Blogger Dilemma: Can I use your photos for free? Pwwweezzzee?

**Updated (please see end of the post)**

A few days ago, a fairly new online store emailed me to ask if they could use some of my images on their website as I was wearing a product that they are currently selling. They were apparently featuring images of their customers and bloggers modelling the range.

Sure, I replied, and I’d appreciate a link back to the blog.

A reply came saying thanks, blah blah blah and this:

“We aren’t linking to other sites at the moment though we may in future, but we will certainly put ‘modelled by cosmetic-candy, which should lead people to your blog.”

Now, although a little bit taken aback, I didn’t quite get annoyed until really thinking about it later. (That, and my favourite Irish Pixie (after Colin Farrell) giving me a Rocky-like pep talk on Twitter.)

I have decided I am not too amused by the situation:

Angry Cat Yelling.jpg


Pictures take work. A lot of work.

I am not alone I’m sure, when it comes to having pictures nicked for whatever reason – for other people’s sites, for eBay etc. and I am pretty zen about it although it is mighty frustrating when you have put a lot of time and work into your pictures.

It doesn’t matter if your photos aren’t tip top David Bailey quality, the point is you have taken that time to take the pictures, download then, edit them, resize them, post them etc.

I aim to put personal photos with nearly every blog post I do, and that’s quite a few. It takes many many many hours to put these together in whatever spare time I have. I have to take most of my pictures with studio lights because I have a full time job in the day and I use the early hours of the morning to catch up with photos.

In an ideal world people should always ask if they can use an image first and generally the answer will be a yes…

But come to think of it, it also depends what you want the photo for. My pictures are for THIS blog and if another source wants to use for NON COMMERCIAL reasons WITH A CREDIT, that is fine.

Asking to use someones images without payment, a decent credit or a link back (whichever you feel comfortable with) is basically asking to take someones work for free.

When it comes to eBay – I have had my photos stolen by sellers lots and lots of times before.

If you want to use my photos for eBay (which I see as commercial) then the answer is no. Besides the fact that people may mistakenly think I am trying to sell samples on eBay, it only takes a few hours to take your own pictures and swatches (seeing as editing and lighting isn’t a huge consideration for auction shots). So do that instead, you lazy gits!

Link backs: Sharing is caring

Methinks someone has a bit to learn about the world wide web, and certainly dealing with bloggers…

I am not sure why this particular site has decided that they “aren’t linking to other sites”, especially ones they are happy to borrow photographs from – so I shan’t speculate.

But the fact is, linking to one another keeps traffic flowing. Wanting lots of people linking in and not linking out is a little bit – what’s the word? Greedy?

And, why would it be ok to put down ‘modelled by cosmetic candy’ but its not ok to change that text into a link?

We all know that people are lazy when browsing the net – they are a lot less likely to remember your name and google it than they are to click on a link.

And at the end of the day, its hardly wise at such an early stage of your business to attempt to be setting these kind of ‘we don’t link out’ rules.

Had they offered me a link back I may have added them to my blogroll with my favourite shops. A quick check on page views tells me that Cosmetic Candy has just over 100 times more page views a month than their site does so can you guess who would be helping out who the most?


After politely explaining my policy, I got this reply

“All the images had “” clearly written on them, but we will remove them from our site immediately unless we hear back form [sic] you that that [sic] is ok.”

I won’t rush to reply back then.

Kids take note! If someone contacts you from another website, especially a commercial one and wants to use your images without giving you a measly link back to your site, they are not valuing your work. JUST SAY NO!

Ok bored of ranting…

What’s your view on bloggers photographs?

Is it ok to use other people’s shots without asking?

Have you ever had photographs “borrowed” be other people?

Is asking for a link back unreasonable?

Have you eaten all your Easter eggs yet?

Tell me in the comments!

P.S. Speaking of link backs, I am adding beauty bloggers (please bingo/lottery/gambling sites, stop asking) to my blogroll page (which badly badly needs updating!). You can leave me a comment with your blog if you’d like to be added and I would very much appreciate to be added to your blog roll too 😀

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  1. says

    That’s bloody bloody rude. Really bloody rude. Pictures of real people actually wearing the products (and people, like you, that beauty readers know they can trust not to have photoshopped the thing, and with a large and loyal readership) are immensely valuable, especially to a new online retailer.

    I hope you told them to piss off.

  2. says

    Maybe just maybe “photo taken by cosmetic candy ” would give impression that you bought or modelled stuff for them. I could be wrong anyways I would love to be on your blog roll :)
    And of course I’m following your blog religiously , how it could not be on mines?

  3. says

    Coming from a photography point of view, it’s a total no no.

    Product and commercial photography is expensive. I think it’s damn cheeky and if I saw any of my photographs added to a website that was making money off the back of my images. I’d invoice them for the usage.

    Non-commercial usage is fine in return for a linkback and credit.

    Just ‘cos it’s the internet, don’t mean it’s free.

  4. says

    it just plain bleeding rude not the blogging thing, i didnt get an easter egg! i’ve just had to put up with normally shaped chocolate bars! how rude!

    as for the website fiasco taking images without credit is just a no no! tell them to fook off!

    & finally the blog roll. mine is
    You need to teach me how to do a blog roll on mine! :)

    oh & you need to tell me the chanel you’ve seen!


  5. says

    The only reason they didn’t want to put links is that they were afraid that a person looking at the pictures would link away, and not come back to spend money. I can see their point, but at the same time, it just looks desperate when people do that.

    Can you add me to your list? I have already added you to my list ^_^.

  6. says

    Oh I feel like such a fool for agreeing to let them use my photo’s now – the email actually made it sound like *they* were doing *me* a favour… What a tit!

