I've been seeing it more and more often. So often that it's really making me scratch my head in wonder at what these people are thinking!
You know who I am talking about, the newbie photographers, who are just starting out in the journey of photography and they get so very excited about their 'launch' as they build flashy websites and create Facebook pages. Then they sit back and realise that they don't really have very many photos that they like to put on there.
Now, we've all been there without a doubt.
Even experienced photographers simply changing their genre face the same battle... Myself, coming from spending over a decade photographing extreme sports and deciding to move into portraiture. I started out with very little in my Portraiture Portfolio.
However I do believe that the true test of your mettle and integrity is how you deal with that.
I understand, truly I do that starting out is hard. It's why most businesses will fail in their first year.
But as surely as the internet has made the work of others easy to access, it has also made it just as easy for you to be caught out.
So if you are that person, entering photography as a career, and you are contemplating 'borrowing' some images from a photographer you look up to for your portfolio, then I have one word for you...
It's just not worth throwing your career over and becoming another Megan Kunert or similar.
My best advice to those starting out?
Shoot for free.
Offer portfolio building shoots, then once you have gained a following, had some practice and are able to consistently deliver quality images start to charge people and take actual clients.
Yes it may take time to build your skills, education, reputation and portfolio. But doesn't it feel so much better to know you did it with your own hard work and ethics intact?
A lot of good photographers take advantage of the indentifier applications out there to check up on where work is posted, with or without credit and apply credit appropriately or they will happily issue DMCA and similar takedown notices to web hosts and site owners.
So if you steal images, you will get caught. It's simple.
It might take a day, it might take a week, but they will find you - so just don't do it! Please!
Photography is about hard work, creative vision and the photographers eye. You can't fake it, so learn it. Better yourself and have some fun doing it.
I love taking photos, I work extremely hard to get the results I want and the thought of people stealing that work and claiming it as their own is heartbreaking. I practice on my children as you can see below, one of my gorgeous practice subjects. Practice practice practice.
And love what you do.
I'd also like to say a quick shout out here to a couple of people who are avid supporters and identifiers of those who steal images, making sure the real photographers see who is using their hard work.