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How to give proper photo credit and why you need to do it

A guide on how to give proper photo credit on social media and why it matters.

Person posting a photo on Instagram

Giving photo credit where credit is due within any of your platforms is extremely important. When you do, you’re showing other members of your community that you’re a valuable partner. In turn, you can count on more cross-promotion on social media, which helps grow your audience!

Discover why you need to credit, how to credit a photo, what proper credit looks like, crediting style, benefits of crediting, and why it’s detrimental to artists and vendors when you don’t give photo credit. In fact, not only is adding image credits the right thing to do, but they also help you become a wealth of information for your followers.

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Why you need to credit photos

When you’re learning how to give photo credit, you need to know that tagging someone in an image is not credit. (For example, some people will say “tap for tags” in their caption or something simple with no other details.) Unless you personally styled the image and shot the photograph, your post needs to credit the original source responsible for creating it.


Because that photo isn’t yours.

Because someone actually took that beautiful photo.

Because someone planned, shopped, and labored to create that gorgeous tablescape.

Because someone worked on that creative DIY project until his or her fingers bled.

And because someone looking at your feed will WANT something in that image!

Think of your different social media feeds as a “magazine” for your followers that will last for a very long time. If you’re running an event planning business, tagging all participating vendors in a particular wedding or event is a HUGE networking benefit for you—not only to connect with those vendors, but also to provide valuable information to future clients. Imagine a bride falling in love with a bouquet from one of last year’s weddings—you might not remember who the florist was, but your tag will! That creates awesome added value for you, the bride, and the florist.

Loads of work goes into creating that content, and those responsible for its creation deserve that little effort of you tagging them in your comment. If you love their work so much that you want to share it, why wouldn’t you mention them? Don’t you love when people share your work and mention you? I know I do!

Plus, here’s a not-so-fun fact: If you don’t properly credit pictures you share, the people who own the rights to those images can report your account and cause trouble for your profile.

How to give proper photo credit on Instagram

Instagram remains one of the largest platforms for independent business owners, offering them an expansive and visually engaging space to showcase their products and services to a global audience. As the most popular platform, knowing how to properly credit images within is imperative. A proper photo credit means tagging everyone involved in the image within the comments. This is going to mean different things for different businesses and different situations.

How to give photo credit
How to give photo credits on Instagram

A simple rule to follow when you post images is to tag everything included in that one single image. If you can see it, credit it. As you can see in the two posts above from HoneyBook members Joy Michelle Photography and Tiffany Tolliver of the EmmaRose Agency, they did this exact thing. If you don’t know who should be credited, dig a little deeper or ask someone who does.

Here are a couple other examples specific to the wedding industry of how to credit photos on Instagram. If you aren’t in the wedding industry, you may still run into similar scenarios when working with different vendors, partners, or content creators.

Example #1: You’re a photographer who is posting a picture of a bride getting ready for her wedding—she has her hair and makeup done and is wearing a cute robe from Etsy, holding a glass of champagne. The ideal photo credit would be to tag: the bride, the hair person, the makeup person, and the robe seller from Etsy. Now, you might be thinking, “That’s too much work.” While this might be true, it took a community to make that photograph beautiful, and that’s why those other professionals deserve proper attribution.

Example #2: You’re a florist who is posting a beautiful, tight shot of a bridesmaid in a beautiful turquoise dress, holding the bouquet you made. An ideal photo credit would be to tag: the photographer, the wedding planner, and the dress she is wearing—and maybe even tag the bride and the bridesmaid.

No one will ever get mad at you for giving them some Instagram-credit love, but they will be pretty disappointed if you leave them off! In most cases where you need to give Instagram photo credits, it’s easier than you think. You’re likely already working with the vendors or partners involved. If not, you can also ask your client for their names and account handles. Not knowing how to credit a photo on Instagram can no longer be an excuse. 

Want more Instagram picture credit examples? Here are a few more below from Aisle Society and Elizabeth Anne Designs.

Instagram photo credit example

How to style your credits on Instagram

There are many ways to type out the credits to a photo, but 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.

Styling photo credits

For my wedding blog, my crediting looks like this in every post:

Image: @photography / Hair + Makeup: @hairdresser / Flowers: @florist / Dress: @weddingdress

But there are many different ways to credit a photo:

Photography: @photography — H+M: @hairdresser — Florist: @florist — Gown: @weddingdress

photo: @photography… hair: @hairdresser… flowers: @florist… dress: @weddingdress…

Pic: @photography ~ Hair: @hairdresser ~ Bouquets: @florist ~ Dress: @weddingdress

Or, consider using emojis to identify the wedding professional’s specialty, like the bouquet emoji for the florist or the camera emoji for the photographer. No matter how you choose to give photo credit on Instagram, everyone involved will appreciate you taking the time to showcase their work.

The benefits of properly giving photo credit

Regardless of the social platform or the type of content, 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. It’s a weird and wonderful fact that couples are now finding their vendors on social media. However, the networking possibilities go so far beyond that. 

A bride might notice a number of hairstyles that she loves, and if she keeps seeing that @hairdresser123 is responsible, she might hire that person.

You might spot business cards that you love on @soandso’s profile, click to see who made them, and use that company to make your new cards.

You might see that @flowers + @weddingplanner are doing some awesome styled shoots, so you message them and offer to photograph their next one.

A wedding blogger might fall in love with a photo you shared and decide to repost it using all the credits you added. (Yay!)

Crediting others means you’re more likely to be credited in return. And the more people who are sharing images and talking about you on social media, the easier it is to build a following. As you gain more followers, you can be sure some are coming from the partners and vendors in your industry that are starting to credit your work. 

With a more targeted audience, your brand will become even more valuable for building your community and turning social followers into clients! As you start tagging others, be sure to include a link to your HoneyBook Contact Form in your profile bio. As more people see your work, you can make it easy for them to reach out and start working with you.

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Not crediting is stealing. Period.

If you don’t own the rights to the image and you don’t credit the  image owner that is the person/brand/blog/website who created the original photo, you’re stealing. This happens to me and my brand Something Turquoise all the time, especially with the “regram” and “repost” features. IG users think that using those apps makes it okay to take photos without permission of images they find on other profiles and share them as their own. But all of those images live somewhere, either on websites or blogs, and have been created for a reason. Before you post, take a second to think of your fellow creatives—then be kind, share with permission, and credit. You now know exactly how to give photo credit correctly, so you can go off and spread the love on Instagram and other social media platforms.

Crediting properly isn’t just the right thing to do—it has benefits for everyone. So do your part. Go the extra mile. Offer photo courtesy. And make your various profiles “act” as good as they look.

If you’re looking for an easy way to collect leads through Instagram and funnel them straight into one organized location, consider using a clientflow management platform. Your business will thank you!

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