If you are publishing photographs or other images that you don’t own the right to, you must give credit to its source or could be held liable for copyright infringement under 17 U.S. Code Section 501(a) of the United States copyright law. Obtaining permission from the copyright owner is necessary if you don’t find a fair-use or public domain image. It is possible for a photo to be in public domain, but the subject itself may be subject to copyright, such as famous works of art, trademarked items or famous people. In this case, you must also obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Include a © symbol next to the photograph, along with the name of the source or “Photo by (Name of Photographer).”

Create the copyright symbol by pressing "Alt" + "0169" on your keyboard’s numeric keypad in Windows or by pressing "Option" + "G" on a Mac.

Position the photo credit directly with the image when possible, or include it as part of a single "Photo Credit" page.

Requesting Permission for Use

Draft a letter of request and include the title of the publication where you plan to use the photograph, name of the publisher, type of publication, estimated number of copies to be printed, date of distribution, languages of distribution, territories of intended publication and what date the photo is needed.

Indicate which type(s) of use of the photograph you need, such as reproduction, display or modification.

Request which formats you need the photo copy provided in: Digital, print, scan or transparency. If you request a digital copy, include your preferred file format and resolution.

Include the cost of publication or admission if copies will be sold or published in a free handout for attendees of an event, if applicable.

Note admission cost, quantity of attendees and the event’s sponsor when using the photograph as part of a presentation.

Supply a plot synopsis and use context if you intend to show the photo in a movie or television broadcast.


When giving photo credit online for a fair-use photo through Creative Commons, attribution requirements are specified on the photo’s license.