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I have to admit that I’ve been so nervous about this post. So, let me first start by explaining that my heart isn’t to shame or call out anyone. The reason I’m posting about this topic is because there is a trend happening in the photography industry that’s not healthy. My hope is that this post will make everyone AWARE of what’s going on and we can all hold one another accountable. Now that I just scared all of you because this first paragraph makes this topic seem WAY more serious than it needs to be, let me explain what this is all about….

I’ve noticed… along with some other friends in the industry… that it is becoming a trend for photographers to post OTHER photographer’s work on their Instagram accounts. Normally, the photographer who is sharing the other photographer’s work will give photo credit and/or tag them which is awesome. The part that isn’t awesome is that on a very subtle level, the photographer who is sharing other photographer’s work is actually marketing with images that are not their own. At first, this wasn’t a big deal to me because it only happened every now and then. However, over the last several months, it has started happening MORE and MORE. Instead of photographer’s posting something like this….

“I love @Katelynjames style! This is one of my favorite portraits of hers!”

…now the posts are reading something like this….

“There’s nothing I love more than portrait time with a bride and groom!”. (And then I’m tagged in the image)

The issue with this is that it’s false marketing. It’s one thing to post and share about another photographer because you love and appreciate what they are doing and it’s another thing to post other photographers’ images so that your feed looks great. The argument isn’t whether or not they are giving credit… the issue is that they are using work that is not their own in order to enhance their Instagram presence.

THIS TREND ISN’T GOING TO HURT ME…. IT’S GOING TO HURT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO ARE POSTING MY WORK.

I’m not worried about me. I’ll be just fine. I actually GAIN FOLLOWERS from these people who are posting my work on their feeds all of the time. HOWEVER, this will be detrimental to the photographers who are building their brand with other’s work. It’s not smart, it’s not honest and it’s going to eventually FAIL them. If you are gaining traction and engagement because you’re posting MY WORK and then when you shoot you can’t produce work that looks exactly like MY WORK… you’re going to have unhappy clients.

I’m hoping that this is a trend that will end very soon because it’s going to ruin businesses and will eventually form division within our photography community. My best advice is to post your own work and if you want to post someone else’s work on your feed, make sure that you are VERY clear in your reasoning so that you leave NO ROOM for questioning. If you’re a photographer who is struggling to get started and you desperately want beautiful images to share on Instagram, instead of POSTING other photographer’s images, spend that time STUDYING those images that you love so much. I have over 100 Ask Anything  posts dedicated to helping photographers grow and improve! You CAN have beautiful images but it’s going to take time and practice! That’s just a normal part of the growing process.

Again, just to Recap….

– My goal isn’t to make anyone feel bad! I just want to save photographers the pain of disappointed clients and false marketing due to promoting their brand with images that aren’t their own.
– I want to maintain a standard of excellence in our industry and I really felt like this issue needed to be addressed before it became the norm.
– Sharing about me or other photographers that you love is totally FINE! I’m so thankful for those sweet & encouraging posts! However, continually sharing other’s images on your social media accounts just to get likes, followers and engagement isn’t ok.

I hope you all can hear my heart in this post. If you’re a photographer who has experienced another photographer using your work to promote themselves, I encourage you to approach them with grace. Nothing good will come from feisty confrontation. Give them grace, explain that it’s not in their best interest and then move on! I know that this is not an exciting post but I hope it changes things! For those who have been sharing my work on your own feeds, we still love you and we know that you probably didn’t even realize that it really wasn’t a good idea. We’re ready to keep moving forward and we’re glad this chat is behind us now!!! No hard feelings!! Happy Tuesday! xoxoxo

How to EDIT INSTAGRAM without an OUTSIDE APP! 

View other Ask Anything Posts Here!

Why Photographers Should Only Share Their Images on Instagram | by Katelyn James Photography

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

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