Image Credits

From time to time, I’m asked for images, which are to be used for various purposes, such as a blog or calendar – typically these are not for profit, or charity organisations who want a nice image to use.  It usually is a short run of something, or an image for a website, which will be small – and then I’m offered a credit, or link back to my own gallery.  Sometimes I’ll do a trade for goods, or services – such as stationery, or being helped with my SEO (which I’m really bad at….)


















Sometimes though, I’m asked for images that are to be used by people who will be making money in large quantities, and still want the image for free… usually I won’t have any truck with them.

Lately though, I’ve been asked on more than one occasion for images that I have taken commercially, for commercial use.

A good number of requests come via Flickr – running on the lines of “we think your images are wonderful, and we’d really like to use one on our blog/website/newsletter etc…. however we have a low/zero budget, but we will be prepared to credit you on our site/newsletter whatever…..  ”  Sometimes they even tell me what the print run will be with the image being used, but they still don’t have a budget for it.

Can someone please explain why it is, that these people do have a budget for production, publicity, advertising, printing etc.. but none to get the images in the first place.  So here’s the deal…. it actually costs money to get these pictures.  I have to buy the kit, learn how to use it, buy the computer, the software, the car (to get me to the locations), the fuel to put in it – and all the time it takes me to produce the image at the end… and for what?  A credit, that will simply ‘drive’ traffic through to my website…..

When was the last time you picked up a greetings card or calendar, and was curious enough about the author to look them up on Google, or wherever, and view the rest of their images…???  Some photographers might, but the general public…. I’m not so sure about that.










So, the deal is that every time an image is given away for a credit, the market for the legitimate photographer shrinks.  More and more companies are asking for images for free, because to an extent now, they know they can get away with it.  If they can’t get them off me for free, they’ll turn elsewhere… and everytime they get an image it reinforces their mentality.  Image credits don’t put bread on the table on a Friday night.

After all, when was the last time you got diesel for you car, and said, “Hey, I can’t pay you right now, I don’t have a budget for fuel,  but if anyone asks, I’ll tell them I got it from this great garage in Stockport,  just think of all the extra trade you’ll get”….  see what I mean…????

Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

2 thoughts on “Image Credits”

  1. I fully appreciate all your comments Mark – it’s always great to hear from such a sensible individual. I’m not the only one who is frustrated by the ease with which multi-nationals (in some cases) get so many free images. It makes your work feel, well, worthless……. I enjoy a useful credit as much as the next person, but I enjoy money more…. folks will either buy your product or they won’t…. spent some time explaining to one woman, why she couldn’t just use an image she saw on my flickr stream – she said she thought it belonged to a local authority – and therefore, that made it OK….. the fact that the image had copyright detail below it, made no difference at all…..

    Another of my images is currently being used on a website, and the people won’t take it off, or pay me, despite many mails and calls requesting them to do so…. I’m at the point of giving up, but then I feel I should persevere….

    I could go on, but the sun is shining, and I want to go out……..



  2. And ain’t dat de truth?
    I have a feeling that this attitude of ‘CAN I HAVE IT FOR NOWT’ is beginning to leak into many other areas of commerce. I know that way back when, I used to get it as a musician, “do this gig for expenses and I’ll make sure you get the big tour that is coming!” Which in most case never materialised. And later in the Musical Instrument business. (I worked for CBS Musical Instrument Div.) They owned all the very best top names in all walks of music. Fender Guitars and Amps (Rock), Gemeinhart Flutes (Classical business), Lyon & Healy Harps (Classical) , Gulbranson Organs (Home Entertainment), Rogers Drums, Steinway Pianos, the list goes on. But what I wanted to say was that way back then, I would get a call every day from either the musician themselves, but more usually the management asking for a free guitar or whatever and they would be sure to mention the brand on the album cover or whatever. 9 times out of 10, we said NO!
    I remember I had to attend a breakfast meeting with Abba’s management the morning after they won the Euro-vision song contest. We discussed how they would play our instruments, their manager said of course they would love to use our equipment and he would send me around a list of their requirements. I said fine where should I send the invoice? Stig (the manager) said “Oh no we don’t pay you have to give it to us, we are going to be the biggest band in the world”. I repeated to him what my Chairman and mentor had always said, ‘we have the best instruments in the world, tell me why should I give them away? If we don’t give them to you, you will still go out and buy them, because they are the best. So work with us and we will give you a professional discount, and you get the support of the best! And, this is what they did. Plus, when they did the Albert Hall in 1978, I was the only photographer allowed into their Sound Check, (because I was there to photograph them playing or equipment). Furthermore, although not my pics, the next day the Evening Standard ran a front page of the band on stage and right there were TWO drummers playing the Drums that we manufactured and that I had SOLD to the band!
    OK, my apologies Diane I seemed to have rambled on, the bottom line is this, if, as in your case, you provide a quality product that is as good or better than any other that is available, then prospective clients have to pay. As a professional photographer one has to continually seek out the photos that are special that no other tog has or is 10 x better.
    In recent months I have sold four pics, none of them were exceptional in technical terms however, one of them I was approached and asked to basically give it away for a £10’er. I said no. That client later went to my agency and purchased a copy at the full price. Another was a pic that Which Magazine bought but, only because it was fairly unique in as much as it was pic of a 1960’s Orange saucepan, which they couldn’t find anywhere else. The other two were something very similar, a picture of book for MacMillan publishing and a picture of Tenby Harbour for Insight Guides.

    If the day comes when one has to give away their product if they are to get it used, then that is the time to either quit or to stop and ask yourself, what would the likes of Terry O’Neil say if they asked him to do it for nothing?
    If we all stick together, and put pressure on our Photographic Societies to push the marketplace to use only recognised Society or Professional Organisation members, then maybe we will still have an industry in 20 years time.
    Once again apologies for dragging on.


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