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Couple Tricked by Dishonest Photographer with Stolen Images

By Pye Jirsa on August 29th 2014

Photographers Stealing Images

In this article and video, we want to shed some light on the photographers who steal images. This is an occurrence that happens far too often, and it is not only deceiving to clients, but also offensive to the original photographer’s hard work.

stealing image

Recently, a couple in the Los Angeles area found a photographer and fell in love with his images. It wasn’t until after they had paid for and received the images where they noticed something was wrong. We hear about these stories every month, but this was a special case. This couple, in particular, had contacted us to tell us how a dishonest photographer had tricked them into hiring him by using our images. Check out the video below to hear their story.

Story of Stolen Images

Music “Nostalgia” by A. Taylor licensed from –

Shawn & Amrita’s Story

Shawn and Amrita fell in love with images on a photographer’s website, and they hired him based on those images. When they got their photos back, they were not like the ones on his website at all.

When we got the pictures back they were not quite right, and when we compared them back to the website, they were just dull

Of course, Shawn and Amrita were upset because these were not the pictures they had paid for. After doing a bit of research, they found all of their photographer’s images on the Lin and Jirsa blog.

website compare

Shawn and Amrita then contacted Lin and Jirsa and asked if we had ever worked with their photographer or if we were aware he was using our images. Their photographer had never worked at Lin and Jirsa, nor did he have permission to use the photos on his website. It was after this conversation where they realized they had hired a fraud. With this information, they confronted their photographer and requested that he re-edit their photos, and they haven’t heard back from him since.

Tips for Long Term Photography Success

Some photographers see pictures and think “I can do that” without understanding the hard work or knowledge behind how to capture that image. It’s easy to see the appeal of having an incredible lifestyle of a rockstar photographer without pairing the hard work and effort it takes to get there.

I have some tips for aspiring photographers who want to grow into a professional career. It won’t be easy, but you’ll grow as a photographer and your images will become a portfolio that you can be proud of.

  • Work Hard
  • Get out and shoot
  • Do test and practice shoots
  • Develop a unique and desirable style
  • Make smart and honest business decisions
  • Respect and deliver the quality products that your clients deserve

A Semi-Happy Ending for Amrita and Shawn

When I heard Amrita and Shawn’s story my heart was broken. They were deceived and paid for quality photos that they never received. I decided to take them out on a complementary shoot so that they could at least have some photos in the style that they originally fell in love with.





We chose not to share any of the names of photographers who have stolen our images because that wasn’t the intention of this article and video. We created this short film so that this couple could tell their story, with the hopes that this could somehow better our industry.

If you enjoyed this video, then don’t forget to subscribe to the SLRLounge Youtube for more!

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Scott Kuo

    I am just curious how bad were the photos that the fraud provided.

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  2. Jan Karlo Camero

    Great job Pye! All is well that ends well :p

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  3. Kevin Nguyen

    I know Pye already addressed this above but IMO, the public (future Brides & Grooms) deserve to know who is the bad boy/girl. This was not an act of an accident. Steal someone else hard works to advertise and make money under their own brand is NOT acceptable. Can’t stop others to try when you let one get away. If they need to continue their business after their bad name is public, they need to rebuild reputation because they never has one to begin with. L&J is being way to kind. I do not think that I am being negative when I identify who stole my cookies :). I shots an 18 hours wedding over the weekend and my body is still sore today. If I catch someone steal my works, I will make sure they have the same soreness ;)

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    • Matthew Saville

      Kevin, if you or anyone wants to know who this person is, others have already done the digging and “outed” them, in fact it happened months ago. Someone posted a link in a comment here, too… And yes, I do think that “outing” thieves is highly necessary in today’s world where our digital property is increasingly difficult to protect, let alone just keep track of. If nobody ever calls them out by name, they’ll just pop up somewhere else and start over.

      However this website, like other news/tutorial sites such as DPReview or PopPhoto, are not meant for that purpose. The main goal of this article was simply to encourage everyone to spread the word about being extremely careful who you hire.

      If you’re fearing that some bride out there might somehow see this video and yet STILL hire a faux-tographer, let alone that exact photog, well, fear not! The chances of that happening are probably exactly the same as if we had “outed” the one particular thief: slim-to-none…


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  4. Alexandra’s Corner

    Thank you for posting this. The dishonesty is enormous.

