What do you do when you are a brand-spankin'-new cake decorator, fresh out of the first Wilton class, and you want to start selling cakes, but -oh no!- you don't have any cakes to show to your customers?
A) Wait until you make several for your friends and family?
B) Start making them without a portfolio?
C) Find some nice cakes on Google and post them as examples of what you can make?
If you answered C, then get ready for the cold slap of reality.
Never, I repeat, NEVER use any images found on the internet and use them on your page. Don't find an image and edit/crop the watermark out. Do not replace the watermark. ALWAYS give credit where it is due. Don't try and justify it by saying, "This is an example of what I can do." No, it's not. Unless YOU made it, it is NOT an example of what you can do. It may inspire you to make something similar, but even then, credit for the design must be given back to the original decorator. If not, then you are a thief. You have stolen a picture of a cake that you did not make, and you can get into legal trouble.
Stealing a picture of a cake you did not make is extremely rude to the original artist. I'm not referring to "sharing" a picture on Facebook, because those will usually direct back to the original artist. What I am referring to is going onto Google images, finding a picture you like, and posting it on your page and trying to pass it off as your own. Customers like to see what YOU can make, and if they discover that the images on your page are not your own, they will begin to question your reputation and skills, possibly losing that customer. If a decorator finds out that the picture you're using is not your own (which will definitely happen), then they will most likely call you out on it, exposing your ruse to everyone who can see. Either way, the situation is not good for anyone.
Using a picture as "inspiration," a.k.a. using a design created by another artist, is also frowned upon. Iff* you give credit to and/or link back to the original artist, then you may use that design. That doesn't mean you can recreate the cake and use the original picture as your own because something went wrong with yours, or you couldn't get a good picture, etc. Try to be original with your designs, and keep "inspirational designs" to a minimum.
Recently, a local decorator posted an ad to a "buying and selling" Facebook group. Everyone raved about how beautiful the cakes were. This is what she posted she could do:
|By Anna Elizabeth at Anna Elizabeth Cakes|
And this is what she has done:
|Not exactly the same|
Now, the second cake isn't bad, but it's certainly not near the level of the first. The first is made with real 24K gold leaf, amazingly beautiful custom-made sugar flowers, and sits on an immaculate cake board. The second has real glittered ribbon (not ideal for butter cream cakes unless done correctly), has craft store fake flowers jabbed into it (and if you've read my previous posts, you know why that's icky), and it all sits on a board covered in foil, or that special flowery foil. If she were to say that she could do something similar to the first, then yes, she could do something similar: use fake flowers, fake gold leaf (which is still difficult to work with), etc, but it's not an accurate representation of her skills.
Represent yourself accordingly, because if you don't you will have many upset customers, and many angry cake artists flooding your inbox.
*The term "iff" means "if and only if." This is my math-y nerdy side showing, but it's quicker. Until I have to explain it. Then it's not so quick anymore.