Photographic Inspirations Stolen photographs

Photographic Inspirations Stolen photographs

(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.

Photographic Inspirations Stolen Photographs 1

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.

 Ryan & Rachel’s wedding at Trevenna Barns blog post.

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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).

His reply

“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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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”!!
  3. 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.

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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!!!

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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.

Photographic Inspirtations Stolen Photographs 8This 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.”

Photographic Inspirtations Stolen Photographs 9

Well believe it or not – He’s not.

In the photographic industry there is a website called “Stop Stealing Photos” which is dedicated to naming and shaming people who steal other people’s images. They also have a facebook page called Photo Stealers.

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.

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.

Unfortunate for Paul Pope Photography, this isn’t the first time that he has had images used with his permission. You can read about his experiences on his blog called Choose a Wedding Photographer, not a Wedding Fauxtographer!”

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.


  1. This chancer decided to use one of my images to kickstart his career as well. It’s up there alongside your own Paul. It seems like this sort of thing is becoming more and more commonplace and I struggle to figure out the mindset behind it. I shot my first wedding on the back of a photographic portfolio that had nothing to do with bride and grooms. It consisted almost entirely of band promo images, but it was apparently good enough to convince the couple in question that I knew how to photograph people and make them look cool.
    So they booked me on the strength of that. And after that first wedding, I had a set of wedding photographs to show. For the next couple of weddings, I had the same rock ‘n’ roll images that I showed accompanied by a few wedding pictures I had accrued and they too were happy to take a leap of faith and give me a shot.
    Inside of 6 weeks, I had enough wedding images in my portfolio to book weddings based solely on my wedding images and the rest after that was plain sailing.
    The effort required to shoot these first small and short weddings was *nothing* compared to the work one has to put into a full wedding day of 8+ hours – a more commonplace requirement once you get some experience.
    Yes, the irony of this deception is that, a full wedding day is something I simply can’t imagine someone who does not have the cahonas to get a modest portfolio together being bothered to take on.
    If you’re too lazy to get a small portfolio together, why would you sign up for this in the first place?
    Wedding photography is hard work. It’s not for the work-shy or those looking for a quick way to make a buck. If someone is so low on moral fibre that they’re happy to deceive a couple into booking them based upon a bogus portfolio, they’re really not cut out to be a wedding photographer.
    It’s an occupation which requires a high level of empathy, honesty and the ability to engage and, yes, LOVE virtual strangers and anyone who thinks that stealing the work of others to get on the first rung of the ladder is acceptable, is really looking towards a bleak, brief and unfulfilling future.

  2. why would you use stock photos to advertise your wedding photography?? – a ridiculous excuse. No decent photographer would use other people’s images, stock or otherwise to advertise their services .

  3. I’ve been contacted by a bride who has unfortunately booked with Ian. He is claiming that it’s some sort of hate campaign ran by photographers in the US & Netherlands. As I pointed out to the bride, why would random photographer’s on the other side of the world target him? It doesn’t make sense. Unfortunately he’s refusing to refund her the deposit.

    Always always look at full albums.

  4. Well written and presented Paul, I hope he gets his just reward…his excuses are pathetic as well…

  5. Nice write-up Paul, and thanks also to everyone else involved in highlighting this recurring problem. As professionals, it’s difficult to think that people would have the nerve to bluff their way in the world of wedding photography. Capturing the best images one can requires hard work, and a lot of dedication/passion (and a very keen eye!). As you know, I have also been ripped off, and have mentioned a few things about it on my blog. There will always be fauxtographers, but at least there is a place online to expose them, and hopefully clients will become better acquainted with their tactics. Take care, Paul.

  6. What a fraud! It’s amazing how he has tried to blame his web designer yet he had control over the Facebook page where the same stolen images appeared.

    He’s a truly shameless image thief who has made false statements about this on Facebook to try and trick potential clients into believing the dispute involved only one image. He had stolen most of his portfolio. What a disgrace.

  7. Thank you for this blog post. I know this is a big problem in the photography industry. I don’t want to have to watermark every image I share on Facebook and my website, but now a days, it’s dangerous not to. It’s sad that there are “photographers” like him out in this world. Keep up the fight!

  8. Paul can I ask what are you going to do about this ?
    He’s clearly stolen your images and other images from other photographers, and yes he’s breached copyright. My concerns are that this ‘con artist’ will fleece unsuspected couples who think he’s taken these wonderful images. He needs to be exposed, perhaps to the local press, and a dosier given to the local police and trading standards office. I would also suggest invoicing him for usage of images, giving him 30 days to pay otherwisw you start court proceedings against him via the small claims court adding the fact that he it does go to court your are then entitled to charge 3% A DAY interest for money owed. He can’t get away with what he’s dome. Well that’s my opinion.

  9. Shameless con artist. I love the bit about stock images being “copyright free”. Idiot.

  10. Shameless con artist. I love the bit about stock images being “copyright free”. Idiot.

  11. This guy is a deluded idiot and as long as he’s still offering photography then he will continue to rip people off!

    I’ve just joined his group for a nose and his work is by far the worst I have ever seen by an amateur masquerading as a professional.

    His latest Fb status explains why he’s closed his group and opened a new private one! Apparently because other photographers are jealous of his work!

    Nothing to do with the copyright claims then?

    Oh well, he’s not the first idiot to but an SLR and offer pro photography! Just make sure your friends are aware of people like this!

  12. Paul, well done highlighting this as an issue. I also believe you should be taking action against this guy. If not for you then to show others that this is not how you run a photography business and you get punished if you’re stealing others’ work.

    Too many con artists are buying a camera and a kit lens and suddenly becoming wedding photographers overnight.

    they have no idea of the thousands of pounds of kit and training it can take to do the job well. Some are naturally gifted but that is rare.

    I hope you put this guy in his place….. Jealous!!!! You just have to laugh at that one ;)

    Best of luck mate


  13. This is a terrific article – well done! Not only does it name and shame someone clearly trying to get work by misleading their customers, but it also sticks up for the photographer very well.

    I still consider myself to be fairly new to photography, though I’m trying to break in to the professional realm. I’ve shot several corporate events and weddings, mainly as favours to help build up my portfolio, but I am going to have to make the plunge straight in to charging a proper fee. As long as my work is consistent with (or, ideally, better than) the standard customers have seen on my portfolio, I think it’s reasonable. It’s might be worth mentioning that the three or four weddings I’ve done so far have had really good feedback from the couples. Would you agree with that?

  14. this guy has stolen 550 from me as i booked him then found out he is a scam artist and now thanks to him i have had to book another person and have no idea where i am getting the money from dunno how this guy sleeps at night

  15. This gutless wa*nker stole £495 from us and when he finally answered his Hotmail email first he claimed that his photographer has Cancer then changed to he had just bought the company and was trying to sort out the mess. Absolute liar! Contacted my bank fraud team as he uses Natwest (same as us) they checked his account and found he empties all monies from that account within one hour of any money going in. Contacting Police national fraud today, was told by local Police to try and get everyone (brides, grooms and photographers) to report Ian Keeling to the Police nation fraud team. The more evidence they have of fraud and theft against him the more likely this dole scrounging scumbag will end up in jail.

  16. No nothing bank said there is nothing I can do I’m gutted I get married in October and can’t afford a photograph

  17. On 1st September 2015 was my wedding day I also paid £550 to Ian keeling website was inspirations photography only to find this thread after I had been ripped off. I managed to get another photographer for the day but i have been told there is no way of getting my money back he has been to clever about it. I have contacted police with the information I have had from him and I hope this scumbag gets locked away.

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