A “regram” is seen on a daily basis for many Instagram users–and many companies, or influencers, use regramming for high-quality, user-generated content. What’s regramming? It’s the act of using someone else’s Instagram photo and resharing it on your own Instagram account. In this article, we’ll talk about how to regram images the right way.

The reason this discussion is required is that many individuals and brands either don’t know or don’t care about copyright and trademark rules.

It’s become common practice to regram, but to take someone’s photography without permission could land you in trouble. Not only that, but it eliminates some potential business for photographers.

Learn how to regram: How is it done?

The regram process is fairly simple, but you do have a few options to get the job done.

Method 1: The manual screenshot

The original regram method involved taking a screenshot of the photo and then completing some cropping. This is still possible, and Instagram has no problem with this. The only time you may run into trouble is if you modify the original image in some way, especially if it isn’t flattering to the original work.

For this method, go to whatever photo you would like to regram. Like this one:

yellowstone post - how to regram

Take a screenshot of the image and post by clicking the On/Off and Home keys simultaneously on your iPhone. For an Android, hold down the Volume-down button along with the Power key.

You may have your own photo editing app, but often the best way to edit the screenshot is to go directly to your camera roll.

Both iPhones and Androids have options for cropping, and that’s pretty much all you need. Crop out everything except for the picture and save it to your phone.

crop - how to regram

Now you can jump back to the Instagram app and choose that freshly cropped photo for your own Instagram account.

How to reshare images on Instagram

Click on the Next button.

We’ll talk more about giving attribution to the photographer, but we want to make it clear that giving credit is one of the most important parts of when you learn how to regram legally.

Therefore, the final step in the manual method involves writing your caption and including something similar to this:

Photo credit: @username.

how to regram
How to credit photos you regram

Many people also utilize the camera icon. Just make sure the credit is actually linked to the photographer’s profile.

You can even put a hashtag in there!

Once you’re done with the rest of your settings you can click on the Share button. That’s all there is to a manual regram!

Method 2: How to regram using an app

A handful of apps are available for resharing your favorite pictures and automatically adding credit to your post.

For instance, one of these apps is called Repost for Instagram, and it has both iPhone and Android apps available.

These types of apps reveal a small watermark in the corner of your post to show that it was indeed pulled from another account.

Regram apps

To give you an idea of how it works, you start by linking your Instagram account to the Repost for Instagram app. After that, find a picture that you would like to share on Instagram.

Click on the “…” dropdown menu for the picture you like.

dropdown menu

Choose Copy Share URL. This places the photo’s URL on your clipboard.

copy URL

Click on the Go Back to Repost button to finish the process of posting.

Back to Repost

The attribution is automatically shown as a watermark on the image, but it’s still a good idea to tag the original account and place their username in the caption.

how to regram app

The final method: Using social media scheduling tools

Many agencies and heavy social users take advantage of scheduling and discovery tools like Hootsuite and Tailwind.

But Instagram is constantly changing, so it’s hard to keep up with how some of these tools are posting to Instagram. Third-party tools are often not allowed to automatically regram, so we recommend doing your research.

For instance, Hootsuite once had automated posting to Instagram. That has changed several times because of Instagram’s platform modifications.

Buffer is currently one of the main social media management platforms that allow regrams and direct scheduling to Instagram. But, this may change in the future.

How does Instagram feel about the practice of regramming?

Years back, Instagram claimed somewhat of a no-tolerance policy for sharing other peoples’ work on Instagram.

This has been changed, with Instagram explaining that you can pretty much share any media that you took yourself or have the right to share.

What does this mean?

It means that we need to learn how to get the right to share a photo!

How to regram legally after finding the best photos

All original photos are protected under copyright law, so a photographer could sue you if you take and share a photo without permission.

This could cost you quite a bit of time and money, so it’s important to know how to share legally. Please note that we are not legal professionals. If you have any questions about this process or copyright law, please seek professional advice from a copyright lawyer.

The #1 rule: get permission

Some might argue this is the only rule you have to follow!

The reason for getting permission is because the owner of a copyright can grant whatever they want. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from legal trouble in the future.

Find, contact, and get permission from the right people

The first step to this process is to understand the difference between implied and explicit consent.

Implied consent is when consent is given with a non-formal agreement. This might be like photographers giving consent to a company’s Instagram contest.

The company may want to share some of those photos, so having a contest implies that consent is given.

Overall, it’s best to avoid implied consent unless you’re having a contest or something similar.

Explicit consent will hold up best in court, seeing as how the copyright is being released for use elsewhere. This doesn’t mean you bought the copyright, but permission for use was granted. Also, most internet communications are saved, so you often have written proof from Instagram, emails, or online chatting.

In short, you always want to get explicit consent for anything you’re regramming.

How to make contact

The process of finding the best photos is entirely up to you. Consider following relevant accounts and hashtags, then contacting people or brands you like.

So, let’s say we found a beautiful photo that our followers would love. What options do you have for contacting the profile owner?

Go to the DMs

Direct messages should be your first point of contact if you have lots of followers. DMs are easier instead of going through a huge list of comments.

Go to the DMs
Go to the DMs

This is also an opportunity to keep the conversion private or create a conversation about future promotions.

Go to the comments thread

The comment thread works great for smaller businesses and blogs with fewer Instagram users. For instance, let’s say that you love a photographer’s work. You want to repost on Instagram. You notice the photographer has 500 followers.

comment on photos

That lower number gives you a better opportunity of them checking the comments!

If all else fails, send a message to both the comment section and the direct messages.

Contact them via email

We typically like to keep the Instagram workflow on Instagram, but some people are more likely to respond to an email.

Another advantage of sending an email is that you often have to go find an email on their website. This makes you more knowledgable about the brand when approaching it.

Consider putting together a copyright waiver

The average Instagram user isn’t going to require a contract. This would only be if your brand wants an “influencer” to showcase a product.

There’s most likely some money exchanging hands, so it’s a more serious transaction.

A contract is a must with influencers, and it’s important to include a copyright waiver. A statement like this says that your company can repurpose the branded content completed by the influencer. This is often implied, but a signed document makes your case stronger.

Question: If Instagram seems to have such a lax policy on regramming, why do you have to get the right to share a photo?

After all, it doesn’t seem like Instagram is policing that much. 

The problem is that you’re infringing on a copyright every time you take a photo without permission. All original content technically has a copyright once the art, logo, photo etc. is created. 

And…Instagram may not be watching, but the photographers and other creatives are. Most of them are very protective of their work, and it’s becoming easier and easier to hunt down the photo thieves. 

Are you ready to regram images the right way?

You see it every day on Instagram, so why shouldn’t your brand take advantage of regramming? Learning how to regram makes sense for a wide variety of reasons.

First of all, it’s free content that could benefit both you and the photographer.

You also have a wide array of photographers who are posting new images on a regular basis.

This is not legal advice, but as long you get explicit permission you should be able to regram without any problems. Just follow the rules we talked about above (AKA getting permission and crediting the photographer,) and you’ll have a far more pleasant Instagramming experience.

Leave us a comment below if you have any questions!

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By Joe Warnimont

Joe is a Chicago-based writer focused on social media, WordPress, and eCommerce tools. When not riding his bike in Chicago he's camping in Wisconsin. View Joe's portfolio at joewarnimont.com to contact him and see past work.

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