Maine Wedding Photographer | Kate Crabtree Photography »

  • Kate Crabtree is an award winning Maine wedding photographer who creates evocative and timeless wedding photography for couples who would like their own personal love story to be told authentically. Although she is located in Bangor, Maine (central Maine), she happily travels to coastal and southern Maine, and throughout New England to capture unique wedding photos and engagement portraits. She has been featured on Style Me Pretty and published in Maine Magazine and Real Maine Weddings.

Kennebunkport Maine Engagement Portraits | Lauren & Hunter

Engagement portrait season is here– hooray!  While winter is great for recharging and envisioning the upcoming season, nothing beats actually going out, spending time with interesting people, and being able to create their portraits.

It was a bit grey outside for Lauren, Hunter and their adorable pup Graham’s engagement session, but the grey skies, hovering over a similarly colored ocean, felt very quintessentially Maine.  We explored their ceremony and reception spots in Kennebunkport (St. Ann’s church and The Colony), headed over to the pier in Cape Porpoise, and Lauren and Hunter shared details about their wedding.  Already looking forward to their wedding this summer!

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our time together.

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My experience with a photo thief – are you hiring a legitimate professional?

A few days ago I received a harrowing message from another wedding photographer.  A new photographer in her area had sent her a gallery of images that she said were her own work, and she discovered, through reverse image searching, that she had stolen two of my images (the two featured in this blog post).

I was in shock.  I checked the gallery, to be sure, and discovered that, indeed, not only had she taken my images, but had placed a watermark over them to indicate that she was the author of them.  It was an immediately frustrating experience, because as those images mean a great deal to me and she was attempting to make a profit off of my time and talent.  And, even worse, she was trying to mislead other photographers and potential clients, which broke my heart.

rowboat-portrait-maine-weddingI had brushed the situation aside once I had handled the sitaution with the new photographer as a somewhat random occurence, but then, a few days later, another Maine photographer announced that she had also discovered that her work was being used on another photographer’s Facebook page and had been also purposefully watermarked as a sample of her work.  In both situations, by the way, photographers in the Maine photography community rallied together to support this other photographer and me as we dealt with the theivery of our work, which really showcased how wonderful and close the wedding photography community is in Maine.

Ever since then, a few other Maine photographers have found other photographers using their work through a quick reverse image search, and we’ve all come to the conclusion that image thievery is more prominent than ever.  And that’s frightening, as I would hate for couples to be deceived by a portfolio that has been partially (or completely) stolen from other photographers.  So, in order to save other brides and grooms from being deceived… here’s a few tips you can use in order to determine if a photographer that you’re considering hiring may be deceiving you.

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1. Check out their Facebook fan page.  Are clients often tagged in the images and are their friends and family commenting underneath them?  These are positive signs that the images were created by the photographer.
2. Are the images on the photographer’s web site and Facebook consistent in style and quality?  If so, that’s a good sign.  If the images differ greatly from one another in regards to saturation, color toning, and shooting style, they may be borrowing photos from a variety of different photographers.
3. How much is the photographer charging?  Although more experienced photographers have been caught stealing photography (and blog posts!), it’s often newer photographers who have very little experience who are caught stealing work and using it in their portfolios to serve as a “placeholder” for future work, or to show what they hope to create in the future.  Neither of these reasons, by the way, are good ones.
4. Google the photographer’s name and see what pops up.  There are a few vigilante websites (PhotoStealers is my favorite) that out photographers who have featured stolen work and photographers on their websites, and they ensure that their thievery will haunt their business for the rest of their lives.
5. Does their work seem too good to be true?  Similar to number 3, does the photographer’s portfolio seem too good for the amount they are charging or the amount of time they have been in business?
6. Still not sure?  Try taking a few images you are questioning and do a reverse image search to see if they pop up on any other photographer’s websites.  My favorites are Google reverse image search and TinEye.  Try to verify which image is older, which will typically indicate where the original source of the image.
7. Read reviews on an impartial site (like WeddingWire) to learn more about other couples’ experiences with the photographer.  If there are many reviews that are positive, there’s a good chance the photographer is making many couples happy and that the photographer is providing legitimate work.

If any other photographers have advice they’d like to share, please leave your nuggets of wisdom in the comments!  And, couples, please be careful.  I’m so sorry that image theft is becoming more prevalent, as it hurts the entire wedding photography industry.  Make sure you trust your photographer and their skill level before you hire them, as you won’t get a second chance!  And, I promise– I would never, ever steal work or content from another photographer nor try to claim it as my own!  I strive to be 100% authentic, all the time. :)

Michele Stapleton - As a photographer I find it easier to spot suspect images.

I’ll see a whole bunch of images in which a photographer demonstrates that she hasn’t yet mastered working with a flash. Then, all of a sudden, there is an image with very complicated lighting technique.

Or maybe there are dozens of images on Facebook which show that she hasn’t really grasped how to vary her aperture to create mood. Then, BAM!, there’s an image that is shot at very shallow depth of field.

The same person didn’t shoot both pictures.

Or if the same person did shoot both, the “bad” picture would have been so early in her career that by now she would have dumped it from her portfolio / would be embarrassed to have it on her site.

So, I’d say if you have a friend or relative who knows a bit about photography, ask him or her to help you in your decision, and to look over the site carefully to make sure there are no red flags.

Sorry this happened to you, Kate. I guess it means you have arrived when other photographers want to be you!

cap - Kate- This happens far too often. Copyright your work, include it in your price package and your customers will be ever thankful as well. If your digital camera has a GPS marker you can also prove it is your work in a court of law and protect yourself and your customers as well. Thieves must be held accountable for their actions at all costs! Sorry this happened to you! You really turned out to be a talented photographer.