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  5. Marc W.

    If you want to read more about this photo stealer, check out: (as also mentioned in the Facebook post)

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  6. Eric Sharpe

    Cool thing to do by hooking them up after the fact. That’s good energy guaranteed to come back.

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  7. Stephen Hunt

    What a lovely thing to do Pye. I can’t understand how anyone could be so dishonest as to fraudulently display someone else’s images.

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  8. Rafael Steffen

    Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us. You can only deliver what you already know. There are not cutting corners in this industry if you want to make your name to stand out.

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  9. Phil Bautista

    I pity the poor fools that spend thousands on a photographer when their expectations aren’t met because a fraud was perpetuated on them. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing – Edmund Burke

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  10. Hannes Nitzsche

    Shameful that! People suck sometimes….! Good to see that there’s still some decency in this world – well done, Pye!

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  11. Pye

    Thanks guys for all of the positive words and encouragement. Like mentioned in the video, this happens to us on a monthly basis. There really is no point in going after individuals that do this. There is no point in suing. Most people willing to do this kind of stuff don’t have viable businesses or money to go after. It would just be a drain on our time and resources. Also, most people doing this will be out of business in a short time as they get a few bad reviews and get sued by their own clients. So we let it just kind of sort itself out naturally. When we hear about it, we just request the photographer remove the images. If they do not, then we take further action. This is the first occasion we were actually contacted by the people that were harmed from the situation, and so this go around we felt like the story needed to be told. It was heart breaking to hear, and it is extremely unfortunate for the couple. We were grateful for them being willing to tell their story.

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    • Matthew Saville

      @ Pye, I believe it was mentioned elsewhere that the thief in this case has over 100K in IRS leins, so, yeah. Not financially viable to sue… :-\

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  12. Austin Swenson

    I think it’s really nice that you went out there and took these photos for them Pye, but the other side of me thinks you should nail this BOZO to the wall!

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  13. Evelyn Molina

    Props to you Pye for taking the high road in this situation! From a legal/next steps perspective, what would you recommend photographers do if they find out one of their images has been stolen and being passed off as someone else’s work?

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    • Matthew Saville

      Usually, Evelyn, unless this photographer thief is getting filthy rich off stealing your images, there’s not much you can do because they’re probably flat broke, or extremely in debt, and there’s very little chance that you’re going to win a lawsuit for thousands of dollars in settlement.

      Simply put, have your attorney draft up a solid “cease and desist” letter, and send it off. They’ll usually comply, and if not, send another letter threatening to expose them or something. Basically, IMO you should invest as little of your time as possible in these types of matters, and just focus on furthering your own business success.


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    • Dave Lyons

      “taking the high road” here and not outting them is NUTS!!!! IMO you should ABSOLUTELY “out” them!! Pye talks so much about how much time and work it takes to get there and then turns the other cheek when ripped off.

      So now not only did they possibly lose the money from the actual shoot (assuming the couple had kept searching and found them if they’re in same area) but they lost money by giving a free shoot. The free shoot was a good gesture and will probably earn them referral business from these nice people but that’s a different discussion.

      By not “outting” the photographer he/she will probably now just go steal someone elses images… thanks!!! After all he pooped on the carpet and was rewarded so why not continue to teach him and others that you can steal images and if you get caught no biggie just go steal someone elses and there will be no legal consequences.

      You’re also telling people it’s wrong but if you do steal Pye’s pictures and if you’re caught he/they will just turn the other cheek AND not only will they turn the other cheek but they will give the people free pictures to pacify them and so now they probably won’t come after you legally. This is why this situation has gotten so bad!

      This guy broke the law, this guy ruined these peoples once in a lifetime event… make his a** pay so he doesn’t ruin it for someone else!.

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    • James Matthews

      This is unfortunately something that will never end, it’s great they were able to track the original images down though. Nice to see you guys look after the couple though.

      As a side note, you guys at L&J always seem to have fantastic locations. That park in the first shots looks like a fantastic location. I’m going to have to start searching through all the parks around the L&J office ;)

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    • James Matthews

      Ugh…when are we going to be able to edit our posts? I typed too fast and repeated myself a bit :D

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    • Matthew Saville

      @Dave Lyons, I respectfully disagree. Do understand that what we publish publicly on SLR Lounge, and what our wedding studio does WRT legal action / consequences, can be entirely different. We simply have no desire to become a shock-and-awe type website that gains traffic by flaming-and-shaming some poor schmuck. There are plenty of other places for that, and yes they do HELP or industry, but that’s just not what we’re about.

