By in Tutorials

Photo credits - how to do it properly

I HAVE RECENTLY read a couple of posts on PersonaPaper which seem to indicate a certain amount of confusion about how to credit photos or other artwork we use in our posts (or anywhere else for that matter). This post won't cover where to get suitable images but will detail how - and why - we must credit photos wherever we use them.

Firstly, our own photos (or artwork we create ourselves). Strictly speaking you don't need to credit your own work. Copyright rules state that as soon as a work is created copyright springs into existence and you then own the copyright to your own work. However, it will do no harm to state that you own the copyright to a particular work and indeed PersonaPaper ask that you provide an accreditation for your own work - it makes it clear that you do own the rights to an image.

A simple statement along the lines of 'copyright of the author' will do just fine. You could insert your name instead of 'author' but, interestingly, you don't have to use your real name - your online ID is perfectly acceptable. This is one reason I use the same ID everywhere I go online - changing your username frequently just complicates things.

Secondly, photos we find on one of the many free-to-use sites on the web. By 'free-to-use' I mean those sites which don't charge a fee to use their images, not 'free-to-use' as in not asking permission! There are hundreds of them so finding a suitable image for any purpose is merely a matter of knowing where to look. All of these sites have one thing in common - their images are subject to one of the many copyright licences currently in use.

No matter where you find an image the main factor you need to know before you use it is: Does the licence for that image allow its use for the purpose you have in mind? PersonaPaper is a commercial blogging site (you get paid) so any image must have a licence which allows its use on such a site. Check the site rules - the licence should be detailed somewhere in there.

Assuming all is well you can then go ahead and upload the image to your post. Now here comes the part most people get confused about: ACCREDITATION! The single most important point is that you should provide a link back to the source (the actual page, not just the site) where you found the image. This makes it easy for anyone (PersonaPaper admin for example) to check that the image is a valid one and that you have the right to use it.

Ideally, in the credit you should also state the author of the image, the site where you found it and the licence which applies. If you alter the image (crop it for example) this should also be stated. But if you take a look at the image credit for this post you will see that it does it slightly differently and this is because Persona Paper has an Image Wizard which uses images from Pixabay and automatically places the URL of the image into the image credit box on a published post. For a guide on how to use Persona Paper's Image Wizard go HERE

The URL is the link back to the source of the image and if you follow it you will be taken to the Pixabay page for that image where you will find all the relevant information.

If the work has a title (many do as part of the URL) then that should be included in the credit but I wouldn't lose any sleep if you happen to forget because the link will take investigators to the file page and the title will be there.

Now you know how to properly credit images on PersonaPaper (and anywhere else) so there is no excuse for not doing it! This post isn't the final word on image accreditation but all the relevant points are here - author, site, licence, title, any alterations, link to source - and if you follow this method you won't go far wrong. By the way, once your post has been published don't forget to check that the link back to the source works!

GOLDEN RULES: Many people still think it is OK to use any image they have found online somewhere but it isn't - not even if you credit it. When considering an image for inclusion in your posts (if it isn't a Pixabay image chosen through the Image Wizard) this is the information you need:

1) The name of the originator or photographer (often referred to as the author), the title of the work (if it has one); and the licence information;

2) When you write your post you must credit the author, the title and the site where you found the photo; and state the license which applies and if the image has been altered in any way (cropped for example);

3) You should provide a link back to the source of the image (the page, not just the site).

If for any reason you cannot satisfy these conditions then you should not use that image and don't forget that Persona Paper REQUIRES you to provide a credit for any image you use. If you fail to credit images properly on Persona Paper then you run the risk of not being paid - so get it right!

So how important is proper accreditation of images? VERY IMPORTANT! Get it wrong or use an image you have no right to use and you could find yourself in big trouble. Don't believe me? Then scare yourself by reading THIS ARTICLE and THIS ONE - and take the time to read the comments on both of them.

There is also the moral aspect of using free photos. Many photographers and graphic artists will release their work onto the web for you to freely use. They deserve to be recognised for their good work and all images should be credited even if is not required by the site you found it on (Pixabay doesn't require it but you still should, no matter where you use their images). You should also bear in mind that PersonaPaper won't pay you if they can't verify the proper use of images on your posts - that alone is a reason for doing it properly!

THIS SITE which details how Creative Commons suggest photocredits should be done is well worth reading.

Ok - I'll give you a couple of hints about finding free photos! MORGUEFILE and PIXABAY are two excellent sources of free to use photos and other images and Wikipedia has a list of (mainly) Public Domain PHOTOSITES - you're bound to find a suitable image in there somewhere!

You might want to read the companion post to this one on COPYRIGHT ON THE WEB

And this one on how NOT to credit photos 101 WAYS OF GETTING IT WRONG

Follow Kasman's PERSONA PAPER board on Pinterest.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .

Image Credit » by Nemo

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Scorpie wrote on August 3, 2014, 6:15 PM

Also make a note if you changed the image. (crop, resample, silo, color palate, etc.)

