Blog Discussion - crediting:

December 15, 2011

Thanks to Lolasroom for the beautiful photo above!

Hi friends! I know today's blog discussion topic has been discussed around the blog community several times but I am curious to get responses from my own readers :) What are your thoughts about crediting sources?

So back in the day, I used to credit photos with a plus "+" sign. I know, I know. I really thought I was sooo cool and clever by using a "+" sign (oh my young naive blogging days) The +plus sign would link to the source of the photo, but not always the source, sometimes just a weheartit link or some improper credit. Little did I know or even think about how unfair that is to the person who was due the proper credit.

If a photo you want to use doesn't have a proper credit, will you still use it? A couple months ago, I was still posting inspire lovely posts with uncredited images. I placed a note in each post that the photos didn't contain proper credits with a shout-out to ask for proper links and I would update the post. I usually received a lot of responses with helpful links. But those days of posting photos with no credits is a no-no for me now. A sweet reader told me about Google's Image search, which has helped tremendously in finding credits.

From time to time, I see phrases like "all photographs courtesy of Pinterest" or "source: weheartit" Do you think that is okay? Personally I think sites like pinterest, weheartit, & imgfave are fun resource sites for finding photos but not necessarily a proper credit for the photos themselves. I actually find that some of these sites often don't even have proper credits to the original source of the photo, which then makes it really hard to credit the actual source. Additionally, I have heard of some bloggers who have even taken a stand and can't/won't use sites like these (weheartit/tumblr/pinterest/imgfave) simply because of all the incorrect sources flying around all over the place.

Also - how far do you go in crediting? For example, say you find a photo from design*sponge that you want to post on your own blog. Would you credit it:

Photo credit: Jane Smith , found via design*sponge.
Or is the "Photo credit: Jane Smith" enough?

This topic kind of goes beyond crediting photos too. If you find a great DIY tutorial, create the DIY for yourself, and post it on your blog, would you credit the place you found the idea? Or pass it off on your own? (I am sure all your answers will be the first. But hey, you never know!)

I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to respect! We all just need to respect each other as fellow creatives, artists, friends, human beings. Give credit where credit is due and be kind and generous.

As always, this is a open and friendly discussion, all thoughts/input welcome. This discussion is not meant to point fingers or judge people for bad crediting. Just curious to hear some other thoughts/opinions out there besides my own. ;)

45 hello's:

  1. I always try to give loads of credit. When doing a DIY I found on a blog, I give credit. I usually show what I have done and link to the tutorial I used. If, however, I just browse my reader, find something, browse on and some weeks later create something similar without using the tutorial, I don't write where I got the idea from.
    Similar with photos: I only use my own or photos I know the source. I name the source and link it. But I don't always name the place where I've found it, because they just keep repeating. It is so often that I find something via Colossal, Swissmiss or others. I have credited them, but don't always do - but I always credit when the blog I found it on is pretty new to me.

    Is there any logic behind that? I'm not sure.

  2. I like the built-in crediting in tumblr (though so many people never use it), where it shows the original source, and where you got it from - so the "Jane Smith, found via design*sponge" option.

    As a food blogger, I'm always getting ideas and sometimes creating recipes with another recipe as my base. (Especially with baking, I'm not sure enough of myself yet to make my own recipes from scratch.) I always write a little blurb about where I got my original recipe from, especially if it's from a cookbook or a blogger I love. If it's from vegweb or allrecipes I just link to the original without much explanation.

    Multiple times I've seen my work, credited on tumblr to someone else, with thousands of notes and comments, and that sort of "plus sign" crediting to my flickr account in the caption of the photo - it's just not enough. I use flickr as an image hosting website, and on each I write specifically to reblog through my tumblr so I can see what people like and don't like...but they never do. I don't see any faves or even views from something I spent a lot of effort on because of this, it's incredibly frustrating. (Even though it's my flickr account, it's basically the same as linking it from weheartit, because people rarely/never click through to flickr.) This is why I watermark all of my photos now.

