How to Share & Credit Music Photography on Social Media: A Guide for Artists and Bands

Kelela — Photographed for The Tonight Show / NBC.

If you're an artist, musician or part of a band, you know the value of not just music content, but also visual content. From album art to music videos and the content that's shared on social media, many artists take great care to curate the look of their personal brand.

Photographers share the same concern. Music photographers love what we do and we want to make you look like rockstars and gods, larger than life and at your best. When it comes to concert photography, we have the same goals — to share images that the fans love.

When shared properly, it's a win-win situation — artists and musicians sharing great new content their fans love and photographers being recognized for their won work and value. Here's how to best share the work of photographers if you're an artist or musician.

Hire Music Photographers

Now, before we get into how artists can support music photographers through social media, there's a direct way to support music photographers: hire us.

Artists need visual content and music photographers need subjects and clients. Creating visual content with a photographer you trust is the best way to ensure that your image, brand and aesthetic are best communicated with your fans. Hiring photographers for tour photography, BTS, and more is the best way to ensure you have access to high quality photography.

While this article addresses artists and bands, by extension this advice is directed art artist mangers, publicist, social media managers, labels, and anyone else who might post on social media on behalf of their clients in the music industry.

Sharing Music Photography — The Best Way

The next best thing to hiring music photographers is to share the work of photographers with permission with photo credit and a mention or tag. This ensures that your fans and followers know who made the images, and gives visibility to the photographers creating the content.

Ask Permission First

If you like an image enough to want to post it on social media, ask permission first. Most photographers would happily grant to permission re-share photos on social media when asked. A quick DM or comment asking if you can re-post images is all it takes.

The photographer can inform you of how they prefer to be credited, but when in doubt, follow the below best practices.

Credit the Photographer by Name

If you're an artist and share the work of a photographer, a credit should be considered essential. If you've paid for the right or otherwise made an agreement with a photographer not to credit, that's one matter. But for all other instances, a photo credit directly in the caption of photo post is important to photographers as a respectful connection to their work.

A photo credit with the proper attribution is good — it's even better when combined with a mention or tag.

@ Mention the Photographer

A mention of the photographer's social account in the caption of a social post as part of the credit is hugely beneficial to photographers.

If you're an artist sharing the work of a photographer, a mention in a caption very easily lets your fans follow and support the photographer directly. This kind of mention also ensures that the photographer will also see the credit.

Why? There's no Shazam for photography where people can so easily find the photographer of an image. Not all photographers use their legal name as their social account names. Being directly associated with our photography is the best way to respect our work and allow others to find and support us.

Tag the Photographer

Similarly to a direct mention, a tag is a great way to acknowledge the photographer and to also let fans engage with their work.

A tag has less visibility on Twitter and Instagram. For some photographers, a tag may be less preferable than a direct mention in the post. Regardless, it's still a welcome way of creating a direct connection to the photographer's account.

Want photographers to love you even more and show you appreciation? Include both a credit via mention and a tag and we'll love you forever.

Why is Crediting Photographers Important?

First, credit for work is a courtesy to the image maker. If you like a photo enough to share it, we would hope you appreciate the skill, talent and craft music photographers put into our work. Just as writers, producers, musicians and more are acknowledged and credited when working on a song.

Second, a photo credit to the photographer exposes the photographer to new audiences by making us known and discoverable. This includes new clients, photo editors and other artists who may want to hire us.

Finally, when photo crediting and tagging a photographer when sharing their work, it lets the new audience follow and support the photographer on their own. All of these actions help create visibility for the content creator.

With every new follow, like comment, and more on social media, it helps photographers gain prominence to put us in the position to thrive in the music industry. Music photography is like making music — it's honestly incredibly hard to find success. When artists share our work, it's not only validating, but it helps us gain visibility to new fans, brands and potential new clients.

Best Practices for Sharing Photography on Social Media

  1. Ask permission
  2. Include a photo credit to the photographer
  3. Mention/Tag the photographer

Best of all, all these things are absolutely free and it helps you support photographers as fellow artists. That sounds pretty win-win to me.

Examples of Artists Crediting Photographers

Here are number of examples of artists and bands crediting photographers, from pop stars to more indie bands. In each example, they credit and mention the photographer directly in the post caption. This direction mention is the most visible and best way to acknowledge the photographer and what most photographers prefer.

Why Listen to this advice?

Who is this guy? Oh, me? My name is Todd Owyoung. I'm a music photographer based in New York City. I've been specializing in concert, artist portraits, tour photography and more since 2006. I work with clients like iHeartRadio, Live Nation, Atlantic Records, NBC and Red Bull. My images have appeared in publications like Rolling Stone, Billboard, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Q Magazine, NME and more.