Display image credits in WordPress with Blocksy, GeneratePress, and Divi

In this post, you’ll learn which methods of displaying image source info work in Blocksy, GeneratePress, Divi, and Twenty Twenty-One and what are the pros and cons.

If you have to display image credits in WordPress, it usually turns out pretty costly to free yourself from the need to attribute copyright holders. Many image licenses—all Creative Commons licenses but CC0 among them—offer no arrangements for not crediting photographers at all.

Hence, WordPress bloggers and editors usually can’t avoid diligently researching copyright holders and license terms of pictures and illustrations they intend to use. Furthermore, this copyright information somehow needs to be transferred into WordPress and get its space assigned in the website’s templates.

At this point, site owners regularly hit bumps that arise from their employed WordPress theme. I’ve looked into the methods that work in popular themes Blocksy, GeneratePress, and Divi and what advantages and disadvantages they entail. I’ve selected the standard theme Twenty Twenty-One as a reference.

Portrait of Tim Crull, blog editor for Image Source Control
Tim writes about media rights and WordPress

In this article

  1. Display image credits in WordPress in a paragraph
  2. Display image credits in WordPress in a caption
  3. Display image credits in WordPress with Image Source Control

1. Display image credits in WordPress in a paragraph

Displaying image source in a paragraph
Just enough for small blogs: displaying photo credits in a paragraph underneath the image.
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How to display image credits in WordPress in a paragraph

Insert a Paragraph block just below your image—this also works in Column blocks—and enter any needed or wanted information, such as an explanatory caption, the copyright holder and the licensing agency, or the image license. Here are some examples:

  • In the summer, playing soccer in the park is a favorite pastime for children in Berlin. Photo: Jane Doe, Shutterstock
  • Who would have thought: Ants are able to carry up to twenty times their own body weight! © John Doe | Pixelio
  • Credits: Jim Doe / CC BY-SA 4.0 International

A small hint: In the Classic editor, pressing Shift and Return after an image inserts a soft line break, causing the caption to “stick” to the image.

How to link image credits in WordPress in a paragraph

Next, you’ll want to create links to the copyright holder and to the agency, or to the license’s text. Go ahead and insert links in the Block editor just as you’re used to, technically there’s nothing else to which to pay attention.

In general, you’ll find the necessary information as part of the license in direct proximity to the image on the page from which you have downloaded it. But occasionally, you’ll need to dig deep into the license’s terms to find it.

Please note: Make sure to inquire the licensor about the exact format in which to put the attribution on the image. Most agencies or licenses state their conditions—for example, Shutterstock, iStock, Wikimedia Commons, or Creative Commons (CC).

Inserting links
Not only the Creative Commons licenses require specific image credit formatting.

How suitable is a paragraph for image credits in WordPress

Displaying image sources in WordPress in a paragraph beneath the picture has to be both the safest and the most inconvenient method. Here, you may design them freely and link to the copyright holder, to the agency, and to the license text—which is a mandatory part of many licenses. Naturally, it also fits a small caption that describes the subject of the image and lends context.

In theory, this would be the ideal solution to image attribution in WordPress, if there weren’t indispensable requirements for centralized management and reusability of photo credits, as well as required overviews for site visitors and owners.

Pros

  • achievable with WordPress tools out-of-the-box
  • available in all well-made themes
  • reliable display of image sources
  • freely editable content and look

Cons

  • no logical connection between source and image
  • the copyright holder has to be credited individually for every additional placement of the same picture
  • offers no overview at all of the website’s licensed images in the frontend or backend
  • only manual management, not practical in the long term

Conclusion: Utilizing paragraphs to display image credits in WordPress is a viable solution for very small, private blogs at most.

2. Display image credits in WordPress in a caption

Displaying image source in a caption
Slightly more comfortable: displaying the photo credits in a caption on the image.
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How to display image credits in WordPress in a caption

Although it depends on your selected theme, the caption is usually the text snippet that is displayed underneath the image to which it’s applied. You probably recognize it from press publications such as newspapers and magazines, but also from encyclopedias. Also, most of the images hosted on Wikipedia feature a caption.

In the Media library, before inserting the image, you may enter your text into the input field “Caption” in the Attachment details of the image. WordPress will automatically take this and fill it into the text field underneath the image.

Alternatively, you may fill in your text directly into the said field labeled “Add caption” beneath the image once you’ve selected it.

Please note that WordPress will not do the reverse and take the caption you’ve added below the image manually and fill it into the image’s Caption input field as metadata. The connection between image and caption only exists in the scope of this singular post.

Position of image metadata field “Caption” in WordPress
The content of the Caption field is logically connected to the image.

How to link image credits in WordPress in a caption

Linking the image source in the caption
Notice the small toolbar provided by WordPress.

As we’ve gotten used to, the WordPress developers have prepared for just this case: As soon as you select the image, a small menu will pop up above the caption where you may set it or parts of it in bold or italic, and also insert links.

Do mind—the formatting options set here only affect this singular caption. They won’t transfer to the metadata of the image and they have to be reapplied every time you place the image, just like the caption’s content.

Just as explained for the last method, you’ll find the necessary information as part of the license in direct proximity to the image on the page from which you have downloaded it. But occasionally, you’ll need to dig deep into the license’s terms to find it.