    I wish more people on the internet weren't so ravenous for new content all the time, and actually spent a little effort in sourcing/writing about the artist behind the images on their blog.

  3. most of the time i will give credit if i use other pictures but when im super busy and want to do a post to keep up with my blog i will forgo the credits because of the extra time to copy and paste each link i know its not right but i don't get alot of time to blog when im working alot so its a tough one. as for any diy projects or recipes if i use someone elses i would give credit where credit is do , i started water marking my own cookie/cupcake images because i have had people steal them and try to pass them off as their own to sell them

  4. As a blogger and a photographer, I think it is incredibly important for people to actually find the real source of something they want to reuse on their own personal site. Reblogging tumblrs, Pinterest, weheartit-- those are NOT sources. I am not a huge fan of tumblr, because I often have a difficult time finding a source when something has been reposted over and over and over again. At least Pinterest has a direct link to wherever the content was pinned from.

    To me, if you don't credit- and credit properly- for photos, tutorials, etc., you're stealing. There's no reason for that. :)

  5. I've gotten in the habit over the years of making sure I credit resources or images (or even inspiration), although I definitely slacked on it in the past. I would certainly want credit for my text or pictures, and I try to follow the golden rule in that respect. If I can't find the original poster, I try not to use the image, but if it's something I really love, I will post it and ask for any tips on who the OP is. I do wonder, though, if I should ask to use a specific image from a blog or site, or if it's okay to take and then credit? Personally, I would be okay with the latter if someone wanted to use something of mine, although I'd appreciate a head's up just so I can link MY readers to the content.

  6. I would never, ever use a photo without proper credit to the photographer (not the site where I found the photo). I'm a photographer myself, a full-time artist, and creating images is my life. Really, my images buy me food and rent - which is why I've started to watermark them not just with my afiori logo but with my full name and url.

  7. I usually get pics from pinterest, and credit the blog or website i got it from in the caption of the picture. That way when you look at the pic, you see the website. I am new to blogging, and so far this has worked for me.

  8. I think you should keep posting beautiful inspiration photos even if you can't find the credit. By posting the photo and asking people if they know who it is by it hopefully brings more traffic to the person and helps people identify who it is by when before they might not know.

  9. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this.

    As a photographer - I am by no means flattered when people use my photograph without credit. When it's taken and posted, I feel more upsetthen anything.

    WeHeartIt and other "sources" really don't cut it. I really don't like Tumblr. I love people using their own work - and if not, full, full credit needs to be given to the artist.

    I have respect for people and blogs who give more full credit to the photographer. Just saying "Via _________" just doesn't cut it.

    In my blog, the photos are usually mine. If not, I credit. If it's from a newssource that doesn't credit their own photographer, then I just link to them. Just giving people the direction to the first time the photograph was published.

    Here's what I do if I didn't shoot the shot myself or have it shot by a friend with my camera:

    To not post credit just because you're "busy" - oi! I'm sorry to be harsh, but that's just downright lazy! Find images you can credit! The photographers took a long time on those shots and just using them is like stealing. It's like going to a store and walking out with items because standing in the checkout line would take too long.

    Image goes with the photographer's name and website.

  10. I am very strict with copyright and crediting (as a photographer even more) - I always write to photographers if I can use their photos on my blog (well, if they are not famous photojournalists, because I doubt that they would have time to reply to my email) and for now, they all replied very soon and allowed me to publish their photographs. And also when I write something for my blog, I link it to the source (I guess it looks like I am writing a degree, hehe). I hate copyright sign on the photo though, but sometimes it is useful because all of the photo thiefs all over the world. It was like that with my blog from start to now, maybe it was realy a habit from seminar works on faculty.

  11. have you heard of link with love? ( the artist kal barteski is trying to spread awareness about the importance of crediting your sources. pretty cool!

  12. It's so funny because I ALWAYS credit photos and link it to the original source or note the photographer but today, just today, I didn't because they were all photos of Ryan Gosling and I kind of draw the line at celebrity photographers.

