Stealing Images – How not to build a photographic business.

Thursday, Apr 26th, 2012 in Photography News, The IPWS Blog by Alan Murphy | 4 Comments

I love the internet. I like how photographers can be connected with customers and peers. But there is a downside to all this sharing online and much debate about copyright and licence usage. How this pans out over time is beyond the scope of this short blog but when “photographers” start to steal images and place them on their own site as their work – this takes the biscuit – and I feel the urge to draw it to the attention of the industry and say:-

“Don’t do it – it is wrong – and as we live in a global village you will get caught.”

Earlier today I began to get reports of a “photographer” who had copied images belonging to other photographers and put them on his site and Facebook as his own – he even went as far as putting a copyright notice on an image that is marked as “All Rights Reserved” elsewhere.

One Image on ElitePhotography showed a copyright notice but appears on another site attributed to Michelle Rosu.

Spending a little time on the site I discovered images which belonged to photographer Viv Van der Holst. I rang Viv to check if for some reason he had agreed to Elite Photography Ireland using his images – his answer was No. He had been made aware, only recently, that the images were being used on the Elite Photography Website. He explained that the images were from a photoshoot he had under taken at his own expense to add to his fashion portfolio and showcase his work.

Images by photographer Viv van der Holst which Elite Photography have on their site

Many images were also posted on the Elite Photography Facebook Page (which has since been taken down)

Just one of the stolen images on Facebook.


Looking at the wedding images I was easily able to attribute another image to photographer Willem Balm – a photographer working in the UK. I wrote to him to ask if he had given consent and he assured me he hadn’t.

Wedding image by WB Photography on the Elite Photography Ireland Site.

I am pretty sure I haven’t discovered all the photographers whose work has been stolen by this site.

I was anxious to give the person behind Elite Photography the opportunity to explain why he felt it was OK to pass off the work of other photographers as his own so I asked him. He has just responded saying he is going to delete the site as this is not his work. …“I was just messing about as I have a lot of free time when I am on the dole .. Sorry”

And so there it rests. It just goes to show that people hiring photographers should be carefull and look for recommendations, see good examples of previous work and proof of PI and Public Liability insurance.

“Nobody should steal another persons work and pass it off as their own. Please do not follow his example.”



  1. Posted April 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    that last image show was produced by myself and will balm. what can we do to stop this

  2. Thorsten Merz
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I contacted Viv Van der Holst and one other photographer whose work I recognised when I became aware of this but only Viv took action, never heard a word from the other photographer, so maybe this isn’t as important an issue to some as it is to others.

  3. Posted May 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m ashamed this photographer is from Donegal! And he still hasn’t taken the images down!

  4. Will
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Just like to say a big thank you for the heads up on this. I did complain to the Website host WIX, explaining that by having Stolen images on the site in question, it breached it’s own terms and conditions. The site has subsequently been shut down. Thank you again.

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