Monday, May 9, 2011

Why Photo Thieves Stink

I wanted to use stronger language to describe people who steal photos from other decorators and pass them off as their own work, but I restrained myself.

I've had people take watermarked photos off of my website and put them on their sites. Which seems pretty stupid, but people never cease to amaze me at this point.

Why Does It Matter?

You might not think this is a big deal. After all, don't brides look at lots of cake photos for inspiration? So if you think that you can do the same cake design, why shouldn't you be able to put the picture of someone else's work on your site?

Because it's not your work, it's not your photo that you have the rights to use, and it's deceptive advertising.

This is how many a cakewreck is born.

An unsuspecting customer orders a cake based on beautiful pictures without knowing that the person they're hiring can't really do the work that's pictured. When the final product is delivered, it's a less-than-excellent representation of the original.

Buyer beware doesn't cover this, since the seller is misrepresenting what they can do in the first place.

This is such a big issue, a group has sprung up on facebook called "Stop the cake thief." You might want to join it to keep track of possible thievery.

How To Spot The Phonies

If you're hiring a baker, always check a few things.

1. Is the skill level in the photos that you're being shown similar? If some cakes are super-neat and others are really sloppy, they might not all be by the same person.

2. Are the photos similar in style or all over the place? If some of the cakes are photographed professionally and others are plopped on a kitchen counter with the family dogs in the background, they might not have been taken by the same person. When you start looking for this it will be pretty obvious.

3. Look at the cake boards. Most people do their cake boards in a similar way every time. If some of the boards in the person's photos are covered with fondant and ribbons, and others are covered with wrinkled tinfoil from a roll, it's likely that the cakes weren't made by the same person.

Any other tips for spotting the thieves? Add your tips if you have suggestions!

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Kristin said...

The business I wrote about is going to be at the bridal show I do in June, so I am interested to see her set up. I am also trying to think of a way of bringing up the pictures on her site... just because I like stirring the pot. :)

Jamie said...

Excellent! It can't be discussed enough.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Kara!!! @ Kristin--if I could be a ladybug on the wall... :D
cindy/cindy's cakery

Eve said...

Kara - do you have a link to that FB site? This has happened to me, and I was surprised at how pissed I got that someone had claimed my 3D echidna cake (which won second prize at a very large cake decorating competition!) as theirs. In South America. Some people have no scruples!

SweetThingsTO said...

This topic is very interesting - but even more interesting, I had a email last week from someone saying that they found my photos being used on another site. The link they forwarded was some sort of spam as I had to enter in my login and password (I didn't) and they asked me to donate to their cause because of their time they took out to email me... weird?? Anyone else heard of this?

Kara said...

That's a weird one, I've never heard of anyone trying to get a donation before. I guess things are weirder than I thought.

The facebook page is!/Stop.Cake.Thief