A photo posted by Brett Bottorff (@brettbott) on


Why it’s still important to provide photo credits via social media

If one of your fans takes a sweet picture of you, posts it on Instagram, and tags you in it, of course you want to share it with your own followers right away. You’re excited. You look like a total rock star. BUT…

(Are you ready for some common sense advice?)

… slow down for a second and make sure to give the photographer credit!

Earlier this year, Taylor Swift was in the news for allegedly making a rights grab on photos taken during her concerts (and using them without attribution). But at the indie level, this sort of thing happens all the time, and in ways that can seem innocuous.

My friend Brett recently went to see Cœur de pirate and took the photograph shown above. He posted it to his Instagram account and tagged Beatrice (the artist). She then shared it with her followers, without attribution. I’m sure it was an honest oversight since, when Brett asked for a photo credit, she at least tagged him in the photo.

In the meantime, the photo on her Instagram account got liked almost 4k times. Now, Brett’s not trying to make his living as a photographer, or trying to get his name out there with touring bands who might be looking for some concert photos. Plus, he’s a huge fan of Cœur de pirate’s music, so it’s not like he was super pissed off. She didn’t lose a fan or anything. But she could have.

Share the credit. It’s easy.

I understand that copyright and “authorship” are ideas in flux right now. I know that content gets shared and reshared and reshared on the internet to the point where things feel like they should just be in the Public Domain by default.

But not everyone agrees. For some people, credit is still very important. And it’s very easily given.

One easy way to share an Instagram photo with the proper credits is to use an app such as Repost or Regram. These apps take the original image, add a credit, and post it to your own Instagram feed.

But sometimes it’s a bit of a bummer to clutter up a really great shot with the photographer’s Instagram username. In that case, the least you can do is mention the photographer by name in the caption (and tag them, if possible too).

Easy, right? Okay, good.

Have you been guilty of sharing a photo without giving credit? Has someone else used your photos without attribution? Why do you think this happens? Let us know in the comments below.

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