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The Modern Rules of How To Credit Photos

The Modern Rules of How To Credit Photos

When you post photos on the internet, how do you credit them? This is a question that many photographers and bloggers have asked themselves. It can be tricky to know how to properly attribute your photo source in every instance, but there are some basic guidelines that will keep you from getting into any legal trouble.

In this blog-post we'll go over how to credit photos so they're legally sound and attribution-ready.

How to Properly Credit Photos on Instagram and Why You Need to Do It

It can be a tricky situation when you find yourself at the center of copyright infringement. If this is not handled properly, it could lead to some serious legal consequences.

The first thing that people often ask me how I make sure I give credit for my photos on Instagram and how do I avoid getting in trouble with a photo's original photographer? It doesn’t have to feel like an uphill battle.

There are easy steps you can follow following these guidelines from start to finish.

  • Always create your own content
  • You need to leave the watermark intact and clearly visible
  • Underneath the watermark, include text that explains how they were able to get permission or if they took the picture themselves (e.g., "photo credit: me.")
  • Credit the photo's original photographer in the caption or even at the end of a written post, how you would like. These are just some general tips on how to give proper attribution for your photos on Instagram.


The simplest way is by tagging the creator of an image on social media and including their username or number of times they've been tagged in this post (more than once) It could take hours for them to notice and respond.

There are many people who will steal your images without giving you any credit; not just online but offline too especially if it’s worth money. The first thing I do when I have time is go through my Instagram account and search 'not authorized' which shows every single person that has used my pictures without permission. This means even if someone looks like they're giving credit, it might not be true.

The most important thing is to remember how hard earned money can really affect people when you use their image without permission and how much it hurts the person who took that original picture.

It's a lot of work taking pictures, editing them in Photoshop or Lightroom, putting together YouTube videos even writing blog posts. It takes time for someone to take all these things into consideration before they post something online so please don't forget how often this happens: if you're using an image taken from somewhere else, give them credit by crediting the creator on social media."


A good way to think about credits are these three things. The photographer should be credited first. This includes any photographers involved in shooting the event, styling, props, etc.

Next comes the venue name if applicable. For instance, if you had a shoot at my house then I would probably get credit next to the hashtag #myhouse. Then come the names of anyone else who contributed to the overall look of the event.

The most important thing is how you want your credit to read and how it will affect how people see your work, so make sure that this reflects what you are looking for in a caption or tagline!

Credit: Photography by Jenn

Venue: Jenn's House

Styling and Props by Jen, the Bride, and Jessica.

Makeup by Tonya. Hair styling by Merissa. Wedding Planner/Coordinator- Jenny Yang. Florist - Joe (Weddings in Bloom). Cake Designer- Erica of The Green Fork Catering Company .

Make sure to credit people with how they want their name, not how you want it. For example, don't list someone as "Photographer: Jenn" if that person is a friend who just happened to shoot some photos for the day and doesn't feel like he/she needs his or her own title! However this may be different if it is a professional photographer.


I recommend creating your own “crediting style” to match your brand and have fun with it. That way, when each of your posts uses the same format, your followers will get used to the information being shared and value it.

  • Photographer's name, Paul Smith
  • Jane Doe Photography
  • Image courtesy of photographer John Smith

Remember that you want people who view these credits in future articles (to learn more about how a photograph was taken) or for editorial features that they can find out how this person took their remarkable photo. If I am not able to identify the original source I would say something like "Image from Google Images."

"Image from Google Images. Photo by Photographer Paul Smith."


Crediting is how photographers get their name out into the world. There are many benefits to crediting that we should all be aware of before sharing our photos on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms.

The largest benefit to tagging as many people as possible is networking. Crediting is HUGE for networking. You tag them, they'll tag you, your followers see them, theirs see you and it keeps on going.

Another benefit to crediting is how much more successful we can be at our craft by getting out there in front of as many people as possible with the work that we do. When somebody sees a photo they like from someone's feed, if they know how to credit the photographer, they will be more likely to visit their profile and see how much else that person does.

The final benefit of crediting is how we can help other people who are just getting started in photography by making those connections for them with all of our followers. It's always a great feeling when someone shares your work because they're excited about it and wants to share the joy.

If you don't credit, then it's stealing

Have you ever been on Instagram when someone posts a photo of one of my posts from Something Turquoise with no attribution (or even mentioning our brand) whatsoever?

This happens way too often, especially with the "regram" and "repost" features. IG users think that using those apps makes it okay to take images they find on other profiles and share them as their own without giving the creator any credit at all, but these images live somewhere.

All of these photos have been created for a reason - usually to be shared (hence why I'm posting this blog post)! So before you post, take a second to think of your fellow creatives.

If the content is yours or someone has granted permission for you to share it, then be kind and credit the person who created it with some type of mention (even if just tagging them in the comments).

Images are not free! They've been created by real people with real-world lives who would love to be included in your post.

If you don't have permission, then it's stealing! And when you steal from someone else without giving them credit for what they've created, that means YOU are the one destroying their livelihood and potential income sources.

It's stealing! If you don't own the rights to an image and you don't credit the person/brand that created it, then it is still considered theft. Worse yet, if your intention isn't just sharing or reblogging but is actually trying to make money off of someone else's hard work (i.e., by selling the image on Etsy, adding it to a book cover or calendar app), then you're definitely stealing.

Plagiarism can be intentional (i.e., copying someone else's words) but often people don't even know that they are infringing copyrights. When you ignore attributions or don't know where the images came from, it can be hard to tell what is and isn't plagiarism.

Copyright infringement, on the other hand, always involves theft - intentional stealing of someone else's work without permission or attribution.

Why does this happen?

UGHHH! We don't know! But I really think it's because people don't realize the consequences of their actions. They see an image and want to share, but then they forget that someone else might have created it for a reason like for income or job security.

Why is this important?

Theft hurts our creative community and economy. When people share without permission or attribution, it hurts the creators and livelihood of other creatives. We all have to work hard for our money - even if that means doing what we love!

What can you do?

Be kind, share with permission, credit your fellow creatives. If someone has created a piece of content for a reason, think about contacting them before posting.

If you can't find the person who created it, then just mention the website or blog where they found it as well - like @somethingturquoise on Instagram (say "I'm sorry but this is not my photo" and give credit).


"We hope these tips will help give some clarity around how to credit photographers or how to style your photography credits. We recommend taking screenshots as part of your workflow, how doing so doesn't add any extra work on top of using just one image."

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