What Happens When a Supermodel Violates Your Copyright

This post is something I’ve struggled with for months, and debated even writing. But it’s time to share my story, and explain why I’ve been absent.

Basically, the short version is Karlie Kloss improperly used one of my images. It showed up on her instagram account last September, without credit. (Point of reference: many of the images before and after mine are credited.)

As readers of my blog will know, I shoot as a house photographer for Oscar de la Renta’s social media accounts and Pinterest page. On September 10, 2013 I took this photo of Karlie Kloss taking a “selfie” backstage at the SS14 Oscar de la Renta show:

Oscar de la Renta SS14 075
No other photographers were in the makeup area at the time, guaranteeing this was an exclusive shot.

When I got home, I posted it as part of my daily “sneak peek” show recap.

The next night, backstage at the Anna Sui show, I approached Karlie and showed her the image on my phone. She seemed very excited, and mentioned how much she loved it. When she asked where she could find it, I gave her my business card with my blog’s address.

A few days later, Karlie instagrammed the image, leaving out a photo credit.

Karlie Kloss instagram

Not knowing any other way to get in touch with her, I commented on Karlie’s instagram hoping she’d see it in the sea of many many other comments. After a few days, she did, writing me an apology for not crediting me initially.

Karlie instagram apology

By that time, 14,000 people had liked the image. That’s 14,000 people who would have seen my name attached to it.

She also apologized a second time on my personal instagram account:
Karlie apology on Rachels instagram

Within a few hours, her comment/”credit” on her original instagram post was buried. Made nearly invisible by her other fans’ comments…

At this point, I was sad so many (now it’s about 16,000+) people saw the image without my photo credit attached. But there wasn’t really much I could do.

November 2013:, I ran into Karlie backstage at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and after bringing up the incident during our conversation, she apologized. I assumed that was the end of things.

VS PassRachel & Karlie
My pass, and backstage with Karlie, smiling like a fool.

March of 2014:, I got a text message from a friend. She was at the airport, reading LUCKY and spotted my Karlie Kloss photo in an article about Selfies published in the magazine. I soon found the image on LUCKY’s website as well.

Copyright violation: March 14 LUCKY mag
Photo via Sarah Morgan.

After emailing LUCKY, they reposted the image with credit, and compensated me for the usage.

April 2014: The image appeared AGAIN on Harper’s BAZAAR’s website (in a nearly identical article, which was in my opinion strange, but whatever).

Copyright Violation-Bazaar USA

After a lot of emailing back and forth, my image was removed, and I was compensated for the original photo usage.

At this point, I was relived to have settled the first two cases of improper image usage/copyright violation, and ready to move on with my life. And then I found the image on dozens of other websites, from around the world.

Copyright violation- vogue India

Copyright Violation- GQ France
GQ France

Copyright Violation- Glamour Russia

Copyright Violation- Birchbox UK
Birchbox UK’s Blog

Vogue Taiwan
VOGUE Taiwan

Copyright Violation- BAZAAR Australia
BAZAAR Australia

Plus countless other blogs, another professional photographer’s website, a stylist’s website, and more. There are over 19 pages of links for my photo when you do a reverse google image search.

(EDITED to remove a paragraph about the negative influence this copyright stress had on my health. Spoiler alert– it was bad.)

Unfortunately, this photo is never going to stop showing up online and throwing a wrench into my everyday life.

July 2014: An eagle-eyed friend spied my photo, once again, in an article about taking “selfies” on ALLURE.com.

Copyright Violation- ALLURE

I am currently emailing back and forth with ALLURE editors, but needless to say, it’s not going well.

Why does any of this matter? After the drama involved in constantly policing my work’s usage, and health issues, I considered giving up photography indefinitely.  Or at least blogging about it. I’ve been shooting since I was 13 years old (which is now over half of my lifetime), and it’s been amazing to fulfill my dream of photographing some of the best designers and models in the world during the past 5 years of New York Fashion Week. I started to wonder what the point was. If I’m working my ass off, only to have people steal my images and run them in major publications uncredited or compensated, is it worth it???

