Meet Shubnum Khan — a journalist from South Africa, artist, author of the book about the Muslim women from India called Onion Tears, and a blogger. Without knowing, she also became the face of McDonald’s in China, sold carpets in New York, advertised immigration in Canada, and was really good in many other things and didn’t get a penny for any of it. The reason is pretty simple: the woman didn’t pay enough attention to the terms of the contract. She shared her experience in her Twitter account.
Bright Side finds Shubnum’s story not only interesting but also quite instructive. We’d like to warn our readers that such situations should be avoided. Unfortunately, anyone could find themselves in Shubnum’s place.
The real price of a free photo shoot
6 years ago, Shubnum was surprised to find out from her friends in Canada that she, in fact, promotes immigration in the local newspaper. She had nothing against immigrants but was surprised to see her own face in the ad.
Her friends reminded her that several years ago, Shubnum was a part of the photo shoot called 100 Faces. A photographer took photos of 100 people of different nationalities. Shubnum was convinced to participate because she wanted the opportunity to get a couple of professional headshots for free so she signed the contract. She didn’t pay attention to what was written in the small font.
She took only 3 photos with different facial expressions. But they were all later sold in photobanks.
Shubnum talked to the photographer. He replied to her claim that he was sorry for the inconvenience but what happened was an absolutely legal thing and all the details were explained to her before the photo shoot. The photographer agreed to remove her photos from his website, but he also warned that he couldn’t do anything about the photos distributed to the rest of the internet.
In a short time, the woman found out that she:
- Invited immigrants to Canada and Uruguay.
- Sold carpets in New York.
- Was an expert on Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos and even organized tourist trips to these countries.
- Got ugly eye bags and successfully get rid of them with the help of an anti-aging cream and in another clinic, she treated her post-pregnancy melasma.
“I had horrible melasma and discoloration after my pregnancy. Dina M.”
- Had some dental work done in Virginia.
- Had Lasik eye surgery and was pleased with the result.
- She changed her nationality multiple times — for example, she became an Indian (just a red dot on her forehead was enough) and American.
A right for “name and personality change”
Shubnum got shocked at the websites that not only used her photo but also included her on the list of employees. She became a fake manager, a tour guide, a teacher, and a nanny. The latter outraged her the most: if the babysitting agency has a fake employee list, who babysits the children then? How can anyone trust what they see on the internet at all?
Compare the list of managers above to the testimonials below made by those who supposedly completed foster care courses. Did you notice that not only Shubnum’s photo appears in both cases?
The photographer confirmed: the contract had a paragraph that mentioned the possibility of “name and personality change.” This means that those who purchased a photo could absolutely legally create a whole new personality — whether it was a pleased client, a permanent employee, or even a woman looking for a romantic relationship.
The internet users jumped at the opportunity to share their findings with the woman. Someone told her about an ad in London, others shared the links to websites like clinics, banks, sports competitions, etc. Shubnum even got to the McDonald’s posters in India, China, and South Korea — all for free.
What does the story of Shubnum Khan teach us?
- A free photo shoot isn’t always a good thing. The right to photos, in this case, belongs to a photographer who can use them as part of their portfolio or can sell them. You should read the contract from top to bottom and pay attention to what’s written in small font.
- A photo that was uploaded online is almost impossible to remove. It can be used numerous times for different purposes. If you think that becoming “a face of something” sounds cool, mind that you won’t be able to influence what exactly you’d be advertising in the first place. Besides, you won’t get paid for it.
Don’t believe everything you see on the internet: almost half of the “big company” employees can turn out to be photos purchased from photo stocks. Unfortunately, we have to double check everything we see or read (for example, using other websites and forums.)
Have you ever participated in a free photo shoot? Have you signed any kind of contract? Share your experience with us in the comments.