Heroine In Heels is a top 10 London lifestyle blog aimed at the modern day woman. Covering things to do in London, restaurant reviews, hotels as well as where to go in the world when you want to escape London

Lets Talk About Why Its Not OK to Use Bloggers Images Without Permission

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Do you ever write down something, like a title of a post, and think, should I really need to explain this? Well this title is one of those moments.

Should I really need to say to people, hey, it’s not ok to take someone else property and use it for your own personal gain? Because that is what you are doing if you take a bloggers (or any other creative/ photographer/ Instagrammer etc) photos.

Photography has been a huge part of my life for years now and it’s a huge part of my blog and brand. The photography is often why I’m hired for jobs and involved in blog campaigns, because people like my photographs. I spend hours on my photography every week, from taking the photos to editing them, sometimes painstakingly in detail, making sure the colour and lighting is absolutely perfect. Which is why after spending hours producing something, its annoying, no, infuriating that someone with a click of a button takes my images and puts it on their website without permission or even a tiny little credit.

Recently I’ve found a number of sites using my images without consent. From a cafe’s website using my images as their header, a blogger agency (that I’m not affiliated with) using my images to promote the content they can get, and a big magazine using my image in an online article.

Theres multiple reasons why this is wrong, but here’s a flavour of it.

That photo cost me money to take.

I use the Canon 6D which cost me £1200. I use the 35mm f/2 at £500 and just recently bought the Canon 85mm f/1.8 which cost me a cool £1800- yes I know right, my heart also stopped too when I handed over my debit card. My Lightroom subscription is also a lovely £19.97 a month, so you see, photography really can be quite an expensive job.

The images I take for my blog, 95% of the time I have not been paid by anyone to take them. I take them, for the enjoyment I have for photography, but when I upload them, its a way of sharing my creativity with my audience and also a way of growing my portfolio and brand, as I hope that if someone sees my work and they like them, they might want to work with me.

But you see, if someone takes my image and uploads it to their site without even a measly credit, I don’t get any of that. They’ve not had to brunt the cost of the equipment nor the time to produce the image, and they are taking away my credit and “exposure” (oh how we all hate that word normally, but when its on my own blog, I can use it).

Cheating photographers out of work

Marketing images cost money. A brand wants to take some product images for your website? A writer wants photos for a magazine article they are writing? Well they could do it yourself which is completely fine, but then why don’t they? Maybe they don’t think they have the skills to take good enough photos. Which again is fine. But then in that situation they would hire someone who does. And they pay them. 

By taking a bloggers photos they took not for you, but for themselves, you are cheating them out of a job. 

My day job is in tech and let me tell you, if someone takes someone else’s code and uses that for their work, oh boy, are you getting sued big time. Its exactly the same!

How can you find out if someone is using your images?

So how did I find out? Well if you are looking at your blog images, in Chrome, right click and click Search with Google. It will then search the web for the image. It’s not 100% accurate, and if people have pinned it to Pinterest it will also return those, but if someone has used your image without editing it or changing the metadata, then likely it will return the website URL which is hosting your image.

What can you do if someone uses your images?

First thing to do would be to contact them and ask them politely to remove the image. I do this on Instagram quite a bit, and if you follow me, you might have seen when the person doesn’t reply, I call them out on stories and tag them so hundreds of people can see that they took my image. Well sometimes a little public shaming is the only way.

Most people don’t seem to realise that using someone else image without consent is wrong. I asked someone on Instagram to remove my image that they were using and they said

 “but I found it on Google” No, you found it on my site via Google, which is not a free image resource.

They thought they could use any images “on Google”. Copyright can get complicated, but sticking to the bloggers images title, in this case the blogger owns the image, and so you can not just take them.

If that fails? Well you can take them to court. My messages to the magazine I mentioned earlier have of course, fallen on deaf ears. I’m not going to take them to court, as well, we do have to be realistic here. I’m really not going to sue a million pound magazine empire over a photo I took of an ice cream.

Sadly bloggers won't always be taken seriously and for some reason don't see our work as work and think the content we produce is fair game. Well it isn't. We'll never be able to stop people taking our work, however if you do see an image you really like and think it would be great for an article you are writing, get permission first please. 

Oh, and Pinterest in not a source! Credit the owner please!

All images were taken by me, my tripod and a remote. 


  1. Great to see your blog continuing well - you always show integrity and I love the 70s style of this latest post.
    Totally agree - my ex had this a lot, and ended up just invoicing them for the image use. It shows efficiency and organisation - something which makes people not question that you'd take it further (even if in reality you may not decide to). A nominal charge is easier, with proof of image use and copyright. Possibly also worth putting a note at the bottom of your contact page about your image copyright perhaps use CC as a template https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ and outline a price for authorised use of images, and a price for unauthorised use of images. You can then point your invoice email to this link. :)

  2. Wow I can't even believe that goes on! And then the fact that people can argue against taking them down.