I do the majority of my fashion week work on spec, meaning I get paid after the fact. No one is giving me hundreds of dollars to attend shows. I work alone, doing all of the requests, scheduling, planning, and post show marketing & publicity myself. I make my income selling images (mostly backstage beauty) after the fact, and shooting editorials and portraits the rest of the year.

The sad thing is? This happens all the time. And the attitude amongst many magazine editors (many, not all) is that it’s ok to just say “oops sorry” and delete the image. That’s not how copyright works. I worked as a photo editor for 4 years at multiple magazines here in NYC. Had I implied that it was ok for me to use a photographer’s image without payment or credit, I probably would have been fired. There are also plenty of celebrities and models who think using images without permission or even a credit on their blogs/websites/instagram accounts is OK. It’s not. If this has happened to you, I encourage you to check out http://www.photoattorney.com/ for great advice. And yes, before anyone asks me I have contacted a lawyer.

If I had been credited in the first place, I would have received what amounts to major publicity, and had publications contacting me directly to license the photo.

In the end, the fun fact of all of this is that right now, I’ve lost what amounts to hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in image licensing fees thanks to one instagram post. Add onto that potential legal fees, and it’s one giant headache that will probably be continuing on for months of my life.

All because Karlie Kloss used my photograph and neglected to credit me properly.

Karlie Kloss “selfie” image and all blog content ®2013-2014 Rachel Scroggins.

84 thoughts on “What Happens When a Supermodel Violates Your Copyright

  1. rachel, i am so sorry that this continues to be an issue for you! i love looking at all of your photos, i think you are an incredible photographer!


  2. I unfortunately know this all too well as well (as do most if not all photographers with good photography), I am so sorry. I refuse to believe that ignorance is excusable in this case, it’s NOT hard to credit where credit is due. Keep fighting.


  3. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to share your experience. This happens all too often, as you know. I hope this post reaches far and wide, and makes more people aware of how things work in blogging/photography. xo


  4. Although I’m not a photographer, I understand your frustration. I’ve had to chase after people who steal my photos and content on my beauty blog, as well as legally deal with a spa that infringed upon my trademark. It’s a headache. I will share your story on my social channels in an effort to put pressure on these magazines to compensate you, and encourage others to do the same.


    • My thoughts exactly. Right click on the image and search it in Google. About 12 pop up. I’m sure if you live in the great USA there are hundreds of legal minds eager to save the world by helping you get what you deserve. Good luck.


    • Read the website referenced in the article. Most attorney’s will only do contingency hires if the photo has been registered. Copyright exists the moment you click the shutter, but registration affords an additional layer of legal protection – and hefty statutory penalties for copyright violation of registered photos. Hopefully Rachel has registered this and all of her photos.


  5. I’ve had my non-credited image of a male model stolen… and then a monocle and top-hat were badly photoshopped onto it by someone, then they used on the barnes and noble website for a book trailer. never a fun thing.


  6. Hi Rachel,
    I am sorry to hear that such a situation has happened to you. The photo of Karlie is great and I am not surprised that it was published at so many websites. I feel like you did a right thing to write to Karlie and to ask her for credits. It seems like she reacted on your comment very well and she posted your credits right away. Maybe she did not know how important it was for you to be mentioned in the description just below the photo. Let me ask you, do you think that if she mentioned you there, all the magazines would take that into consideration and write your name below the picture?


  7. As the editor of Guys and Girls Directory and photographer myself, this seems to happen on a regular basis. It’s tragic and really feel for you.
    I always ensure to credit ALL creatives, and although editors may forget to credit, this is unacceptable when it comes to the big dogs.
    Love to talk further in depth Rachel 🙂

    Robin x


  8. How awful! I don’t think my case is anywhere near as extreme but former Australian cricket star Shane Warne has recently done the same with one of my images, minus the apology! It appears it’s not the first time either. I asked to be credited and my comments where instantly deleted, then I was blocked from commenting. Lucky for me I had full support of other followers that recognised my work! The photo is still up and I have lodged a DCMA notice with Instagram…however, it is also linked to his twitter feed of 1.65 million followers!!


  9. One major issue with “reposts” is that some services automatically crop images, or worse, permit the poster to apply automatic editing. So, they are posting an image you own, but they are applying their own editing, or worse, a filter, that makes the world think you’re an incompetent 14 year old high school girl with her first iPhone.


