One of the awesome things about having a hobby (or a business!) in the digital age is the ability to share pictures pretty much instantly with friends, family, and strangers from around the world. I cannot tell you how many problems I’ve had solved by posting a picture in a Facebook group. From burrs on bobbins to mystery fonts, I’ve benefited dozens of times from this type of group share.
As with most other luxuries, unfortunately, there exists a seedy underside of sharing photos – namely, when someone is sharing YOUR photos without your permission.
I’ll never forget the time a friend contacted me to let me know that a photo of my most popular item from my Etsy shop was shared in a group by someone asking a digitizer to “create” a design like mine. This was well before I even thought about digitizing, and the design I’d used was one Google search away using the words right there on the item. To top it off, my watermark had been magically removed. I was livid. I respectfully asked for my photo to be removed, and the woman was very defensive.
For most embroiderers, who do this as a hobby or pin money, it’s no big deal if someone is showing their picture off to ask, “What fabric is this?” or “What font did she use?” But for some, when this is a sole income and they work hard to source unique prints, fabrics, fonts, placement, and designs, it’s frustrating when their design is picked apart in a Facebook group of thousands. And I would imagine it’s incredibly frustrating for a digitizer when someone posts a photo of their work and asks another digitizer to rip them off. (As an aside, when someone has a special request for me, if I know someone who has it, I’ll recommend them. If not, I’ll go on a hunt for something similar. If it’s not out there, or if I think I can improve upon what’s available, I’ll take a stab at it.)
I know we’ve all seen folks who post others’ photos in yard sale groups saying, “I can make something similar to this,” and do they mark up? Heck no! They undercut your Etsy price by $10 or more. Isn’t that frustrating?!
So let’s be careful about how we share photos. Be respectful of your fellow crafters. If someone asks you to remove her picture, don’t get defensive and don’t smart off. Just remove her photo.
In the photo: my “studio.” Grab my e-book for more tips on photography as well as other topics to think about when selling your embroidered goodies here.