    I live and learn… I would love to be included on the blogroll too by the way – its

  7. says

    Heheh, I did get totally outraged on your behalf because I have had it with all this crap about ‘it’d be good for you to do tons of shit for free for our profit-making organisation’. Eh no, it would not. *I* decide what I want to feature to pump up the fortunes of profit-making companies, thanks very much, and if a company wanted to use my images – that I spend bloody hours on – for free, I would tell them to SHAG RIGHT OFF in no uncertain terms. Or send ’em an invoice. One or the other. Editorial at your discretion is one thing, having the utter piss taken by people who are setting up a business is quite another. Will they be giving the products they’re selling away for free? Oh, I don’t think so.

    Ah, that felt good.

  8. says

    Another example of companies trying to get something for nothing. A link takes nothing to do.. but now with their policy id avoid them like the plague.

    Id love my blog to be added to your auspicious blogroll. Your blog is at the top of my bookmark page and is always checked first!

  9. says

    I always get very offended when people/so called “beauty editors”, “offer” you traffic by stealing/hotlinking pictures even those are not mine. It’s also nothers me when giveaway hosts just stole pictures of the “prices” on Google Image when we don’t even know if she actually has the thing or not.

    Anyway, there used to be a Chinese blogger I love because she collects all the cool information about Anna Sui products but I get a tad annoyed she can just took pictures from a Japanese blogger Iida kyoko put into her blog and just said”I saw it on a random Japanese website”. I pointed out to her it’s nicer to just link (because is not like the Chinese own post has anything original anyway) and give credit to the person who too everything and not having watermark allover the pictures (Japanese people never do that anyway)doesn’t mean it’s OK to steal…

    The girl just deleted my comments so I decided it’s better to just not visit her at all (and I am glad that I never let her know that I have a blog as well…)

  10. says

    Oh, I missed the 2nd part. Anyway, a nasty eBay seller stole a picture from me once and she/he ignored me when I ask her/him to remove it. It wasn’t that bad because if was a pretty bad picture anyway (earlier blogging day…).

    Then some other bloggers just took my swatch to blog-sell her stila trio, I got a bit mad (not to much, since it was another blurry As for linking, I guess it depends. I personally would look for blogs that are better/have more content, less BS than mine to link to so I would just ignore the request when a 1 month old blogger (who does nothing but blurry FOTD pouting…). I am not really interested in looking at faces of woman and I usually get annoyed but many blogs so I might ended up insulting those people in my posts or comment sessions.

    I don’t want to act like a hypocrite while complaining about those “cute Asian girls pouting”/blog sellers who take advantage of their readers/picture thief but linking to them because “it’s the nice thing to do”.

  11. Onna says

    Urgh This annoys me to…. every two weeks I sit down and spend about 7-8 hours taking and editing pictures for my up coming blog posts – my pictures arent always perfect… or even any good but I try my best.

    Although I do use some pictures from google… and I put in italics – All Pictures Taking From Google. These are only of celebrities though so I guess no blogger is likely to have taken these themselves and uploaded these to google right? Maybe I’m wrong…as for products I either take my own or go the the site that sells the products (which is rare) – I’m clearly advertising their product so I hopefully they don’t mind.

    As for a blog roll I don’t have one or know what one is. But I guess its a link list of your favourite bloggers… which I really want on my blog and will do it now. It would be nice to be on your blog roll but in all honestly there are a lot better blogs out there and Im not really sure if my blog is everyones cup of tea.

    Here’s a link anyway

    Nice Post x

  12. says

    Agree with pretty much everyone, if they can’t linkback – and why not is what I’d *really* like to know! – then no dice on using your pics.

    Pretty please can I be on your blogroll? You’re already on mine … 😉

  13. says

    Doesn’t take much extra effort to put make a text into a link, especially if you are asking for a photo! Glad you brought that up, hopefully they will consider link backs in the future now.

    Would appreciate it if you could add my link to to your blog:
    I will be adding your link to my blogroll now :) x

  14. says

    Hello doll :) I agree completely with what you (and all these other lovely ladies) are saying! Nothing ticks me off more than when I know other bloggers are using my photographs. I’ve thought about watermarking them from time to time, but I really don’t want to do that — I just hate how watermarks can sometimes take over the image!

    I would love to be on your blogroll (you’re already on mine, of course! I check Cosmetic Candy like I check my email. Often and obsessively!) but I would love to be on yours :) I write theNotice, at

    P.S. I hope you keep an eye on this online store! I’ve refused people photos before, and they’ve taken them anyways, grrrr. If the store does take them, you are 100% justified in totally. flipping. out. 😛

    Take care ?

  15. says

    Haha, just fyi — the “?” next to “Take care” was supposed to be a heart, but I suppose your comment thread didn’t like that 😛 So, instead: take care!

  16. says

    I see lots of photos on ebay taken/stolen from bloggers I know….with watermarks and all. The don’t even bother to choose other ones or remove the blogger’s URL @_@

    These d*ckheads who approached you are plain stupid. They should know that you linking to them (and any link to their site) is good for them, but the more they link out, the best results they get on search engines!^^ Not only the incoming link counts….

  17. says

    every bit of your rant is true. it is out right selfish of them to ask you for such a thing. it’s actually funny to me that they sounded a little bit pissed when they saw your watermark on your own photo.

    i’ve been following you via bloglovin.. although i wish i could follow you via blogspot b/c i check that more often. here’s mine:

    i don’t have a section for a blogroll yet, but it will definitely be on my to-do list and your blog will definitely be in there! i love the reviews that you do. truthful with a sprinkle of comedy. yum.