Sharing Images on Instagram?

Published by Alison Cross on

The other day I spotted that a new Tarot deck was in the making from those fine folks at Three Trees Tarot and I gleefully reposted their lovely image of the cards being painted, on Instagram.

Unfortunately, when the image shared to my instagram feed, there was no attribution to the original photographer! I immediately added their details in the comments, but still, I felt quite uncomfortable about having shared their image without acknowledging that they had created it.

That got me thinking? How many of us unthinkingly share fabulous content on Facebook or Instagram without attributing the original artist or creator And what does it mean when we do? And if it’s YOUR content being reshared – how do you feel?

First up, I would recommend that if you enjoy sharing content from other creators, that you get yourself some kind of ‘resharing’ app to help you do this properly. I use ‘reshare for instagram’, but there are other resharing apps available.

With this app, I can find an image that I want to share and then share it to the app itself. I am then given the choice of where the content creator’s attribution can be slotted on the image, what kind of colouring it might have, and the option to take the entire content of the original accompanying post and drop it into my own post about the image.

7 of Swords.  A young man runs away from an army encampment holding five swords with two swords falling at his feet.
See how I added the creator’s copyright to the card?
Took only moments in Preview on the Mac.

You might think that people who are influencers would be delighted to have their image shared, and mostly they ARE, as long as it hasn’t been repurposed for another use without their permission. And they will be FURIOUS if you are pretending to be THEM or stocking their goods – that’s a sure fire way to get your instagram presence deleted.

For example – my sharing of the tarot deck creation was fine because I was promoting their work and (hopefully!) getting the information out to some folks who maybe hadn’t heard of them. It would be an entirely different thing if I took their photograph and then wrote an instagram post about the joys of painting in watercolours, or worse, pretending that *I* was creating the deck.

I would recommend that if you want to reshare an image, without changing the purpose of that image or repurposing it, a resharing app will keep you right.

If you see a fantastic image that you know would work perfectly for something that you were wanting to write about, get in touch with the image creator and ask for permission. Apparently over 65% of instagram content creators will respond with a YES within about 15 minutes … but they may have UGCA which they’ll require you adhere to.

What is a UGCA? A User Generated Content Agreement will set out the terms and conditions for you to be able to reuse that particular image. It may also include prohibitions (ie content that the creator does not want their image associated with). I bet you there are templates out there on the intertubes that you can freely use (but double check that it’s FREE for you to use, of course lol!)

So the second thing that I would recommend – especially if you seek to repurpose the image – is to get permission from the content creator.

I’ll be honest, I don’t always get it right myself.

For example, I created some content that used an image that I found on the internet, with no attribution to be found. I posted the image and lo! I was very quickly brought up to speed with just who had created the main component in my image. Immediate apologies and the addition of the original creator sorted that one out, but rest assured, I’ll NEVER do that again! I have since discovered that searching on tin-eye can be very helpful in finding the original location of an image before you share an image to instagram (or any other social network).

So, if YOU are someone who creates content for instagram, here’s what I recommend (but hey, I’m not a lawyer – so bear that in mind too please!):

1 Put some kind of watermark on your own images before you load them up – there are apps that can help you with that.

2 Create a UGCA of your own. It needn’t be much, but you could add it to your website and add the link to your link-aggregator on instagram (eg linktr.ee)

3 Want to share someone else’s artwork? Use a resharing app and make sure that the original content creator is properly credited.

4 Want to repurpose someone else’s artwork to help with your own sales etc? Get permission – it could just be a direct message with a confirmation reply. That’s good enough for Instagram. Pay attention to the terms of any UGCA that the originator might require you to stick to.

5 Can’t find the original owner – use Tin Eye. Still can’t find them? Don’t use it. Nothing comes close to the horrendous sick feeling you’ll have when a legally enforceable email drops into your inbox with demand for payment for image use. Don’t think it really happens? Look HERE for a horror story.

If you are a content creator on instagram and have other recommendations or insights, I’d love it if you could share your advice in the comments and I’ll add your suggestions into the blog post.




Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....

2 Comments

Hermit Spiritus · 18th January 2021 at 8:39 pm

Yes, this is an important issue! I am pleased when my photos are shared, but it is a shame when the authorship is not indicated. But I would not recommend putting a watermark in the middle of the image :). Sometimes the authors themselves do this, but they disfigure their work by this. The copyright is more important to them, and not the perception of the viewer of their work. It looks funny. I think a mention in the text with a link is enough.

Caroline Blackler · 16th December 2020 at 5:36 pm

Thanks Ali, this is a really useful article 🙂

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