How and Why You Should Credit Your Stock Providers

Journal Entry: Fri May 25, 2012, 11:21 PM

Hiya Darlings,

Today I am going to tackle a subject that all photo manipulation artists should pay attention to. (Yes, this means you!) It is my hope that this article will save you the headache and trouble of getting a submission declined, having to delete your work, or worse; be sued by someone because of it.

Why Properly Crediting Stock Is Important

All artists know that the secret to a great manip is finding stock that is just right for the theme you are trying to convey. On :devart: there are literally thousands of fantastic high quality images that are absolutely free. Some of these images are even created by and featuring professional models and photographers.  You could pay a lot of money for the rights to use the type of stock resources in your art that are found here free of charge. This is part of why  :devart: is unique and an amazing place for artists to frequent.  

You’ll find that a lot of art groups, including :iconmanips-central:, require you to have your stock resources properly credited before your submission can be accepted. Not all groups will give you a chance to correct any mistakes on crediting your sources. They’ll simply decline it without comment.  In most groups, you’ll find that having a link to the stock provider’s name and a direct link to the stock you used in the artists comment is non-negotiable. It’s easier to simply do it right the first time.

Most deviantART stock providers (me included) require at the very least a “Credit and Link” clause in their rules. This means that you; the artist must leave a link to both the stock provider’s account and the direct link to the stock you used next to their name. It also means that you should leave a link to your finished artwork on the page where the stock is listed.

Here is a tutorial called “How To Credit Your Stock Providers” for those who simply don’t know how to properly credit stocks that you use in your art:

How To Credit Your Stock Providers Tutorial by CelticStrm-Stock

In Example:  I used Elandria’s castle as a background in my recent manip found here:  

Legend of the Celtic Rose by CelticStrm

If you look at the artists comments in the manip, You see this:

:bulletpink:  Cathedral:  :iconelandria:      Long Gone by Elandria"

I also went to original stock page and left her a comment like this:

“Heyas! I used your stock here:  Than… you! :heart:

Why is this important?

:bulletgreen:  It lets the stock provider know where their stock is being used and how. Stock providers will usually give a fav for art that’s created with their stocks, and sometimes do a feature with art from their stocks. By linking it back to them, you could be included in a feature later on.

:bulletgreen:  Believe it or not, it gives your art more exposure. I often sift through the links left on a particular stock image to see how they’ve been used to avoid any theme or style duplications. Other artists do this too, which means more views for your art.

:bulletgreen: Some stock providers require you to follow a certain set of stock rules. If you fail to follow their rules, you could be facing being declined when you submit your art to a group, or have to delete your art completely.

:bulletgreen: By crediting your stock providers, you let other artists know where you found the stock and have an opportunity to use it or another stock from that artists gallery. This gives the stock provider more exposure which is a nice “thank you” since they allowed you to use their stock for free.

:bulletgreen:  I’ve noticed that  :devart:’s search engines crawl by names in the artists comments as well as keywords.  If I forget to search in the “Resources and Stocks” section and wind up tying in Elandria in the main search page for :devart: I come up with a lot of art that has her stock in it. This means it could be your art that’s being seen.  This can also result in more views and favs for your art.

It may seem tedious to credit every single stock resource that you’ve used. Even though it may be, it’s still incredibly important. One tip I can give you that I do myself is to open up a word file for the particular manip that I’m creating and give it the same name as the manip I’m working on. I begin coding the artist’s comments right into the word file so I can copy and paste it later. I save the links (or thumbs) as I download them to each stock so I don’t lose track of which stocks I use or leave anything out. Just because a pair of candle holders may seem like a minor detail in the grand scope of your manip, it isn’t a minor detail to the stock provider who let you use it for free. They may have gone out and specifically purchased those candle holders for stock photos. (I’m a nerd. I’ve done this.)

The free stock that you use can be an expensive adventure for the stock provider. I purchased a medieval dress for my sister to model in (which will be a forthcoming series this summer) for stock. This dress cost $205 USD. (Here is a link to the dress:…) If the stock gets ripped off, I’m going to probably blow a fuse. That dress cost a little less than half a month’s rent for us. I’m not exactly rolling in the big bucks, so that was a pretty big purchase for us to use as stock.

It’s the same for a lot of :devart: stock providers. Stock isn’t cheap, and we use our personal funds to supply you with great stock.  Costumes are not the only high dollar items we require for stock shoots.  There are also backdrops, props, lighting tools, and equipment such as digital cameras that can cost a lot of money. I have my eye (and a kidney for trade j/k) on one of the new Nikon D800 cameras. I want it badly, and for stock purposes. This camera runs on average about $3,000 USD. These are some of the reasons that stock providers get incredibly creative at inventing ways to save money and still get the shot.
Stock providers also go through great lengths to get the perfect stock photo for you to use. Sometimes this results in injury or a chat with the police on why exactly you’re dressed like an elf and rolling around in the park grass. The same holds true to premade background stock. Some stock artists spend hours creating a background for you to use. (While on that subject, it's also against :devart: policy to use stock from outside websites such as and others to create premade backgrounds. It violates the stock redistribution terms. There are safe places for those who want to create premade backgrounds from unrestricted stock such as our affiliate group Stock-For-Premades )

