Don’t Forget to Give Credit to Royalty-Free Photos and Images


Properly crediting royalty-free photos and images isn’t just a matter of ethics; it can also be a legal requirement. This practice not only acknowledges the hard work and talent of photographers but also ensures you remain compliant with copyright law. In this guide, we’ll show you how to give credit to royalty-free photos and images correctly.

Why Attribution Matters

Respecting Creators

When you use royalty-free images, such as those from Unsplash, you’re benefiting from the creative efforts of talented photographers. Proper attribution is a way to show respect for their work and motivate them to continue sharing their creations.

Avoiding Copyright Issues

Failure to provide the correct credit can lead to copyright infringement problems. Accurate attribution serves as your defense against potential legal complications.

How to Give Proper Credit

Understanding Licensing

For example Unsplash offers images under various licenses, including the Unsplash License and the Creative Commons Licenses. Make sure you understand the specific license of the image you are using to determine the correct way to attribute it.

Format for Attribution

A proper attribution typically includes the following elements:

  • Photographer’s Name
  • Image Title (if available)
  • Source (e.g. Unsplash)
  • A link to the image

Example Attribution

Here’s an example of how to give credit to a royalty-free image:

Photo by [Photographer's Name](Link to Photographer's Profile) on [Source](Link to Image)

The featured image in this article follows this format. Keep reading to discover a quick tip on replicating it within your Medium story.

Placement of Attribution

On Your Website or Blog

Ensure that the attribution is visible and easily accessible to your website visitors. The best practice is to place it near the image, at the end of the article, or in a dedicated credits section.


Demonstrate Respect and Legal Compliance

Crediting royalty-free photos and images is a simple yet crucial practice that reflects your respect for photographers and helps you avoid legal entanglements. Always double-check the licensing requirements and provide accurate attribution.

To implement this on a story published on

Option 1: For images from only

  1. In the Medium story editor, click the “Add Media Plus” button, then click the “Add an image from Unsplash” button
    Add Image from Unsplash ButtonAdd Image from Unsplash Button
  2. Enter your search keywords, press ENTER, and click on the desired image
    Type in keywords to search for images on UnsplashType in keywords to search for images on Unsplash
  3. Final result
    Final result of selecting an image on UnsplashFinal result of selecting an image on Unsplash

Option 2: The comprehensive approach, applicable to images from any source

  1. On, click on the picture you wish to use, then click the “Download free” button in the top right corner.
    Download Free ButtonDownload Free Button
  2. Save the picture to your local drive
  3. Click the “Copy to clipboard” button next to the credit text. Paste this copied text into Notepad (Example: Photo by <a href="URL1">Photographer's Name</a> on <a href="URL2">Source</a>).
    Copy to Clipboard ButtonCopy to Clipboard Button
  4. In the Medium story editor, click the “Add Media Plus” button, then select “Add an image.”
    Add Image ButtonAdd Image Button
  5. Upload the downloaded image
  6. In the Type caption for image (optional) section, paste the credit text from Notepad
    Placeholder for image captionPlaceholder for image caption
  7. Copy the url from the href attribute, highlight the photographer’s name, select the “Link” icon, and paste the url.
    Select link and paste urlSelect link and paste url
  8. Repeat the same step for the source link. Delete all html anchor code when both the photographer’s name and source have been converted to links.
    Delete html anchor codeDelete html anchor code
  9. Final result
    Final result of credit textFinal result of credit text