model/client is aware that the photos I take will not be put all over the internet, or anywhere else for that matter. The portrait photos I take are solely for the client and no-one else. I may ask permission to use a photo or two in my portfolio, which is only available by accessing my hard drive, but that is it. The only way photos of my models will appear online is for the model to post it themselves, and I will play no part at all.
So here’s a message to my internet troll (I know who you are, and you know who you are) – Yes, I have a camera. Yes, I can use it. Yes, I make money with my photos (although I also have another job). Yes, I do use stock photos for specific pages, articles and blog posts but I do so for good reason.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.