Why I DON’T Require Photo Credit For Photographers

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Clients giving proper “photo credit” has been a frequent topic of discussion in workshops, online forums, conferences and on social media as a whole over these last few weeks. I’ve been seeing it more and more often – photographers are frustrated or upset with their clients because they posted their beautiful images on social media to share with the world (YAY!) but they didn’t mention the photographer or give any type of photo credit (boo).

So, what do the photographers do about it? Well, a few things:

  1. They approach their client and ask them to add photo credit, or
  2. They comment on the photo with the sole intention of making sure that they are given photo credit, or
  3. They add a strict policy to their contracts requiring clients to tag them or give photo credit online, or
  4. They don’t allow clients to share on social media at all

Or, they approach the situation with a combination of the above. So, in today’s post, I want to share with you why I don’t require my paying clients to give me photo credit online (GASP!) and why I don’t ever get upset about it.

But, first, let’s set something straight: not receiving photo credit used to break my heart. I used to let it consume me. Because, I was working harder than ever to build my business, and it felt like a punch in the stomach any time my work was shared and my business wasn’t mentioned. I would get upset. Sometimes I’d even cry (yes, really) because having credit for the images I took was too much of a priority to me, and my heart wasn’t in the right place. While I still suggest that my clients give my credit and educate them on how to do so, I don’t ever require it (or get upset with them if they don’t). Here’s why:

  1. They are paying me for a service. 

When I work with a client for their senior portrait session or wedding day, they are paying me to perform a service for them. Because they are investing their money (and their time!) into my business, they should be given the freedom to share the images I’ve captured for them without being reprimanded for forgetting to tag me or mention my name. In my business, specifically, they are paying for the online digital gallery of images – meaning the ability to share those images online should be a part of their investment (and shouldn’t have to require my name alongside it!)

2. They don’t have a reason to talk about me if the photo is never posted. 

So, one of your clients shares a BEAUTIFUL image that you captured of them. You see that it has hundreds of likes and dozens of comments, but then you keep scrolling to find that your name is never mentioned. It feels a little bit like a punch in the gut (because I used to let it feel that way, too). But, think about it this way instead:

If you required that client to give you photo credit and mention your name in the caption, they may not have shared it. Or, if didn’t allow them to share the image at all, then none of their followers would have seen it. And, guess what? When people contact your client to ask who took the photo – they are still going to give them your name. You could be losing referral opportunities by limiting your clients in how they can share their images.

3. The memories that I’ve captured are not about ME.

This one can be hard to swallow for some of us (and I still have to give myself a heart check sometimes, too!). Because, when we are working hard to grow our businesses, it can feel like we’re missing out or taking a step back when our business isn’t being shared or tagged. But, the reality is this: the memories and images that you capture for your clients are not about you. You are providing them with beautiful, lifelong images to cherish and share – and it isn’t for you. It’s for them. Because the reason that you are doing the work is for THEM. Your priority should always be your clients, and if your heart comes from a place of wanting to serve them, even in situations where it doesn’t necessarily benefit your businsess, worrying about photo credit will be a thing of the past.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. All of the above applies to my paying portrait or wedding clients only. I do require photo credit for the following situations:

  1. Other vendors who have worked with me on a collaboration (workshop, styled shoot, etc.)
  2. Senior Spokesmodels
  3. Models/Clients I am shooting for free
  4. People who are using my images on social media for content (i.e. blogs, other creative accounts, etc.)

So, what are your thoughts on photo credit? Did this blog post give you a new perspective? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also love:

4 Ways Photographers Should Back-Up Their Images 

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5 Ways to Improve your Instagram RIGHT Now | Free E-Book 

POSTED

April 12, 2017

  1. Erin

    April 12th, 2017 at 10:05 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and I totally agree that it’s not about you, it’s all about your client. And it’s a thousand times better for them to share a photo without a tag than not share it all. Thank you so much for this!!

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I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!

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