    In all honesty it's not about crediting photos but asking permission from the photographer. If I find wonderful photos on a photographer's blog and they ask for permission to use I always email and wait for a response. Sometimes it takes a day and sometimes a week. But if the photographer has no use agreement then I just cite the photographer and link it.

  13. I don't often post other people's photos, but if I did, I would try to find the source.

    But in terms of people using my photos, I'm always stoked to see people using them. If they link it back to my flickr or blog, that's a-ok with me. I don't really understand the first comment about not being happy with flickr link-backs.

    I think for me, my blog is just something fun that I do, and not my career. So even if I saw some of my photos uncredited, it's not the end of the world. I think some people take their photos just a bit too seriously.

  14. When I first began blogging, I remember using photos found on Google or even weheartit as a source. It wasn't until I began using my own photographs and found one of mine used on a spam blog. It felt a little violated (it's a strong word to use for a photo, but you know what i mean). All it comes down to is being educated on using the photographs properly. I just simply didn't know, and I've realized this is what happens with a lot of new bloggers, they just don't know they have to credit it. I'm not using ignorance as an excuse, but instead of bullying people into using credit, it's better to just keep talking about it so they'll understand. However, once they are aware of what's right and they still don't do it, well, that's just lazy and rude.

  15. I treat other people's photos and tutorials the way I hope that they would treat mine - which is with a named credit or, in the case of tutorials, at least an "inspired by...". It doesn't take much effort to credit things appropriately, and - legalities aside for a moment - it's both a compliment and good manners to do so. I don't really understand why people don't (so will be curious to see the other responses here).

  16. Hmm... I think it would be proper to have their full name at least. A link to the site is a decent way to thank someone.

    I personally don't like to use other people's photos period. I've seen so many nice blogs end up just regurgitating things they find on the internet and then there is no longer any reason to read said blog. If they don't write much, I mean. I might look at a blog and mentally remove everything that isn't original work. If that blog is then empty, then what are they really adding to the world?

    I think it's one thing to use an image in order to illustrate something important (or to help promote that person in a non-spammy way), but quite another if the only reason the blog is beautiful and popular is through the hard work of someone else.

  17. I suppose it should also be said that crediting someone doesn't make it suddenly legal to use that something. Anyone could come along and force us to remove it or push for legal charges... publicly stating where I took the image from is just further proof that I stole it.

  18. I use to post favorites from the web but trying to find links back and crediting got to be too tedious for me and I would never ever post without proper credit. Now I'm fine using my own photography on my blog. I have seen some of my things posted on Pinterest withough a link back to me and that is a bit of a peeve, especially when my photographs are so personal to me. Great post!

  19. I always link any pictures to their original blogs. I do find Pinterest useful when looking for recipes and DIY tutorials. Either way I always link/mentioned where I found it.
    When you click on any pictures on my blog it will always take you directly to where I got them from, if they're not mine.
    At the end if a picture on Pinterest doens't lead me to the original site, I simply don't use it. Out of respect and as a photographer/blogger I wouldn't want that done to me. :)

  20. I have to say, this is one of the main reasons I don't use any photos on my blog. I would hate to use a photo without giving proper credit, and since they wouldn't add much to my advice site anyway, I just don't use images.

  21. My stance is that I will always track back as far as possible to the actual and original source of an image. And if I can identify the photographer, stylist, or designer, I will include their name(s) with a link to their site if available. I will usually include this original source information as well as wherever I happened to find it, if applicable.

    Pinterest is tricky. I don't blog images from it often. I've started crediting like so: "Via Luann Lang on Pinterest, originally pinned by Michelle Ensminger from bloom via Sköna Hem." This is a pain in the butt obviously. I've credited not only the pinner that I found it from, but the person who originally pinned it, the Tumbler where that original pinner got it from, AND the original source where the Tumbler account got it from. Crazy!

    But it's not always as straight-forward to find sources. If I have an image that I want to use and can not find a proper credit beyond a tumbler site or a blog that did not include its source, I will still use the image. I know some will disagree with me on this, and I may change my mind one day. I will of course immediately remove something if ever requested by an owner (which has happened to me on one occasion).

