Watermarking your photos

100acre

Adventurist
#1
How is this done? I've got 1000's of photos out there and am about to create more but I'd like to protect them from non permissible usage. Can anyone suggest any apps that will help me watermark everything?
 
#2
Lightroom or Photoshop can both be set to add one on save/export. There were a few hosting sites that could do this too, but it's becoming less and less popular.

That said, I wouldn't recommend it. The reason it's become unpopular is it's kind of like gun control...watermarking only punishes legitimate viewers. Photo thieves will take them watermarked or not. Quite frankly, going after them is more effort (and cost) than it's worth, unless that's just something you enjoy spending your time doing.
 

100acre

Adventurist
#3
Lightroom or Photoshop can both be set to add one on save/export. There were a few hosting sites that could do this too, but it's becoming less and less popular.

That said, I wouldn't recommend it. The reason it's become unpopular is it's kind of like gun control...watermarking only punishes legitimate viewers. Photo thieves will take them watermarked or not. Quite frankly, going after them is more effort (and cost) than it's worth, unless that's just something you enjoy spending your time doing.
Thanks Chazz, I appreciate your insight. I guess I'll just let it go.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#4
Personally, I really HATE watermark photos. I see many great photos RUINED by cheesy watermarks.

Interestingly, there's been a lot of photos/photographers that I would have LOVED to share on our social media channels over the years but their screwy looking watermarks just kill it for me. I hate seeing a nice photo just to notice it's been defiled.

We always give credit where credit is due. If everyone just did that simple thing there'd be no need for watermarks.

.02
 
#5
Good point Dave, I hadn't even thought of that angle. A lot of photo competitions will also disqualify anything with a watermark, so if you have any intention of going after a wider audience I'd steer clear.
 

bob91yj

Adventurist
Founding Member
#6
If it's a pro photographer trying to sell the picture (desert racing photo guys come to mind), I can understand the watermark, if it's a trip report on a forum, not so much.
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#7
I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to organize all of my photos (personal and professional - including my iPhone photos). It's well worth the price and gives you a lot of archiving and editing power you don't get with regular photoshop. I've been "pro" for almost a decade now and have only ever used photoshop for one project that was a client special request. Everything else editing wise I do through Lightroom. Once you get disciplined with key-wording and structuring your archives it's very easy to find photos.

Personally, I really HATE watermark photos. I see many great photos RUINED by cheesy watermarks.

Interestingly, there's been a lot of photos/photographers that I would have LOVED to share on our social media channels over the years but their screwy looking watermarks just kill it for me. I hate seeing a nice photo just to notice it's been defiled.

We always give credit where credit is due. If everyone just did that simple thing there'd be no need for watermarks.

.02
Sadly for the pros "photo credit" doesn't pay the bills. I will defile as many of my photos as I can unless someone's willing to pay for a clean version.

If it's a pro photographer trying to sell the picture (desert racing photo guys come to mind), I can understand the watermark, if it's a trip report on a forum, not so much.
To each their own. I usually use a simple watermark just to brand my shit as mine. Had too many of my photos stolen over the years. Anyone willing to give their photos away for free - or let people use their photos for free without payment - does the whole industry a major disservice.
 
#8
I know this isn't your intent, but just to clarify for the passer by: there's a big difference between "giving photos away for free" and not watermarking them.

I've had my fair share of stolen photos which, as much as I'd like to go on a server-crushing rampage (I sometimes do), in reality do me no real harm. I've also had (probably more than) my fair share of paid photo assignments that I would not have gotten if I were watermarking everything.

I absolutely agree with you that giving away photos doesn't pay the bills in the short term. In fact, I'll be the first to stand up and educate a client or prospect on how much more time/money/experience go into a photo than simply "pressing a button" as some often say. However, good attitudes (which watermarking is not) and exposure via sharing begat more good attitudes and exposure via sharing. If you're that good, over the long term this will lead to (paid) opportunities, opportunities that will never happen if future clients never see you because no one ever shares your photos because you watermark them.

