Every minute of every day, amazing photos and images are shared from all over the globe on Instagram.  There’s a quiet, unspoken pressure in the community to create a gorgeous account.  No wonder it’s so tempting to share other people’s images and hope that the glam of their pictures improves your account.

Quick note:  What I’m talking about here applies to photographs as well as to images.  What’s the difference?  A photograph is a picture that you take with your camera of a person, animal, space or object.  An image can refer to anything that isn’t a photograph, for example, an inspirational quote, a drawing, an illustration, a graph, a chart – basically a picture that you made on your computer or phone without the use of a camera.  In this post, I’ll use “image” to cover both categories.

First off:  sharing other people’s photographs is a-okay, if you stick to a few rules.  There are a couple of things to note when sharing content from other accounts.  Here’s what you may have done in the past, or might still be doing now.


Sharing Content Using Regram Apps

These are third-party apps that aren’t developed or endorsed by Instagram.

Do not use these.  Please, just don’t.  The reason is as follows:  when you regram an image, the app you’re regramming through adds a watermark to the image (ie the app’s icon, or the original poster’s avatar).  This violates Instagram’s Terms of Service because you’re altering the appearance of the original image.

Sharing an image is allowed if you’re sharing it in its original state – without any alterations.


The Way to Share Other People’s Content on Instagram

Open the image in Instagram, take a screenshot of it, and share it.  Important:  Share the whole image, and only crop out the Instagram interface (ie the Instagram logo, likes and comments sections).  Share the image as you saw it and don’t add any filters, text, stickers, icons or other overlays.  Don’t add your business’ logo to the image, and don’t present the image as if it’s your own.

Tag the original owner in the caption, as well as in the image.  This will let people know that the photo is not your own.  In the caption, you can write “photo by: (name)”, or you can use the camera emoji.  Make the effort to let people know where the original image came from.  This shows your audience that you’re endorsing the spirit of community that Instagram fosters, that you’re being polite, and, obviously, that you’re a fan of someone else’s work.

Basically, it comes down to intention.  If you’re a photographer sharing another photographer’s work, where it could look like you’re attempting to pass a photograph off as your own, that’s a little bit slimy.  If you’re an interior designer sharing another interior designer’s work, ditto.  If you’re sharing a photo from someone in the same industry as you, it may look like you’re trying to take credit for the image.

If you’re in doubt about what you’re sharing, put yourself in the situation and think about it like this.  Would you want someone else to take your image and share it as if it were their own?  Of course not!  So don’t be THAT guy.

melissa de klerk

Melissa De Klerk

Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi

Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.

You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.

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