    I wish there was a sure-fire way for photographers and the like to without a doubt protect an image of theirs from being "stolen" if they do not want it re-posted and pinned and tumbled to death. Some sort of coding that would prevent people from not only saving the image, obtaining it's web address, but ALSO from even using the "print screen" button. If something like that existed, it could be argued that it is each artist's responsibility to implement that technology and if they do not they are essentially granting permission for sharing WITH PROPER CREDIT of course.

    Wouldn't that be wonderful? I just think that a system like that or something similar would make a lot of sense given the way information is so freely exchanged on the internet today. Copyright laws were established for a completely different society technologically speaking and unless someone wants to incriminate nearly the entire blogging community and every freaking Tumbler and Pinterest account there is, we need to think creatively to come up with a solution that works for everyone; protecting the rights of artists without stunting the flow of global communication and inspiration that has so enriched our lives.

    Can you tell I've given a lot of thought to this? Haha.

  22. I don't feature other people's photos often, but when I do, I provide name credit + a link to the original source (the photographer!) directly below the photo. If I had found the picture on another person's site, then I would add the "via". If that person had found it from another person's site, then I would start to think the image had probably been re-blogged enough!

    For tutorials, I think it's appropriate to use ONE photo from the original source, credit the source by name and link to the tutorial. Never republish the entire tutorial, even if you credit, because that's taking readers from the other person's blog. If you make a tutorial and it was very loosely based on someone else's idea, but substantially changed, I think it's nice to include a linked credit but not 100% necessary if your work is different enough.

    Oh, I do make a full exception for professional product shots from major companies. If I post a picture of a J.Crew jacket with a link to the jacket, I don't think I need to attempt to track down the catalog photographer and credit him/her. At that point, it's a commercial image and crediting J.Crew is plenty.

    It's such a complicated issue! The bottom line is to always credit as thoroughly as possible and think about how you would feel if it were your images being used.

  23. Personally i don't have a problem not crediting sources. I think that the internet is such a big place, and it can be so easy to get lost, and i do get lost on a daily basis. I see so many wonderful, inspiring, interesting things, and it is impossible to keep up with where i saw something. I think a simple "photo via pinterest" or "photo via lauren" with a link is good enough, whether it goes back to the originator or not. I personally believe that as long as you're not passing it up as your own, and your readers know that then it's good enough.
    But i also know that lots of designers and artists have been negatively effected by not having proper credit given, and that makes me sad, and i completely understand where they're coming from. But again, the internet is a HUGE place, and it's so easy to get lost, and remember where exactly you saw it.
    So to conclude, if you know the original source, put it there, or let the blogger know where the original source is so they can post it too. But if you don't then another simple, "found via pinterest" is okay, and is good enough.

    I'm really interested to see what other people are going to say about this, would you mind posting a Conclusion post, or something to just sum up everyone's comments?


  24. When it comes to using Pinterest, etc. I always click link after link until I can find the actual source. If that's not possible, I credit the deepest/most accurate source I can find.

    As far as finding things via other blogs, I most times credit the photographer/creater, etc. and where it was found, so both parties get credit.

    Being a blogger myself, I think it's really important to give the courtesy of proper credit. If I get an idea for something and blog about it, I'll link back to where I got the idea. Hopefully people will treat my work with the same respect!

  25. I seldom use other people's images on my blog just because of the issues discussed here. I'm so afraid of inadvertently doing the wrong thing. As you can see, most of us do not approve of posting something without proper credit, but some others don't much care. I know I get very irritated when I click back on a Pinterest image trying to find the original source and it's not there.
    I like Christina's idea - I wish there were a way to protect the image from being copied in any way. Good discussion.

  26. I used to give just the website of the photographer, but now I'm providing both their name and website.

    I tend to stick to stock photo sites and use photos that are royalty free, and I categorise my brushes and textures in folders by the website's name.

  27. I don't blog right now but if I did I would give as much credit as possible. So the first photo credit example you put is what I would use. As for a diy project I would credit where I got the inspiration from.