Kasman wrote on August 3, 2014, 6:21 PM

Good point! I tried to remember everything but this one escaped me. Thanks for the reminder - I will edit the post as soon as I can.

melody23 wrote on August 3, 2014, 6:34 PM

One bad photo credit I have been seeing a lot of recently is - 'photo from google' google might be how you found the photo but they most likely don't own it! it also worries me because if they think that's how to credit it then chances are they haven't actually checked if its free to use commercially

Kasman wrote on August 3, 2014, 6:37 PM

That one is common. I have also seen the credit 'Found On The Internet' - unbelievable!

melody23 wrote on August 3, 2014, 6:46 PM

That's a good one! I must admit its only been in the last year or so I have got my head around photo credits, I prefer not to bother with photos on my articles but a site I wrote on started pretty much requiring them so I had to learn. people really do think that anything on the internet is free for them to use, I always say 'how would you like it if someone used your articles without paying or crediting you?' its the same for images, they are only free if the creator allows them to be, end of story

allen0187 wrote on August 3, 2014, 7:03 PM

Thanks for the very detailed way on giving credits to photos. I usually stick to using my own photos and just write 'Photo is mine'. If I do venture on using other people's photos or photo's from free to use photo sites, I'll keep what you wrote in mind Kasman .

Feisty56 wrote on August 3, 2014, 7:03 PM

This should clear up any questions people may have about proper crediting for photo use. It blows me away that those folks who would yell the loudest if someone used their writing without permission or citation are often the same ones who don't give the same respect to images.

bestwriter wrote on August 3, 2014, 7:49 PM

My choice always is wikipedia commons where when you click the 'view page' you find both the url and attribution. under 'for use on the web'.

BarbRad wrote on August 3, 2014, 9:27 PM

So before I was linking to the artist page on Pixabay and then was told I need to just put the link to the image page. That page also shows the artist with link to his page and the license for anyone to see. Seems a lot to copy when one click on the link reveals it all.

MegL wrote on August 4, 2014, 2:07 AM

Very useful and detailed. Thanks. Yes it's incredible that people STILL 'seem' to believe they can use any picture with no credit given.

SandraLynn wrote on August 4, 2014, 5:31 AM

I have just started using more of Pixabay images and always credit the image page when I do. Here and at my site. Linked where I can. I like that spider-webbing kind of stuff. And I like giving credit where credit is due. I'm also about to take on a huge project where I'll be modifying some photos from there. Best be sure I'll be sharing cred. A whole page devoted to attribution. I don't have to (on my site, it's MY site). But it's the right thing to do! :)

SandraLynn wrote on August 4, 2014, 5:32 AM

PS: this was very good advice. :) Sorry, I'm eating breakfast and got caught up in my own thing ;) Thanks for sharing :) Sincerely!

Kasman wrote on August 4, 2014, 3:33 PM

I invariably include some kind of image on my posts (wherever I write) because I think it enhances the look of a post and, if a pertinent image is chosen, gives a flavour of what the post is about.

Kasman wrote on August 4, 2014, 3:45 PM

There is no reason why you shouldn't use your own images except possibly that occasionally you may not have a suitable image. That's when free sites come into their own - there are images out there for every purpose.

Kasman wrote on August 4, 2014, 3:53 PM

I have used Wikipedia frequently and one advantage it does have is that if the image is a work of art (Mona Lisa for example) the title is invariably included in the URL. Speaking of Wikipedia URLs some of them don't work when you paste them into your post. It took me ages to work out why and even then I still came across the odd Wikipedia image URL which just wouldn't work but I found a way round it - use a URL shortener! I use the Google one. It is available as a Chrome extension for your toolbar - one click shortens the URL (Wikipedia URLs tend to be long) and copies it to your clipboard. Very handy!

Kasman wrote on August 4, 2014, 3:58 PM

As I said in the post this isn't the last word on image accreditation - there is more than one way to do it. I prefer to have all the information up front but I understand your point. There is something ringing a bell in the back of my mind about this and why I do it the way I do. Need to think about it - it'll come to me!

Kasman wrote on August 4, 2014, 4:02 PM

You think the same way I do! This information cannot be repeated often enough. I have wrote quite a bit on Bubblews about copyright and accreditation and the penalties if you are caught breaching copyright. It's just a pity I can't transfer those posts wholesale onto PersonaPaper!

bestwriter wrote on August 4, 2014, 7:14 PM

You are right. It is always advisable to check if the url works. I tend to forget to do it sometimes. I suppose attributing it to the photographer could perhaps save my skin.

SandraLynn wrote on August 5, 2014, 4:23 AM

You can't bring them here but you can share your knowledge again. The information is important. And you write well! The need for better understanding amongst content writers, bloggers, and site owners about proper photo attribution is HUGE! emoticon :grin:

tzwrites wrote on August 5, 2014, 6:02 AM

Very helpful article. The pixabay images are always a source of confusion for people. Thanks for sharing

Kasman wrote on August 5, 2014, 2:38 PM

If you ever come across a clickable URL link which doesn't work try highlighting it (left click and drag) then right click and then left click on 'goto'.

