For Your Eyes Only Portraits
I‘ve been on my own adventure over the last 10 years, setting up, and fighting for, my photography company For Your Eyes Only Portraits. During the last few years, I have had to battle exceptionally hard to defend my brand against the many (many) photographers and wannabes who have tried to copy my photographs and take the words I have written, passing them off as their own. It’s been a struggle emotionally and a very real challenge for my little business. I’ve been though a lot, but have managed to survive somehow!
Here’s my story.
When I was at university studying photography, (back in the nineties!), I learned the process of developing original ideas and thoughts. It was taught that it was unethical to plagiarise, especially in the creative field of photography. And so I learned how to develop my own creative thoughts and ideas through different processes. It saddens me now, that in my specialist industry (which is supposed to be a creative one), that so many photographers copy my pictures and words, even going so far as taking them off my website and placing them on their own website’s as their own, with not an original thought anywhere. I would take this action as a compliment, were it not for the fact that their laziness has muddied the water for me and my brand, confusing consumers who don’t always have the benefit of recognising an amateur photographer when she sees one! Just last week I had two clients in who had been elsewhere under the assumption the photographer was a talented naked photo shoot photographer, only to find he didn’t have a clue what he was doing!! I’m seeing this more and more. Photographing women’s bodies is, without doubt, extremely specialist. It’s taken me years to develop my boudoir photography poses and lighting to suit all the different body shapes. I’m aware that some ‘general’ photographers, the type who shoot weddings and families and the odd corporate head shot, have started to add boudoir photography to their portfolio of services. Offering stupidly cheap prices they shoot one or two boudoir photo shoots a month and have no (original) idea what their are doing! At FYEO we do nude photo shoots every day of the week, naked photo shoots and lingerie photo shoots is our speciality ? it’s all we do.
My youngest child was just 9 months old when I received the life changing letter from Bond’s trademark attorney’s accusing me of infringing their trademark For Your Eyes Only and that they would sue me for passing off as a Bond film. Passing off as a Bond Film. Hmmmm. No. The letter said that they would pursue me for costs and loss of business and that I should cease trading as FYEO and For Your Eyes Only immediately.
It was the end of the day and I had returned home to a peaceful home, it was handover time from the Nanny and my baby girl was having her bedtime milk on my lap. I was handed the innocent looking letter whilst still feeding my daughter.
Reading it, I felt shocked and worried to the core. I felt sick. When you receive a letter from the trademark attorney for a Bond film, you don’t just laugh it off! This was a David and Goliath situation!
After a sleepless night (and many many more to follow), I called my solicitor, who, it turned out knew nothing about trademark law.
I searched online and found an attorney who had experience in this genre of trademark law. She became my guardian angel and defender. Thank goodness for her!!
Her services didn’t come without a cost though? I remember that she swallowed up all my income at that time ? her legal fees were formidable, but it was a fight I had to take on or I could lose everything? the photographers using the for your eyes only name would have had carte blanche to walk all over the goodwill I had built up with that business name and the bond film would have taken me for every penny.
My trademark attorney gave the Bond guys a really hard time, so hard in fact, that they backed off completely in the end and we started talking about reversing the position ? that we would counter sue them!
I trademarked my name for your eyes only in the first place to PROTECT myself and my treasured employees from our jobs, from all the loons who were copying me left right and centre. It’ s been tough, and it’s an on going battle but I’m ready for the challenge!!
Looking back, I’m glad I did it. Every time a photographer uses my company name or copies pictures from my site I know exactly what to do. I have great and wonderful team behind me, supporting me, advising me and loving me. For Your Eyes Only Portraits is a team effort. I’m eternally thankful to my family for their support, my staff and of course all the dynamic and forward thinking clients who have helped to make FYEO Portraits what it is today. The best, the very next boudoir photography studio in the world.
More from me soon.