A lot of online professionals choose to watermark photos. Professional photographers, bloggers, businesses, and individuals like to add a watermark to their images. But is this something you should be doing?
Watermarking, or adding a copyright sign or logo, has been around for quite some time. Remember those old printed photos with the word COPY over the image? Photographers often used to do this when giving customers prints from which they can select and order photos.
But even though a lot of photographers have gone digital, moving their portfolios online, labeling photos in this way remains a common practice. It’s also easier than ever to start watermarking, with all of the software and WordPress plugins available.
Watermarking may take the form of a logo, text, or a symbol (like the copyright icon), which is superimposed over a photo or placed in the border around a photo. You can automatically add your visual or text watermark to your photo on your website.
But are there any disadvantages to doing so? Below, we take a look at the pros and cons of online watermarking, and then make a few suggestions for how to add a watermark to your photos.
Should You Watermark Photos?
There are plenty of good reasons to add a logo or signature to the photos on your site. A watermark can be used as a form of copyright. Doing this can help prevent people from using an image as their own or using it without your permission.
Creating a watermark is a way of signing an image. It’s similar to a digital signature, and doing this allows users to see who took the photo. This can add to your reputation as a photographer and it’s great for brand awareness!
But while watermarking has its uses, it’s debatable as to whether it should be used. Placing a logo or symbol on your photo can be distracting. It can even be potentially harmful. You could, for example, change the focus and effectiveness of the image with the size and placement of your watermark.
Drawbacks of Watermarks
It isn’t a foolproof way to prevent others from using your images either. It’s easy enough to remove logos or the copyright symbol, especially if it’s small or placed in a corner or border of the image. You could combat this by placing a semi-transparent image over your entire photo, making it difficult to remove. But this is likely to detract from the image.
It also takes time to watermark photographs. If you change your logo, you’ll need to change it on older images, which may end up taking even longer. Depending on the method you use to add watermarks, it could also cost you money.
To sum up, there are pros and cons to watermarking your online photos. There is no guarantee that it will be effective and it can take time and money to get it right. But it can work in your favor by building your brand as a photographer and it can help protect your work.
Adding A Watermark
If you decide to watermark photos, there are several simple ways to do this.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add watermark text to your image, such as ‘Copyright FooPlugins 2018’. You can use any photo editor to achieve this. It is advisable to keep the text small, but legible, and place it vertically on the side of your image.
Here’s an example – look in the top right-hand corner:
If you have an extensive media library, this could take a lot of time. Plus, you may be looking for something a bit more professional, such as a custom watermark. There are various alternatives that you could use, including your signature or a logo.
Choose the Right Software
You can use specific software to add your chosen emblem to the image. Here are a few options:
Alternatively you can use a watermarking WordPress plugin. Here are a few for you to try:
- Easy Watermark: a free WordPress plugin that adds a watermark to images as they are uploaded into the media library. You can use text, and image or both, and you have control over the size and position. As the name suggests, it’s very easy to use and has an intuitive user interface.
- Image Watermark: automatically add watermarks to images as you upload them or bulk watermark images already in the media library. You also have the option to remove watermarks.
- Pro Bulk Watermark Plugin for WordPress: this is a paid plugin available on Code Canyon. It’s simple to use and adds a watermark to images without changing the source files. You have control over the image type (text or image), quality, size, and alignment.
Tracking Your Images
If you don’t want to use a watermark, but still want to keep track of whether your images are being used without your permission, there are ways to do this. You can use one of these software solutions, or add your image to Google Image and search for it.
Tips For Using a Watermark
If you decide to use a logo or signature to identify images, then there are some things you should consider doing. Likewise, there are some things you should avoid. To begin with, make the watermark the right size. Too big and it will distract from the image. Too small and no one will see it.
It also needs to be easy to read or recognize. You may choose to use your signature, but people need to be able to identify it for this to be effective. If you’re using text, opt for something that is easy to read.
Avoid placing your watermark over the entire image. Rather position it in a corner or in the border. Wherever it goes, it shouldn’t distract from the main focus: the photo itself.
You don’t need to watermark all of your media. Rather save it for the really amazing photos and the ones you’ve spent time composing. The idea is to protect these photos from possible misuse.
Watermarking your photos may prove to be a tricky business: on the one hand, you should be able to safeguard your property (photos) online, but on the other, you don’t want the watermarks to take any quality away from the picture. Finally, if your watermarking efforts aren’t good enough, it may make unauthorized use of that picture as easy as performing a simple cut-and-crop from one’s smartphone.
General Tips for Using Photos
Remember, your images can make (or break) your website, so do what works for you. Regardless of whether you watermark your photos or not, you can always add your copyright info to the description or caption of your images. Using these, along with your Alt Text, can even help with your image SEO.
It’s also good practice, if possible, to optimize your images for the web. You can save them as smaller files before uploading them, or use a tool to compress them. This not only reduces your image size, but the lower quality may deter others from using the images for themselves.
In the end, choosing to watermark photographs depends on personal choice and what works for you. If you decide to take the time to safeguard your photos, then it’s best to create a watermark that does your images justice.
The Bottom Line: Use Watermarks Wisely!
Adding watermarks to your photos can definitely be a good way to make sure that your intellectual property is properly safeguarded against unauthorized use. On the other hand, when all of your photos are watermarked in an obtrusive way, it may hurt your brand and scare potential customers away from purchasing your pictures. Generally, custom watermarks are looked upon more favorably than generic templates you can find all over the web. Implement your logo and make sure to position the watermark appropriately to get the best results out of your efforts. It may take some editing, which is why you might want to choose software that is easy to use. Ease of use is a subjective matter, so don’t be afraid to use more complex programs if you’re comfortable with them.
Watermarked pictures can get you some recognition and increase the traffic on your website, but they need to be really good, and easily linked to you as their author. You don’t have to watermark each and every image — add your logo only to those that you’re really proud of, ones you might want to sell one day. It will save you a lot of editing. Finally, remember that watermarking is only one part of safeguarding your intellectual property — implement other ways to secure it so that your best work does not get misused too easily.