How to Properly Attribute Images in Your Content

Learn the best practices for attributing images in your content to ensure legal and ethical use.

Images are essential component for making any website, blog, or social media post visually appealing. Using any images without proper attribution can lead you to copyright violation  on you website, video or your app, which can result in legal troubles and damage to your reputation. So, it is very important to know how to attribute images properly .

In this article, I have cover all the basics of image attribution to avoid any copyright violation, why it is important, and how to attribute images in both legal and respectful to the original creators.

What is image attribution?

Image attribution is the process of giving credit to the original creator or owner of that image wherever you have used it. This can include providing a link to the original source, listing the creator's name, or both below the image or on image caption. Attribution on image helps to make sure that original creator of the image is recognized for his hard work and can also help to avoid any legal matter related to copyright violation.

Why is image attribution important?

Attribution is important for several reasons:

  1. It gives credit to the original creator or owner of the image. When you use someone else's image without attribution, you're essentially taking credit for their work, which is both unethical and disrespectful.
  2. It helps to avoid legal issues related to copyright infringement. Copyright law gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to that work, which includes the right to control how it's used. If you use someone else's image without permission or proper attribution, you could be sued for copyright infringement.
  3. It helps to build trust and credibility with your audience. When you give proper attribution, you show that you're committed to ethical practices and that you respect the work of others. This can help to build trust with your audience and establish your credibility as a trustworthy source of information.

How to attribute images properly

Now that we've covered the importance of image attribution, let's dive into how to attribute images properly. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

1. Determine the original source of the image

Before you can attribute an image, you need to determine the original source. This can be tricky, as images can be shared and reposted across the internet. However, there are several tools and techniques you can use to help you find the original source:

  • Use a reverse image search engine: Services like Google Images and TinEye allow you to search for an image by uploading it or pasting in a URL. This can help you to find other instances of the image and track down the original source.
  • Check the image metadata: Some images contain metadata that includes information about the original source and copyright owner. You can use a tool like ExifTool to view the metadata of an image.
  • Look for watermarks or logos: Some image creators will include a watermark or logo on their images to help identify them. Look for these markings to help track down the original source.

2. Provide clear and conspicuous attribution

Once you've determined the original source of the image, it's important to provide clear and conspicuous attribution. This can include:

  • Listing the creator's name: If the creator of the image is known, include their name in the attribution.
  • Providing a link to the original source: If the image was found on a website, include a link to the original source.
  • Including a copyright notice: If the image is copyrighted, include a copyright notice to show that you're aware of the copyright owner's rights.

Here's an example of proper image attribution:

Image by Karol D, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

In this example, we've included the creator's name and the type of license under which the image is being used.

3. Understand the terms of use

Before using an image, it's important to understand the terms of use. Some images are in the public domain and can be used freely, while others are protected by copyright law and require permission or payment to use. Additionally, some images are licensed under Creative Commons, which allows for free use with certain conditions.

When using a Creative Commons image, it's important to understand the specific license and follow any conditions outlined. For example, some Creative Commons licenses require attribution, while others may prohibit commercial use.

It's also important to note that some images may have different terms of use depending on the platform on which they were found. For example, an image that's freely available on Flickr may have different usage restrictions when found on a commercial stock photo website.

To ensure that you're using an image legally and in compliance with its terms of use, always read the fine print and seek permission if necessary.

4. Use stock photos responsibly

Stock photos are a popular choice for many content creators, as they provide a wide selection of high-quality images that can be used for a variety of purposes. However, it's important to use stock photos responsibly and follow any attribution requirements.

Most stock photo websites require that you purchase a license to use their images, and the terms of use will vary depending on the website. Some websites may allow for free use with attribution, while others may require payment for commercial use.

When using a stock photo, be sure to read the license agreement carefully and follow any attribution requirements. Many stock photo websites will provide attribution information that you can copy and paste directly into your content.

5. Consider creating your own images

One way to ensure that you're using images legally and ethically is to create your own. While this may not be practical for every situation, creating your own images can help to ensure that you have full control over how they're used and attributed.

If you're creating your own images, be sure to include a copyright notice and consider licensing them under Creative Commons to allow for free use with certain conditions.


Properly attributing images is an important part of ethical content creation. By taking the time to determine the original source of an image and providing clear and conspicuous attribution, you can help to ensure that you're using images legally and in compliance with copyright law.

Whether you're using stock photos, Creative Commons images, or creating your own, always be sure to understand the terms of use and follow any attribution requirements. By doing so, you'll help to build trust and credibility with your audience and avoid any legal troubles related to copyright infringement.

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About the Author

I am Avnish Kumar owner of this blog. I like to write tech article. As being a student, managing this site, writing tech articles it is little bit difficult as there is no enough time.

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