Friday, 13 June 2014

Thinking of booking a place on a furniture painting workshop?

Do your homework before you hand over your cash to learn how to paint furniture

Thinking of booking a place on a painting workshop? Take a good look at the company's website first - I've seen one company offering classes, but the main images on their website and Facebook page have been lifted from Pinterest. 

That's not to say they don't know what they're doing, but a little misleading, maybe...

If you see an image on a company's website, you assume that it is an example of their work - and if that company is offering to teach you to do something, you want to make sure you're going to be taught to the standards you expect.

So, if you see an image like this, for example:

Wow! Did they really paint all that? No, someone else did 

The chances are it's just been pinched from another site. Unless the company whose site you are looking at has lots of photos from the same photoshoot, or has a large showroom in which to take such photos, it's unlikely that it features work by the business in question.

If in doubt, go to Google Images and simply drag the photo into the search box to do a reverse image search.

For the image above, taken from the homepage of a painted furniture company that holds workshops, you get this result:

Page after page of the same image

The image is widely shared on Pinterest - which is probably where the website found it. They do have photos of their own work on their Facebook page and their website, but they are somewhat hidden.

I'm not suggesting there is any malice or deliberate deception intended by this company - it's more likely a case that they needed some images and it was easier to find professionally shot photos on the internet than it was to get some taken. But this is something I've blogged about before.

While it may seem harmless, it's misleading, and when you've seen first-hand just how hard some people work to take their own photos, of their own products, it really grates and seems a little bit like cheating. And remember, somewhere, the person who painted and styled that bedroom, and took the photograph, is having to watch it get used by people all over the world to make money for themselves. Is that really fair?

There are plenty of well-qualified people (French Grey Tales, Sugden and Daughters - not to mention all the trained Annie Sloan stockists such as Chalk) offering painted furniture workshops - and a quick look at their sites will tell you straight away how good they are. 

So, if you're thinking of booking a place on a workshop - even if it seems like a really good deal - just spend five minutes doing a bit of research into the company before you click that 'pay' button. Better safe than sorry...