To Watermark or Not to Watermark your Images

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To Watermark or Not to Watermark your Images


Watermark Image Example

What is a Watermark?

Have you ever seen little pictures or text on images that shows the photographer’s name or website? Those are called watermarks. Watermarks are often used by photographers for two main reasons: marketing and theft protection. But with every advantage comes a disadvantage. Watermark can act as a distracting visual element that can cover up important elements of the image and may deviate the attention of the viewer.

Should you watermark your images?

The answer to this question completely depends upon the choice of an individual. Although we can still help you out with your choice by enlisting some of the pros and cons of using watermarks.

Pros

1. Watermark act as an additional step for protecting your image. Watermarks protect your images by informing people that you are indeed the owner of that image and that you intent to protect your image.

2. Watermarks can also act as a wonderful tool for marketing and can help you to reach out other photographers and viewers who appreciate your work.

3. As far as image theft is concerned, most people who do take your photo and re-post it are mostly bloggers collecting photos from the web to include them into their blogs. As a practice, they should include a link back to where they found your photo, but they don’t always do so. In that case, even if your image is stolen, it still markets you as long as the watermark is present on the image.

4. For some photographers, such as fashion photographers or wedding photographers, watermark may be considered as a necessary evil. For them, watermark can act as a way to reach out potential clients.

Cons

1. Although watermarks acts as an additional step for protecting your images but watermarking doesn’t ensure that your images won’t be stolen. It’s just like bringing several defenders in front of Lionel Messi: it will annoy him, but won’t really stop him. If someone really wants to take your image, he can easily do so by removing your watermark using tools like Adobe Photoshop, Google Picasa etc which will serve the purpose with ease. If you are really worried about image theft then better prefer registering your images with the Copyright Office than watermarking them.

2. Watermarks acts as distracting elements, the amount of distraction can vary from mildly distracting at best to strongly distracting at worse. I’ve never seen an image with a watermark that wouldn’t have been better without it.

3. Images that are heavily or inappropriately watermarked are less likely to be shared by others via social networks.

4. As far as losing potential customers are concerned, then it is worth a thought that a person who is trying to steal your image will have no intention to pay you, rather he will just move on and search for other images to serve his purpose. These people aren’t your customers anyway.

The Bottom Line

After understanding the pros and cons of watermarking, you must be aware by now that it’s really a matter of personal choice. Ultimately you have to decide whether the process is worth your time and expense. To conclude, the fact remains whether we watermark our image or not, we should be prepared for image theft. Consider it as cost of uploading images on internet. In case if you have decided to watermark your images, please go through our quick tip guide here on how to watermark your images.

Would you watermark your images or just leave it off? We would love to hear it from you. Please share your views in the comments section below.

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