THE WATERMARK DEBATE… IS IT WORTH IT?
This is the one question that any photographer, beginner, hobbyist or otherwise may start to ask him or herself. “Should I watermark my photos?”
Let’s start with the basics first. For those of you who don’t know, a watermark is it’s any kind of “stamp” or “print” such as text or a logo you put on your photo to let people know that photo is yours. (See below for an example)
As you can see in the above photo, there is a very sexy red Ferrari making a high-speed right turn on a Brooklyn, New York City street corner. And of course right below it is my big, obnoxious watermark. A lot of people find watermarks obnoxious and distracting. And this is a prime example of that fact.
Of course I could or anyone for that matter make the watermark smaller so that it’s not even noticed. But “obnoxious and distracting” is one of the main reasons that people don’t like watermarked photos.
If you use social networking outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Then use of a watermark is a good idea as a way to showcase ones photography work. When I post photos to my Flickr account, I usually post photos that have my watermark.
You can see my photos posted on Flicker at. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpegimagephotography/
Granted I don’t do this to every photo that I post, just the ones that I find to be the most interesting photos. And with a little luck, someone might think the same thing. Notice my watermark with the website address and from their go to my website to see more of my work and maybe even hire me for photography work.
Of course there are people that will steal photos and claim them for themselves, but one can’t really worry about such things. For if a person wants a photo, they will do their dam best to take it and or take all the credit for it. Watermarks are not a perfect system in digital photography, for they can be cropped or edited out of a photo. But if a photo does get passed around the Internet, then just think of it as “free advertising.”
“What kind of watermark works best for me?” You might be thinking. That depends on you in all honesty. My watermark is my website address. http://jpegimagephotography.com I use this in the hopes of someone going to my website to see more of my work. As I stated before hand, a watermark can be your logo, text or anything that you wish to use to identify yourself.
If you’re right now thinking “What about the photos metadata?” Don ‘t even worry about that… Remember a photo is a visual medium people notice what’s in front of them (the photo image & watermark) not behind the scenes. Such as the metadata of course one should and must have their metadata current, and updated as well for they might be that one person that checks into it. I usually have my name and website information is my metadata along with the current year and “© All Rights Reserved.” That usually works best for me, and anyone else for that matter.
But let me be totally honest here. The chances of a random person checking for a photos metadata are one in a million. The Internet is still unexplored territory and is always changing and evolving. So posting your photos online is a mixed bag of results.
So it really boils down to what one feels comfortable with. The option of a watermark is not a necessity. But is a nice option to use at ones discretion.
I really like the idea of making the watermark your website URL. Yes, free advertising! I agree that you cannot stop people from using images but if the watermark doesn’t destroy the photo and direct them to your website – what the heck! Great Idea!
It is absolutely worth it. When done right it should not take away from a picture. It should never be used as a protection (if somebody is determined enough, they will find a way to remove it). It’s a great way to advertise and ask for recognition of your work. I know a real estate agent using my free Photo Helper to put a property info (MLS#; square footage; photo taken date etc.) in a picture to make it easier for his clients to review property listings.