Attribution for Graphics: What You Need to Do


Attribution is the most basic part of an image credit, but a good many people who use stock images don’t know how to give credit. Today I want to look at the types of information you should include when you attribute work to another person.

Why Attribution is Important

Well first of all, it’s just the right thing to do. Even if a creator or site does not ask for credit (as Pixabay) it’s just more friendly to give the creator and the site a bit of a plug. This contributes to their positive reputation, and may prompt your readers to look for more work by the same author. Readers may also want to check out the web site, and see if it offers something useful to them!

The other really good reason to provide image attribution is to avoid being accused of plagiarism, and to help point your readers towards the licensing information for the image in question. This can help prevent a copyright infringement from happening. Doesn’t that make you feel good?


Image credit: Are you doing it right? | #RubyWriter #blogging
Be sure your image credits have all the right info!
(Image from a public domain graphic by geralt/Pixabay)


Elements of Attribution

The basic elements of attribution are explained in a Creative Commons best practices document on the subject. They are:

  • The title of the work (if one is provided);
  • The name of the author or person who created the work;
  • The name of the site that hosts the work;
  • A link to the page where the image and its copyright information can be found together

You can remember these four elements of attribution by using the mnemonic TASL:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Site
  • Link


Where to Link

Many bloggers and web writers make the mistake of clicking through “view image” from Google image search results, and will link to that page. Don’t do this! You never want to directly to the image itself. That makes it tough for your reader to find the copyright and licensing information if they need it. Instead, choose the “visit page” option to go to a page where the image will be displayed with its attribution and licensing information. (More on safe Google image searches to come. In the meantime, please be careful to select images that are marked for reuse!)

The same goes with a Pixabay search: don’t try to save an image from the search results page! You always want to click through to the page where your chosen photo or graphic is shown with its copyright information.


“Creative Commons Attribution icon” by Sting, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
“Creative Commons Attribution icon” by Sting, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)


How to Write an Image Credit for Your Blog Post

Let’s go through the steps of creating an image credit that includes all the elements of attribution. The image above is a public domain Creative Commons Attribution icon. If you click the link you can go to the page where it is hosted, and follow along as I go through each step.

  1. The title of the image is not available. The file name includes, “Cc-by new,” which not everyone would understand. The image description says, “The new « Attribution » icon from Creative Commons.” This will suit our purposes nicely, or we could use an abridged version like, “Creative Commons Attribution icon.”
  2. The name of the author is found just a little below the description. It is Sting.
  3. The site that hosts the image is Wikimedia Commons.
  4. The link is, of course, found in the address bar at the top of the browser window:

Now I can write an image credit that includes all four elements of attribution! It looks like this:

Creative Commons Attribution icon” by Sting, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

Notice that I anchored the link to the image title, and I added the copyright information as well. This information came from the “Licensing” box, which states the icon in ineligible for copyright and is therefore in the public domain.


Where to find attribution info - Wikimedia Commons screen capture
Click the image to see a larger version of this screen capture


Now it’s your turn!

Can you follow the steps I’ve listed and create an image credit for your next post? If you need help, don’t be shy! I’m happy to walk you through the process if you’re not getting it.


How to write a proper image credit for your blog | #bloggingtips #graphics
Help other bloggers and web writers learn about writing image credits! Please pin this post!
Image created from a public domain photo by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay

14 thoughts on “Attribution for Graphics: What You Need to Do

  1. Thanks for the informative post! When I wrote for the web I would put such info in the ALT tags for the images, but it’s good to know there are other ways of crediting the creators.

    1. Some browsers don’t display the contents of the alt tag if the image is showing, so it’s not a good place to put an image credit. I try to use the description tag if really necessary, but a caption is better, Failing all else, you can put a mention at the bottom of your post or you can just add the credit as text on the photo itself.

  2. I really love this post! This is really informative and helpful as well.
    Though I tried to give credit, I did it wrongly, I only mentioned where I got the image without giving credit to the author actually. I feel so sorry for doing that wrong all the time. I am glad I have read this, and I will do it right next time.

    How about when we use our own pictures? Do you also mention it in your blog while using your own pictures, say you captured it yourself or designed it with Paint?

    1. Absolutely! Give yourself credit if you are the photographer or you’ve created a graphic. You deserve credit too!

  3. Nice one. I usually use Morguefile photos that don’t seem to have titles, so wouldn’t have thought about the title…

    1. Pixabay doesn’t really use titles either, so I don’t worry much about that. I usually just add in my own text there, if the title isn’t supplied.

      I really like MorgueFile. I used it a lot when I wrote for AC :)

  4. As usual your provide essential information for all bloggers. I like that Creative Commons site you link to – very clear explanation with examples.

    1. I had originally linked to a different page on their site, and the link was dead. So I went looking for a new source and found the best practices one. Yes, it’s much more clear and very easy to follow :)

    1. Indeed it is! So many here and elsewhere fail to supply any info about the images they use. I have no idea if they are original photos, safe stock images, or pics they took without attending to the licensing requirements…

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