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Topic: What to do with photo-takers / idea-stealers???  (Read 31336 times)
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Sugar Skull Lady
« on: May 12, 2004 04:21:34 PM »

I am a confectionary artist specializing in Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls, and I often sell my wares at festivals / cultural events / etc.  The last year or so I have had many people come to my booth and "ooh!" and "aah!" over my sugar skulls, and instead of buying one, just snap a photo!  A few of them said they were going to make some sugar skulls themselves, and they wanted to take a picture for decoration ideas.  It boils my blood!  I feel it's almost like intellectual property infringement for people to do this.  I don't want to put people off by banning them from taking pictures, but I really don't know what to do.  With the popularity of digital cameras in the past year or so, this has been a bigger and bigger problem.  Any ideas, crafty people?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2004 06:25:30 PM »

Lots of craft show vendors and brick-and-mortar storefronts specifically ask that you don't take photos.  It's not that unusual -- and the worst that will happen is that you will lose the business of the person who was taking the picture and not going to buy from you anyway.  You could just have a little sign that says "Please no photographs" or politely say, "I'm so glad you're interested in my original designs, but I'd appreciate it if you would not photograph them."  (Ok, I'm not too sure I'd actually take my own advice b/c I'd hate to get in an arguement with someone over it, but I have seen other vendors do this.)

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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2004 06:42:41 PM »

I would just ask people not to take pictures.  I'm not sure if it's actually against the law or not, but it's not very nice. (Now I sound like a kindergarten teacher!)  But just make a little sign for your booth saying 'Please, no photos.'  People will get the message and will realize that you realize what they're doing~ then they won't try and take you for advantage.
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2004 08:51:24 PM »

My blood's boiling, too. I recently had a person take multiple pictures of an original design AND another person came up and was like "ooh, ahh, cool," all the while manhandling the object to see how I'd done it. I wanted to say, "Buy it and you can take it apart at home," but I'm too "nice" for that. Ugh. Your frustration is shared. I just try to focus on the folks that say, "Wow, what a cool and original idea! Neat!"

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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2004 09:09:46 PM »

being the grabby-feely kinda girl that I am...I never take credit for something that was someone else's idea.  Especially with my recent ex's t-shirt escapade...I gave everyone who asked if it was an original idea the website here to prove that it wasn't my idea...

On the other hand...I ooh and ahh and touch and get into stuff, but normally it amounts to nothing.  I want to point out that I have yet to have a nice dia de muerto...and I used to live in san diego  Embarrassed

My point is... I would love a sugar skull, because I've had a craving for one since the first time I saw a photo of one in ... 4th grade (when I was like 8-9 yrs old)...


so if you could, please, mail one my way, it would really make my day...

Photo's aren't terrible...on ebay   you need a photo to sell something.

In real life, a sign should do.  If people touch or fondle, it might just be their thing.  It's ok to think they are trying to steal your ideas, but as long as you keep a better business, you should be fine. 


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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2004 11:48:57 PM »

i'd just politely ask them to not take pictures. post a sign or two if the verbal "warning" doesn't work ... although if people don't *listen* to you, i doubt they'll obey something that's written either ...

the tricky part is probably not digital cameras, but camera phones! while i have yet to see one "in action," i understand they can be used "undercover" quite easily!

many years ago (probably close to 20), when i was pursuing a differerent craft (weaving baskets), i had a shopper come into my booth, take out her notepad and start making notes about how a particular basket was made. i asked her to please not do that, and reminded her that the basket was only $12, and (like someone else mentioned), she was welcome to buy it and take it home and then try to figure it out (not that i would have been crazy about that idea, but it's the least she could have done!). her reply was that "basketmakers share" or something lame along the same line. i'd share tips with friends (or friendly strangers), but not someone who approaches me to copy something w/o so much as a "hello!" or "may i?". geez.

anyway, good luck!!


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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2004 05:20:17 AM »

Who cares about losing their business? If they wanna go make it themselves, I'm sure they won't buy it anyways. That is SUCH a rude thing to do... I agree with everyone else in saying that you should ask them nicely to bugger off.

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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2004 09:54:49 PM »

I go thru that a lot too (i do mex art too!!). we often have people want to snap pictures and then they ask what region we import from. i'm like - "our living room turned studio". we've had people pick up our stuff inspect it and then say "oh i can do this...", we've had others pick it up and inspect it and get mad when we won't tell them the brand name of varnish that we use, etc.

It makes me mad, but most of the time those people never go and do it, and if they do, it never looks the same because it doesn't have the right spirit to it. Sugar skull making here in AZ is very popular! But I've seen people make them all kinds of different ways, thats the beauty of it. Its too bad some people have to copy instead of being original!!

Be strong, polite and protective, I'd say put up a sign. Best of luck!!!

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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2004 04:26:40 AM »

we've had others pick it up and inspect it and get mad when we won't tell them the brand name of varnish that we use, etc.

 how do you politely go about not divulging information as to your supplies (this is always a tough subject!!

Erin H.
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2004 07:15:35 AM »

Okay, now I may sound like a kindergarten or Sunday school teacher (though one with steely will), but

What about polite honesty? 

"I feel uncomfortable answering that question. As a self-supporting artist I have put many hours of hard, trial and error labor into creating what I sell.  The value of what I do and what I am offering for you to buy is not just the object but my talent and my knowledge."

So, if they take offense at you putting your heart on the line you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they don't deserve to own your wares anyway. 

Or maybe offer to work with them on a one-on-one basis to make their own and charge them dearly for the sharing of your skill.   Or create a little instructional booklet to sell - then you could explain how a photo won't really help them understand the process and also undervalues your hard work. Or have some really nice photos printed with your contact information in the corner of the image and sell them.
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