Beware of Photo Thief

Beware of Photo Thief

What is the most irritating thing happen in photography life? Broken gear, bad comment, didn’t get the shot that you want. All true, but for me the most irritating thing happen in photography probably when one of my photograph taken by someone else. Where else but the internet and why you should beware of photo thief.

Stealing Photography Online

Before we begin, you probably wonder what’s it mean by stolen photography. A stolen photograph mean a photography that was taken without the consent of the photographer.

Since internet really vulnerable, photography has a high risk to be stolen. Even if you doing your best to protecting it, there still the probability it will be stolen. One of the reason is because how easy it is with the power of copy and paste. Another is because they want your photo. As long your photo is quite decent enough, there’s a probability it will be stolen. Being a good photo just a plus factor.

Beware of Photo Thief

Who do it?

A lot of people do this. It can be your friend, which you probably don’t mind. But it worsen if it’s random people, stranger. Taking it, claim it as their own. Even worst if it’s big name who did, like company brand and celebrity. They can gain profit from it and you get nothing.

If those big name do it, it’s not because they don’t know its wrong, but because they don’t care and thing you (as the photographer) don’t know either.

READ MORE:
Trump Jr. Used Refugee’s Skittles Photo Without Permission for Refugee Tweet
No, You Can’t Use My Photos On Your Brand’s Instagram For Free

Who’s the Most Vulnerable?

The most easiest target probably amateur photographer. Because many don’t know anything about this thing and copyright issue. It can also be photographer who uploaded their photos on social media. Because it can be copy.

What’s Stolen Photography For?

It can be for everything. For someone it can be for gaining exposure. Like some dude claiming he took this amazing photograph, when he actually isn’t. For company your photograph can be use on their social media for the same reason. Or worst, it can be printed and hanged on a billboard as an ad.

This is the problem when a photo stolen by big name. They gain profit from it. If they took it from amateur photographer, they probably thinking that the photographer should be grateful that his/her photo being used and credited for, that if they are credited. But that not the problem hear. Even if you got your photography exposure, you’ll never get a dime from it.

Beware of Photo Thief


This thing happen to me a lot at first, when I didn’t know anything about copyright stuff. Someone use it as a power point presentation content. There’s also my photo being use as someone social media content. There’s also someone use my photo as a promotion ad for their electronic service website. And much more, about 10 more. The only reason I know about these thing is because I just happen to google my photo.

And so I said again, Beware of Photo Thief!!!

13 thoughts on “Beware of Photo Thief

  1. I have experienced this and agree to a point but how do we ensure our photos are not stolen? We could just never post them on social media and reduce our online presence/exposure. Use big watermarks so others are unable to get the full enjoyment from our images. Commissioned work should never be posted online as it is for the clients use (they have paid for it). Personal projects I would argue you want people to see so being online is important, not everyone is going to set up a physical exhibition to show their work. If you are doing it just for fun you weren’t expecting to get paid so what have you lost. There was a similar thing with downloading music online when Metallica fought Napster over copyright infringement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallica_v._Napster,_Inc.) and most of us stream and enjoy pretty much any music we want for free. I admit no one was benefiting financially from this (maybe Napster?! who knows) but that then brings in a whole new debate about ethics….. very thought provoking post.

  2. Thanks for the post Agrandiaz.
    I accept that my photography will be stolen and used. With this in mind I post my photos online at 1080p, if others will use them I want them to represent my work faithfully.
    I use a Creative Commons 4 international licence, non commercial, derivatives allowed, link back license https://creativecommons.org/

    On my website – on each page – I inform people that they can use my photos and explain the licensing conditions. I do this because research had shown that a friendly approach to allowing others to use your photos means they are more likely to link back to your original work and you have clear recourse to take action as you can demonstrate good faith and how your license was breached.
    Richard – http://www.photosociology.info

    1. Thank you for the information!!! It’s really quite understandable.
      1080p can be use for online photo resolution if you want upload the lowest resolution and still maintain high quality of photo.
      And using creative common copyright is another way for a photo to be used by other while maintaining the copyright. The problem is the person who use your photo. Will they keep in the copyright agreement. Because there’s no way for you to actually control the photo they used. Except by suing them if they violated the term. Or if you ready to accept it.

      Also I think it is great if you make your website as open source. If you check street film photographer, Eric Kim, you can see that he also make his website as an open source. That mean anyone can take any content of the website for free. If anyone interested, check his reason for it here: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/08/29/my-vision-of-open-source-photography-volume-2/

      1. Thanks for the link it’s really appreciated. And your right there is no way of knowing that people will keep to the agreement. I can’t control that. But if I just have copyright with no agreement then people will steal and not link back or give credit. If I have a visible license agreement then there is more chance that people will link back and credit because they are no longer stealing.

  3. Thank you for this informative article. I have a different question: for the photos in this post, were you using a Lensbaby or just a shallow depth of field? Thanks.

  4. Your photographs leave me speechless. Thanks for stopping by Poemattic. I worry about someone stealing my photographs for their own gain or credit but then again, I feel flattered in a way. People just need to respect the artist or photographer.

Leave a Reply