  10. Did you send Karlie a percentage of the money you received from Lucky or any of the others? Maybe you should, after all, that’s her money maker you are capitalizing from.


    • This would really only necessary if the photographer had a prior agreement with the model that she should receive compensation for use of the image. It doesn’t seem this was the case, or she probably would have been smarter about use of the copyright, since lack of it would have robbed her of her own share.


    • Chad, that’s not how copyright works. The copyright owner, the photographer, is the only person who can license the right to use a photograph. Karlie was part of a show. The photographer has all rights to license the image to Lucky or whomever else in order to make money for their work. If you are worried about Karlie though, rest assured she got paid for modeling in that show, to the tune of ten times – maybe a hundred times – the amount the photographer can generally license that image for.


  11. WOW! I am so so sorry to hear about what happened! Thank you for sharing your story and being so candid with everything. I’ve shared this in hopes to spread the word about how serious proper photo crediting is!


  12. So sorry this has happened to you the world of social media and the amount of people who feel they can share a pic without consent or credit is so big and I feel for what you have gone through as a fellow creative. I am now watermarking all my pics pain but has to be done now a days people are too quick to steal peoples work for whatever reason. Hope you continue to blog and share and hope ot all comes to an end soon x


  13. Reading this reminded me of the problems that musicians have dealt with since the days of Napster. When a product can be easily digitized down to 0s and 1s it becomes very easy to steal and a business model that depends on people “doing the right thing” is unlikely to work (the alternative isn’t great either since attorney fees can add up quickly at $200/hr.). If you stay in this market you may have to resolve to be savvier than the rest. For example, you may need to watermark the images or lower the resolution on the ones you publish on free sites as a deterrent to those who might lift them for use on other sites.


  14. Rachel, I feel for you and understand how exhausting and stressfull it is to deal with things like this. I often have days where I feel being a creative type is a curse and wish I was born a lawyer, accountant or dentist instead (although having to touch inside people’s mouths for a living gives me the creeps). Anyway, I feel like i’m always saying how I wish copyright was something that was taught to EVERYONE in school. I feel like so many people just don’t get it or think about it.


  15. A friend of mine is an artist and went through something very similar; it also took its toll on her. I wish you all the best, and as a writer who has seen her work copied and pasted and regurgitated all over the US, I understand how sickening and frustrating this is. Hire a lawyer! And try not to let it stress you any further….if yo ucan.


  16. First off…lets be realistic about this issue. I dont think the supermodel had any intentions of “stealing” a photo and more than likely had NO ill intentions whatsoever. I truly believe this was the case of a photographer being at the right place and the right time and an amazing picture was taken. Most people, amateur or pro, that enjoy or have made a career in photography will always tell you about that “one” candid unplanned amazing shot that was taken. No one pointed a gun to give details on where this photo was so that the model could freely access it. Unfortunately, it was clearly an oversight on the models part to not post a photocredit and it was definately an oversite on the photographers part to not consider that this image had the potential to go viral in high end fashion magazines. This is clearly a situation where a photographers oversight has caused them to lose potential revenue and i believe there is a bit of bitterness towards it. Fact is….the photographers own carelessness with their work has caused them this issue. It happens all the time….a person must do their own due diligence when it comes to these sorts of things. The root cause is basic carelessness on the photographers part. Im sure we can all learn a valuable lesson here.


    • agreed, and it is a good reason to put your name copyright on the photo.

      It doesn’t sound like you (the photographer) ever asked the model to take the photo down, and quite frankly her fame is bringing money to you. The likelihood of the photo selling or being published through you is low-likely not more successful than a stock image. However you have been able to contact companies after the fact and basically demand settlement money which is likely bringing you more money than the original shot ever would have through you alone.


    • Seringe the lesson I’m learning is you have no idea about copyright law. Yes, I agree, the model probably did not have ill-intentions. But it is still her fault. She posted a photo without permission. And yes, I said permission. She did not have any right to post the photo even if she has included credit to the photographer. While many photographers allow people to post photos of themselves, with credit IN LIEU OF payment, they don’t have to. No one can post a photo without permission from the copyright holder. Period. While most of the time that permission is granted with payment, sometimes the permission is granted as long as credit is properly and clearly given right away. Saying that the carelessness of the photographer caused the model to post a photo without permission, is like saying the carelessness of a homeowner allowed a burglar to walk in an unlocked door in the back. Just because the photographer didn’t go to extreme precautions to protect her image, doesn’t mean it’s OK to steal the photo.


