Featured Photo Credit: Luca Bravo

Nothing is more irritating to us than seeing a dope, captivating photo on a large platform with over 15,000 likes and the source of the photo is unknown. Especially when the Internet has created unlimited opportunities for creatives, artists and photographers alike to make a substantial living and tagging means a lot. It may seem like a small nuisance but it’s a small action that can lead to more sales and more opportunities. It’s another way for us to take care of each other’s creativity.

Tagging on social media may seem like a small nuisance but it's actually a small action that can lead to more sales and more opportunities. It's another way for us to take care of each other's creativity. Click To Tweet

It’s been reported that as of September 2017, there are 800 million monthly active users on Instagram. For some, social media is a form of entertainment or empowerment but for others, it’s a part of their sales funnel. Before you go rip a photo from someone’s page to curate your finely crafted feed, some of our favorite photographers share why not crediting the creator is bigger than just a tag.

Because they work really hard on their sh*t!

 credit photographers #blkcreatives

“WE WORK HARD ON OUR SHIT AND WE DESERVE IT! (LOL) On a serious note, the audience of the person posting the photo/work may not know of the creator but like the work. In turn, this can lead to new eyes on your work and maybe future jobs and/or recommendations. Its happened for me on more than one occasion.

These days photographers pay close attention who they work with. If their work is posted with no credit, 13 times out of 10 you will see the artist/photographer comment stating they are the ones who did it. So a little comment searching can get you that info.”

Fred Daniels is a photographer who’s worked with major brands like Iman Shumpert, Evan Turner, Big10 Network, SLAM MAGAZINE + adidas Basketball. Learn more about his work here.

Because social media is not just entertainment (for them)…

 credit photographers #blkcreatives Kim Thomas credit photographers #blkcreatives Kim Thomas

“With social media being such a huge marketing and advertising tool right now, crediting/sourcing what you post helps to expand that creative’s reach, and could potential lead to work for them. I can’t count how many new client referrals I’ve received thanks to a client tagging me.

Many times, you can do a reverse image search on google and it may come up, especially if you originally found it through Pinterest and the images link winds up being a dud. For a lot of photogs, their info may be embedded into the photo’s meta data and will show if you’ve saved it to your desktop. Finally, you can always ask. I’ve seen people ask their following if they know the original source of an image so that they can credit properly, so there are many different ways to properly credit your sources.

Kim is is a lifestyle blogger + visual content creator. Learn more about her work here.

Because they are artists, and they’re sensitive about their shit

 credit photographers #blkcreatives Dee Williams credit photographers #blkcreatives Dee Williams

“For me, it is important to credit photographers on social media because it shows appreciation of someone’s work and intellectual property. It is out of respect to source ownership of anything published that doesn’t belong to you. Especially if the person/publication is large. That post can easily land us new opportunities. Absolutely one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing my work posted with out credit.

Use google image search to find the image source. If you still can’t find the image source include where you found the photos or “please tag artist” in your copy. There will always be someone who knows were the photo comes from. Once you find the artist, edit the copy or repost the photo with correct credits. There are way too many brands becoming popular from posting other people’s work without credit.”

Dee is a photographer and social media manager, capturer of color. Learn more about her work here.

Because they’re recording our history…

 credit photographers Joshua Kissi #blkcreatives credit photographers Joshua Kissi #blkcreatives

“It’s important to credit photographers and artists on social media because as the world changes it’s important to note and reference the things we deem important. I think people don’t realize that what we’re seeing yesterday, today, and tomorrow is a part of history. If we don’t document it we lose the importance of it all.”

Joshua Kissi is a Creative Director & Photographer and Co-founder of TONL, a diverse stock photography and the Street Etiquette, a Content and Creative Agency.

Because it fuels their professional and personal growth…

 credit photographers #blkcreatives Alexandria Wilson credit photographers #blkcreatives Alexandria Wilson

“Not only are many of us extremely passionate about creating content – it’s also how we make a living. Sharing and promoting on social media opens so many doors for creatives like myself, and it’s truly saddening when I see artwork or professional photography floating around without giving proper credit to the creators. I’m always flattered when a brand shares my work, but it doesn’t do much for my own growth if they don’t even tag me. Several of my current clients found me through Instagram! It’s probably just an afterthought for the average social media user, but we really have to start giving credit where it’s due. Because bills are due. Besides the potential financial gains, these works of art come from our hearts. Attribution is such a simple way to show an artist that you support their mission and their craft.

I know it can be hard, and seemingly impossible, to trace uncredited work back to its owner. Sometimes, I’ll drop a photo or file into Google’s reverse image search (on desktop, not mobile.) No joke, I go to Google Images then drag and drop a photo into the search bar. It’ll come up with results that are either identical or similar to the file. It doesn’t always find what I’m looking for, but it’s worth a shot and it has worked in the past. Other than that, I’d just leave a comment on the source photo and see if anyone knows who the artist or photographer is.”

Alexandria Wilson is a Freelance photographer, journalist, and Multidisciplinary Creative. Learn more about her work here.

Because it may be their big break…

 credit photographers Kenneth St. George #blkcreatives credit photographers Kenneth St. George #blkcreatives

“I’d say that it’s important to credit photographers because in my viewpoint, we are always one photo away from our lives and careers changing for the better. One iconic photo can lead to a lifetime of opportunity and if you aren’t being properly credited you could miss out on said opportunity. On top of the fact that producing quality imagery is a true art and it takes time and energy to produce the art we deem viewable to the world.”

Kenneth St. George is a photographer and visual storyteller. Find out more about his work here.

Because there’s a smarter way…

 credit photographers Danielle A Scruggs #blkcreatives credit photographers Danielle A Scruggs #blkcreatives

“If you want to be truly informative to your audience, tell them where you sourced your information from. If I want to find out more about the artist and see more of their work, I have no way of doing that if the artist isn’t credited.

It’s important to credit and source artists and photographers because the awareness that comes from social media can open up opportunities for that creative. If a creative director or photo editor sees something they like but has no way of knowing who the artist is, that artist loses out an opportunity for a paid gig, to speak on a panel, to be included in a residency and so on and so forth. It also helps from a citation standpoint.

Also, sourcing the artist helps that artist in their own career. Crediting the artist ensures that if a creative director or photo editor has an opportunity for a paid assignment, to speak on a panel or a residency (or any number of things) they will know how to get in contact with that creative. And it’s just good practice to credit people for their labor.

If you come across great art and don’t know who it is, your best bet is reverse google image search. Either paste the URL or drag the image into the search bar and you will be able to find the source. It also helps to reach out to the artist and ask for their permission before positing their work as well. TinEYE is another resource I have used to source art.

Danielle A. Scruggs is a Photographer and Photo Editor at The Undefeated and is also the founder of #blackwomendirectors. Learn more about her work here.

A #blkcreatives Tip

If you’re a photographer or artist who’s work has been used and you haven’t received credit, find the Senior Social Media Manager or Social Media Producer of the publication or brand by doing a search on LinkedIn or Twitter. Reach out via Twitter, LinkedIn or email. (Most social media managers are active on Twitter – here’s an example of our Founder reaching out to someone)

Use the hashtag #blkcreatives to share your own creative business tips and insights. Join the conversation on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook.