I need to stand up here on my soapbox for just a second and talk about using images without permission. But first, let me set up an all too familiar scenario that I find myself in on a weekly basis when I scroll through Instagram or Facebook.
I'm happily scrolling through my feed, double tapping hearts on pretty pictures that my friends and colleagues have posted, and then I see another company using an image I helped create with no credit, in a misleading way where the viewer would assume that they were responsible for the creation of that image.
And that, folks, FIRES ME UP.
First of all, you don't have the photographers permission to post their image, and without permission, that can cost you a lot of money in damages. Just because you see something on Pinterest doesn't mean you are given carte blanche to share that image outside of its social network.
Every image you see, as you scroll through Pinterest looking for inspiration, is the result and effort of many. In the most simplest of contexts, a photographer and prop stylist helped to compose the image you copied and pasted. However, more than likely it was a photographer, designer, florist, stylist, beauty team, paper artist, rental companies and several other businesses that helped to create that image.
Imagine how much time, effort, money and creative energy went into creating ONE image by all those people? I know what you are thinking– a lot– and you would be correct! So, why is it that you can't take the time to do 15 minutes of research on those involved in the creation of that image and give them a nod, a shout out, and most importantly the credit they deserve for their efforts? If you can't take 15 minutes to do the research, when it took that team weeks to conceptualize, plan and execute that one image, then you shouldn't be posting it.
Stop posting other creatives' work in an ambiguous way that makes the viewer think you were responsible for it.
If you love the image so much, assemble your own creative team and create content by what has inspired you.
And then, be prepared for the same thing to happen to you and your team.
One lesson I've learned is that people just want to be acknowledged for their hard work. We all just want to be appreciated for what we do. We want others to see that we played a part in creating that beautiful wedding! It's so simple yet often times, we don't take the time to recognize people for what they do. But here is a secret: when we acknowledge the work of others something amazing happens– it makes them feel good. They remember you. They like you. They appreciate you, too, for taking the time. They say, “Oh yes, I know Karen! She reposted one of our images and said the nicest things about our work.”
But what happens when you post images that don't belong to you and further, you had no part in the creative process that made that image? People remember you, all right, but not for the reasons you want them to.
If you are reading this post and this has happened to you– do me a favor and share this with your colleagues. If someone posted your image and didn't give you credit, link them to this post (http://blog.candicecoppola.com/stopstealingmywork). Let's spread the word that this practice is NOT cool and as creatives, we are no longer going to tolerate the misuse and misrepresentation of our work!