Today you join any classes, course, or workshop, you are used without your consent. They will take your pictures and videos for use as promotional material for their social media, even though you have paid the fees in full amount. I can understand that free workshops and seminars are meant for publicity, in which they would take pictures of the crowd, and showcase them as a paid workshop.

This is done for their future customers, showcasing the strength of their students and/or participants, and how quickly you should join or register before it gets full. The crowd in the pictures and videos speaks about the quality, or else why would people throng here and not go somewhere else.

Yes, that is the reason they always take a group photograph, on the pretext of having a remembrance photograph. Before the event ends, they would go a step further by asking the participants to give a testimonial video. This is usually pitched by a beautiful young lady from the staff or the PR person with a genuinely fake smile and some charm, to which almost everyone fails to say ‘NO’.

Again these videos are not only posted on their social media handles but are extensively used in their visual presentations shown to inquiring visitors. Many times, these videos are uploaded on a private link, and then shared with the possible customers privately through email. These days nobody sends brochures.

The same videos are shown in the introductory session or the free 1-hour or half-day workshop. Your face, your words, and your body, everything is used by them to make money. At the same time, you don’t get anything, not even some discount or any cashback from the fees you’ve already paid for your participation.

Here are a few tips:

Any session you attend, always take a seat in the middle row, not in front, not in the 2nd or 3rd row, and not in the last 3 rows. Don’t sit in the centre part, sit either to the right or the left, but not the extreme ones. Wear a cap, so that as soon as the photographer or the videographer comes near you, you can bow your head so that they don’t get your face.

In the end, if anyone approaches you to give video feedback, just ask them “How much are you willing to pay me, with a blank face, looking right into their eyes.”

They would most probably reply “We have huge followers, everyone will see you, and we will tag you so that you also gain more followers.” You can respond “Ya, but I don’t have anything to sell as you have, you would make money out of my video, whereas I won’t”.