THE #1 RULE ON BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO
Today on Glossible, Glossarist Tara Pagliara and I are going to talk about some serious stuff. Grab some coffee, wine or whatever you want but let's have a serious conversation.
There is this dark part of the makeup & hair underworld that some have either fallen victim to, or have been the one pulling the act. What is that? Stealing images of other people's work and passing it off as your own.
Stealing images of other people's work is shameful, deceitful & probably one of the worst things you can do as an professional makeup artist.
We are going to talk about all the different ways this can happen and how to rectify the situation.
WHY IT'S BAD
The fact that we even need to have the discussion of why is stealing portfolio images bad baffles us, but truth is, it's an ongoing issue so lets talk about this......
All seasoned artists started off as a "newbie" at the beginning of their career. Makeup or hair ideas we tried to pull off at the beggining of our career is sometimes so frightening I can see how it would be tempting for someone to steal someone's work.
As we dig through our closet and find old test shoots in the early days of our career we giggle and think WTF were we thinking? Feather lashes?! Yeah, we went there. Wasn't cute. (But it was so chic at the time, we swear!)
Here's the thing aspiring makeup artist. Part of the journey in becoming a makeup artist is growing as an artist and mastering your OWN technique (or as Sonia likes to say, "Your own special sauce".) Why is this important? Because your own special sauce is what truly sets you apart from other makeup artists. You do want to be your own unique artist, right?
Once the art director sees that you can't deliver, you're thrown out on your ass and tells all his/her other art director friends. Don't ruin your reputation by doing that. Trust me, it sticks around a lot longer than you would like. Even if you think you get away with it and that no one ever remembers, it gets talked about behind the scenes. Integrity is not a bad thing to have in this day and age.
The bottom line is, stealing images is not coming across someone else's work, saying "Wow this is beautiful!" and then thinking its ok to take the image and place it in your own portfolio. It just doesn't work that way.
Got it? Good.
HOW IT'S BEING CONFUSED
We've seen image theivery on every form of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Model Mayhem and peoples actual websites. (Seriously? What the actual.....)
This is how it rolls....You're caught up on the web after scrolling through numerous cat videos, (don't lie you know you do it too) and you come across a photo of either your work or an artist you know. The person who posted is neither the makeup artist or hairstylist. They tag the image with #promua #makeupartist #hairstylist #hair ect and place the image on their own page for everyones viewing pleasure.
Now lets play devils advocate for a minute here. In some cases, this may been an inspiration image and they may have not known who the artist was, yes we have heard this excuse before. The problem lies when other people start commenting on said picture telling the artist "OMG you are so talented!!" and there is absolutely no correction from the person who posted it saying it is not their work. This my friends, is lying and stealing. You are misleading people into thinking it is your work and its not OK.
While we do know that perhaps that person may have missed a comment (it's happened to the best of us, missing a comment on your social media post) but if you use an inspiration image be sure you monitor those closely. And when you do find out who the artist/photographer was, good manners tell us to edit the image immediately and giving credit where credit is due.
There is also the blatant thievery in which someones entire portfolio is handpicked images from other artists all over the makeup and hair community.
Humans are more likely to forgive someone for posting an inspiration photo on instagram and missing a comment than actually putting a stolen image on your makeup portfolio website and passing it off as your own. Please for the love of everything lipstick, don't do this.
I once saw someones site (who lived on the other side of the world) who had pictures from artists from NYC who I have personally worked with. Not only did they steal my friends photos, the artist in question had those images mixed in with shots from Alex Box and Pat McGrath. Girl, BYE!
In the age of social media and the Internet, even new artists are getting their work stolen from others. I mean, how could it really hurt if you aren't competing with the same client?
Well turns out it does hurt because we are a globally connected society now, that's why. Just because you are working on the other side of the planet doesn't mean you won't get caught. Don't steal work as your portfolio and pass it off as your own.
The level of arogance this takes to steal images and pass it off as your own is unmeasurable. Sometimes people take the images down after apologizing profusely, giving some lame excuse that their webmaster did it. That they just happened to have a folder of other peoples images and they accidentally put those images up.
HOW WE KNOW IT'S A LIE
When you have a new baby (your website) you immediately go through it checking the function, seeing how all your images play out on it. There is no way that you forgot you didn't do that look from Chanel S/S10 or Taylor Swift on the red carpet when you have never even been in the same room as her.
