Dealing with Imitation: How to Handle Copycats in Wedding Photography

Dealing with Imitation: How to Handle Copycats in Wedding Photography


Dealing with Imitation: How to Handle Copycats in Wedding Photography

“Dear Devlin, I wanted to see what you might advise for an issue that I’ve had for a while now. I am in my third year as a photographer and I always use second shooters for my weddings. I had a girl local to me who is new ask if she could join me at a wedding. On the day she asked me lots of questions, like what preset do I use, how do I get my couples etc. After the wedding, she bought the exact same camera as me and my two favourite lenses. She bought the same presets that I use and even the same camera bag. I follow her on Instagram and lately I am noticing that everything I do, she then does. For example, I will post a reel and the next day she will post one with the same template. She uses the hashtags that I use on posts and our feeds are starting to look quite similar. She copies poses that I use and her website is very similar to mine, even the About Page. Being relatively new myself, I’m happy to help people starting out but I feel like in this instance I’ve handed her a template on how to be a wedding photographer. I’m starting to get stressed about it and as we are in the same area and know some of the same people, I can’t just avoid her. What do you think I should do?”

Kopied Kat

beautiful orange roses lay on mirrors

“there’s a fine line between being inspired and copying someone’s style and business approach outright.”

Dear Kopied Kat

It sounds like you’re in a tricky situation, one that many creatives would find challenging. While it’s flattering that someone admires your work enough to take inspiration from it, there’s a fine line between being inspired and copying someone’s style and business approach outright. Here are some strategies to address this issue while maintaining professionalism and your own peace of mind:

1. Set Clear Boundaries

It’s important to establish boundaries, especially when sharing your expertise with those new to the field. If similar situations arise in the future, consider what information you are comfortable sharing. For instance, discussing general techniques is usually fine, but specifics about your unique style, equipment, or business practices can be kept more private.

2. Communicate Directly

Since you know this person and interact in similar circles, a direct conversation could be beneficial. Approach the topic with a friendly, non-confrontational tone, offering some friendly advice. Express that while you’re flattered by her admiration, creative individuality is crucial for growth and success in photography. Suggest that finding her unique voice and style will be more beneficial for her career in the long run.

3. Emphasise Your Brand’s Unique Qualities

Use this as an opportunity to further develop and highlight what makes your brand unique. This could be your customer service, the way you interact with clients, post-processing style, or even specific products or packages you offer. The more you differentiate yourself, the less direct competition you’ll face. If your packages are currently open on your site, try removing them and only giving access to genuine enquiries.

4. Focus on Your Community

Since you mentioned both of you are known in the same circles, it might help to engage more actively with your community. Being recognised as a genuine, original, and engaging brand can solidify your reputation, which is something that cannot be copied easily. Remind people that you are the OG.

5. Managing Social Media Visibility

If the copying continues and becomes increasingly disruptive, you might consider managing your social media visibility regarding this individual. Most social media platforms allow you to customise who can see your posts. On platforms like Instagram, you can restrict or block someone without them being notified. Restricting someone allows you to control their interactions with your posts without fully blocking them, which can be useful if you’re trying to avoid escalating the situation or maintain professionalism in shared networks.

Dealing with Imitation:

How to Handle Copycats in Wedding Photography

Here’s how you can manage this on Instagram:

  • Restrict on Instagram: This feature allows their comments on your posts to only be visible to them unless you approve them, and their messages will go into your message requests. They won’t see when you’re online or if you’ve read their messages.
  • Mute Them: If you mute someone you follow on Instagram they will not be notified and it is not as aggressive as unfollowing them. You will no longer see what they post which might be better for your mental well-being.
  • Close Friends on Instagram: You could also use the Close Friends feature for stories where you want to share content but not to all followers.
  • Blocking: If the situation escalates or becomes untenable, blocking might be necessary to protect your mental health and professional boundaries. Blocking someone will prevent them from viewing your profile, posts, and stories.

6. Seek Legal Advice if Necessary

If you feel the imitation crosses into the territory of affecting your business significantly, consulting with a legal professional might provide clarity on your rights and possible actions. I would start with your Insurance Company and see what they advise.

While this situation is undoubtedly frustrating, it’s also a testament to your skill and influence as a photographer. Use this as a catalyst to further define and evolve your brand, ensuring that no matter how closely someone may follow in your footsteps, your unique value and service remain unmistakable and inimitable. You will always be at least one step ahead of them so try not to let it get to you too much.

In my experience, this kind of behaviour fizzles out eventually as the copycat finds their own way in the industry. It can even be healthy to have an ‘Industry Frenemy’ as it drives you to do better and to be so connected with your brand that anyone trying to copy you just looks like a poor imitation.

For anyone struggling to find their way in the wedding photography industry, I highly recommend my mentoring programme to help with defining your voice and standing out for all the right reasons.



Drop me a note with any industry issue that you might have and I will do my best to offer up some advice.

After a couple of decades as a wedding photographer, the chances are high that I will have some experience that might be relevant or have some insight into what your best course of action could be

The process is 100% anonymous, so feel free to share whatever is on your mind currently and know that this is a safe place.



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