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How to Credit a Photo on Social Media

This post is way OVERDUE! If you are new around here, my name is Rebecca Plotnick and I am a full time travel photographer and blogger here at Everyday Parisian.

I have had the opportunity to photograph Paris for the last 10 years and sell my work all over the world.

Over the past couple of years, my photographs have been floating around the internet with no credit to me. Once a photograph is passed around with no credit, it is lost on the internet and no one knows who the real artist is. People steal, or even use it as their own!

Social media is fairly new so there may not be written rules that people are following. But I am here to tell you that there are rules when it comes to crediting a photographer. We own the copyright to the photograph and without giving proper credit you are in fact stealing!

As a photographer, I am doing the hard work of paying my own way to Paris, finding the shot, setting up the shot, and getting the shot exactly right. When someone steals an image, they are stealing your hard work.

How to Give Credit to An Image that isn’t Yours

  1. Ask permission. This is always the best and most polite way. Introduce yourself to the account via DM or email and ask permission. Remember when Instagram used to refer to itself as a “community” be kind.

  2. Tag the person in BOTH the caption and the image. For example @everydayparisian

  3. If you don’t know the source of the image. Do not “guess”. This always fails. Also, if you can’t find the resource, don’t post it. It’s as simple as that. It isn’t yours to share.

What to do if you find someone using your work without your permission:

If I find someone who has taken my work as their own without my permission, I will usually send a DM or comment and ask them to kindly credit me. If they don’t reply, I am happy to report them. For accounts that are verified or have large followings, they should know better. Honestly, if anyone did the same thing to them, they would be upset too. I am asking people to play fair.

For those of you who are questioning why this is such a big deal. There are two things, first off when an account claims a photo of their own that isn’t theirs, it can be reshared 1,000’s of times and then no one knows the original artist. Also, brands and accounts are using a good solid image for likes and followers to boost their own accounts. The photographer/owner of the image should get something out of it as well. They should have increased exposure to their work when someone shares the image.

Instagram

This is where I am seeing this happen the most. I have other followers that will tag me or send me a DM to tell me that they found my image on another account. I just started reporting people and I have no problem doing it. Instagram has done a great job at replying quickly to take something down. I have read that the account will not find out who reported it, it will be simply be removed. This is the link to report a stolen image.


This is an example of what not to do. This is my photograph and was given credit to someone else.

This is an example of what not to do. This is my photograph and was given credit to someone else.


This account asked for permission, gave me credit on the image but not in the credits. This is what NOT to do

This account asked for permission, gave me credit on the image but not in the credits. This is what NOT to do

Facebook

There is one account in particular that reposts my photographs on the regular and never replies to messages to take them down. They even shared a self-portrait of a photograph of ME and claimed it as their own. You can file a report for a stolen image on Facebook here.

Pinterest

Pinterest is where I have seen my work stolen the most and reshared. Once something goes viral it is hard because no one knows the source. I do follow a lot of Paris accounts on Pinterest and when it is my own work, I have no problem reporting it. To report a stolen image on Pinterest you can use this link.

Every time I report something it takes time out of my day and it frustrates me so much. It honestly puts me in a bad mood.

If you don’t have the time or the manpower to fight back, you can sign up for this site called Pixy. It scans the internet and finds duplicate copies of your image being used. You can mark if it was given approval for use or if the image was stolen. They also give you the tools to fight back and recover money.

Other helpful sites include Tailwind which will give you a bunch of information on stolen images and reporting for several different platforms.

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who is not crediting you properly or needs to know more about how to credit someone. These are the rules and if you don’t play nice, you have the right to report them.

I would love to know if you have any other resources or found solutions in helping with fighting back on this issue.

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  1. Thank you for your post, but as an amateur user of social media I still don’t know how to properly credit a picture. Can you please explain what "credit on the image but not in the credits" means? A marked up example of the right way to credit would be helpful. Sorry if I missed something in your explanation.

    • Hi Margaret,

      I am happy to help. You would need to write @everydayparisian for example under the photo in the caption as well as tag the person who took the photo. Writing the name means "giving credit" I hope this helps!

      Thank you,
      Rebecca

  2. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m a photographer as well and I’ve had experiences with this, most often with bloggers. This needs to be talked about and intellectual property needs to be respected for what it is, actual property. Will be sharing this! Thank you!

  3. What a terrific and necessary post! I’m always seeing beautiful things in my feed that I want to share with others, and yet-I just would never, because I didn’t know the proper etiquette. Thank you Rebecca!
    Hope

  4. May I ask a question,… should you always tag yourself on an original photo you post or can your work still be stolen even if you do that?
    I’m not a professional photographer but I have taken some what I consider to be great photos and I wouldn’t want people to take credit for my work either.
    @colleenbrazeau
    @doorsamillion

    • Hi Colleen,

      If you post the original content, you can tag yourself, but it isn’t necessary. It can still be stolen.

      You should continue to share your work and be proud of the shots you have taken.

      Best wishes,
      Rebecca

  5. Hi Hope!

    Thank you. I know this is all so new, but I really hope this helps give the etiquette going forward to everyone in the social community. I can say from my end, it is always helpful when someone shares my work. But giving that credit helps people know it was me that took the shot. You will make friends with a lot of people by asking politely and doing the right thing. I hope this makes sense! Feel free to reach out with questions.

    xo Happy Holidays,
    Rebecca