      • It’s also a case of the editors at the publications not doing their due diligence on rights and permissions in using the image. Sadly, it is all too common these days for publishers to try to skirt paying for the use of intellectual property with a mea culpa instead of cash.


  17. You would think it’s in a model’s blood to give credit. I have found images stolen of me quite frequently and I have harassed the blogs/pages/magazines to give the photographers proper credit when I have found them. Photos should not be posted like this 1000 times like this without credit. Sorry this happened 😦


  18. Lawyer up, baby! Some attorney somewhere is positively salivating at a story like this. They love this stuff, I know because I work for them.


  19. So sorry to see this happened to you. As a professional fashion model myself, I always credit photographers. Occasionally i’ve had accidents where I didn’t (like technical issues that happen on facebook a lot) and what I do in that case is delete the photo and then reupload it properly with credits so that anyone that liked it before (likely) will again, and in any case it would be seen by the same amount of people…. While it’s nice she understood and gave an apology, she should have done the same thing I do (delete and repost) instead of posting it in the comments where the credits will easily get lost and will never been seen nor appreciated. Even better if she’d linked your profile, I always do that when possible. 16,000 more people would have proceeded to see it AGAIN and you’d have that credit…. Granted I’ve had my photo go all over magazines and websites with NO CREDIT when there was FULL CREDITS in the original post so the internet is just a fucked up place and something needs to be done about this problem.


  20. Pingback: Super models violating copyrights and what it means for us as creatives | Brandi Amara Skyy

  21. Did anyone credit the makeup artist !!? I’ve worked with photographers who have posted on social media and not credited my work so no one know who did the models makeup!! Wish we could copywright makeup!


    • That problem can be a communication with the model. Half the time the model doesn’t give enough information to the photographer (even on request) so certain people, such as makeup artists, go unfairly uncredited. The models i’ve worked with I’ve had to explain “I need to credit this person for this” (my friend Jenay does makeup professionally, she’s flown to different media events to do makeup) before I can even get a name.


  22. Thank you for being brave enough to write about your experience. As a fellow creative, i know how much this sucks and i’m sorry that this happened to you. It also hurt my creative soul to hear how this instance made you reflect upon continuing your career as a photographer :(. i’m sending lots of positive vibes and juju your way. After reading your post, I was inspired to join in the conversation because it affects all of us as creatives trying to make it in this tough biz. And I just wanted to say thank you for putting yourself out there because I’m sure I’m not the only one your post has inspired 🙂 .

    Much love + creative light your way!

    P.S. Here’s a link if you’d like to read what your words inspired http://bit.ly/1srOwTq . Once again, thank you.


  23. hey there just wondering if you’d consider putting some kind of watermark / signature on your photos…in the corner or something…


  24. This is really discouraging, and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it. I’m interested in knowing what you will do to prevent it in the future. Will you watermark your photos? Is there another way to prevent this type of abuse from the outset, short of not taking photos?


  25. but worries are unnecessary here. ppl don’t read a descriptions and not interesting to know who is the real photographer. the huge part of adorer even can’t recognise that this is image of taking selfie start and not the result of this selfie. funny but fact. and i also found that artists and stars as usual don’t leave any credit – for them the portrait is all about them, and there is no other person who push the button.
    about the image – i understand that you worry and care about your social popularity. what else you can get from this snap – agree that it’s not some piece of art that can make you the most creative photographer. to be popular because of image like this ? i don’t know what to say – lots of energy and emotion.


  26. Models are pieces of crap. It’s best to realize that beforehand and know what you’re getting into. As a male I’ve actually had them make sexual gestures for free photos and such, which to me is quite insulting. (This isn’t typical female behavior, just the behavoir of people who think they are privileged and that it’s okay to do such things.)

