• Jennifer Brecheisen

Glow Yoga at The Yoga Oasis | My Thoughts on Freetography | My Images Stolen

A couple of years ago I was asked to shoot a fundraising event called Shift Happens for The Yoga Oasis in Charlotte. This event was awesome! It was lead by Emily Bucks, a phenomenal yogini, and it really took you on a yoga journey. My only disappointment was the fact that I couldn't participate in the event! Everyone at the Yoga Oasis is so passionate about yoga, and I wouldn't recommend any other yoga studio over them!

This was an unpaid shoot, but I was really excited about it, because not only did it give me a chance to give back to the community, but it was also the first time my father and I would be working together on a professional level in a gig that I got-not him haha. My father is a photographer and an inspiration to me, and my mother is also very creative, so I feel like I was born to do some sort of art. It took me no time to discover that I was also good at business, and I eventually decided to get a business degree and open my own photography business. (If you're a beginner in the photography business and trying to build your portfolio, fundraisers are an excellent way to do this!) I don't recommend "freetography" for friends or family or as a portfolio building exercise except in situations like this. For more information on that, go here.

And while we're on the subject of "freetography" I would like to take a minute to discuss what has happened with these pictures since they were published and tell you a sad little story.


About 2 years ago I was searching on google "dark yoga" to try and find some inspiration for something a little different. We always see yoga pictures on white backgrounds or in serene settings, but yoga can be hard, and it's definitely not for the faint of heart. I thought I would do a darker series exploring use of harsh light and shadow on muscles and use a dark background to convey the intensity of yoga. my surprise, the image directly below and the last one on this post was ON THE FIRST PAGE OF GOOGLE when you typed in those 2 words. Golly Gee I had been trying to get on the first page of goole for over a year just for my area!

So I did what anyone would do and clicked on the image. This took me to Revelstoke, Canada, a newspaper actually. Was there a copyright with my name below the image in the article? NOPE! In fact, it stated the photo was submitted by Balu Yoga, a Yoga studio in Revelstoke. I immediately contacted the newspaper, and they IMMEDIATELY put my copyright below the image. I then researched Balu Yoga, and I found that my image had been shared on their facebook and website to advertise their own glow yoga classes and events. I contacted them and after several conversations I was told by Noelle, the owner, "I'm not paying you for this image. You are taking food off my kid's table." The irony and audacity has never ceased to amaze me in this situation. A fellow business owner stole my image, MADE MONEY OFF IT, and then has the audacity to tell me that she's not going to pay me for it, because it's taking food off of HER table? Yeah, totally backwards LOL. Even though my image is covered under international copyright law, I decided not to pursue court in this matter. The costs involved in that would never be taken back from them, because they are a small studio.

Moving on-I decided to do a reverse image search on google and found that my image had been stolen by a Zumba studio in NJ, another Yoga Studio, and a Glow Products website ( a leading glow products company.) Oh if only I had the money for a copyright lawyer back then. It has also been stolen quite a few times since then as well.

Moral of the story-your images are copyright as soon as you take them; however, if you do not register them with the copyright office within 3 months of publication you can only recoup their actual value if they're stolen and not all the damages. REGISTER IMAGES BEFORE YOU PUBLISH THEM! Not only can you defend yourself, your art, your worth, you could also get rich like that insect photographer. Check his story here.

I hope my fellow photogs may have learned something from this post. REGISTER REGISTER REGISTER! All of these images are copyright Jennifer Brecheisen, and they cannot be used in any way without authorization from me. Stealing my images and cropping out my watermark will result in a larger penalty.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Jennifer Brecheisen

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