Creative commons is well known for standardizing the licencing of photos, allowing photographers to selectively give away their copyrights. Why any photographer would want to do this is beyond me, but it is a thing.

The CC does provide a standardized HTML for adding credit into a web page, but I'm wondering if there is any kind of visual standard for what a credited photo should look like.

For instance, should the credit line always be below the photo? Should it be floated to the left or right? Are their any guidelines for the size of the text relative to the image size? Are their certain words "Photo By:" or "Photo courtesy:" more preferred than others?

It seems strange to me that there is no visual standard to identify who created a photo, so I'm just wondering if there is something like this out there.


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    \$\begingroup\$ Creative Commons doesn't give away the copyright. It merely specifies in advance what uses the copyright holder will allow to others who desire to use the image. If the copyright is given away, then the new holder of the copyright could specify whatever use the new holder desired, including no usage by anyone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Feb 9, 2016 at 23:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark - With the possible exception of the CC0 public domain dedication... and even that might not stand up under the laws of some countries. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 10, 2016 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


Such standards are usually up to the discretion of the publisher / reprinter, possibly subject to certain limitations, restrictions, or specification by the licensor. This allows for some creativity on the part of the person/organization licensing the photo to create a unified style for their publication.

  • Associated Press: immediately following the caption, in parentheses: "(AP Photo/Alan Smithee)". (No link for the the AP Stylebook, it is not available digitally gratis).
  • The Association of Art Editors has their own style guide which covers a wide range of types of publications, display, or other reproduction of images. Each type of publication has subtle different suggested ways to credit images.
  • Reuters' Handbook of Journalism even details how the photographer should compose, crop, edit, and caption their own photos.
  • BuzzFeed's styleguide dictates that credits should read: "Alan Smithee / Agency", and that caption and credits should not be italicized or set in smaller type face.
  • Wikipedia's Styleguide dictates that, at a minimum, the artist's name is given, and the title of the work (if available) is set in italics.

The list goes on. Any professional publication or publishing group will have a style guide spelling out these details (and many, many more) (and if they don't, I question how professional they are).


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