Kasman wrote on August 6, 2014, 5:16 PM

GOT IT! I've remembered a webpage I came across when I was doing research (ages ago) into copyright on the web. It details how Creative Commons say a photocredit should be done - by including all the information I include in my credits. Now I remember why I do it the way I do! This is the page The whole page is worth reading but if you scroll down about three-quarters of the way you will come to the heading 'How to attribute Creative Commons licensed photos' - this is the relevant part which gives the CC preferred method of crediting images. Having read it again I will stick to my method but I don't see anything drastically wrong with the way you do it (by only using a clickable link), especially for Pixabay since they don't ask to be attributed anyway!

BarbRad wrote on August 7, 2014, 11:16 AM

Thanks. It's very rare I can't find something suitable in my own files or on Pixabay.

LeslieAdrienne wrote on August 8, 2014, 9:06 PM

Thanks for this info. I do credit my images, but not as thoroughly as I should. For instance, I have not been adding a clickable link. I will do so going forward and, I will go back and fix the others.

LeslieAdrienne wrote on August 8, 2014, 9:09 PM

Maybe someone should make a poll asking for the different "wrong" ways of crediting a photo... that would be very helpful for newbies and oldies....

LeslieAdrienne wrote on August 8, 2014, 9:11 PM

I agree, a photo or image helps the reader visualize what the post is about. And, it also give the reader an idea of the tone the author is writing in...

LeslieAdrienne wrote on August 8, 2014, 9:16 PM

You may not be able to bring the exact post from Bubblews here, but you can bring the same information here... Reformatting is not spinning... There is a difference

LeslieAdrienne wrote on August 8, 2014, 9:19 PM

Pixabay has not been a place where I have had much success... only because it has been so confusing. But, I am going to try it again after reading the comments on this post.

profdavid wrote on September 26, 2014, 10:21 AM

Thanks for informing me Kasman i have checked your post on Photo Credits and i now have a glimpse of what to do. Thank you once more

FreyaYuki wrote on October 2, 2014, 10:24 AM

This is very useful and helpful for all those who use images on their articles but may not know how to properly credit those images. If I use pics on my posts, I always credit them by listing the artist, the license type and the URL link where the photo was obtained.

Kasman wrote on October 2, 2014, 10:34 AM

That's the right idea. There isn't just one definitive way to credit images. Creative Commons themselves say that it can be done in 'any reasonable manner'. The critical point is that it must be simple for anyone to know that you have a right to use a particular image - hence the clickable link back to the source being very important.

seren3 wrote on January 11, 2015, 11:36 AM

Kasman I am having a real problem with this. The link above at thebottom of your post here, is not clickable for me. Also a couple of days you gave me a corrected link for mypost, so I changed mine, and it is still not clickable. I copypaste the links I use from the url at the top, whether from pixabay or wikicommons. I don't understand why they're not clickable.

Kasman wrote on January 11, 2015, 12:02 PM

seren3 - I understand what you are saying and I see the problem. It is to do with the way the URL is presented in the image credit box on a post. It isn't in a link and needs to be highlighted before it will work. What you need to do is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Place your cursor on the first character of the URL - the 'h' in http. Whilst holding down the left mouse button drag the cursor to the right making sure to stay on the URL. You will see the URL becomes highlighted in blue. Take the cursor to just past the last character of the URL - the / in this case - the entire URL should now be highlighted. Let go of the left mouse button - be careful not to move the mouse and then click on the right mouse button. A menu will pop up. The second line down will read 'Go to' followed by the URL. Let go the right mouse button and left click on that line. You will be taken to the Pixabay file page for that image. Let me know if you have any problems.

Donna_Thacker wrote on January 11, 2015, 1:10 PM

I am seeing that your Image Credit is not a clickable link. I checked mine and they are not either. Is this an issue or is there a problem with the linking?

Kasman wrote on January 11, 2015, 1:17 PM

&Donna-Thacker - see my reply to seren3 three immediately above your comment.

Kasman wrote on January 11, 2015, 1:18 PM

Donna_Thacker - sorry, spelled your name wrong!

Donna_Thacker wrote on January 11, 2015, 1:35 PM

Okay thanks. I have never seen that before. When I give links on other sites they are automatically clickable without doing anything. This can be very confusing for those who are not used to doing it this way!

Kasman wrote on January 11, 2015, 1:42 PM

Donna_Thacker - it's my fault. I am assuming too much knowledge from people who aren't used to this. I will write a post on how to do it.

Donna_Thacker wrote on January 11, 2015, 2:14 PM

It's okay. I have also assumed someone should know how to do something just because I do. Some of these folks are very new, even to internet usage, so it doesn't seem fair to penalize them for something they simply didn't know. I did not know PP required a link back to the photo until I read MaeLou 's post today. FAQ doesn't state that.

MaeLou wrote on January 11, 2015, 2:36 PM

It's not in the FAQ but it is in the "?" when submitting a new post. We figured people would see the rules there before they would the FAQ. We will direct people to this ? in the FAQ though, if that helps.