How to Properly Give Credit for Social Media Photos

Dec 09, 2014
How to Properly Give Credit for Social Media Photos

Giving Photo Credit on Social Media. Learn how to do it properly!

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Social media posts with images get better engagement. However, it can be difficult to consistently come up with good quality original images. If you need quality images, you have a few options. You can:

  • Go out and take pictures
  • Hire a photographer to take pictures for you
  • Buy stock photos
  • Use royalty-free stock photos
  • Share other people's awesome social media images (from public accounts)

The first four options are pretty straightforward so I want to focus on the proper procedure when sharing other people's photos on social media.

The first thing you need to know is that it is perfectly fine to use someone else's social media image on your social media platforms, as long as you give credit to the original photo source. If an account is set to "private" you should not share any of that person's photos and if you are unsure, you can ask them for permission. Instagram, for example, is a brilliant source with many fantastic images at your disposal.

Photographer James Douglas shares a detailed and very accurate best practices article on the subject of crediting artists for their work both on social media and elsewhere.

Please read his blog post for still finer points of giving credit to artists for their work.

So, what are the procedures to give proper photo credit on social media? There are no strict rules, but some of the commonly accepted procedures related to Instagram are as follows:

Instagram photos on Twitter

Did you find a cool picture on Instagram that you want to share with your Twitter followers? Trying to stay within the 140 character limit you have a few options for giving credit. If you are only using a few characters for your tweet, you can use "Pic: Instagrammer username." If you find that their Twitter username and Instagram username are the same you can use "Pic: Instagrammer @username." If your tweet uses a lot of characters, you can use "Pic: IGer username" which is something that I use frequently.

One more option is to use a camera icon with the Instagram username. This can save still more precious characters and allow you more room to be creative.

The most important things to note here are including where the picture came from (Instagram) and the username. If a follower wants to check out more of their work, they should be easy to find.

Another option is to use IFTTT to create a recipe to share the Instagram photo to your Twitter followers. A handy guide to some useful Instagram IFTTT recipes can be found here


Instagram Photos on Facebook

Sharing Instagram pictures on Facebook allows for more space to give photo credit. Like Twitter, you want to mention where the picture came from. I like to use "Pic: Instagrammer username" or "Pic: Instagrammer @username." I don't always include a link to their Instagram profile but if you notice a picture going viral, you can go back and edit your post and add ""

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photos on Instagram

If you find a cool Instagram photo on Instagram that you want to share with your Instagram followers you can repost it. You can save the image and then write your own copy or you can use an app like Repost to repost this image. You must make sure you include "#Repost from @username" to give the original source credit.


All Photos on All Social Platforms

If you choose to share an image you found on the social media on one of your platforms, similar procedures should be followed. Make sure you mention where the original picture came from and if you can, tag the original source and/or photographer. If you can't tag them, that is okay, just type their name.

For more in depth information about giving proper credit, take a look at this great post over at HubSpot. It includes detailed information on crediting sources for all types of content, written and visual.

Make sure to do your research and when in doubt (about an image) you can ask the permission of the owner and always give credit!


This post was slightly edited on December 31, 2015 to include updated information.

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