I recently held a poll for stock providers over at The-Stock-Directory to see exactly what kind of injuries or immediate dangers stock providers have been in to get the shot. I’d like to share with you some of the responses so you can see exactly what the people taking stock go through for you. You can view the entire poll here: the-stock-directory.deviantart…

Here are some comments from stock providers on their injuries or dangerous situations:

:icontasastock: “i got severely bruised on the Attuann shoot, and the Apocallyptica one a little  too much jumping off sanddunes and acting like a prat. In my recent Star Wars one (which hasnt been uploaded yet) I accidently whacked my mate Mike in the face with a lightsaber so far no serious injuries.. *touch wood* i need to do a shoot with a compound bow soon... so uh... it'll be fiiiine im sure.”

:iconcharligal-stock:  “I've fallen out of a few trees, been bitten by bugs, was bitten by a fish once but that wasn't stock... Sprained ankles, winded myself, jarred my knee, just fallen over, stacked it jumping, fallen off a chair, cut myself climbing a rocky outcrop... The list goes on... I am just clumsy and a tad accident prone I think.”

:icondaftopia:   “I tried to get a couple of good shots of some deer from a heard in my front yard, needless to say the buck of the herd chased me all the way into my house.”

:iconraine-angelstock: “the undertow pulled me under. drowned mermaid wouldnt have been so cool.”

:iconatotimber:  “I fell out of a tree and "heeled"(my heel went under) my crotch (hurt like hell) shooting this: Because I was in the tree and had to lean over the branch I was on and use both hands to film. I took the picture and then I suddenly fell sideways and turned just enough that I landed on my legs but sadly I was crouched and as said before, heeled my crotch. XD Also when I shot this a bee came and I swatted it mistaking it for a fly and then it chased me and I ran into a bush with a stray cat in and I got scratched by a stray (I'm fine, no diseases) and stung by a bee.”

:iconfuguestock:  “I've had people mistake me for a thief and call the police, but no actual bodily harm issues. There have been a few issues with horses getting angry at me being in their field. Although frankly the worst one was a when I approached a horse and it got a giant erection and started slapping it against his stomach. I'm not sure why I seemed to have that effect on it, but I really didn't want to hang around his field to find out X-)”

:iconbhp-stock: “I've almost been ran over by multiple horses shooting stock.”

:iconsenshistock:  “Just pulled muscles and that kind of thing. Stubbed toes, etc. Nothing serious (yet) xD”

:iconcathleentarawhiti: Yep, nearly wrecked my camera getting bowled over by a wave shooting this

:iconmalleni-stock:  “Not sure if this counts as being in danger but my camera got really wet while I shot some wave stock photos and there was a huge one coming^^, and the factory were I took my recent stocks is about to collapse and there were some rooms that looked really dangerous. Moreover when I wanted to leave I heard about 5 people coming to the entrance and it is not allowed to go there so I was really scared   But I think it was worth it!”

:iconcelticstrm-stock:  “Well.. I've suffered bug bites, got tangled in a trot line, twisted my ankle, and almost got hit by a car. I came really close to stepping on a copperhead snake once. I should have gotten a photo of the little bugger, but I was too chicken. The worst though when I was out taking lightning photos, particular this one:… I got zapped by the ricochet of a nearby lightning strike. That was not fun. I've been trying to get some of tornadoes and well, there ya go. It was sister funnel clouds during a tornado warning. I'm one of those people that run outside when the tornado sirens go off rather than hide in the bathroom with the cats. (I've done that too when it got too bad. The cats were pissed.) I also snapped a few from the storm that produced the F5 Tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri. I live in Springfield, Missouri which is an hour east of Joplin. Seriously don't do the tornado thing unless you're with a tour group and trained spotters or have some kind of training in meteorology. It can be dangerous.”

As you can see, stock providers go through a lot of trouble to bring you fantastic resources for you to use in your art. The images just don’t magically appear online because they will it into existence. It’s extremely important that you credit your stock provider and follow their stock terms of use, if anything, because they do this for you.

There are other issues regarding stock in a photo manipulation that need to be addressed as well. Celebrity images, and images found on Google cannot be used as stock. This can result in lawsuits where you can be sued for infringing on copyrighted material. If you do use a photo that is not stock you absolutely must have the written permission of the original author to use the image in your photo manipulation. This includes all off-site resources. The use of celebrity and copyrighted images in a photo manipulation is also against :devart: policy and can result in the removal of your work and the banning of your account. The majority of art groups including Manips-Central will decline submissions that include celebrity or copyrighted content.

FAQ #157: Can I use things created by other people in my submissions?

FAQ #193: How do I prove that I had permission to use someone's work?

FAQ #257: What sort of permission do I need to use someone else's work?

FAQ #217: What are "Stock and Resources" and can I use them in my submissions?

FAQ #809: What are DeviantArt's stock image guidelines?

