Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

photo: beBo
Why the random photo of a pretty staircase? Because I wanted to blog about it, but can't seem to find out who the photographer is...

Which brings me to my point. Let me preface this by saying, I'm not the "blogger police," but just wanted to post a little blogger etiquette.

I first discovered this staircase photo on We Heart It.

which led me to Tumblr, Would You Like to Swing on a Star,

which led me to The Life is a Rose,

which led me to princess-queen-v. Then nothing.

That's right. No photo credit for this lovely image.

So, what to do?

  • There are all sorts of legal and copyright rules for the internet. Some of which you can read about here on this informative post.
  • How many times have you read a blog with numerous images and there are absolutely no image or link credits? Frustrating? Very. I frequently find something I'd like to view or purchase with no trace of where the image originated from.
  • When you post images that you do not own, you should always credit the photographer if you possibly can. It is their art, not yours. You should also credit the source of the information (where you found it), and any sources that they have named. So, if you found the image on another blog or website, at least credit them with a link back to their site/blog. It's only fair.
  • An interesting quote...“Tumblr is the place where copyrights and credits go to die.” - Door Sixteen
  • I know we bloggers frequently stumble upon random images on the internet with no credits at all. What to do then? I'm not really sure how to answer that one. Perhaps do a little more research. At the very least, make an effort to try and find the credit for it.

I realize that there is no way to control the vast world of the internet. It's like the Wild West. But, it sure would be nice if we try and give credit to people's images when we can. If I was a photographer, I'd certainly watermark my images!

I hope I don't sound "preachy" as I'm definitely not the authority of the blogging world. Just wanted to share some thoughts.

Other bloggers and photographers, do you have any tips to share on image etiquette or guidelines for usage?


ceecee said…
Thanks for this post,Lynn. This is one of my biggest blogging pet-peeves. Photographs are someone's work, their art. If you're going to use someone else's work to create a beautiful blog of your own you should (must) give them credit or ask permission or both.
Thanks, Lynn.

Hi Lynn,
Thanks for this post. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I've found myself no longer visiting blogs that do not give credit and seem to give it little thought as to whom the photo belongs. Have even seen an "oops, forgot" on a blog well traveled, so to speak. Could go on and on regarding this topic, thanks for bringing it to light.
I totally agree. Of course, I am sure that I have left out a few photo credits by complete accident and I am not perfect by any means. One thing that really irks me is when people use other photographers' art as a blog decoration in their sidebar! It looks like they go to Etsy or Flickr, find some pretty photographs that are currently for sale (I might add), save them and then put them on their blog for free without a link back or name of artist when they know exactly where the image came from...To me that's so inconsiderate. That's why I've started putting watermarks on all of my photographs...I don't want the link back to my work to "die."

But this is the world we live in. Everything is so available and easy to take. It's all a matter of really trying to be honest and trying to give credit where it is due. Thanks for this post.

I think this is an important post Lynn and I can tell you when I read a blog that doesn't give proper credit I simply dismiss them so it only hurts the blogger in the end as they appear unprofessional and inconsiderate anyways at that point. Due to my subject matter I am forced to do my own set-up and photography which does cost me money, if I find my images on other blogs without proper credit they hear from me.....I am zero tolerance on this. Bloggers are generous people by nature and to use images without proper credit just hurts us all. If I can't find a source or some type of credit then I just don't use's a simple rule. I am sure I may have made a few mistakes but would correct it instantly if brought to my attention. As bloggers we owe a huge debt to the photographers and stylists of whose work we borrow and they deserve enormous credit............each and every time. Great post Lynn!
Unknown said…
wonderful post! you would think this would be common sense to more bloggers, but apparently not.
when i save a photo online i try to save the name of my source in the file name, otherwise i end up with a beautiful collection of images and no one to credit.
xox alison
Sarsaparilla said…
Thanks for taking the time to do this. No, you don't sound preachy. All of us - both veteran bloggers and newbies like me - need to get reminders like this every so often. Most bloggers want to do the right thing, but sometimes we just get lazy!

Love your blog, by the way. I appreciate all the effort you put into it for our enjoyment!
Natalie said…
I always think that this goes without saying, and it amazes me how many people don't credit sources when they post a picture or a piece of art on their blog. It's so wrong, and it is SO frustrating when you want to know who the picture/art belongs to. Thanks for taking the time to write this post.
Patrice said…
Thank you for such an important post. I can't tell you how often I've found beautiful images online that I would love to share with others that I can't bring myself to post. I feel guilty not being able to give the Artist their proper dues, because it's happened to me in the past that my work has been credited to other people. I do my best to always track down the original Artist and name them and the site which I found the image/item. Heck, I use a template from Martha Stewart Weddings in my letterhead and I give Martha credit on my blog as well!

Another thing that absolutely drives me nuts is when people crop out watermarks - this is not just rude, it's downright disrespectful. Watermarks are signatures. You don't see museums painting over Vincent van Gogh's signature! Ugh... sorry, this is turning into one huge rant. Long story short, I agree with you 150%!
French Kissed said…
Stealing intellectual property is no trivial matter. I am a blogger AND an attorney and that is why I only use my own photos or those that I have EXPRESS permission to use. It is pure myth that bloggers are in some protected bubble and do not have to consider the ramifications of violating copyright law. Copyright violation is a strict liability offense and requires no specific intent. I predict there will be a test case sometime in the near future that will strike fear in the hearts of both ignorant and careless bloggers as well as those who intentionally steal from others.
Unknown said…
If you are taking a photograph from someone's blog that they own, you need written permission to use it. Giving them credit for the photo is not enough.
Thanks to you all for your insight and commentary!

Personally, people frequently use photos from my website to post on their blog. I don't mind at all as long as my site is credited. But, perhaps that's because I'm not a "professional" photographer.

In any event, this is a serious issue worth more discussion...

Jessica said…
Love your Blog Lynn! (and your store!)

Yes, credit should be given at a bare minimum. I am more apt to give permission if someone miffs me a bit when people just automatically use something, credit or not.

A lot of photographers do not watermark because it detracts from the image so much---and if someone is going to steal the image anyway, they usually know how to remove it or crop it out. The big thing is embedding metadata...that way if there is a serious infraction you have some sort of proof that the image is yours.
Jules said…
Whilst I agree with you I must add that I used to save images for decorating reference. This was long before I even knew what a blog was...eventually I started my own blog but had no idea where the bulk of my photos had come from.
Ever mindful of crediting others, I have sent over 150 emails to designers, artists, photographers and bloggers.
I received one answer from Polly Eltes, one answer from Visual Vamp, one answer from author Toni Jordan.
147 emails were not replied to at all.
I credit where I can and where I can't I have asked for authors identification to be made to me where ever possible
Small bloggers emails are obviously of not much interest and I can understand why if they receive requests from possibly thousands of people. But if they do not give permission are they denying?
And who do you give credit to when you cannot find the original artist?
Perhaps everyone should watermark their work or sign them as we do with paintings!
Sorry about the length of this but it is all very well for people to get righteous and say they don't bother with bloggers who don't credit but not everyone is aware of the rules, the niceties or even good manners but it does not make them bad people or uninteresting bloggers!
Deena Marie said…
I know this is an old post but I wanted to add my sincere thanks for what you wrote. I recently joined Pinterest and it seems so many photos are from Tumblr. Being a photographer, that website seems to fit my definition of hell.

I've been editing my pins, trying to find original sources and deleting pins when unable to, but I will leave up my pin of this staircase because if even 1 person bothers to click through and read what you've posted here and change their bad habits of just taking any image they like, I'll feel I have done some good.

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