This post has been a long time coming as I have been trying to get Groupon to accept that using stock images to promote photographers is not an acceptable practice and to commit to only using the photographers own images in future. I have been contacting them now for a month and yet they continue not only to use stock images to promote wedding photographers but they are also promoting photographers who use stock images on their own websites.
What is a Stock image?
A stock image is one which has been taken by a photographer and is distributed by an agency. It can then be purchased and used for a variety of purposes, generally illustrative images for editorial articles. There are many photographers who simply steal images from other photographers websites, which is illegal. The use of stock images is a way of legally obtaining and using really good images at a cost.
Initially Groupon attempted to justify this practice by saying:
“Stock images may be used which are representative of what the experience will be like. We take care to ensure that these images are a generic illustration and do not give a misleading impression of what to expect from the deal”
So Groupon say that essentially anyone buying the deal can expect to receive images of a similar standard and quality of the stock images they use. A very quick search found the following. The top image was the only image used on the Groupon advert and the bottom is a screenshot of the photographers own work. As a qualified photographer I think I am safe saying that there is a vast difference between the quality of the two images.
Groupon themselves admit this practice is unethical however they continue to use stock images.
Not only are Groupon using stock images in their adverts, they are promoting photographers who are using stock images on their own websites. This means that anyone purchasing these offers may be doing so based on never having actually seen any of the photographers actual work at all. The photographer in the example below only has four images that I can’t identify as stock on her wedding gallery. I have attempted to contact the photographer but have had no response.
The point of this post is to try and inform people looking for a wedding photography deal to be especially vigilant when an offer looks to good to be true – it usually is! If you are considering booking a wedding photographer via Groupon or indeed any other deals website, make sure you speak to the photographer before booking, ask if all the images on their website and advert are their own. Ask to see several full weddings that they have shot and whether they have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity cover. For the low prices you are paying for these deals (remember Groupon takes a percentage of the cost of the deal) the photographers are receiving very little for the high pressure job of photographing your wedding.