I have had the honor, privilege, and joy to work with many reputable boutique owners over the last five years. It is so much fun to find the right models for each shoot, and to see the end result proudly displayed in their advertising materials or on their websites. I have established many positive relationships with other creative women who put their talents to work, to help provide for their families. There is definitely a sense of pride in helping another entrepreneurial mother!
That being said, I am extremely frustrated and appalled by the actions of less-than-reputable "boutique" owners. I'm talking about the ones who troll the internet, looking at the websites of women who have LEGITIMATELY made the items that they are selling and LEGITIMATELY purchased my images for commercial use. These THIEVES have the audacity to steal the images I have created for the TRUE creator of these beautiful products, and set up their own webpages with MY stolen images. They have NOT made the items that are pictured, much less paid for the use of my images.
The rest of this blog post is directed at these thieving frauds:
I don't know about you, but when I work, I like to get paid for it. You do not have the right to steal my images and post them on your page, in order to sell whatever you're selling. This is true even if you DID make the item pictured. But it is especially sickening when you fool shoppers... they think they're getting a certain quality of product, and instead, receive your shoddy replica. Doubly devious.
I used to send "Cease and Desist" letters & contact the website owner with an invoice. I don't do that anymore. You didn't warn me before you stole my images... I'm not warning you before I file suit. I've got an agency working RIGHT NOW on a case of image theft on my behalf. They get half of what I collect, and trust me... they want to collect as much as possible.
If you didn't purchase a commercial-use license for my image or if we do not already have another agreement, you are STEALING from me. If I find out, you will not only be paying the fee I would have asked for originally... I will seek punitive damages as well. I will also contact every other photographer I can identify from their watermarks & ask them if you're using THEIR images legally. Why? Because this happens to me every couple of months and I am SO sick of it.
This is for MY protection and the protection of my clients. Stealing is wrong. Using images of someone else's beautiful couture clothing to sell your crappy remake is wrong. Using images of MY KIDS or those of MY CLIENTS on a website without a model release and/or express permission is wrong.
This is the only warning you're getting. You'd better heed it.