Over the last six years the pole dance industry has seen a massive increase in pole dancing competitions being launched around the world, with 75% of the competitions being launched in the United Kingdom.

The competition organizers have also seen a massive increase with companies wanting to sponsor the competitions to promote their products, which has been welcomed with open arms. However there is a down side to this story, as good as it sounds, the part regarding the increase in companies wanting to be sponsors.

It has come to light that some photo companies have found a loop hole by sponsoring pole dancing competitions where they are able to take advantage of the competition organizers and the winning contestants. Pole2Pole Magazine has been asked to highlight this to the pole dance industry and all pole dancers around the world so everyone is made aware. This information was highlighted by two emails that had been sent to Pole2Pole Magazine from winning pole dancing contestants. After making their own inquiries Pole2Pole Magazine, it was found that there were some photo companies sponsoring pole dancing competitions and offering prizes of free photo shoots.

These free photo shoots were loop holes that the photo companies found by sponsoring the pole dancing competitions and using the loop hole to get their sponsorship fees back plus at the same time generate lots more work. By using the competition organizers and the winning contestants the photo companies would pay the organizer the sponsorship fee and ask the competition organizer to agree within their sponsorship that a free photo shoot was included for the winners of each category at the competition, which the competition organizers were more than happy to accept. After contacting some competition organizers around the UK, it was found that photo companies would always want to include in the sponsorship the offer of a free photo shoot to all winners – this was the loop hole.

The photo companies do not tell the competition organizers and the winners that only the photo shoot and the photographers’ time is free, the photos themselves are not. Once the competition winners take up the offer of the free photo shoot the trap is then set as the winner is then asked to pay for the photos before they can be handed over, and by this time the winner has had the photo shoot and seen their photos and are so happy to know they now have their very own photo portfolio.

The winner then agrees and pay the photo company hundreds of pounds for their photos. After the winners pay, the company then set the second trap that would come later on down the line relating to the copyright of the photos.

The photo companies sell the photos to the winners but do not include the copyright, which means the winners walk away from the free photo shoot not in the position to use any of their photos they just paid hundreds of pounds for. Therefore any promotional work that would require use of the photos do not have the copyright to be published and the winner has to go back and ask the photo company for the copyright to use the photos.

The two traps the photo companies set are loop holes to get back any competition sponsorship fees they paid, plus get more bits of the cake as their photos, when being used or being published, would need to carry a photo credit of the photo company thus the photo company get free advertising and generate more work by using not only the competition organizers but all the winners too.

Pole2Pole Magazine informed the competition organizers that winners from their competitions had contacted Pole2Pole Magazine by email and told them about what had happened at the free photo shoot. The competition organizers told Pole2Pole Magazine they would make their own inquiries about the matter and you can read the findings below.

Pole2Pole Magazine also contacted the photo companies to ask why they are offering free photo shoots as a prize but do not inform the competition organizers or the winners that the photos are not included, and why the copyright is not passed over so that the winner will be able to use their photos to find work. The photo companies that were approached did not want to talk about the matter and made no comment.

Below you can read just some of the horrifying stories by the competition organizers and winning contestants that won a free photo shoot and ended up paying hundreds of pounds out for photos to attempt to find work and to promote themselves in the media.


Free Photo Shoot or Not? You deicide.


Pole Dancing Competition Winner Story – Sahara J:

I was so happy knowing I had won a free photo shoot in the amateur category of the pole dancing competition I entered. I contacted the photo company and arranged to attend my free photo shoot. I had to travel a long distance to the photo company’s studio and I was happy doing this. After the photo shoot ended I was shown around 20 photos on a laptop and told the photo would be edited to make me look wonderful, which made me so excited.

Just before I was about to go, the photographer at the photo studio told me I would need to pay for the photos before they were sent to me. I told the photographer I won the photos as a prize so I didn’t have to pay. The photographer then told me that all I had won was a free photo shoot, meaning the photographer’s time at the photo shoot – the photo themselves are not free. I was in shock when I found out that I had to pay for the photos. I was now in a dilemma after seeing my photos which I fell in love with and really wanted. So I ended up paying the photo company £190 and my photos were sent to me two weeks later.

After receiving my photos I tried to find some promotional work and make some promotional flyers up. I then had a bigger shock when the printers at the promotional work company asked if I had the copyright to the photos. I told them I was only given the photos and that I don’t know anything about the copyright. The printer told me before printing the flyers that they would need to know who owned the copyright to the photos and I was told the same by the promotional company. They told me to ask the photo company for the copyright to use the photo to promote myself.

I contacted the photo company and asked for the copyright and was told I would need to pay for the copyright for the photos. I was asked to pay the photo company £150. I then dropped the phone in tears and after composing myself I paid the amount over the phone for the photo copyright to enable myself to carry on trying to find work with the promotional company and to have the promotional flyer made.

There was something good that came form this horrible experience with the photo company and that was that the promotional company found me some work. After having this experience I wanted to let pole dancers know that when they see a pole dancing competition offering a free photo shoot as a prize to the winners, just be aware that the free photo shoot could end up costing you hundreds of pounds out of your own pocket. So before taking up the free photo shoot ask the photo company to put in writing that the photos will not cost you money and that the copyright for the photos will be included.


Pole Dancing Competition Winner Story – Kate C:

I won a free photo shoot at a pole dancing competition, so I contacted the photo company to arrange the photo shoot. The photo company was local to me and I did not have to travel far. Once the photo shoot was over I was shown the photos and I was told that they needed to be edited to make me look like a star – I was so happy. Then I was hit with a shock as the photographer asked me for £200 for the photos. I asked the photographer why I needed to pay for the photos, since I had won them. The photographer then told me that the photos were not included in the free photo shoot.

After the shock of finding out I had to pay for the photos I put the payment on my credit card and left very disappointed, but I knew I needed to have a set of good photos to help me find work. My photos were sent to me around two weeks later.

After receiving them I tried to find work by paying a joining fee with a promotional company. Then I was hit once more with the shock of finding out that I would need copyright in order for the promotional company to publish my photos. I told the promotional company I had paid the photo company for the photos but was not informed about the copyright. I then contacted the photo company to ask them to put in writing that I had copyright to use the photos, since I paid for my photos. The photo company told me I needed to pay for the copyright before they would send me the letter and asked me for £130. After an unpleasant argument with the photo company I ended up paying the £130 and they sent me the copyright letter about three days later. I have sent my story to Pole2Pole Magazine hoping to have it published so that other pole dancers around the world would not fall into this trap by taking up a free photo shoot from any pole dancing competition they enter as a prize.


Competition organizer’s comments:

After hearing the horrible experiences of pole dancers paying for the free photo shoots won as a prize, we are amending all our sponsorships to not include free photo shoots by photo companies. After amending our sponsorship there have been some photo companies that were sponsors to our competition which have decided to opt out and this has therefore, in our eyes, confirmed they were only using the loop hole to get their sponsorship fee back by using their free photo shoots to mislead Competition Organizers and to take money from pole dancers who won their ‘prize’. We would like to thank Pole2Pole Magazine for drawing attention to this matter.


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