I am organizing a school magazine and on each photo we must put the name. I was wondering when you write the word by, do you need the colon after it?



  1. By: Jane Doe
  2. By Jane Doe
  • linguisticturn offers a good answer below. In my experience, the most common format that I see is a photograph (with or without a description) and below that the name of the photographer is shown in italics. – Mark Hubbard May 8 '18 at 20:11
  • 1
    I would only add the colon if there were more than one name following. The colon is used, among other things, to introduce a list. – WS2 May 8 '18 at 22:02

Writing a photo credit line is a matter of style, and different media organizations will have different rules. Since it sounds like your magazine doesn't have a documented style, how you do it is somewhat up to you.

Purely grammatically, it is not necessary to put a colon, but it's not wrong, either.

You may find it useful to see how other organizations do it. For example, NPR uses this format, which doesn't have a by (see here):

Jane Smith/Getty Images

On the other hand, the Associated Press recommends (see here)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Both the AP and NPR have rather complicated sets of rules that distingish among various types of photographer affiliations and copyright status of the photo itself; see the links for details.

Lifewire says the following (here; another source with similar recommendations is this):

Publications typically have a standard format for the wording or placement of bylines and photo credits specified in their style guide. Photographers and copyright holders often require specific wording or offer suggested phrasing to accompany photographs or illustrations they supply. In the case of web use, linking to the photographer's site or another source may be required or suggested. Some examples of photo credit lines include:

Photo by Art T. Fotog
Drawings provided by A. Illustrator
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
© 2017 House of Clip Art
XYZ Images | Art T. Fotog
© Art T. Fotog 2018 "Pretty Picture" by Art T. Fotog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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