Also please note that language barriers are not an excuse for not crediting a stock provider or following their rules. Google has a nifty little translating tool that will detect a language and translate it for you. You can visit Google Translate here:

I hope that this article has cleared up any questions that you may have regarding how and why you should credit your stock providers and select stock from valid sources. If you have any other questions feel free to send me a note and I will do my best to answer them. Hopefully this will help you avoid having a submission declined, deleted, or worse.


- Cheryl

P.S. This article will also be shared with our affiliate group The-Stock-Directory and with my watchers on my stock account CelticStrm-Stock

Add a Comment:
M-G-Studio Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
See, I usually do a written format stating what is used and by who it is but the issue I sometimes find.. not a lot but there have been times when the image doesn't exist in the person's gallery anymore so I can't link it to the image but just the person's main page. So if people did the thumbnail version and down the road those images didn't exist on DA anymore, then their credits will look terrible with half missing images. That's why I think written is better than preview images/thumbnails.
CelticStrm Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Each to their own so long as they properly Credit & Notify. :D
FuchsiaBud Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:clap: Wow, this is truly brilliant! :clap:
Thank you so much for taking the time to create this article! :D
CelticStrm Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aww thank you! :glomp: I enjoyed it.
FuchsiaBud Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Dreamorchid78 Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
I normally use my own stock for pieces I've done. I'm a pretty decent photographer. If I have used another person (normally in the case of a contest) I credit them.

Now I have ran into issues with my description which is just irritating. I described in it that this piece was for a contest ( such and such person and linked). Some where in the description I give the models name and that I'm the photographer. Then I get a message from such said group saying I didn't credit the stock correctly pointing to (person giving the contest) and I'm like you miss read it.

I do know what it's like to have stock miss used or taken for other art and not given credit. It is nice and good policy to give out credit for stock, in most cases you can not sue someone for such miss use. First deviant art is multi-national meaning it encompasses multiple countries. Suing some one in China is a lot harder then you think. You can growl be mad but it still sucks. The only thing is to ask the nice people of deviant art to have them removed from the site. Now as to local suing that's still difficult. A piece of my stock was clearly used in a persons painting. It really got me that they didn't even credit me (must have retrieved such image from Google search). Now it had been changed up a lot but I still recognized my best friends face and pose. Took it to court and lost. Ideas, fabric, clothing design you name it is a touchy area in copy write law being "common." My photo was changed enough that the judge felt it was an original piece. Now if a person was to take my photo (change nothing about it) and say it was their's then I have legal rights. This in the case of making a photograph black and white or just changing a filter on it. If you think about how many my little ponies pics are painted daily and put up on this site with there own spin, no one credits in their description where such inspiration came from (even if it's obvious). There are some damn good artist here who have painted realistic stuff of harry potter, hunger games, marvel, anime, and ect. I would say most art is always inspired by objects or other people's work. Hell a lot of art degrees make you emulate the masters. As long as you don't say "this artwork is painted by da Vinci"which is fraud there's nothing illegal about it.

In conclusion nice post about it and I would wish that the world would be kinder to us photographers. The copy write laws are still not at the point of protecting a piece and each country has their own spin. Where one country maybe stricter another country just will not care.
Aurora-AE Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Without the stock providers I can't create my manipulations. I'm grateful with them, they are so nice to share their works for free, at least we should thank them
Lissaburd Featured By Owner May 26, 2012
Bottom line for me is, my art wouldn't exist without the generosity of stock artists. So crediting properly is the least I can do as a thank you. Anyone who doesn't is just selfish.

:icongwahplz: On one picture, I credited, but forgot to inform. One of the stockers found me. OMG I was mortified! I felt so bad because I forgot. It was the only time though and I was glad (s)he found me; it reminded me to notify the others.
Aeirmid Featured By Owner May 25, 2012   Digital Artist
Hiya! AWESOME, awesome article. I was so excited to see it, and so pleased because I am in the process of writing a similar article with ^Elandria. We were going to point out that if you do not credit stock and let the stocker know about it, we cannot DD your work or even feature it! I won't speak for her, but for me it is so aggravating to find something that is beautiful and well done but does not credit stock. As such, I cannot DD it or even feature it in weekly Photomanip news articles.

Grr. :pissedoff:

Thank you for your wonderful article. I will refer many people to it. :heart: Thank you for all you do for our community. :hug:
CelticStrm Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aww thank you! :glomp: I really love doing articles like this. :D The nerd in me thinks its kind of fun. lol I had no idea about the DD aspect of it, but it definitely makes sense! Hehe maybe that will be a little extra motivation to do it right too. :D It seems like this subject is a daily issue on both the art groups and the stock groups.

One thing I forgot to mention in the article is that artists should never upload someone's stock to an outside website like photobucket or flickr and then link it as "credit" without citing the original source. It's basically just an image url. I've had a few people do that with my stock and I've seen it happen in other manips with other stock. That drives me batty. It seems like a waste of time for one when they could link it to the original photo and its also just kind of shifty-stock-thefty too.
Aeirmid Featured By Owner May 26, 2012   Digital Artist
:nod: I can see how that could be a problem. :)
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