Sonora, CA Photographer | Stealing Photos | Christine Dibble Photography

I have been wanting to write a blog post about image theft for a long time. After reading a post that a forum friend of mine received the other day, I decided now is the time. She had a potential client contact her, asking about session prices, and saying that she only needed a few 8x10s because she planned “to scan them and make copies to give to relatives.” Apparently, she has no idea that what she plans to do is illegal. It is stealing, plain and simple.

If I walked into a store, and pocketed a shirt and walked out without paying for it, everyone would agree that I was stealing. It doesn’t matter if the store has hundreds of shirts to sell…taking it without paying is wrong. The store owners are selling shirts to make money so they can feed their families and pay for the necessities of life.

If an artist records a song, and I download it from a website without paying for it, I am stealing. Just because that artist has a lot of money already doesn’t make it right. That singer is working very hard to make sure that song is a quality product. I have heard somewhere that making a CD full of music to sell costs about fifty cents, and I used to complain about the $15 cost. But now that I own my own business, I understand it. That $15 is going to pay the artist for the countless hours he or she has put into honing his or her skills. It is paying the songwriter, the band, the producer, the studio manager, the album photographer, and the custodians who clean the studios. It pays for the instruments, recording and sound equipment, the electricity that powers said equipment, and of course, the CD and case itself. When you take into account everyone who needs a cut of that $15 to feed their families, that $15 seems like a bargain.

My job as a photographer with a legitimate business is no different. I do it to help feed my family. I have thousands of dollars worth of equipment, a lot of which needs a yearly upgrade to keep up with the demands of professional shooting. I have countless hours into education and experience. I have thousands invested in workshops and props. I pay for websites, insurance, business licensing, supplies, computers, software…the list goes on. I put in hours away from my family to plan the shoot, do the shoot, load images, edit images and order and deliver prints. My product is very much a product, just like a shirt in a store or a song on iTunes. Just because my product is displayed on the web does not mean it is moral or legal for people to take it and print it for their own personal use. The same goes for prints…scanning them and using copies without permission is equivalent to stealing.

I understand the desire and the need to save money. But owning my own business has also taught me a lot about why things cost what they do. I had to pay $139 to have my refrigerator fixed the other day. Is that a lot of money for me? Yes, it is. But I also know that the company that came out has to pay for the repair truck, the technician’s time and expertise, the part that was replaced, insurance, building rental, phone and other utility bills, and make enough profit to live off of. So please, respect my product and the products that other businesses provide.
Sonora, CA Custom Portrait Photographer Christine Dibble Photography_0763.jpg

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Michelle - Great blog and content!! I absolutely love these little tiny toes!!

  • bailey - copyright is a huge issue and it really does come down to education on the part of the professionals to the consumer. unfortunately there are people out there that will do it even knowing that its wrong. Professional photography is a product and like you said scanning or making prints of images downloaded from a site or off facebook directly takes food out of our families mouths. Thank you for having the courage to remind everyone about the issue of photography theft .

  • Gretchen - Very well said and very true. Everyone is looking for a way to make a buck and save a buck but they don’t get that what goes around comes around. If you want to make money you need to contribute to society and that means paying people for their services.

  • Ashley Short Photography - Thank you for writing about image theft! This is something that not just Sonora, CA photographers are dealing with… professional photographers everywhere experience this and hopefully people will start to understand how much work goes into creating our art.

  • Alejandra E - Tiny little wee bit toes are so cute!

  • sarah - thank you for writing such a heartfelt and honest blogpost about stealing photos – I think this is an issue that a lot of families simply don’t think about or consider. Keep up the hard work providing beautiful images for the Sanora families and beyond.

  • Anne - Great post. Your newborn photography work is beautiful and well worth the cost. Sonora, CA has some talent!

  • Emily Smith - I think that as a society we are often so focused on getting a good deal we forget that everything we buy is supporting someone trying to feed their family. Yes you can get cheaper pictures at Walmart is cost is what is most important to you. They can support that business model because of the huge company they are. As a one woman show I simply cannot provide a living for my family off those prices. I am glad that there are people out there who value the experience and superior product that a professional photographer can provide.

  • Jesikka - Beautiful newborn image! love the little toes!!!