  28. The rare times I do include photos in my LJ blog, I credit the people or sites I took them from. Even if it's just a purchased item, I'll link back to the site or say I got it from Guess, Esprit, etc.

  29. I like to trace back to the original source, then pin it to a board and use the "embed" feature to put it in my blog. Then it does that little tag on the bottom that says where it's from and where I pinned it. It seems to be the easiest way to make sure everyone gets credit.

  30. This is such a point with me lately because of Pinterest (which I love) -- I am bugged that I can't find the original person but am enamored of the beauty there. I'm trying to only use things I can link to and when I Pin, have it come from the original source.

  31. I'm new to blogging and this dicussion is really helpful. I had never put to much thought into this subject because I have never been a creative person. But i'm trying to be more creative and a better blogger. any more tips or advice would be much appreciated!

  32. I have been trying to really give credit to wherever I can. I know that it is so annoying to have done something and then have someone else take credit for it! Great topic!!

  33. I personally don't own a blog (yet:) but once in a while I have found some of my images on sites that weren't linked to my Etsy, but personally it doesn't really bother me that much, I actually feel sorta glad that people like my stuff enough to want to repost it,(as long as they aren't claiming to have made it) and if I come across it I'll just ask for a link to my site to be added.. So I think credits like "found via Pinterests" are fine with me :) but maybe its the nature of my items, I can understand how others might be protective about their hard work..

  34. I have very strong feelings about this and have talked about it myself on my blog and twitter. I have always credited since blog day 1, but I didn't always do it properly. I might just do a {via ____} or a {cake, bouquet, etc.} with the link on the descriptive word. But then I learned about the SEO I was depriving the source of. My rule: do not use a photo if you cannot find the source. If you can't find the photographer, at least try to find the original source. I use google image search and some other tools. I once spent 4 hours trying to track down the source of a photo I wanted to use. I try to always credit the photographer and where I found the photo or idea (for example: Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty - with links to both). I use Pinterest, but I do have a problem with the fact that I think they could do a program fix to ensure properly credited photos. I add proper links to photos I find improperly credited on Pinterest when I can. And I understand some bloggers don't know how to properly credit, but I get really frustrated when you can tell people just don't care. I also have a problem with sites that call themselves "search engines" that take your content without permission (although they credit and link to you) and then pin your content from their site, effectively giving themselves the link and credit. I won't name names, but I had a big problem with a site like this recently and I was basically told "too bad" and if I didn't like it I should "remove my site from search engine listings." People like that are facilitating the improper crediting for their own monetary gain. Actually, they are flat out stealing our work and making money off of it.

    Sorry for that rant. phew! I think it is great that you are posting this and getting a dialogue going and educating those who might not know. Thanks for posting (and listening)!

  35. I give credit to all, the original source and where I found it. If I do a DIY, I would never dream of not posting where I got the idea. For some more info on this topic, you HAVE to check out this site: LINKwith Love, created by Kal Barteski and backed by a lot of great bloggers, it tackles this exact topic

  36. I always give credit, or at least 9 out of 10 times. Not only who made the photo but also the blog where I found it or read about it. Totally agree with your ideas about it!

  37. This is a tough topic. It's hard not to use a beautiful image because you can't find the source. I guess I think if you look really hard for the image source and are unable to find it, and post as you used to do with the "if you know where it came from" text, I think that's okay.

    I don't think it's okay to pass off anything as your own though, DIY tutorial or not. You should say where you got the idea from. And plus, it definitely breeds goodwill amongst your fellow bloggers which is worth more than claiming a tutorial as your own. Great discussion!

