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

While user-generated content is a great way to expand your audience and increase engagement, it’s important to learn how to credit photos on Instagram. By crediting, you’re sharing photos ethically and showing that you’re a trustworthy member of your business community. Post updated September 2021.

Photo Credits

Giving photo credit where credit is due within your Instagram posts 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!

In this article, we’ll cover why you need to credit, what a proper credit looks like, crediting style, benefits to crediting and why it’s detrimental to artists and vendors when you don’t credit. You have the power to make your Instagram profile a wealth of information and inspiration by doing this one simple thing—crediting!

Why You Need to Credit Photos on Instagram

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 photography, your post needs to credit those who were responsible for creating it.

Why?

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 Instagram feed as a “magazine” for your followers that will last for a very long time. If you’re a wedding planner, tagging all participating vendors in a particular wedding is a HUGE networking benefit for you—not only to connect with those vendors, but also to provide valuable information to future brides. 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 on IG, why wouldn’t you mention them? Don’t you love when people share your work on IG and mention you? I know I do!

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

What is a Proper Instagram Photo Credit?

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.

Photo Credits

Photo Credits

A simple rule to follow 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 or partners.

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 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 credit.

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 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 credit, 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. 

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

Photo Credits Photo Credits

How to Style Your Credits

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.

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 write the same thing:

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 credit photos on Instagram, everyone involved will appreciate you taking the time to showcase their work.

The Benefits to Crediting

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 are talking about you on social media, the easier it is to build a following. As you gain more followers on Instagram, 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 Instagram 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.

Not Crediting is Stealing. Period.

If you don’t own the rights to the image and you don’t credit the person/brand/blog/website who CREATED the image, 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 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.

Crediting properly on Instagram isn’t just the right thing to do—it has benefits for everyone. So do your part. Go the extra mile. And make your Instagram profile “act” as good as it looks.

4 comments

  1. what if you do not know who took the photo?

    Reply
  2. I’d just like to point out that if you use any photo without permission on Instagram, especially for marketing purposes, even if you credit the original photographer in the comments and on the photo, it is legally still considered copyright infringement and you can be prosecuted for up to $100,000.

    Reply
  3. Fantabulous work.

    Reply