The Basics of Giving Credit

can i use photo from pinterest

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I noticed something, well, weird. 

One of my favorite bookstagrams had posted a photo of a bath tub. I knew for a fact it wasn't a photo they took. Why? I'd spotted it earlier while scrolling through Tumblr. I went back to Tumblr and found the photo; I remembered it because I'd liked it, to save it to reblog later. I followed the source and ended up at the Instagram of an interior decorator. 

I was torn. What do you do when you find a photo someone has reposted without credit? I went back to the bookstagram and saw that she had put a photo credit for "Pinterest" on the photo. 

Pinterest. Good ol' Pinterest. 

Pinterest, in so many ways, has changed both the blogging world and the Internet as a whole. It changed the way we talk, the way we run and market blogs and businesses. And most importantly, it has muddied the waters of crediting photos. 

It feels so easy for photos to get lost now. To get pulled from Instagram onto Pinterest, to lose the original source, to get added to WeHeartIt, and Tumblr, and then loop back again. Posting and reposting, the source gets lost. When you reverse search the image on Google, it can take a lot of effort to find the original post--and the original credit. 

I always inwardly cringe when I see a photo credited to "Pinterest." Pinterest is where you find a cool photo, or something you want to share. But you need to share the original source--unless you do extensive searching and simply can't. You have to do the work though: you have to try and find that original source. That's on you, as a blogger, an influencer, whatever. You have to do that work. 

Here's the thing: I can think of a lot of times in the past where I've credited photos to "Pinterest." And I hate myself a little bit for it. But I grew up, I learned, I changed. It's pure laziness, that's all it is, as well as ignorance. Maybe people just don't realize they need to source the original photo. Maybe they think saying they got it from "Pinterest" is enough. 

In general, if you find a photo on Pinterest, it has a source. Follow the link. If it doesn't lead anywhere (I have definitely clicked links before and been taking to just the image URL, not a blog post or anything), try reverse searching on Google. You may also be able to find the original Pin on Pinterest by searching for it's exact title and description. (If you notice a pin that doesn't lead to a source, do your part and make sure to report it to Pinterest as well!) 

And here's the kicker: if you cannot find the source, do not use the photo. Being unable to credit it is not an excuse. Don't use it. 

You might wonder about stock photos. Depending on the permissions of stock photos, you do not always need to share the source. Although, if you repost stock photos on Instagram, I think it is most honest to mention the source in your caption. But that's just me. 

So, what happened with that bookstagram? I decided to send the interior decorator the photo had originally come from a private message, where I told her the name of the bookstagram and that she used her photo. In the end, they worked it out privately and, good on the bookstagrammer, she updated the caption. 

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5 Must-Have Blogging Resources

I've been blogging since 2007, at the latest. You could say I was blogging before that, if we count Livejournal and Xanga. That's almost 10 years of solid blogging experience. Does that make me an expert? 

Who knows!

Over the years, I've tested and tried, loved and hated tons of blogging tools, from photo editing software to social media networks. Some tools (Lookbook and WIWT, anyone?) I've moved away from. But some, I just keep going back for more. 

Here are 5 things I think you'll love for blogging. 

1. Canva

Honestly, I could sing the praises of Canva all day, but I won't. (I wonder if they'll get annoyed with me on Twitter though!) What is Canva? It's an online resource you can use to make gorgeous graphic design content, from social media posts to hero images for blogs. I know, I know. A free online resource for that? It has to suck. But it doesn't! The fonts and free elements are amazing, and you can upload any image to use. It's the greatest tool available to marketers and bloggers on a budget. 

2. Free stock photos

I've written about free stock photos before. Stock photos are notoriously awful (seriously), but more and more excellent free resources are popping up. I know some bloggers had stock photos, and that's fine, but I think they can be a valuable resource for when you don't have time to do your own photography. (I know I never do anymore!) My favorite sites are Unsplash, Life of Pix, PicJumbo, and Gratisography. 

3. Hootsuite

This is one of the first things my blogger friends mention when they talk about must-have blogging tools: Hootsuite, that fancy-schmancy social media post scheduler. I've tried to use Hootsuite in my personal life--really! I have--and I have to confess: I just hate it. I just hate it, guys! It's so ugly! I hate the way it shortens links! But that being said: scheduling posts is an incredibly valuable tool that works for approximately 65% of bloggers. For the rest of us, we'd rather just set reminders and do it ourselves. There are other tools like Hootsuite out there, but Hootsuite is the most integrated with "big name" social media platforms. It's totally worth a try. 

4. Pinterest

I remember when Pinterest first started (back in December 2010, I believe--at least, that's when I signed up as a beta user!) and how strange it seemed. It took a while to figure out how to use it, but when I figured it out--it was magic. Pinterest is one of those platforms that emerges and fills a niche that we never even knew existed. The best part is that Pinterest is primarily a young, female platform: women between 16 and 40 make up most of the users. That's really cool because it makes marketing really easily. Are you a young woman running a lifestyle blog of any kind? Then you need Pinterest; you need to have options to pin your content to Pinterest; and you need to be optimizing Pinterest, like, yesterday. The returns on Pinterest are insane. Even with the limited amount of time I spend on Pinterest, approximately 40% of my traffic comes from Pinterest. 

5. iPhone

Ooh--I know when people see this one they're gonna wonder what in the world I'm talking about. Hear me out: the iPhone has completely changed the way we live our lives... which means it has completed changed blogging. I had a Blackberry Storm before I got my iPhone 4s in 2011. I never took pictures with it and I barely used it for Facebook. Texts and emails. That was it! But after I got my iPhone, everything changed. Suddenly, social media was more accessible than ever. Without iPhones, I don't think modern blogging would be what it is--and I would argue that a modern smartphone, like an iPhone or Android, is crucial for keeping up with social media, photography, and networking. 

What's your number one must-have when it comes to blogging? Share with me on Twitter