To watermark or not... that is the question!

One of the first questions you should ask yourself when posting your photographies online (in your blog, flickr, facebook or whatever) is if your going to put some mark on it stating that you ARE the owner of it, that YOU are the artist behind the picture... or not. One method which has proven to be valid is the use of a watermark on the picture. Like this:

There are several discussions about this topic on the net (here and here) and as always, there are pro & contras. I personally even have had some bad comments about putting it on some of my pictures as "it would destroy the image".
After beeing active some years in this Web 2.0 world (where everything and everybody thinks that all content is for free) and beeing a professional photographer (i.e. somebody who earns money for producing pcitures) I gotta say: if you put your pictures online in order to just give them as a gift to the world... well, just leave them without a mark. Also, if you´re such a prominent photographer that your pictures are immediately going to be id´d as yours or you have a service like Picscout running... well, just leave them without a mark.
BUT... if you are aware that it is almost impossible to block the unlimited use of your pictures (or whatever content) all over the world by whoever wants to do it... then you should think about an efficient way to mark it. If the user really wants to use it in a "clean" way... well, then he should contact you.

That is my opinion on that matter. And by the way, as an advice for the ones who will follow this advice: when choosing a watermark... don´t you just use a symbol... I know, it´s fancy to have an own logo... but, if you don´t put more information on the mark (for example YOUR NAME or URL) how the hell is anybody going to know you are the artist behind that great picture? How is he going to contact you?
And trust me: it takes a looooong time till your logo is so widespread that everybody could recognize it :-)

logoBy the way: TinyEye is a great tool for scanning the web and finding your own pictures. Give it a try!


Michael hat gesagt…

Hi Kris,

I wanted to mention a PicScout service that can be very useful in this respect. PicScout’s ImageExchange is a browser add-on that identifies fingerprinted images wherever they reside on the internet. Photographers can have their images fingerprinted for free, and there’s no minimum number of images that need to be indexed. In other words, any photographer can add any number of images—whether it be 1 image or 1 million images—to the ImageExchange database for free, and ImageExchange will make sure credit is given to the photographer wherever his/her images are used online. There’s more information about ImageExchange here: http://www.picscout.com/products-services/imageexchange-licensors-photographers.html.

Kris hat gesagt…

Hi Michael,

thank you very much for this information! I will check it out! There are too many cases of missuse/abuse of the hard work photographers are making and such solutions as the one you have mentioned are a step towards the right direction. I will post about it in the next days.