Before we get into how to watermark, let’s talk about why you should watermark your images. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I encourage you to read Shawntae’s post “My Son is on a T-shirt.”
My minister is convinced that only perverts hang out on Facebook – I’m sure he would extend that statement out to anyone on the web…and he may not be far from the truth. While I’d like to believe that most of us within this photography blogging community have good intentions, there are some people out there who aim to do harm in the way of stealing our images and using them to make a profit (see Shawntae’s post). Others use our images to create an imaginary life…pretending to be pregnant or have a family. Whatever the reason, it’s not cool to steal images.
With that said, we can either put ourselves at risk by posting un-watermarked images to our blogs, Facebook and Instagram…or we can protect our children by watermarking our images. I’ve been watermarking my images for some time, but after reading Shawntae’s post, I think I’m going to take a more aggressive approach.
What is a watermark?A watermark is an image or pattern that appears on your image. It can vary in shade, opacity, size, shape and color.
Benefits of Watermarking
1. Discourage the crazies (aka thieves, losers, hackers…you get the idea)In my opinion, watermarking is one of the easiest and most effective ways (in addition to resizing your images to 72 dpi) to ensure your images are secure on the web. If you are posting images of your children, I strongly encourage watermarking your images to deter any crazies from stealing your photos. For example, in my image above, I created a new watermark (one I’ll likely be using moving forward) that is low in opacity. However, by placing it right on top of my daughter, I discourage anyone from stealing it. I mean, they could steal it, but they’d have to spend a little bit of time getting rid of the watermark. My old watermark (which I still love), was often placed in the corner of the image. These types of watermarks are incredibly easy to crop out.
2. CopyrightAlthough it is not necessary to watermark your images for them to be copyrighted, doing so will remind people who the photo belongs to. My blog friend, Rosie, wrote a post on this very subject: Metadata and Copyright.
3. Free Advertising and BrandingNot everyone who has a blog is a professional photographer. But, for those of us who make a living with our camera (part time or full time)…blogging is a great way to get noticed and get hired. I, personally, hope that my satisfied clients will post their favorite shot(s) on Facebook (I often provide watermarked/resized images for this very reason) or share my portrait preview posts with their friends in the hopes that it’ll generate business.
Granted, so many photographers have a very distinct style that I can spot in a heartbeat with or without a watermark…but having a watermark (your information, symbol, etc) on your photos will bring people back to your website. Other photography or mommy bloggers use their photos to enhance content on their blog which generates web traffic. My husband is in the Search Engine Optimization business, so I know all too well how important photos are to strengthening your web presence.
4. Just BecauseThe internet makes it so easy to share, copy and save anything that inspires us. I mean, Pinterest was built on this principle. And I don’t know about you, but when I see one of my photos published (ex. Mortal Muses) on someone else’s site, I get a little warm and fuzzy…assuming they give me credit. Some people might think that by watermarking your images, you think you’re all that…but shouldn’t we be proud of our work?
Now that you know where I stand on watermarks, there are multiple ways to create a watermark. If you are working in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements – I love the use of brushes for watermarks. Rita wrote a great tutorial on creating your own watermark here. MCP Actions also created a video tutorial – see below.
The thing I like about watermarking with brushes in Photoshop is that you can customize the location of the watermark depending on the image. If you are working in Lightroom, you can quickly export and watermark your image with the click of a button. I can quickly apply my watermark to 1 or 200 images at a time while also resizing and sharpening for the web. Here’s a quick video on watermarking in Lightroom:
There are many other ways to watermark your photos…just Google it. Whatever you do…watermark your photos or put yourself at risk of having your child’s face on a t-shirt, coffee mug or ad campaign in a foreign country. I guess I should add that this doesn’t just apply to photos you post on your blog or Facebook – it also applies to Instagram photos. I just downloaded an app called “iWatermark.” And with that, thanks so much for joining Sarah and me for Tutorial Tuesday. I’ll be back at some point with another series of tutorials…but for now, link up with me on Wednesday for “Wittle People Wednesday” or Sunday for “Scavenger Hunt Sunday.”