November 11, 2023
So let’s start with, I am writing this with love and helping us all be better photographers have a strong community and support for each other. That being said, I love new concept sessions. Something I have not tried before, bringing an idea to life. I often find them from following someone I admire or respect as a fellow photographer. But I do think there is a line we need to stay at to honor someone’s work still and use our own to create a magical photo.
Let’s go over ways this can cause not only some issues for you as the photographer but also client frustration.
Remember, your work will not look the same as the inspirational photos, and even if your intentions are the best, this can cause some frustration with clients if they cannot see consistency or the style shared. Imagine seeing a beautiful golden hour photo that combines natural light and flash. You see it and want to recreate it because it’s beautiful, and you know your clients will love it, but you are not comfortable with flash. Your outcome, even though I know will be beautiful, will not be the same look as the one advertised. This may cause disappointment with your clients and can hinder your chances of working with them again. Grab a friend and get some golden hour shots, create an amazing image, and share it with clients. You will get clients that love YOUR work and be able to add another image to your portfolio and advertising.
When you take someone’s images and use them to advertise your sessions, essentially, this is a commercial use of the images. Without prior consent, this can be very upsetting to another photographer who may have put in a lot of work for that set. They may have hired or partnered with other businesses to do a styled shoot that is unique to them. Many times with styled shoots, there are agreements with those involved with tags, sharing, and commercial use. Sets and styled shoots can take months to plan. As much as you may love or be inspired by that set, please think twice about using it to advertise. It takes away from all the work they did to plan and execute it. It also could not be including all the vendors and businesses involved if you are unaware of the partnerships that may have been part of it.
Do not take this lightly, as here is a true example of a case won by a photographer suing Buzzfeed and winning for using their image without permission. You can read about this with the link below by Range Finder Magazine.
I am a big believer that if you don’t know, don’t chance it without learning more. I know your business is essential to you, and the last thing you want to do is be part of a legal battle and lose what you worked so hard to build.
Again, this is a bit of a spin-off of 3, but there are many sessions by others that go viral that go against company trademarks. Here are a couple just for example that can cause some legal trouble.
So, is it worth the risk to use another image as inspiration? I would use this as motivation to go out and try to create from inspiration. You may even love your version more and have clients excited to book from your version.
You can still recreate anything you see that brings you that spark as long as it is not trademarked. Photography is an art, and even though many things we create may be an original, we have all been inspired by something or someone. Here are a couple of ways to still honor their space and use images as inspiration for your upcoming sessions.
This is still a gray area to me, but if you really, really want to show their work as your inspiration, direct your clients back to them. If you have a Pinterest board, direct people to it to see your inspiration. If you saw them share it online, share the link or their website and tag them. It all comes back to respect. There is a reason you loved it, and it is better to build your community than to have someone upset and feel devalued. Also, asking beforehand can build trust and respect. Letting them know you love their images and asking to link their site as your inspiration still shows your clients it is inspired work and not your own and shows your fellow community you care and respect their images.
My children have been my very reluctant models for my crazy ideas. I have also had my older children get shots of me for lighting I am playing with. Ask on social media if anyone is available to model. I use this if I really have a specific look I am going for that won’t work for my family. It can be a way to get out there and try new things and hang out at the same time.
We are photographers, and an advertisement without a photo does not seem productive or make sense. But I promise you it can be! I recently returned from a long maternity leave and had been itching to try new ideas. I knew certain things I wanted to try, and others I had a general concept but didn’t fully know where I wanted it to go. So, I went to social media and had a ton of interest! Here are some tips to help you peak their interest and use it for your business.
When I was picking up my son from school one day, I saw how pretty the fields were next to the school. I knew I wanted to get some shots there, but didn’t have any examples. So, I went to Facebook to essentially do a field model call. My goal was to work with flash and get more of a moody look and feel. I said I needed a model for a soft and dreamy field shot, preferably Maternity as that is what I am trying to build in my portfolio. Here is how the shot turned out. Find other images from this session in our Maternity gallery.
So creative friends, keep being inspired by other photographers’ work. It is the best compliment a fellow creative can get, but remember, the best thing you can do for yourself, your community, and your clients is showcase your originality!
I have been seeing my feed blow up with this. It is very strong on both sides the opinions, so let’s talk about it.
r community and your clients is showcase your originality!