How do you attribute Creative Commons Flickr photos?

photo by yoheiyamashita on Flickr

Update 9/28/2009  Please see this post on the correct way to attribute photos, it includes example of an perfect attribution.

I get most of the great photos I use in my blog posts from the Creative Commons licensed pictures on Flickr.  Most of these request attribution and I’ve seen it done many different way.  Some people just make the photo link back to the original on Flickr (my old method). Some give credit and/or a link below the photo, some give credit at the end of the blog post. There doesn’t seem to be a hard fast rule on the correct way to do it.

Recently I started thinking I should also live a comment on the photo thanking them, telling them I used it and linking to the post so they have a record of where.  Mostly because if someone were using my photos I would appreciate knowing they used it and where.  But then I got worried it might look as if I were promoting my blog, so I asked on Twitter

when you use a CC flickr picture in a blog post do you leave a comment on that photo letting the person know?

The response I got varied from Flickr should enable trackbacks (great idea) to never thought of it to I send the person a private message.

So how do you handle crediting the Creative Commons photos you use?

If you want to read up on Flickr & CC:

7 thoughts on “How do you attribute Creative Commons Flickr photos?

  1. This has bugged me for a while. In my mind, the whole point of a CC license is that you don’t have to contact a person first. After all, isn’t that just a form of getting approval? Contacting them after is an option but I don’t feel that CC requires it.

    As for attribution, Flickr states that you must attribute in the manner specified by the photographer. Often, there is nothing on the profile indicating how they would like to be attributed. Again, if you have to contact the person to ask, it doesn’t seem worth it.

    Typically, I’ll grab the code for the photo (under “all sizes”) which links back to the flickr image and leave it at that. Sometimes, I’ll add an unobtrusive “photo by XYZ on flickr” statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t leave a comment often enough; I think it’s a nice courtesy, and I like knowing when people use my photos. I do typically link back to the original, and include something like “[Title] by [username]” or real name, if I know it.


  3. I’ve wondered about this too, and have used different methods. Currently, I just like the photo back to the source. I agree with dave in that contacting the person seems unnecessary and counter to the spirit of cc.

    Almost all of my own flickr photos are cc, which is me giving permission for others to use them – they don’t need to send me a message to ask again. It’s nice and courteous, certainly, but it seems unnecessary.


  4. I think the biggest 2 reasons I started leaving a comment is first if you don’t the photographer doesn’t know you’ve used their photo and where. I know I would appreciate knowing someone used a photo and where, sort of like a trackback when someone links to a blog post. Its nice to have a record of where someone is using your photos. Otherwise you may never know. Second to thank them. Its always nice to know your work was used and appreciate. I There are some truly amazing photos on Flickr under CC and I’m grateful that so many people choose that option.


  5. Thanks for getting me to think about this. I started posting a comment on the person’s Flickr photo page letting them know I found their photo via Zemanta (Firefox plugin) and that I appreciated them using a CC license. I got a reply back that saying that they really appreciated me commenting and letting them know. So that is my new fuel for doing this. It is nice to see where your photos are going and not just that you’ve had X number of views. Thanks for making me think, Bobbi.


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