Friday, June 03, 2011

giving credit

I like it. I'm not entirely sure that you always need to contact the photographer to ask their permission before using their work.  Personally I'm busy. I barely have time to answer emails as it is. Personally I would rather you just used the image with a proper credit. Sometimes emailing me to let me know that you used my image is nice though, it gives me a chance to say thank you. 
Which is the thing. As a photographer I want you to use my images, I want my work to be seen by more people, I want to know that people like it, as long as you give me a proper credit (proper means including a link). A lot of the rhetoric being used in discussions about giving credit would suggest that photographers don't want you to use their work and as such I worry that bloggers are starting to fear the use of images that they find online. Of course there are photographers who don't want you to use their work without asking and sometimes they have good reason to. Sometimes they have sold the rights to the photo to someone else and they will get in big doodoo if you use it. Sometimes they just feel a little precious about where their work goes and what people do with it. And that's fine. Those photographers usually state quite clearly, where you can see it, that they don't want you to use their work. In fact even if it's not right there where you can see it you should probably have a good look around their website just in case. Should there be such a request, send the photographer an email. Even if they don't say that you can use it (and they often will) they will be pleased that you like their work and you will have spread some happiness. Isn't that nice? And if a photographer asks you not to use their work don't, for the love of god, take a screengrab of it and use it anyway, even if you do give credit. That's just obnoxious and you deserve that unpleasant email they will send you. Oh and whilst we're on the subject of unpleasant emails from photographers: photographers, please look properly for credits before you send unpleasant emails. Sending an email telling a blogger that they're infringing your copyright when the credit is right there at the bottom of the post, clear as day, will not only make you feel like an idiot, the blogger is unlikely ever to promote your work again.  (I speak from the experience of the pissed off blogger, not the stupid-ass photographer.)

So. To surmise, my thoughts are: 

  • don't be scared of using someone else's work on your blog.
  • As long as you CREDIT IT PROPERLY. 
  • If you're not going to credit it properly, DON'T BOTHER.
  • Unless you have looked and you just can't find the source and you really really love the image and can't bear not to share it, in which case, personally, I don't think that there's too much wrong with acknowledging that you can't find the source and asking your readers if they know. I may be mistaken.
  • You don't always need to ask the photographer's permission.
  • UNLESS they have clearly requested that you do so. 
  • Screengrabs are for assholes. 
  • Maybe buy this print if you just can't remember not to be an asshole. 

If you want a more eloquent and comprehensive guide to The Rules of Using Other's Work, check out {frolic}'s post on the matter, which I'm pretty sure has (deservedly so) become the definitive guide on the matter. 

*GIVING CREDIT PRINT, By Pia Jane Bijkerk, aka STREETCRED. For sale by Mammoth Collection, via {Frolic}
* photograph of print by Pia Jane Bijkerk


  1. this is so reasonable. thanks for sharing.

  2. Great post about an important point. I have to deal with copyright at work all the time and the layers of copyrights that can be present on a single image is unreal!

  3. Wonderful post Cara. So sensible such a good point about WANTING your work to be seen. At the end of the day, that feeling should also be communicated in the litany of Thou Shalt Nots.

  4. good to know. thanks dude

  5. Ah- such a welcome breath of fresh air!

    Although it sucks when images are used without permission, it seems that the talk of crediting properly was turning into a bit hysterical, perhaps forsaking common sense.

    I think the focus on proper crediting could end up biting photgraphers in the ass by scaring people away from using their images, and surely most photographers want the exposure?
    A conundrum.

    I also have a suspician that people on flickr put a copyright automatically on their photo's, I wish more would allow creative commons use (is that what I mean?! where people can share but credit properly?)


  6. Somebody (I forget who at the moment) told me about TinEye Reverse Imaging, a website that will search the web for every place whatever image you choose is posted, and then list them all for you.
    I have found it to be 60%/70% successful at finding the original credit when I come across an image I really like on tumblr or the like.
    It has become a permanent part of my toolbar.

  7. i totally agree. and i like that you noted that photographers want their work to be seen. sometimes i label things wierd, can't figure out where it came from, and hope if i post it, someone will tell me. give credit where credit is due.

  8. I'm torn on the issue of exposure/crediting. I firmly feel that people deserve to get paid for the work they do, and to me exposure alone doesn't pay the bills.

    I generally try to use Creative Commons images on my blog because I can be sure that the creator doesn't mind my use.

  9. Well said. I love this. (and it's beautiful!)

  10. It's great to hear that a lot of photographers want their work to be seen. I've been trying to find the 'right' thing to do for a while now as I see lots of people use the photos of others and I can't believe they all ask permission. I've just done a blog post about great photos in my niche but I e-mailed a load of people to ask their permission. Most were surprised I'd asked despite having copyright notices on their photos and all who replied (which was actually most) said yes. I still don't get this whole 'fair use' thing though and what's 'non-commercial use' all about? Is it OK to use photos (with credit) on your blog that's trying to make a few pennies as long as you're not selling other people's photos?




play nice.