Fake-Ups & Mock-Ups…Why Spend Hours & Money When You can Get it Done For Free & Within Seconds..!!

It has recently come to my attention that some creatives, including the likes of Graphic Designers, are in fact plagiarising & deceiving all, including their existing & potential clients by shafting off free & readily available online templates & mock-ups as their own unique designs & works.

How did I work this out I hear you ask?!

Well it was quite straight forward really…

Late one night I happened to be checking out the competitions’ & other artists’ websites and I suddenly started to think – hmm, these images look way too pro for such-and- such creative to have conceptualize and shot themselves, I wonder which photographer they used

I then started to recall conversations I had recently had with some of these creatives and knew some of them were on tight budgets and could not have possibly employed a photographer to create the images as I knew they would have charged a great deal and this is not something that said creative could have financially afforded to do…

This lead me to take a closer look at all ‘their’ designs and images and thereafter led me to carry out a quick Google search. Within seconds I realised that they had in fact tricked or dare I say it, even conned, people, into believing these were their own unique designs when in actual fact they were merely templates with the clients logo / images simply copied & pasted on to a readily available free template online and for doing this, they had charged the client no doubt several hundred or even thousands of pounds – with the innocent client thinking they had parted with their hard earned cash to get something totally unique & bespoke to them – how far from the truth this was…

To break it down and give you an example…

Mockups_Templates_Products_Business_Cards_May_2016_1_Jasdip_Sagu_Photography_LondonThe above contains four original works (one logo and three Beauty & Fashion images) of Jasdip Sagu Photography (as I hope you recognise!) but the entire image is actually a mock up template – I know, shock horror!

It looks so professional & genuine, right, and as though those are actual prints?

You would never have known that I have in fact plagiarised this from a templates website and did not spend hours shooting this in my studio and then editing it using LightRoom or Photoshop.


This is a Jasdip Sagu Photography Original where the similairities to the above knock-off are self-explanatory…

The below is another example showing just how diverse and varied these templates can be…

Had this been a ‘genuine’ & real image this would have taken me or another photographer / creative at least one, if not two days to complete.

Creating a similar result, would have involved, deciding on a background colour, choosing a surface on which to stand the bottle on, ensuring the bottle is dust & fingerprint-free (although this can be done at editing stage, it is better to ensure it’s as clean as possible prior to shooting), setting up the lighting & camera and thereafter taking the shot and then all the post production which would be a good few hours of solid and pernickety work.

Gosh – I really can’t believe some so-called “professionals” are ripping people off by claiming to doing the work and are charging significant amounts when they have in actual fact just used a template / mock-up for free or by paying around $6!!!

Fake-Up Vs a Jasdip Sagu Photography Original – Can you guess which is which?



As a self-employed creative, knowing that this is how some individuals conduct themselves & carry out their business is actually a slap in the face, highly inflammatory & somewhat insulting.

There’s me, like many, many other genuine & hardworking creatives, sat there over hours & days thinking up a concept, the most creative way to shoot and display a subject & thereafter painstakingly editing it so that it looks flawless & now I learn that there are some totally corrupt & unethical individuals who are charging an arm & leg to unsuspecting clients to literally spend a few minutes searching on Google to find websites where they can simply download a template and just ‘slap’ the clients logo or required content on to.

These individuals should be ashamed of themselves as they lack any sort of integrity and are actually lying & fooling their clients – not to mention this is actually plagiarism & an illegal criminal offence.

Since I realised that this is what some people / businesses are doing I have started to do a fair amount of research into this and my findings on the subject have been somewhat interesting…

There are a number of forums which are dedicated to this very topic and whilst there are some companies, like IKEA, who use a template background to showcase items they are selling – for example a kitchen stool on a ready-made kitchen background template – where I guess this is acceptable. There are businesses, small & large, that are using ready-made templates as a way to pretend to clients they have a portfolio of previous works and also charging clients for prints & designing online graphics which they make out are their own but in actual fact have just been pulled off a free to download (or chargeable) website.

There sits the unsuspecting client thinking he / she has made a great investment in employing a hardworking designer to come up with unique ideas – yet little do they know, that they have actually been tricked, cheated & robbed by the designer and that they could have actually gone on line themselves and pulled off the very same templates that the designer used.

I know that this is perhaps a somewhat negative & rather damning article but this topic has really got to me and I feel incredibly passionate about it and felt that I needed to raise ‘awareness’ and to make any creatives who are reading this, who are guilty of said ‘crime’, think twice about what they doing as they are actually tarnishing the reputation of creatives who are incredibly talented and work uber hard to ensure their clients are getting what they paid for and not ripping them off.

I won’t go on anymore as I am sure you have caught the gist of what I am saying, but, as I sit here in my beach-side office (please see image below!!!!) I would be really interested in hearing your comments on the subject especially if you are a creative & self-employed yourself and this is the first time you are coming across this, as I, myself, was unaware of this until a week ago!


