By Natalia Zurowski
Half of the fun of doing a photo shoot is posting about it on social media afterward. When you post an image from a shoot on Instagram, whether backstage, on set, a selfie, or the actual finished image, it is important to credit the people who were on set with you that day. Tag them in the caption or in the image itself, or use a hashtag; it's a nice way to show respect towards a colleague and their work. It's what professionals do.
If a person who was on set that day does not have an Instagram account, then you can still write their name down in the caption or in a hashtag. If you forget to credit someone then that's okay, it happens! But as soon as you remember or if somebody prompts you, please be sure to credit them accordingly. Although this all seems like common sense, people consistently forget to credit one another.
This has become an irritant for many creatives, including Erwin Loewen, a commercial photographer in Toronto. "I always credit everybody [but] I feel that many models don't credit unless I remind them," Loewen told The Business Model. "Some models are regular repeat offenders and I feel lame reminding them again." No one wants to annoy others, especially over something that compromises a professional reputation. He continues, "Personally, I always credit everybody but should I ever forget to credit a model, it's obvious who she is because she's in the picture - the rest of the team is faceless. For some of the team it could be the first time they have been published or worked with agency models and as a result, it could be the difference between getting future jobs. Nobody wants to feel used or unappreciated."
In a small market like Toronto, almost everyone knows one another. But in a larger market, not all models have a strong enough presence to be recognizable by everyone in the industry.
Regardless, at the end of the day everyone deserves credit. With Instagram, you're putting yourself out there on a platform where anyone in the world with a smartphone and the app can see you. Since social media is global, it's more important than ever to credit others and in turn, help boost their presence in the industry. More importantly, ego needs to be put to the side and respect put to the forefront. On set, everyone contributes equally, and their labour needs to be acknowledged as those images are made public.
Michael Woloszynowicz, a fashion photographer in Toronto, said "It's [frustrating] when a model posts a photo with no credit at all. In fact it's actually copyright infringement." The amount of time and energy photographers especially put into a shoot extends beyond the actual shoot itself. After the shoot, they select the images, and do any necessary retouching, which can take hours per photo.
"What's worse [is when] they Instagram filter my photo," said Woloszynowicz. "At that point I don't even want to be credited since it's no longer my work and I don't want to be associated with it." Filtering a photo that was already edited by a photographer is disrespectful. "You're changing their [the photographer's] original intent and vision they had for the shoot," stated Woloszynowicz. Although it may seem harmless, it's an insult to their work. "Most creatives cost me at least $200-$600 CDN each, plus about 20-50 hours of post production," said Woloszynowicz. "So taking the time to post a proper credit is a small but nice token of appreciation."
Perhaps a client browses through their feed and sees an image they like. "It takes 30 seconds and costs no money to credit the team but can help us get work," Woloszynowicz adds. In the creative industry it's increasingly difficult to get work so any sort of positive promotion or recognition for an artist's work, especially if you have a bigger following on social media, could be really beneficial to them.
Creative industries are hard enough; if you care, credit what you share.