As a photographer I spend some time on the internet and social media sites looking at images taken by other photographers and doing some marketing. I know of most local photographers we usually post on the same sites and compete for the same work so when a new photographer appears I generally check them out, take a look at their Facebook page and website to see their portfolio and prices.
In the last few weeks a couple of new ones have appeared so I check them out as usual. The first site I visited I looked at the portfolio and thought wow they are pretty good pictures so I had a look at the pricing, this is when the alarm bells started ringing. Now I’m not expensive but cheap was not the word, they were practically giving their services away. After a couple of minutes searching on google I managed to find their portfolio images for sale as stock images. These images are purchased to use for marketing or advertising but not to use in your own portfolio to lead prospective customers into thinking you have taken these wonderful shots yourself.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and another new photographer appears so as usual I have a look at a very nice website with lots of beautiful images in the weddings section and as I’m scrolling through I come across the exact same stock photos I had found on the previous site. I cannot believe people do this, all the photos on this website are taken and edited by myself. To buy images and pretend they are your own is just wrong and it worries me that couples are looking at these photos and thinking wow I’m going to book them on the basis of their fake portfolio and be very disappointed when the photographer can’t replicate the look and style of the pictures.
My advice to anyone looking to book someone based on their website portfolio is take a good look at the images. Do they look like they were shot in the UK, the ones mentioned above were obviously taken in America. See if you can find them in a search engine, you can also do a reverse image search in google to show you where else the photo has been used. Ask to see a broad range of pictures from throughout the day at a wedding not just the portfolio ones, if they are unable to provide this then they have not shot the wedding.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and good luck with your big day.