Instagram Etiquette: How to Properly Credit + Regram

In previous blog posts, we outlined the reasons why Instagram is the best and most effective platform for interior designers to invest their time and resources. We touched briefly on the downside of the social media app: accounts that copy or pass off work/images as their own. If you’re consistently putting out your own content on Instagram, you’ve likely stumbled upon your own work or image only to find that you weren’t given any credit and that your intellectual property was stolen for views.

The flipside of that is when users omit credits accidentally. As small business owners and makers, we are constantly searching for and sharing inspiration, but it’s important that we do our due diligence to cite sources properly. It’s proper Instagram etiquette and the best way to be a responsible member of the online creative community. Here are a few rules to keep in mind.



Instagram Etiquette



Always Give Credit

This should go without saying, but in case it doesn’t—always, always credit the source. Even if they’re your competitor, give credit. Even if no one else is crediting the original poster, give credit. Even if it takes some time and effort, give credit. If there are multiple sources (designer, builder, photographer, artist), give credit to as many as you possibly can. Even if you’ve been given permission to repost, give credit. Social media is one of the only places where plagiarism isn’t strictly punished, but that doesn’t make it okay. Sharing others’ work without tagging them is lazy and reflects poorly on your account.

Pro Tip: We recommend tagging sources in both the image and in the caption. This is dual purpose. Firstly, it’s a conscientious move to cover all your bases and let your following know whose original content it is. Additionally, this ensures that your repost will be seen by the original account which is great exposure for you!

If you find yourself on the other side of an Instagram faux-pas, remember it doesn’t cost you anything to be kind. Community over competition, right? Leave a friendly, but a straightforward comment like “Thanks so much for sharing my [insert photo content here]! I’m so glad you like it!” If they don’t correct their error, follow up with a DM. We like to send something like: “Hey there! Thanks so much for sharing my [insert photo content here]. Would you mind please crediting me as the source by tagging me in the caption and photo? I so appreciate the share!”

Do the same if you were tagged, but your photographer or another important source wasn’t. Most people will be happy to correct their mistake.


Instagram Etiquette | neutral pastel living room | The Identite Collective

from our #IDCOatHome feed via The Haven List | Interior Design and Photography: Kate Zimmerman


Ask Permission

If you aren’t sure whether you should repost a photo from an account, ask for their permission first. Photographers, especially, make a living from the use of their photos by brands and shops. Don’t assume that their shots are free for the taking. If you’ve been tagged in a photo or your specific hashtag has been used, you can usually assume that sharing is okay, but it never hurts to go the extra step and ask. This kind of thoughtfulness creates respectful relationships on and off the app.


Don’t Treat Pins Like Stock Photos

Pinterest is not a stock photo source. This is the Instagram rule we see broken most often. Pinterest is an invaluable resource for inspiration, but tagging sources is a non-negotiable. For many images, you’ll be able to locate the source just by clicking through to the linked site. And, no tagging @Pinterest will not cut it. If the image is not linked, try reverse-searching the image on Google. Just go to images.google.com and paste the image URL into the search bar or drag and drop it from another window. If the image is located elsewhere on the internet, you should be able to track down the original source. If not, just re-pin the image and carry on. There are plenty of images you can repost with proper credit.

Good news! You can now reverse image search from your phone, too. It’s a little more complicated, but a desktop isn’t always handy. Here’s the tutorial.


Don’t Edit Someone Else’s Photo

If your reposted content doesn’t flow with your other photos, just skip it. Editing or applying filters to someone else’s original photo is an insult. Repost it as is or find something that fits more cohesively with your other content.


Instagram Etiquette | bright white bedroom with bone inlay nightstand | The Identite Collective

via: My Domaine | Interior Design: Chelsea Robinson Interiors | Photography: Alyssa Rosenheck


Don’t Use A Competitor’s Images to Market Your Business

It’s easy to assume that a mock-up or a well-curated flat lay or shelfie is a widely-distributed stock photo. This is why it’s important to know the source. If the image belongs to a competitor—that they fronted time, effort, and money for—it’s not a good look, and it’s not good for any friendly connections you’re hoping to form.


Don’t Rely Too Heavily on Reposted Content

If you never publish any original content, you might find your follower account eventually dropping. Regramming in moderation is fine, but the primary value of your account will come from your own thoughts and ideas. Here’s to originality!


Instagram Etiquette for Commenting

The amazing Jenny Komenda recently started a discussion about commenting best practices and Instagram etiquette from the reader’s perspective. In the same vein as crediting and reposting, we should always lead with kindness when engaging others in our Instagram community. Check out her story highlights titled Etiquette for good rules of thumb to remember when you are commenting or messaging a poster. It’s a must-read and highlights key points like Tone, Triggering Phrases, Direct Messages, Off-Limit Topics, and when to Unfollow or Mute.

To learn more using IG to level up your business, check out our Studio Sessions Instagram for Designers course.



Looking to browse around the blog? Here are a few more posts you might love:



IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.


limited release, easy-to-edit website templates for interior designers

click to leave us a comment

we want to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Chelsea says:

    This is so good, and perfectly worded. Everyone on social media needs to read this! Great post!

    • acasey says:

      Hey Chelsea! Thanks so much for the sweet note! We agree! The best way to avoid feelings of resentment on social media is to educate people before-hand. A little grace + patience (+ knowledge) goes a long way + leaves everyone feeling better!

  2. Cheryl says:

    What if it’s video that someone posted but they aren’t even the creators of that video? They themselves took someone else’s video and shared it on their Twitter page without giving credit to the actual camera person. I took that video and shared it on my Tumblr and didn’t give the Twitter person credit because they aren’t the owners. I just got a nasty private message saying I’m a thief and I should have given them credit from their Twitter. It’s not their video either. Why should I credit someone who just did the same as I did? They didn’t give credit to the person who made it. I would gladly give credit to the original owner of the video. I’m an artist…I know all about crediting the artist. But why credit someone else who simply shared a viral video before me?

    • acasey says:

      That’s a good question! I would only be concerned with crediting the original source/creator, and spend a bit of time digging to find who made it! We like to say – if you can credit the creator, skip sharing it. 💕

      • Atina Sawyer says:

        Hello, I used an online picture and created a poster out of it. How should I properly credit the owner?

  3. Aaron Velazquez says:

    So I’m a writer looking to beef up his instagram game. I’ve found a lot of enjoyment into adding narrative to art pieces on insta. As in they draw a character/ soldier, and I give them a story. Is this ok to do if I properly credit the art? (

  4. […] most people though, mentioning the content creator is enough credit. The mention is a clickable link that will grow awareness of the post creator’s account, drive a […]

  5. […] on Instagram, I used photo editing/content creation site, Canva, and reposted images from artists (giving credit) to create engaging posts that updated and informed my micro public of the Aussie Indie-Surf Rock […]







brands   love