Hey Internet! Credit The Photographer, Dammnit!

Photographer: Tim Leon

Photographer: Tim Leon

By: Amy Cooper, ACRONYM

First thing's first: The reason we as photographers get so anal about having our work credited is that is how we make our mark. People see our photographs and see who they are by, and then they want to work with us. It is the number 1 way of exposure, to have the credit. Also, it helps us - not for bragging rights, per say, but for us to have our portfolio's shown with that photograph. 

Now, before you ask -  "Okay, who pissed off Amy now," this has nothing to do with me. Nobody has stolen anything from me recently, but I think this needs to be stated for the rest of the internet.

First Case:  Eminem and Drake, 2016


A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Last night, photographer Jeremy Deputat got the chance to photograph the legendary Eminem and the current rap game killer, Drake. Now, from this perspective, though Jeremy has high level clients, and has done work with multiple celebrities before - you can argue that it's not a big deal to him, but this photo is different. And people keep STEALING IT. The photo has been posted by radio stations, radio personalities, fans, multiple people - and about 90% of those postings do not have a photo credit to Mr. Deputat. 

Now one can argue - sure, many people do know it's him, but when you've got a high level ranking radio personality, or even, for example DRIZZY HIMSELF posting the photo with no photo credit - Jeremy is losing out on some serious foot traffic for his business. He may not care, but it's just ethics. 



SECOND CASE: Artists Posting Fan Pictures With No Photo Credits

Locally, especially in the Detroit scene, we've got many photographers who shoot concerts. Now, there are many bands out there that do in fact, make sure to credit the people the photos came from, some do not. 

The general practice in the local scene is this when it comes to photographers: You get a photo pass from the bands management, the festival management, and/or the venue management. And as long as you don't sign any rights over to any of these entities, the photograph belongs to the photographer.  (See more on this). Also, we do not get paid.

In a public place, if you are taking a photograph, say, for example, most recently Dirt Fest, that is an open fire domain for photographers with approved photo passes to shoot images for whatever publication or personal photography business that they have. It also gives the opportunity to concert goers to shoot photography as well, even if it's just from their cell phones. 

Either way, the point where this becomes an issue is the following: When an artist takes a photograph from social media, and reposts it for their own site or social media without crediting the photographer. Sure, there's no set-in-stone commandment saying that you must - but you are stealing someone's intellectual property by doing so. Therefore, you must and should give photo credit


No Photo Credit


A photo posted by Kyle Pavone DON SOLOβ€’WCAR (@kylepavone) on

Third Case: Viral Images

Photographer Feilica Fullwood shot a random photograph of Campus Martius during the Christmas season that happened to go viral through the Metro Detroit area. The image has now been since copyrighted for this issue - but the fact still remains that even high profile news outlets and entertainment magazines were using her photograph of the Christmas tree and people skating at Campus Martius, as well as many people posting it on Instagram with no credit. 

I don't usually get personal on here but the past few months have been both the best/worst months of my life. I'm going through a lot in my personal life right now that only a select few know about and understand.. All I want is for all of my friends and family to be happy but I've been so worried about making sure everyone else is that I forget about myself sometimes... But then I wake up today and see that my photo from the tree lighting I posted on Facebook has been shared over 5K+ times and has over 2.5K likes.... To say I am humbled is a HUGE understatement. I don't post pictures for the exposure or to make money I do it solely to show side of Detroit that I see every single day that the rest of the world never gets to see and I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people that enjoy my work and that alone makes up for everything I've been dealing with and I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone that shared this post because it's each and every one of YOU GUYS that make me feel like I am doing something right...πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™ #detroit #313 #creativesculture #rawdetroit #motorcityshooters #createyourhype #illest_shots #shoot2kill #photowall #agameofthrones #createexplore #justgoshoot #yngkillers #alwaysexploring #creativeminds #lifeofadventure #killeverygram #primeshots #illgrammers #visualarchitects #picoftheday #createcommune #exploreeverything #visualsgang #infamous_family #killyourcity #royalsnappingartists #way2ill #campusmartius #christmasinthed

A photo posted by Felicia (@fjf_4192) on

Not only did that hurt the sales of said photograph (even though she still did quite well with it), it took a lot of troubleshooting to track down everyone who was even trying to claim it was theirs, let alone hit up every outlet that didn't credit her to get the credit due. Once again, it was a case of stolen intellectual property, because websites were using it for click bait. 


We as photographers don't get a legal textbook with the purchase of our first SLR, and many of us don't know where are rights lie. A handful or more of us have been screwed over in the sake of stolen images, and even had battles with people whether it be newspapers, musicians, or more, fighting for a simple credit to use. Though we can't technically enforce much unless we have a copyright, how would you like it if someone came into your job, and stole what you do, and claimed it as their own? I'm sure you wouldn't. 

Food for thought. Credit your photographer. Tip your waitresses. I'll be here all week.