Jasdip Sagu Photography’s beach-side office in the Bahamas…

Finally, I must credit certain websites from where I have taken the mock-ups and templates as well as leave you with a short paragraph as to how one may ethically use such a site…

4 Decks of Business Cards – https://goo.gl/FW6hjh

iPhone on Desk – http://goo.gl/oBW740

Floating Business Cards – http://goo.gl/n97C5J

iMac by the Sea / Beach – http://goo.gl/WZwMfw

Beer Bottle – https://goo.gl/lS7CsC



You must attribute the image to its author:

In order to use a vector or a part of it, you must attribute it to Graphictwister / Freepik,
so we will be able to continue creating new graphic resources every day.

How to attribute it?

For websites:

Please, copy this code on your website to accredit the author:
<a href=”http://www.freepik.com”>Selected by freepik</a>

For printing:

Paste this text on the final work so the authorship is known.
– For example, in the acknowledgements chapter of a book:
“Selected by freepik”

You are free to use this image:

– For both personal and commercial projects and to modify it.
– In a website or presentation template or application or as part of your design.

You are not allowed to:

– Sub-license, resell or rent it.
– Include it in any online or offline archive or database.



Thanks for reading & look forward to hearing your thoughts,

Stay ethical & remember to have integrity in all you do.


You may also like


  • Gurpreet 31st May 2016  

    Hi Jasdip,
    A very interesing read. I sometimes use templates to showcase clients work, but I never charge them for it. I do use them to show the client what their design would look like with a concept of their logo/flyer etc and I do use them on my websites or social media again purely to showcase. I’d more so say it helps a graphic designer like myself to showcase my work and show clients what is possible. It’s deceiving if the client is not aware and charged for it. I personally do not see anything wrong from a designers point of view for using it, that is what it is there for, if it’s being used for another industry i.e photography, then I would agree it’s wrong, you should shoot your own images. Although I know many people will jump on the band wagon of “it’s wrong” I hope they see the positive side to it.

    • Jasdip Sagu 1st June 2016  

      That’s understandable but am sure half the clients would have come across a website such as yours (and not just yours – there are lots of others) and believed that the images were taken by a photographer or even by yourself. Guess you could call it ‘false’ advertising in a way but I am sure these creatives would feel strongly if a photographer was to put up stock images without claiming it was actually work of others without crediting them. From what I have researched, the people creating the mockup templates want to be credited in order for them to be able to keep making more – for the life of me, I can’t work out why they would do it free but potentially they are hoping they will get some ‘paying’ clients via links wherever these mockups are being used.

      Not only that, it’s gives potential clients the assumption that you or anybody else that use these ‘mockups’ are able to reproduce for themselves as well as that is the ‘finished’ article that they are hoping to get.

      What’s the difference between me and a photographer who gets stock images and puts them on his website?

      Potentially nothing until the work is complete but knowing you and your work – I know your work is of a high-standard but in terms of mockups that’s where I have to differ in opinion – again the point is not citing the website you/one have got the template/mock up from is what’s wrong (apologies if u do advise the client/or u have their details on ur website) and also it gives the client an expectation that you can achieve the same results.

      • Jasdip Sagu 11th June 2016  

        A tad contradictory…Click here to see what I mean…

  • RB 1st June 2016  

    Very, very interesting read Jasdip and how ever dishonest some so called ‘designers /photographers /creatives’ appear to be.
    As you know, I do not work within your or even a similar industry however it is plain and simple to see how such ‘behaviour’ by one of the above mentioned ‘professionals’ is completely and utterly fraudulent and quite frankly shameful! I understand how the mock ups and templates can benefit designers/photographers/creatives and be used to show examples if what can be achieved but if…

    1. One is using them WITHOUT clearly and openly crediting the author/creator/website they were taken from well that is just disgusting

    And also….

    2. If one is using them, surely they should be able to re-create the exact same/similar layout themselves?? For example, the photograph you used in your blog at the top with the floating business cards – (Which I am assuming is a template rather than your work as I note that you have in fact credited the website at the end of your blog?) well if a photographer or a designer or the like were to showcase similar on their website/leaflets/any marketing material I would fully expect them to be able to create similar design.

    I am sorry to rant on but I think you know me well enough to know that such behaviour and fabrications really bug me!

    Anyways, I thought it was a great read and you did good by bringing it to our attention as I NEVER would have imagined individuals within these sectors can be so ‘sneaky’ and also charge customers so much money for potentially ripping another person off and doing very little work… and people say bankers are thieves, pff!!

    • Jasdip Sagu 1st June 2016  

      1. I agree – they should definitely credit the original designers of these templates or at least tell the client. Imagine telling a client straight-away – ‘by the way, these images on my websites aren’t mine but the designs you see are’…? Doesn’t sound as appealing right?

      2. This is the main point I wanted to raise to be honest, a client looking at someone’s work when it’s half the work of the mockup designer would probably expect the end-user of the mockup to be able to recreate the same look & feel at the end. This obviously very much depends on whether client actually wants to pay for high-quality images by a specialised photographer – but why would they if they know they can use mockups to present their finished article?

      To be honest – it’s actually shocking to know that mockups are available especially when I have clients who genuinely want high-quality images where in some cases I am sure some photographers are using mockups to show off as their own.

  • Cliff Magner 5th June 2016  

    Interesting and very thought provoking.
    It’s certainly given me an idea for a new career!

    • Jasdip Sagu 13th July 2016  

      Thanks Cliff, it shocked me I have to say and thought I should raise awareness and also get people’s thoughts on the subject!