How to Get Photo Credit

Millions of photos are uploaded each day, but we don't know who took them, unless they are properly credited. With proper credit, you can actually book more jobs, and it's a remarkable way of expanding your network. 

Whose fault is it that photographers don't get proper credit? It's yours. It's mine. Take full responsibility of this role, then we also assume full responsibility in making sure that we do get proper credit. This blog post and video will help you ask for proper credit and multiple situations.

Ask for Credit With Nonprofits/Charitable Events

If you are still working for free for a nonprofit event, then you can get paid in the form of good credit. I want to point out that many nonprofits bring in millions of dollars each year, and your photographs are highly valuable to them. Organizations like the Red Cross can afford to pay you for your services. The local elementary school dad who is raising money for their field trip? You can volunteer your services to them.

Here are two ways to get proper credit when working for a non-profit event. The third and fourth method are in the video!

  1. Ask for placement in their program book. That means you'll need to give them enough warning to print your name. Because you'll be volunteering your services, it's more than fair to ask for front placement. That means you're not going in the back of the program book at the bottom of the page. You should be right near the front, and it does not cost them anything extra but a few minutes putting it in there. You should make sure they let everyone know you are volunteering your time and you are available for commission. 

  2. Ask for a pre-show announcement on stage. A simple "Hello everyone! Today we have _________ photographing for our event. He/she is volunteering their time to a great cause. _________ is available for commissions for your business or family events. We encourage you to say hello and support people who support us." 

You'd be surprised how many people want to help and need a photographer. Have the event organizer announce who you are and how they may help you. It does not cost anything to do that. If the organization refuses to promote your work, it's OK to generously donate your services to a more gracious organization. 

Can I Ask for Credit on a Magazine Editorial?

Break down magazine editorials into two major groups: online blog and print magazine. Here's how I would suggest asking for credit for each:

  1. For web, I would ask for a direct link to each person's Instagram page or website. Ask each team member what they prefer. It's your job as the photographer to take the lead and initiate this conversation. 
  2. And then the print. It's nice to make sure that your entire team gets credit, but often, they will just credit the photographer and maybe wardrobe stylist. They obviously cannot link to your website, but your names being listed is good enough. Make sure the magazine does not print the credits in the spine of the magazine as I show in the video. You can also ask for font size and print placement if you negotiate this ahead of time. Again, it is the job of the photographer to take the lead on this project.

Can I Get Credit if My Clients Pay Me in Full?

Getting credit from clients that pay your full rate is very kind but not expected. Remember that we do the charitable events, test shoots, networking etc. so that we can earn full-budget clients. Once we get clients, it is not essential that we can get credit. However, the opposite is true for you, the photographer. When you post a job from a full paid client, please tag them and everyone else in your production.

Not only is that polite and professional, but there is a good chance the client will repost your work, and then you get credit. Treat the clients who pay your full rate like royalty; you want them coming back to you over and over.

What about credit for test shoots and additional ways to ask for credit when helping with a nonprofit? Those are discussed in the video accompanying this blog post. 

Walid Azami's picture

Walid Azami is a Photographer/Director and creative consultant from Los Angeles. He got his start working with Madonna + Co by contributing to her many projects. It was then he realized his place in the creative world & began teaching himself photography. He has since shot Kanye, Mariah Carey, Usher, Bernie Sanders, JLO, amongst others

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"Getting credit from clients that pay your full rate is very kind but not expected."

That depends on the industry. In advertising photography it's never, in wedding photography it seems rare, but it does happen. For architectural photography, credit is quite common, even mandatory.

In many fields, you can probably get away with asking for credit on social media or at a minimum editorials, even if the client is paying full price. If a client doesn't want to, you can always remove it from the contract.