      In my experience, the thieves are not “getting away with it” or anything, in fact most of the time they’re probably already screwed WRT their business’ survival, because there are already plenty of horrible Yelp reviews etc. popping up, or whatever.

      In other words, justice will be served one way or another, even if YOU (social media’s masses) don’t get to indulge your guilty pleasure of crucifying “bad guys”…

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    • Dave Lyons

      @Matthew… This is why we all get our opinions ;)~ I’m not saying THIS site needs to be a crucifiction center but they should be outted… It’s cheating.. to me thats black and white.. period

      Ok look at it this way because a big part of this is not about us as the photographers it’s about the client.

      Do you think that if someone is about to spend $2,000-50,000 on their wedding pix or whatever that they’d want to know if their photographer(s) has ever lied, cheated or stolen images to get business??? I’d say a majority would say HELL YES!! Of course they’d want to know especially for weddings since theres no re do’s.

      These cheaters aren’t “poor shmucks”, they’re crooks and idiots. I do see your side of it and respect your opinions but if I catch a thief… god help them lol. It’s not a money thing or attention thing, its about respect and doing things the right way.

      It’s not about crucifying them, it’s about protecting the people who pay us and about protecting your livelihood and respecting your hard work.

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    • Pye

      @Dave Lyons, the reasons behind not revealing identities in this situation is primarily to keeping this community positive and uplifting. While sometimes we report on “downer” subjects like this, we do it to raise awareness versus try to create a sort of witch hunt.

      In every case, we do take legal action by sending out take down notices. We haven’t yet had anyone ignore the take down notices. Beyond that, there really is nothing more to do, going after these small individuals is just a drain on resources.

      If we were to report each instance of people stealing LJP images, we would be writing articles monthly. And if we report every instance where this happens to others, we would be publishing daily on the subject. We want SLR Lounge to always be a positive educational environment. Speaking on occasion regarding these subjects is designed to raise awareness, but reporting each time it occurs and the offending parties turns the site into an entirely different focus. Overall, we feel like it would really negatively impact the helpful and inspiring educational community that we have here.

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  14. Kim Farrelly

    Lovely Pye, was hoping you’d give back some magic to the couple as I read through the article.

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  15. claude laramée

    Good pictures Pye !
    I agree with you about it takes time to get there. The digital era has made things somehow easier on the technical side but creativity and how to handle couples that aren’t professional models is an art.
    Also listening to weeding pro friends, more brides expect the “Pinterest” top of the line looks ( such as those “destination weddings/Malibu” ) at the bargain price :-)
    Good story here !

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  16. Nick Viton

    Nice work Pye! Kudos. Good karma will find you!

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  17. Jim Johnson

    There is such dishonesty out there.

    I have recently been looking for a wedding photographer for myself. One of my biggest pet peeves I have right now is “fashion” style shoots with a model being passed off as a client wedding. I have been a photographer and teacher for 15 years, and I can spot them instantly. I don’t care how much back story you give on how they met, what the day was like, etc., you can’t hide the aesthetics that come from a multi-light set up with full art direction and professional models. And you can’t reproduce that with average people on a very hectic, real wedding day.

    I just worry for those couples out there that do not have my experience who expect their wedding album to look like that. It really is a shame.

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    • Matthew Saville

      I noticed this too over the past ~7-8 years, Jim, and so a few years back I vowed never to put models in my wedding portfolio. From 2008 onward, I maintained my own portfolio that was 100% real-world clients in real-world situations, wedding days, engagement sessions, etc. Did I produce some of my best work with friends who were models in my spare time? You bet! And of course I shared such images on my blog and on Facebook, but only when clearly explained.

      I totally understand that shooting over the shoulder of an amazingly talented workshop teacher can really be a huge boost to anyone’s skill and experience. And I thoroughly enjoy hosting and teaching workshops myself! However I do hope that every aspiring photographer out there will think twice very seriously before putting any images in their portfolio that they aren’t 100% confident they can reproduce on their own. (Let alone, stealing images that they have no right to use!)


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  18. Miguel Chavez

    Wow how sad!

    Great job Pye your the man! Making a terrible story into a happy ending for this couple!

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