Please note: Make sure to inquire the licensor about the exact format in which to put the attribution on the image. Most agencies or licenses state their conditions—for example, Shutterstock, iStock, Wikimedia Commons, or Creative Commons (CC).

How suitable is a caption for image credits in WordPress

In principle, displaying image sources in a caption offers the same advantages as the previously described method employing a paragraph—with the addition of establishing a logical connection between text and image by filling in the caption text with the image’s source into the proper input field in the Media Library. Hence, this information need not be re-entered every time the image is used.

However, the formatting—and hence, the mostly mandatory linking—may only be saved with the image’s metadata by the means of complex HTML markup. Also, the widely used WordPress theme Divi doesn’t offer the display of image captions without further manipulation.

Pros

  • achievable with WordPress tools out-of-the-box
  • reliable display of image sources
  • mostly editable content and look
  • unformatted caption may be saved with image’s metadata

Cons

  • not available in all themes
  • links must be re-applied for every additional placement of the same picture
  • offers no overview at all of the website’s licensed images in the frontend or backend
  • only manual management, not practical in the long term

Conclusion: Utilizing a caption to display image credits in WordPress might be a viable solution for small, private blogs hosting images of only a few creators.

3. Display image credits in WordPress with Image Source Control

Displaying image source with Image Source Control
This is how photo credits may look when displayed with WordPress plugin Image Source Control.
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Where would WordPress be without all those lovely plugins that enhance our favorite CMS with useful, beautiful, or insightful functionality! Of course, there’s also a dedicated plugin that fulfills the task of adding image attribution functionality to WordPress: Image Source Control.

ISC not only displays image sources on pictures, but it also lists them in any place in posts or pages, or it presents them as a comprehensive table that you may place on a dedicated page.

Icon of Image Source Control

Furthermore, ISC offers centralized management of all copyright data, including the otherwise hard-to-maintain links. It features an expandable catalog of image licenses and it provides a cornucopia of tools intended—particularly but not exclusively—for easy maintenance of image sources for medium and large websites, such as tracking and handling of missing source info, listings of every image’s placements, standard attributions, and batch-editing of sources.

How to display image credits in WordPress with Image Source Control

That’s easy! After installing the plugin just go ahead and enter your image sources. The best way to do this is while uploading the image with the Block editor:

Position of Image Source Control’s “Source” input fields in WordPress
The four “Source” input fields that ISC provides.
  1. select an image from your Media Library
  2. find the new “Source” fields in the Attachment details on the right
  3. fill in the copyright holder into the “Image Source” field
  4. insert the image

That’s it! By default, without any additional data or settings, Image Source Control will now inject a list containing the image’s title and source at the end of each post. You may enable the display of credits on images with the option “Overlay” in the settings.

In case you’d like to also state and link the image’s license, you can activate the option in the settings of Image Source Control and select it in step 3.

How to link image credits in WordPress with Image Source Control

You’ve probably already discovered the proper input field among the “Source” fields in the screenshots—type in or paste the link to the copyright holder or to the agency into the “Image Source URL” field during step 3.

Please note: Make sure to inquire the licensor about the exact format in which to put the attribution on the image. Most agencies or licenses state their conditions—for example, Shutterstock, iStock, Wikimedia Commons, or Creative Commons (CC).

Was that it? That was it. From now on, the source will be linked for every placement of this image in all display modes of ISC—in the overlay, in the Per-page list, and in the Global list. The same goes for the license.

Even if you place an image on your website dozens of times, all future alterations applied to its source info in the media library will appear for all of its placements. Reliably!

How suitable is Image Source Control for image credits in WordPress

WordPress sites that publish more than one or two posts per month containing images of external creators won’t be able to cope without Image Source Control in the long run. The larger the pool of images and posts grows, the less manageable the many image placements become.

Imagine then being asked to update the source info for a particular photographer with a large number of licensed pictures on your site—you’d be lucky to be done with manually sifting through your media library within one weekend. Installing Image Source Control and implementing source data maintenance into your workflows early on will have you stay relaxed throughout challenges of this kind.

And the many tools that let you breeze through image attribution tasks really are the cherry on top.

Pros

  • maintain image sources centrally
  • source infos and images logically connected
  • several display modes available
  • available in all well-made themes
  • reliable display of image sources
  • freely editable content and look
  • suitable for web projects of all sizes and formats
  • tracking of missing sources and image placements
  • several tools that boost source maintenance

Cons

  • installation of premium plugin required

Conclusion: At the latest, once you generate income with your WordPress site and regularly use images of external creators, there is essentially no alternative to Image Source Control.

Wrapping it up

The fact that you want to learn about the options to display image credits in WordPress is both commendable and important. As we can tell from our own painful experiences, it is never too early to find a long-term solution that you and your team can easily employ in your everyday tasks.

Although strict copyright laws exist in several jurisdictions, WordPress out-of-the-box is not of much help in this regard. Integrating a plugin that is regularly updated by its developers makes site owners well prepared even when their projects take on unforeseen dimensions.

Attention: Please keep in mind that this article is not intended to be either technical or legal advice. Take all necessary precautions before employing any technical proposals and always consult a lawyer before making decisions on legal matters.