(If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is!)
On Monday morning I was asked by a member of a large photography facebook group if I had given permission to any photographer to use one of my images. He had noticed an image of mine being used on a very odd looking facebook page advertising wedding photography and the image of mine (amongst others) was also advertised on the web site of the same person (a person I didn’t know) professing to be “a photographer”.
As a photographer I hold the copyright to all my images and I sometimes provide my wedding couples with a licence to print the images for their personal use. I knew that this person had stolen the image either from my own website or my facebook page!
The guys facebook business page was called “Photographic Inspirations”. I clicked on it and in the album “past weddings” I could clearly see MY photograph that I shot on a wedding at Trevenna Barns for Ryan & Rachel. I had taken the bride & groom off alone to make some beautiful images. It was pretty disappointing to see someone steal my work in this way.
Here you can clearly see my image featured on my wedding photography home page, as well as a blog post about the actual wedding day.
So I sent a message to a Mr Ian Keeling who runs Photographic Inspiration.Mobile Studio in Oldbury, Birmingham,West Midlands. I asked him why he had used my image on his page as he didn’t own the copyright nor had he asked for my permission to use it (which would never have been granted in any case).
“Hi its Ian from photo inspirations im sorry but im not in the office at the moment i am not and did not knowingly use any of your pictures as my own i have been in business 30 years and for some reason some photos were used from a stock photo site which is easily available on the web i shall be back in the office shortly and will remove the picture as soon as i can this is an honest mistake which my publicity team will be talked to about thanks for your understanding”
This just didn’t add up:
If he has been in the photographic business for 30 years, then why hasn’t he got a vast amount of weddings under his belt to show his own portfolio. I don’t think he’s had a photography business!
This photographer charges around £250 for his wedding photography. It would be impossible to earn a living charging this level. I have invested many thousands of pounds on cameras, lenses, insurance, training, software, computer hardware, lighting and many other things. Whilst I may charge quite a bit more than this I still could not afford a “publicity team”!!
He had also stolen images from many other photographers around the world as well as using stock photos? Why use them? It’s totally unethical to mislead brides and grooms into thinking that he had taken these images – this is nowhere near the standard of his work.
Also on both his website and facebook page it stated he was a member of the BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photographers) and the IVPRA (International VR Photography Association). On contacting them, they both confirmed that he is not and never has been a member of their organisations and they will be contacting him. These are large organisations not to be messed with. They take pride in protecting their image and rightly so.
By the early evening the images he had stolen (not only from my site) had still not been taken down, so another email was sent to Photographic Inspirations, with a screenshot showing the sample contract that he sends to his potential clients to read. Ian Keeling is clearly not practising what he is preaching!!!
It’s clear he was now active on facebook. I had been barred from contacting him on both his personal page as well as his business page and many other photographers who had been following the story and who commented on his page, were also deleted and barred. Here is a comment from a fellow photographer Steven Bradshaw pointing out another photograph which was stolen off another photographer’s website.
This comment was on show for less than 5mins.
This was Ian Keeling’s response. He posted this on his facebook photography page. “I am the photographer to whom he is referring “The photographer involved has been contacted by our solicitors.”
I contacted their facebook page with all of the above information and screen shots to see if they would run a post for me. Ian Keeling’s website had quite a number of stolen images including some with other people’s watermarks! Here is a link to Photo Stealers website. http://stopstealingphotos.com/photographic-inspirations/
Why steal other photographers work?
By marketing other people’s photographs to his clients, Ian Keeling is essentially implying that he is shooting at a higher level than he possibly could. This is why it’s good practice, when choosing a wedding photographer, to look at your photographer’s images closely. Make sure they can show you images from a FULL WEDDING – not just a few random images.
If you think the standard of photography is high yet they are only charging £250 (compared to another charging in excess of £1000, then ask questions. The sayings, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” and “you get what you pay for” are actually fairly accurate – especially in the wedding industry.
Within his statement on facebook, he states that he is fully booked for this year, except for four dates. I doubt this is true but if so I feel very sorry for all those brides and groom who are expecting him to create the same standard.
Also is a similar story of a fellow photographer who runs Ollievision Photography, encountered the same problem with her images being used by another photographer. Here is a statement from a Bride who was misled by that photographer.
“Wish i had been able to read your article before our wedding, he totally ruined our wedding photos am so upset. the photos we were shown in his portfolio quite clearly weren’t his but sadly there is nothing we can do now.”
If anybody comes to this blog (through searching on google), please contact me and I will recommend a good photographer in your area.