Unfortunately you can’t always trust… another Photographer.

Some of you read my note on Facebook which I posted in June… This is SO frustrating for me. I could not imagine NOT giving someone their images… a client nor another photographer. How can people sleep at night, how can they think they are operating a business when its truly a scam?

My note:

My images were stolen… by another photographer.

.by Pamela Zmija Photography on Friday, June 17, 2011 .

I purposely made myself stay calm about this because being someone who is involved in small business in my home town I value small town business and appreciate those involved. So I did give her the benefit of the doubt… I have found though that as time goes on and when you are now being ignored … its time to fight back.

I remember receiving the initial message from this photographer (from Mildmay) asking me if I would be available December 4, 2010 to 2nd shoot a wedding with her.

The details were quite vauge – very actually until the week of the wedding or was it just a few days prior to the wedding, anyway what was firm was that if I 2nd shot with her I would get ALL my RAW images to edit myself and use for my portfolio in print – I couldn’t use online due to the contract between the bride and the main photog. I was beyond excited because I got to go shooting AND got the images for my portfolio…

Wedding came, spent mid morning until 530pm with the main photog shooting in the BITTER cold… and when I say Bitter, I mean BITTER! Shot before with the guys – however my shots from this werent usable because the main photog didnt give me a formatted card and thus they were lost in formatting – then the girls, the wedding ceremony, after at a couple locations.
Im in contact with the main photographer sending her the odd message on FB asking when I could expect to receive my images. Was told Christmas stuff came first and then well she was off to Mexico to shoot a friends wedding, so how could I possibly expect her to get the images burned to a cd before that… I was patient… very very patient. Then Im told she has health issues in their family, again very patient. At the time MY OWN family was having our own health issues and yet I didn’t use that as any sort of excuse in any part of my business or my work etc… I finally then after a few months tell her I plain and simple want the images. I shot the wedding, I did my part, she used my images and I have NOTHING. Im told she mailed them… and was shocked I hadn’t received them – yet she also claimed she mailed maternity images at the same time and theirs weren’t received either.

Now that I have stopped being Mrs Nice Girl and started DEMANDING I get my images she has ‘unfriended’ me on FB and is blatently ignoring me. Well anyone who knows me knows that you dont play fair… I wont sit back and take it. I take amazingly great pride in my work… I take it very seriously. I am disgusted that another photographer would do this to a fellow LOCAL photographer. In all my time I have spent porfolio building, working on my own technique and style as well as developing my business this is not anything I felt I would even have to worry about coming from a small town, her as well. She in fact even posted images from this December 4, 2010 wedding on her business Facebook page… on January 11th.

I have found though that at times one can be too trusting. Hindsight is always 20/20 and seeing how that I should have used MY OWN card, which was originally in my camera (all my own equipment was used of course) should have been used and I should have told her that I would send her my images once I had my images properly backed up and on my own system. Life and learn… yes. Sit back and accept it as over. Of course not! As a photographer I am an artist. I do not use a brush, I use my camera and my experience to ensure the proper settings are selected just as a photographer would for their brush & medium to achieve the desired look and image I have in my mind.
Had she done what was right and sent me my images I would not even be worrying about this. Considering she took my images and at this point, yes we can consider them stolen because she had the rights to use them based on the fact that I received ALL my RAW images back to my possession. Well that has not happened. It truly is a shame that it has come to this.

The realization today… was her deadline to provide me with my images. If she did not I would be seeking 1/2 the cost of photographing the wedding AS WELL as my RAW images. I even offered on many occassions to go meet her or her (imaginary) “assistant” to get my images. *sigh*

I perhaps was TOO patient about this, I should have reacted faster, however I gave her the benefit of the doubt, after all her kid was sick and in sick kids hospital and she was having a hard go… well today was the deadline I gave her to contact me by, I even received a message from her saying that she would speak to her “assistant” about having her send MY images to me. MY images which were taken on MY time, with MY camera, MY Lens… I emailed many letters, I mailed letters to both of her addresses and her husband graciously called me back the one letter was received at that address – which began to funnel the TRUTH in.
Why do people do this!? I went into this open minded and very excited about working with a local photographer (in the Mildmay/Teeswater area) to gain more experience for Wedding Photography. To later find out it was a total SCAM to purely take advantage of me. With no business sense, direction or respect for those she works with. Perhaps she thought me being a “newbie” to weddings I would just slink away and not stand up for my rights… um hello its MY images and MY copyright …
Needless to say Ive had no choice but to take the next step and begin with legal action.
I take great pride in my photography work, which is my art work. I will not let someone with zero respect or business sense to take this away from me. I am not about to lay down and let someone take advantage.
*Sigh* At the same time I want to post her name BIG AND BOLD on my site… I am still holding myself back from doing so, I will not stoop to HER level. I do however, have no issue advising people she is in the Mildmay & Teeswater areas… claiming to do baby, family & wedding photography. Be warned…

This is just a bump in my road of being a photographer, however its these little bumps that if you do not deal with them they become bigger and more of a nusance. Perhaps Im setting the bar for Copyright in Photography in our area by fighting for my rights – its every Photographer/Artists right for their work to be covered under Copyright Law – she only had permission to use MY images based on the simple fact that I received ALL my RAW images back.

What is this world coming to…

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