  38. I have been blogging for around 6 years and personally, not only would I never ever ever use a photo that belonged to someone else without exact, proper credit, I would never use someone elses photos without getting express permission from them first. I am an artist and most artist blogs I frequent have written copyright claims asking anyone wishing to use a photo from their sites to ask permission first. This seems common courtesy to me and I have always stood by it. With that said, I frequently have readers reposting photos from my blog with proper credit but without my permission. I've always given them the benefit of the doubt that the blogger discovered something they liked on my blog and wanted to share it and not claim it as their own and that ultimately means promotion for my blog. I have never (and will never as long as they give me credit) asked anyone to remove my photos, but it always, always bothers me. I guess that is why I believe so strongly that permission should always be obtained before reproducing or reprinting the creative property of someone else unless they have expressly given permission on their site for their photos to be used freely. I think this is only common courtesy and would be the law if we were talking about printed works. If I ever found anyone using my photos without specific credit to me and my blog, I would be highly offended and ask that they be removed immediately. Having said that, I love your blog and others like it that catalog beautiful photos and ideas from around the Internet and appreciate them greatly. I realize that they probably would not exist if you had to personally obtain permission for each and every photo and yet I still love and frequent them. But despite this contradiction, I still firmly believe everyone should obtain permission to use all photos they did not themselves take. Thank you for your honesty in having changed your own views on the subject!

  39. This is a great topic Danni. I was wondering the same thing. What is really the proper way of crediting a photo?
    I never realized the importance of letting the owner of the photo know until I find out some of my photos were use as one of their portfolio. And I was really mad about that.
    I used to just put a link and credit the photo prior to that. But after the incident I make sure that I email the owner, as a sign of respect.

  40. I love this conversation!! It's SO IMPORTANT to give credit where credit is due. If bloggers really want readers to check out their pinterest, why not do something along these lines:

    Photo by (artist's name), found via designsponge on Pinterest

    You put in 3 links. The original artist FIRST!!!, then the person who helped you find it (if you didn't find it all by yourself), then where you put it for safe keeping.

    I don't pin something unless it has proper credit. If I want to repin something I ALWAYS make sure it goes back to the correct source. If it doesn't I try to find it, or I skip it.

    I find a lot of people not giving credit where credit is due in the DIY/craft/tutorial communities. I've tried to make it a point to cite my inspirations. Ideas don't pop up by themselves & NOTHING is original in this post-modern era. NOTHING. So throw a bone out to the peeps who inspired your work. Showing the process is such a vital part in spreading the creative wealth.

    It's not entirely the same, but Jessica Hische writes a fantastic article on imitation versus inspiration. You might want to give it a read. And all of her entries for that matter. They're fantastic.

  41. I know I'm late to the party on this entry, but I think the most helpful site as far as crediting photos might be It's a reverse image search engine-- you upload the photo, or enter the link for it, and TinEye searches the internet to find the source. It finds the original source nearly every time!

  42. Typically I post a picture to Pinterest so I know that the picture link won't be broken over time, then I'll credit it back to where I found the picture in the first place.

  43. What an important topic! I like it when I see something that says "Photo by Jane Smith found via Hello, Moxie! Because when you are inundated with so many images and ideas, I think it's important to credit the blogger who inspired you to find that image/topic in the first place. I know people have taken things from me without credit and it just feels yucky. It's not cool. And as a photographer, I've found some of my images on Pinterest (without my photo credit) that were taken from my tumblr and because they were reblogged so many times, my original photo credit was lost. I think we all owe it to ourselves, each other and the future of blogging to be professional and courteous. Saying you don't have enough time isn't an excuse. If that happens to me, I don't use the photo or I use something else. I now use to help in my search. Thanks again for bringing up the topic and taking an important stand!

  44. Hi I just found this topic, and have been reading through it. I just joined Pinterest, and I'm concerned because of what it says is in the terms we agree to when we join. I can't quote it exactly, but when we join, we're agreeing that any image we pin is either our own or that we have a license or permission to use them. So it would seem that providing a link back, may still not be good enough. Seems to me that part could come back and bite someone. So, I am uneasy about it still and only post my own or someone that I've asked permission from. Has anyone ever heard of any legal issues arising from Pinterest?

  45. I go out of my way to look for the root source of an image that lacks credits (or was just linked back to where it was found) through

    It's difficult to explain why I feel the need to. I juts have to until the itchy feeling of something so good left without a name settles.


Friends, Thank you so much for reading + supporting my blog, and for taking the time to leave me a comment. Your comment support truly means so much to me. Have a lovely day! xo, danni