The editor of a magazine whose combined print and digital subscribers number roughly 1.5 million approached me asking to use one or two of my photos in one of their articles. They offered $100 USD per photo, so not a ton of money, but it's not like anyone else is clamoring to get these photos, so I agree, on the condition that the photo is attributed to my website url, (which is just my name with ".com" on the end) so at least maybe there's a chance I'll get a couple hits out of the deal.

The editors response was "We don't print websites as credits."

That flat refusal kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, because I don't see why the magazine should care how the credit reads. That and the relatively low sum of money at play makes me inclined to just walk away.

But then again, I don't want to be a jerk - could there be a legitimate rationale behind their refusal that I'm just failing to appreciate?

  • \$\begingroup\$ They do offer to print my name, however, my name is very similar to a Hollywood actor's name, so googling it tends to return results about the actor. Also, I feel like seeing the ".com" makes people more likely to actually look it up. Though, To be honest, the attribution is so small probably no one will look at it anyway. It's really more about the principal at this point. \$\endgroup\$
    – duggulous
    Apr 13, 2018 at 1:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ The author may want to be credited by name/agency, but asking to place an URL instead of his name is just a big No No. \$\endgroup\$
    – roetnig
    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ a big no no? Why is that? The only reason I can come up with is that it potentially amounts to free advertising, which is the very reason I was asking. \$\endgroup\$
    – duggulous
    Apr 18, 2018 at 18:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ exactly.. But also, an URL cannot be considered in any way as author of the images. \$\endgroup\$
    – roetnig
    Apr 19, 2018 at 7:06

3 Answers 3


Not attributing photos (or any other content) to web addresses is pretty much standard in major print media circles.

There are probably a lot of factors involved, but it is likely as much about not promoting another business as much as it is anything else. If you want them to promote your business, I'm sure they would be happy to sell you ad space in their publication.

There's probably also the issue with web addresses and the content located at them changing hands and, more importantly, radically changing content. Let's say they credit the photo to your website, XYZ.com. Next week you sell the rights for XYZ.com to another party who transforms it into a porn site or a "hate" site.

Or maybe you don't even sell it. Maybe one of the sleazier competitors of the magazine who printed your web addy hacks your site and redirects it to a porn or "hate" site.

Can you see the problem with that?

What goes into print is there forever. If the issue has already gone to press and on its way to the stands the magazine would have to spend a ton of money recalling and reprinting the issue. If the issue has already been released their publication will forever be tarnished by association with the revised content at your site.

When a news organization uses a photo from a wire service, they identify the Photographer/Wire Service by name, but don't include links. Something like 'Steve Smith/Associated Press'. It's the same thing with a stock agency: Steve Smith/Getty. If you want to get more than your personal name on the credit then rather than selling the image to them personally, insist that they purchase it from your business and credit it to Your Name/Business Name (name, not web addy). Something like Steve Smith/Smith Digital Images. Many publishers will do that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That may be their rationale, but I'd still argue it doesn't make sense. An agency name can change hands and be just as offensive as a url, and if my name is tied to porn or hate speech, then it has all the same problems. \$\endgroup\$
    – duggulous
    Apr 18, 2018 at 18:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @duggulous You may not think it makes sense, but it is still the standard policy for every single major or even minor commercial print publication of which I am aware. It is the industry standard. Not to mention that the most likely factor identified is introduced first: they want to sell you ad space if you want them to promote your business. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 18, 2018 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's why I marked your answer as correct. Some free promotion was exactly what I was proposing, as a way for them to sweeten the deal without having to actually pay more. Since they couldn't see their way clear to do that, I decided to decline. \$\endgroup\$
    – duggulous
    Apr 18, 2018 at 18:37

When faced with a similar situation, a "friend" asked for a commitment for additional work to be published in the future.

If self-promotion according to your preference isn't available, they must be given some "incentive" toward loyalty in lieu of "yuge" monetary compensation. Is there any extra "wiggle-room" in the agreement. How long can they use it? Can they re-use it or repurpose it? Think about stock-photography re-sale, yours or theirs. Read their "About" page to find out other possible angles such as listed in their "Contributor's" with an attribution.

Look, the quality of your work isn't a factor—It's good. They want it.
You owe it to yourself to get as much out of your effort as you can.
Good Luck !


Is is unreasonable to ask for photo credit to include my website?

It's not unreasonable to ask, but that doesn't mean you'll get what you want.

I don't see why the magazine should care how the credit reads.

If they have a set policy about how they credit photos, they're probably not going to change their policy for the sake of one first-time contributor. It's probably not that they don't feel like helping you out; more likely, they're concerned about having to do the same for all the other people who contribute photos. Perhaps others have asked to include their phone number, or the name of their business, etc.

At the end of the day, a photo credit should be like a byline: it's there to identify and give credit to the person who created the work; it's not there to advertise your business.


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