OTHER WAYS IMAGES ARE BEING ABUSED
>>Using images from stock websites. Girl, can I tell you how many images I have seen of folks using stock images in their portfolios? Using stock images on your site is fine but not in your portfolio. Let's clear this misconception up:
Sometimes on Glossible we will use stock images to make a post more interesting or we may use it in a banner or ad. But we DO NOT post it in our portfolio of work! Hell no.
So what is the right way to use stock images?
Stock images can be used to promote a product or service. (Depending on what rights you have to use that license) Stock images are not meant to be used as a portoflio body of work.
Bottom line, don't use stock images as your portfolio. If you must use them, use them for a blog posts or products or services. Be sure to understand what image rights you have to the stock photos.
USING STOLEN IMAGES IT TO GET A JOB
>>Sonia: Let me tell you of a personal story that happened to me about 6 years ago. I hired a makeup artist for my makeup studio. Sweet girl. Actually did really beautiful makeup. When I asked for some of her images to put in her portfolio she gave me some really beautiful ones.
I happily added them to her portfolio. As a matter of fact they were up there for several months.
ONE DAY I was looking for some stock photography for a power point presentation and low and behold look what I see? Images of her work.
When I looked closer, I saw that the images were shot in the Ukraine. I'm like, the Ukraine? I asked her if she had ever been to the Ukraine and she had said no. The more I investigated, I eventually found out she was passing this stock photography work off as her own.
This could have had very bad consequences on my business and once I discovered this I immediately took her work down, made a phone call and terminated her freelance contract with me right there on the spot. I have been known to misplace a portfolio images of my team members on my site but never put up stock photography in their ports.
Not only did I not want her representing my brand, the level of her integrity was not what I wanted in my physical space. This told me she would do whatever she needed to get ahead and that all boils down to an integrity issue for me as a business owner.
STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY & RIGHTS TO IMAGES
Another problem is that most makeup artists believe that photos of their work are the property of the makeup artist who did the actual look. Actually it's true and not true. The photos actually belong to the photographer who shot them. So if your photographer ends up selling the images to iStock or Shutterstock, well you're shit out of luck unless you had some sort of legal arrangement before. I will talk more about this in a future post.
HOW TO FIND STOLEN IMAGES OF YOUR WORK
She tells us that this image is stolen on such a regular basis that she has been accused of it not being her work. Then it becomes a battle of he said/she said. But we can report this image is Lisa's work.
TOOLS FOR FINDING STOLEN IMAGES
This kick ass software will literally scan the net to see if any images of your work is floating around using pixels. I actually scanned my site and found many floating around pointers but that's about it.
YOU FOUND YOUR IMAGES ON SOMEONE'S SITE.
>>How to take action: Here is some advice from photographer Travis Curry who has had to deal with this issue. traviscurry.com
"So for someone stealing hair and makeup photos and passing it off as their own work, I would suggest also contacting the photographer who created the image to help you out in this. I'm sure 99% of the time the photographer did not authorize the person to use his/her image on their website, so it would be stealing not only YOUR intellectual property, but the intellectual property of the Photographer, who ultimately owns the copyright of the images.
>>Step 1: Contact the owner of the website stating to take it down because it is your work (your intellectual property) and they had no permission to use it. In my case, the website had no contact page or information on any owners so I couldn't just email the owner asking them to take it down or pay me to use the image.
>>Step 2: If you have a lawyer, you can ask them to send a cease-and-desist letter to the thief. However a lot of internet theft seems to also happen globally where copyright laws aren't always the same, so it can be tricky.
>>Step 3: If that doesn't work you will have to utilize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to send a letter to the ISP of the person who's stealing your work. "
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
>>DONT STEAL. Contact the photographer, send a cease and desist and if all else fails send a DCM takedown.
>>Social media is an amazing free tool to get the word out that someone has taken your work without permission. I have been a part of (and witnessed) artists in their communities banding together to contact the thief. Collectively they join forces and demand they take down the work. Some cases it works!
If all else fails, you will have to go to court over the image. We are hoping with the information provided it won't get to that point.
Ready to start building a body of work you can be proud of? Read our Beginner's Guide to Building Your Portfolio.
In future posts we will be getting into more specifics so that you can be fully informed in an ever changing digital world.
Peace & Hair Grease!
Tara & Sonia