As photographers we've all experienced it at one point or another. We are casually scrolling social media, when we see a photo of our work. Yay! We do a mini happy dance, so excited our clients are loving and sharing our work. Then we halt to a stop when we see it. Or rather... the lack of it. No credit. Our name or business is no one where to be found with the post. That happy feeling we had is now filled with confusion and I'll be honest, some bitterness. If you're a photographer you know the exact feeling I'm talking about.
Now before you read any more, I want to put this out there: this post is NOT meant to point fingers or blame anyone if they've ever posted a photo without crediting the photographer who took it. Heck, before I was in this industry I did it all the time, because I didn't know better. And I truly believe there's two reasons people DON'T credit photographers, none of which has to do with malice or bad intent.
1) They forget. It's that simple. We're human beings, and we forget things.
2) They don't know it's important. They haven't been educated on the matter.
As far as forgetting, that's 100% on us photographers to communicate with our clients about crediting and why it's important WHEN we deliver our images, or even better, BEFORE we've even taken a single photo. As far as reason number two: not knowing it's important, I've put together a couple of reasons why crediting is vital to us photographers, and makes us happy dance every time you do it. ;)
Your Photos Are Our Artwork
Imagine you're a painter, and your work is being showcased in a museum or gallery. Let's pretend you're at the museum watching everyone interact with your work - but here's the kicker - your name is nowhere to be found on your paintings. You keep hearing praises of people loving your work, but since your name isn't on the painting, they have no one to praise. Wouldn't it be frustrating as the creator of that painting to not be credited for something you've taken the time, energy, and creativity to make. That's how we photographers feel about each and every one of our photos we give our clients. We've spent hours training, learning, shooting, and editing, just to give you photos you LOVE. The biggest thank you a client can give a photographer is crediting their image every time they post it.
Referrals Are the Main Way We Attract New Clients
Relationships are the name of the game. Most people, when searching for a photographer, will go to their friends' pictures to see who they trusted to capture their big day, before they ever type "wedding photographer" into google. Just by putting our name or website in the caption of your photos, you're saying to everyone, "We LOVED working with him/her/them and we think you should too!" Sharing our name allows people to find us and our work that much better, because it's honestly the number one way new clients find us.
It's Just a Respectful Thing To Do
Crediting your photos is simply put: the respectful thing to do. Think about when you look through a magazine. Every time you see a photo, you're going to see the name of the photographer who took it somewhere on the page. It's industry standard to credit an artist when they've made something that you're using. So yes, it's respectful, it's industry standard, and more than that: it's nice, it's kind, it's the "right" thing to do.
It Shows Us You LOVE What We've Created For You
So hear me out. If you love your photos enough that you're posting them to social media, wouldn't you WANT to share with your friends the person who took them? Wouldn't you be so stoked for your friends to have rad images like you do? I thought so! When you put our name in the caption of your photos, you're telling us thank you. You're showing us that you LOVE the work we've created for you, that you're willing to shout it to the rooftops. (Even though that's totally not necessary. :P) We legitimately happy dance every time we see you credit our name next to our photo, because we know we've served you well. Making our clients happy is literally everything to us photographers. It's why we do what we do. Knowing we've given you heirlooms you'll proudly show your grandchildren one day, is the best feeling in the world. THAT will always make us happy dance.
As photographers, we aren't asking you to sing our praises in a paragraph every time you post our photos. That would be ridiculous and totally not necessary. All we're asking is that you respect and love our work enough to share it with the world by putting our name in the caption. So simple! Hopefully after reading this, you're a little more educated on why crediting is SO important to us photographers!
And one last side note to photographers: give your clients grace. People will still forget to credit you. Understand that, and give them grace. Don't be rude. Love and serve your clients hard, and they will proudly share your name every time they post your work.
Lindsey Roman is an adventurous, destination wedding and elopement photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii and available worldwide. She lives for outdoor adventures, intimate moments, and candid images. Her style is raw, passionate, and authentic. She believes in chasing sunsets, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.