In the often collaborative world of fashion and commercial photography, there are many who contribute to the final product. From the styling of the model and the brands involved, to your crew and retoucher. No fashion image is a solo act, yet there are many who will never credit those that were a part of the production. This phenomenon is not exclusive to photographers, but to models and other creative professionals. Before you post up your next photograph without credits, give the following reasons some consideration.
Appreciate Your Team
When you’re in a movie theater and a film draws to a close, the cast and credits roll. Every person who made any contribution to the film has their name on the screen: from extras, to wardrobe, to special effects, studios, etc. Your photographs should be no different, with the description or captions of your images relaying the names of those who played a role in the creation of the photograph.
Just as you, the photographer, would want to have your name signed to every photograph, the same is true of every member on your team. Regardless of the method of compensation for their time and talents, they still deserve to be recognized for their work. Taking the time to list those involved is a way to show your appreciation for them, as it validates the parts they had to play to help create the final product.
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why credits are so vital in photography. In the age of social media ruling the bulk of marketing campaigns, it is the breeding ground for discovery. There have been multiple instances where I have been approached by a client after they discovered me through a model’s social media, or a makeup artist that had credited me in their image. Credits are the new digital age referral, a way to reference local talent in your area, in order to find those you wish to work with.
I personally follow many local photographers, makeup artists, models, and stylists. The credits and tags included in their images have helped me to discover individuals that I would have never found otherwise due to hard-to-navigate social media sites and general SEO woes. Pay it forward to those that have worked with you by making it easier for others to find them.
Credits aren’t limited to just the talent and crew, but can also, and should, stretch to cover the brands that were involved. This can include the manufacturers of your gear, the brand of accessories, the designer of the dress the stylist pulled, and others. Listing and tagging these brands can lead to your work being featured by the company on their own social media, or even result in sponsorships and paid gigs. But, without these credits, the images can remain unseen by some of the most important people that comprise your target audience.
One of the main reasons why someone may decide not to add proper credits to their social media posts is because of the time it can take. I recommend putting together an easily accessible file on a cloud service of choice so that you can easily copy and paste it when making Facebook or Instagram posts. To ensure that your team returns the favor and credits you properly in their own posts, why not email them the list of social media credits?
Some other best practices for optimal exposure for you and your team is to not only tag them in the image, but to link to them in the description itself. While Instagram makes this process relatively painless, Facebook makes it more difficult to tag people in photographs. For Facebook, you must log in to both your personal Facebook account, as well as your business page, in order to tag and credit your team’s profiles. While it can be time consuming, the benefit to you is that the image will appear through more feeds than it would have originally, getting your image in front of more people.
Share In Your Successes
Given the nature of the industry, where self-promotion and branding are king, it can be easy to overlook those that have helped you along the way. While the photographer is often considered the director and the star, their talents are never stripped from them by giving credit where credit is due.
Well said! I love this article! Keep up the amazing work! :)
Thank you, Monica!
I'm so horrible at doing this! The template file is the perfect solution and makes it a breeze. Great article Kendra!
Thank you for sharing that! I totally understand why people don't always credit, and I feel that it boils down to time, or just not having everyone's social media links.
Facebook in particular takes a few minutes to credit appropriately, until I realized I could just save a template per series, and paste it in. I'm glad to hear that idea will help! I keep two templates per shoot, one for Facebook and one for Instagram, and so far they have saved me a lot of time while still recognizing those involved.
Thanks again for your feedback!
Exactly! That and the excitement to share the image sometimes overrides the proper way to do it. Oh, and ADHD doesn't help either... =P
Haha, that is definitely true! I tend to suffer from extreme caffeine-highs on set, but fortunately my assistants keep me in check. You want BTS shots on Instagram? Better have a little social-media-profile-gathering-pow-wow with your team first!
Love the idea of keeping a live file with easily accessible credit lines. Or even just including all of them when you send the link to the images to everyone that was involved.
Thank you! I am a big user of Dropbox, I use it for everything, and have organized folders for each photoshoot, with a file inside containing the credits. For me, it's more so about having the credits accessible when I submit the images for publication, but as social media is such a big focus, I use them as well for my FB and IG posts. It's also a bit tricky to keep track of everything when it comes to credits, and mislabeling someone or listing the wrong brand can be an embarrassing case of career suicide.
Sending out the credits to the team is a great idea! It's one thing for the photographer to keep track of everyone involved, but it's a whole other thing to expect the team to know everyone that should be credited as well. Sending out the credits takes care of all of the above!
Ultimately it boils down to a professional ethics issue. A few of my models go out of their way to ensure the whole team (including assistants) is credited while others simply ignore credits. I have even seen cases where team members have credited everyone else except me... I simply blacklist them from future collaboration projects.
I couldn't agree more! It is definitely one of those gray-area ethics issues, and it's rather surprising to me that it isn't more obvious to a lot of people. In TF-based work especially, it shouldn't just be the pictures, but the credits that each person gets for taking part in the project.
Part of the irony when it comes to social media exposure, is that the models almost always have a much larger following than anyone else involved in a shoot, and missing out on that exposure can be a sore spot for photographers and other members of the creative team.