Samsung Galaxy A8 Star
Samsung's been caught using a DSLR photo to promote its Galaxy A8 Star's portrait mode

Samsung’s been caught red-handed. The company allegedly used a DSLR photo to promote its new smartphone Galaxy A8 Star’s shooting capabilities.

And the photo wasn’t even shot by their team. Samsung used a stock image — they were busted by the photographer. The photo is currently on the Galaxy A8 Star’s page on Samsung’s Malaysian site. The photo is still there, even after Djudjic’s post on DIYPhotography.

“Earlier this year, Samsung was busted for using stock photos to show off capabilities of Galaxy A8’s camera. And now they did it again – they used a stock image taken with a DSLR to fake the camera’s portrait mode,” Dunja Djudjic wrote. “How do I know this, you may wonder? Well, it’s because Samsung used MY photo to do it.”


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How did Djudjic catch the photo?

Djudjic a while ago created a profile on EyeEm (a partner with Getty). She forgot about her account until one day she got an email telling her she sold an image. While she was happy at first, she wondered why someone would buy the photo that they did. “For some reason, someone bought [a] portrait of me goofing around,” she writes.

The image on the left is Djudjic's original photo. One the right is Samsung's image. They really changed it; even the background is been changed
The image on the left is Djudjic’s original photo. One the right is Samsung’s image. 

Simply curious, she performed a reverse image search and that led her to Samsung’s Galaxy A8 Star page.

The photo was supposed to promote the phone’s “portrait mode,” which is supposed to blur out the background of an image. Samsung’s image shows a blurred background with Djudjic composited into the foreground.

The Galaxy A8 Star ad isn’t the first time Samsung’s done this

As crazy as this may sound, this isn’t the first time Samsung’s used stock images to promote their phone cameras. It was reported last August that Samsung used stock images from Getty to demonstrate the capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy A8’s front camera.

Samsung Brazil allegedly downloaded and used at least two stock images. The tweet containing the photos were removed.

Deceptive marketing

Now, coming to Samsung’s defense, they aren’t the only company doing this. Huawei did the same thing when it was launching its Huawei P9. Instead of using the P9, the brand used Canon 5D Mark III photos.

Now, Samsung legally bought Djudjic’s photo; that’s not the issue here. The issue is that Samsung, Huawei and potentially other companies are falsely advertising their products’ capabilities. Some have argued that it could be a mistake on the company’s part, but there’s intentionality to it. Samsung knowingly purchased Djudjic’s photo and edited it to pass it off as a photo shot on their phone.

It deceptive marketing and reminds us that we probably shouldn’t believe everything we see in product ads.