    My suggestion is to immediately copywrite the image and show it to the person under a website that denies the ability to rightclick or hides the ability to copy the URL of the actual .jpg file (this can easily be gotten around provided youn know how to use a computer, but how many models know about CSS??)

    At that point you have both a publishing date and proof that the image is yours, and you can proceed via legal action rather than throwing emails around. You deserve compensation for this woman’s horrible actions towards you. (Not saying that just women do it, men do it too, just had to throw that out there since i did mention to coalesce with my previous statement in the first sentence).


  27. I have to change my statement. Not all models are crap. Just a lot I’ve run into are very self-centered and don’t think about the consequences their actions take have on others.


    • Tyler, the photographer doesn’t have to “immediately copyright the image” because she already owns full copyright. Copyright is automatic, the moment the shutter is pressed on the camera. You are probably referring to registration of the copyright with the government. While it is true that court awards are larger in cases where the image was registered, registration is not actually necessary. The copyright automatically belongs to the maker of the work. The photographer has no less legal right if she doesn’t register the copyright claim.


  28. Pingback: Photographer Learns the "Value" of Exposure » The Illusion of MoreThe Illusion of More

  29. Thank you for sharing this experience. I’m so sorry it happened, but your writing about it really gives people the opportunity to think more about what they are doing and how they are affecting other people and their livelihood. I’ll be sure to share this post!


  30. And this is why people STILL use effective watermarks on their images…you can’t always trust people to credit you directly in every instance. Brides do it all the time! Yes, the watermarks that appear along the edges of pictures can still be cropped out, but at least it’s still a subtle reminder that it is there for a reason.

    Oh, and I’m not saying that the photographer is totally at fault here, the model definitely had much to be blamed for, but I think that due to the immediacy of photo-sharing and timely publication, proper accreditation is often too-easily overlooked.


  31. I think the problem was originally blogging the photo without watermark credit ( unless it was cut off). In the old days you needed a hard copy slide, even if it was a dupe, to publish.( or end up with copy from print – looks bad) Once an image is on the web it can live forever on the web on its own.

    It was bad the model didn’t give credit but you’re right it should have been on the photo itself when the photog posted it.


  32. I wonder how many websites are pulling the image straight from the model’s instagram page, thinking it’s still a selfie? If the model would just delete and then repost the same pic with your photo credit, I wonder if that would direct more of these publications to you beforehand?


  33. I have had a similar experience. I went to a concert & met Ron Keel. I took a massive amount of pics & uploaded them onto my FB page before I put my initials on there. Within the next week, I saw that quite a few people had stole my pics without giving credit at who took them. They acted as if they took the pics themselves. When I mentioned on all of the pics (that I noticed) were taken all I got was a ‘like’ on my comments! No ‘I’m sorries’ or credit to who actually took the pic. One of the FB pages was someone who was a company who sells leather bracelets (which Ron Keel was wearing at the time of the pic). I was pretty hurt that thes pics were taken without any credit due. I totally understand how hurt you feel.
    On that note, I’m so sorry this happened to you 😦


      • I guess I need to extend my apologies for not clarifying. Yes, I WAS asked to go there & take a “massive amount of pictures” for a radio station I, at the time, worked for.


    • so in this case your “radio station” should take care about.
      btw .. you was there like photographer or like sound operator ?
      these days this is the way of an amateurs photographers to get some popularity .
      they come to every event that possible to enter with camera and takes pictures of celebs with goal to put all this to Facebook and to tag. yes – this way can bring some “false” popularity, right “friends” and maybe new possibilities but not the experience in photography.


  34. I shoot for an agency and covered the Cleveland, Ohio location filming of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” during the summer of 2013. I shot the first tack-sharp closeup of the “Winter Soldier.” I uploaded it to my agency, Someone stole the image as well as 35 images from the same set and started posting them. Within a day the closeup shot hit about a hundred websites; I estimate it got close to a million views (and copy/pastes) in the first 36 hours. At last count it was on 593 different websites (after being manipulated, changed and photoshopped into fan-made posters) and continues to haunt me.

    I’ve sent out DMCA notices and have been successful in suing a handful of people for licensing fees.

    It’s a nightmare. You truly have NO idea how viral the internet is until it happens to you. I lost several thousand dollars in less than a week’s time.


