Why are photo credits so important?

How would you feel if someone republished one of your best blog posts or a research paper you wrote in college without permission, and then removed your name from the work? Probably very annoyed at a minimum.

Photographers feel the same way about photo credits. Attribution is so important, in fact, that most countries have enacted laws that require author credit accompanying the publication or display of a piece of work. Giving credit where credit is due is important for a number of reasons.

It’s an important marketing tool

Photo credits are a source of new clients and sales for photographers. As such, photographers suffer a direct economic loss when image users fail to include it.

Attribution helps prevent unlicensed use

Visible credit to the author lets others know who to ask for permission to reuse the work and is a reminder that permission is necessary. A lack of attribution causes confusion about the origins of a photo and the right to use it.

For example, say a magazine publishes an image in an article without providing proper attribution to the photographer; another individual might obtain the image from that article and provide attribution to the magazine instead of the photographer

Everyone appreciates recognition

Photographers like selling photos not just because it pays the rent, but also because it’s great to see your name in print or on the web. Just as any writer appreciates the recognition of seeing their name reprinted next to an article, photographers value the credit as well.

For these reasons, it is often customary to charge a premium for publishing without author attribution when negotiating a license fee.