What you’re doing when you share a photo without credit

8 Jan

First let’s establish acceptable ways of sharing photos on social media, which should be about as necessary as reminding people what to do at a stop sign. Alas.

When you share a photo, you must do one of two things, and when possible, both.

1. Write something along the lines of “Credit: Photographer’s name/Organization”

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.19.31 PM

2. Link back to the original source.

(One notable exception: If the photo is watermarked or contains a logo clearly identifying the original source. But even then, it can’t hurt to go the extra mile.)

If you’re tweeting a photo, you may have to choose between the two due to character limits. At the very least, drop “photo by @handle” in there. If you don’t know who took a photo, either find out who did or don’t share it.

Why is that important?

1. You’re stealing/plagiarizing

You may not really know what plagiarizing means, but you have heard of stealing, and they’re the same thing. You’re a thief. Someone else worked hard (or maybe they didn’t – irrelevant) to get that photo, and they deserve credit. It’s no different than stealing someone’s painting and passing it off as your own.

2. You’re disrespecting the person who took it

It doesn’t matter if they’re not a “professional photographer” or “took it with their phone.” They still took it! If you’re no willing to credit that person, don’t share the photo.

3. You’re not “being funny”

OMG lol so you were just trying to start a meme? Or you have a really good caption? TOUGH! Credit or don’t post!

4. You have no integrity

If you read these reasons and still think it’s acceptable to pass someone else’s work off as your own, you’re a bad human being.

Finally, here’s my favorite way to politely call people out about it, even if they don’t get the hint.



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