  35. Sounds to me like the model simply forgot and made good on that right away. It is unfortunate that Instagram doesn’t allow for editing the copy attached which is really the problem. She had to put it in the comments that get buried.

    Mistakes do happen. As stated, the other photographers are credited.

    However, to let this incident create health problems for you is wrong. To consider giving up photography is wrong… unless this is the only photograph you have ever made. Obviously it is not, and there must be a greater number of people who enjoy your work and pay you for it than those who do not.

    Crap happens to all photographers, just regular people too, and the measure of whether we are made to do this thing is how we respond to the challenges and pitfalls and blockades that are a common part of our life. One of the worst parts of being an artist is that so many of us concentrate all of our energy on the few things that go wrong, and simply gloss over the things that go right.

    Suck it up, and get back to work.

    You took a photograph that editors all over the world love… now turn this challenge into a plus. PR the everlovin’ crap out of that shot. Write blog posts that feature each and every one of those screen shots and talk about how YOU DID THE SHOT. Without complaining… because no one likes that. And people who are not aware of the problems only see the sadness and the hurt – not a good marketing plan, believe me.

    Yeah, the editors probably got the image from somewhere they thought was a safe buy/grab. Or maybe they outright stole it knowingly (unlikely). But instead of beating them up (I know, they were wrong – but at this point it is done) take what is positive and run with it. Silver linings and such.

    This is either a tragedy or an opportunity,

    Your call.


  36. I am so sorry this happened to you. It is complete and utter bs. If this were to happen to any of the designers, of which you photographed their creations, you know they would have sued for millions due to lack of credit. I hope all of this works out and would really be sad if you quit being a photographer. That was a great shot and, in my opinion, larger than major publication worthy. I, too, will write to Allure to be certain you get the credit and obtain the compensation you deserve. ❤


  37. I’m sorry to read your post and can understand your frustration. Not only did she violate the copyright law protecting photographers the magazines did as well, by not providing a source of credit . The photo does appear to look like she took it in a mirror .

    I wouldn’t sit back ! Contact an attorney and fine her for using your image that went viral . The exposure of your image circulating would now be on the thousands .

    You know what’s it’s worth to you ! So go after compensation for the theft of your image .

    Good luck x


  38. Rachel,

    The biggest problem here is that you are working on spec for what should be a regular commercial gig. You should be hired by Oscar de la Renta, provide photos, get a check, and not worry about usage. You could also have worked for Getty or Retna who would make sales and monitor usage, or added the watermark, but you chose to skip all that too.

    Its really a terrible business decision to work this gig on spec because:
    1) Policing digital and print usage is too hard and time consuming.
    2) It trains the client that they no longer need to hire a pro photographer.
    3) Providing a professional service without defined compensation reduces the perception of the value of the photos.
    4) It often strains personal and business relationships with conflicts over usage.

    Don’t get me wrong that the magazines and digital publishers should do a better job of controlling credits and compensation. Everybody should know and respect copyright laws, but we know they do not. This basic business strategy will inevitably cause more conflicts in the future. Providing images to celebrities and businesses without restrictions will certainly result in uncredited and unauthorized use.

    If you want to be treated and compensated as a professional, you can’t run your business as an amateur.


  39. That’s terrible news. There does seem to be a lack of understanding in this whole area of photography. Perhaps there is room to grow from this experience. Turned the right way, could you use this as a tool to build stronger relationships with magazines/ the models you photograph?E.g. if you explained the issue to Karlie, would she consider posting another image of yours with correct attribution? Would the magazines consider working with you as photographer of choice?


  40. I feel your pain, having encountered a similar experience with some of my travel photographs. The rule I try to adhere to online is that if a photo is on the internet, you will never, ever find out who uses it and what for. And as I’m sure you’ve found out, following up later the get compensation is enough of a pain to ensure that the effort you put into billing etc. probably doesn’t balance out on the fees you’ll get back. In short: watermark your images at all times and ensure that the EXIF contains a copyright notice. That way, you have definite comeback and a much stronger legal stance.


  41. I don’t think they used her instagram picture, because it’s so small. At first you saidnyou uploaded it to your wevsite, so everyone could see your credits.
    But I can understand why are you so angry.


  42. Working in the fashion and beauty industry and moonlighting as a blogger, I feel your pain. On one hand you don’t want to watermark your images because many media outlets won’t even consider using your images because of it but then on the other hand, you have situations like this. And not having big agencies like Getty behind you makes approaching each publication by yourself difficult (let alone time consuming). I am hoping that everything turns out in your favor.


  43. Not cool at all. It starts out at an ‘innocent mistake’ and turns into a nightmare, but only for you.

    I’m surprised that it was printed in magazines. The image dimensions on your blog are only 534 x 800 (and no EXIF data BTW), and I wouldn’t expect they could print from that. I don’t use Instagram, but I’m assuming the size/quality was even further reduced at that point.

    Such a shame, very sorry this happened to you. This is a story I’ll definitely be sharing!


  44. Rachel,

    I’m sorry this happened to you. On a small scale I can relate (mind you it’s small). I make French pastries and the other day when I decided to give Free pastries to a Consulate, I receive the rude comment as “That’s it? Central Market gave us more”. While I’m a small pastry chef that works from Home and has won the best macaron where I’m from (competing with store fronts) I can only produce a smaller amount. They never specified how much so I estimated an amount for them. I sat there after she told me good bye, thinking about how I was actually suppose to stay to represent my pastries, instead I was given the door. This made me think altogether to stop making French pastries..People forget the time and effort in the work you or I do, assuming that it’s nothing to us. I do hope you get everything settled but the magnitude of the internet is insane.


  45. Hi Rachel,

    So sorry to read what a nightmare this has been for you. Would you mind sharing if you had submitted your images for registration with the U.S. copyright office before or after publishing the images?


  46. Sorry this happened, it must be so frustrating to feel powerless especially since they keep popping up everywhere.
    😦 Anyway, beautiful photographs!! x


  47. Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your story. I hope that everything work out for you.

    On the prevention note, for all your future post, my suggestion and pratice is a not so popular word for some photographers. It is “watermark”. Does it have to be 50% of the frame? No. Does it have to be 100% opacity? No. You decide.

    If your goal is to get credits and visibility for those next 16000 instagram lovers, watermark is a good solution for everyone and you’ll get better at it. I can garantie that you will look back at your first watermark in 12 months and want to change it if it’s not already done 🙂 Also, watermark and credits does not mean that each publication have a licence to post that picture on their websites, but you already know that 🙂


  48. I totally understand you. I know how it works, i’ve been working as a model for 4 years and i ALWAYS credit what i post. But i can then say that the photo’s i’ve been a part of, 20% of them, I haven’t gotten my credit, even doing editorials for magazines etc. So i feel you.. Hopefully it will work out.


  49. I’m so sorry that this has happened to you. Even for those of us who do not rely on our photographs as livelihood, it’s incredibly annoying, frustrating and outright messed up. That it happened to you, a photographer whose bread and butter IS getting paid for photos, it just makes me really mad for you. Thank you for sharing your story.


  50. Do you put your logo on your pictures that you post? I never put anything online without putting my logo or the word proof on it. To use the photo, they would have to go through the trouble of editing it out.


  51. I’m so sorry this happened to you, Rachel. As a former academic, I know all too well the importance of intellectual property / copyright, simply giving credit where credit is due. You’d think everyone would be decent enough to know this basic rule, but sadly, it’s not the case. I’m sharing this and thank you for sharing your experiences with us, and opening our eyes further to the harm stealing images does.


  52. This is a huge problem for photographers the world over, not just from lack of accreditation, but also from watermark deletion and tpm stripping. perhaps a way of fighting back is to write an article on the life of a fashion photographer, include some of your images (including the kloss one) and highlight what photogs have to go through to be recognised for their work. sell your article to fashion mags around the world. a well written article highlighting the tough competitive industry could make up for your loss of income you have suffered up to date!


  53. Wow, As a model myself, I get how important it is to credit photographers and this definetly is an unprofessional move that Karlie Kloss made. I think that after done so many photo shoots, it should be like second nature to credit a photographer. Most models know this! How horrible! So sorry that this had happened to you! -Alicia Echevarria


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