Think of it as free advertising. You're a business, normally you'd have to pay (a lot) to promote your photography in the hopes of getting clients. Give a little and not only are you getting free promotion, you're also gaining a portfolio piece, another client to showcase, and another good reference, and fostering good will (karma is real).

It's all about intent, generosity, and thinking long term. If it's some cheap ripoff product from the bad side of the pond that stole your photos, fine...burn their servers to the ground (again, I've done this myself). If it's a worthy cause or something you can get behind, and they follow etiquette (ask before use), then what's the harm?

Again, all about the intent.


FWIW, yes: I do both.
 

100acre

Adventurist
#10
All interesting viewpoints. As I'm no Ansel Adams, I don't really see becoming a professional photographer any time soon. I point and shoot rifles much easier but I've had a lot more practice and they're just not as complicated as most cameras seem to be. I am hoping to change my abilities to capture better shots on camera. I am just approaching it with some trepidation. Not a technology minded guy....
 
#12
I know this isn't your intent, but just to clarify for the passer by: there's a big difference between "giving photos away for free" and not watermarking them.

I've had my fair share of stolen photos which, as much as I'd like to go on a server-crushing rampage (I sometimes do), in reality do me no real harm. I've also had (probably more than) my fair share of paid photo assignments that I would not have gotten if I were watermarking everything.

I absolutely agree with you that giving away photos doesn't pay the bills in the short term. In fact, I'll be the first to stand up and educate a client or prospect on how much more time/money/experience go into a photo than simply "pressing a button" as some often say. However, good attitudes (which watermarking is not) and exposure via sharing begat more good attitudes and exposure via sharing. If you're that good, over the long term this will lead to (paid) opportunities, opportunities that will never happen if future clients never see you because no one ever shares your photos because you watermark them.

Think of it as free advertising. You're a business, normally you'd have to pay (a lot) to promote your photography in the hopes of getting clients. Give a little and not only are you getting free promotion, you're also gaining a portfolio piece, another client to showcase, and another good reference, and fostering good will (karma is real).

It's all about intent, generosity, and thinking long term. If it's some cheap ripoff product from the bad side of the pond that stole your photos, fine...burn their servers to the ground (again, I've done this myself). If it's a worthy cause or something you can get behind, and they follow etiquette (ask before use), then what's the harm?

Again, all about the intent.


FWIW, yes: I do both.
I've also had photography stolen and used for commercial purposes, sometimes an email with the US Copyright certificate number and an explaination will fix the problem, sometimes it takes further action and reclaimed moneys from the illegal use (both avenues I've had to use more than a few times, including print magazines pulling unwatermarked photos from the Internet). I disagree about the watermark being done in a bad attitude, but as you know the watermark debate is long and heated in the photography community (with both sides making compelling arguments). My attorney loves it when one of my photos are used with the watermark cropped or (as more often is the case) covered by graphics and advertising.

So for me and my monkey I'll continue to watermark the majority of the photography I post publicly.
 
#13
Personally, I really HATE watermark photos. I see many great photos RUINED by cheesy watermarks.

Interestingly, there's been a lot of photos/photographers that I would have LOVED to share on our social media channels over the years but their screwy looking watermarks just kill it for me. I hate seeing a nice photo just to notice it's been defiled.

We always give credit where credit is due. If everyone just did that simple thing there'd be no need for watermarks.

.02
I've been screwed too many times by people who don't have any ethics to let it go (realtors have been some of the worst offenders of photo theft in my experience). If people were like you then it would be easier. Some photographers might provide clean copies for certain social media outlets they're fond of (not that anything I shoot is necessarily what you would want or even like in the first place). ;)
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#14
FWIW I try to keep my watermarks as unobtrusive as possible. I also use them as a way to give a little context to the photo in case it does start to circulate. For a while I did use a graphical watermark (my 4LDL logo) but, as @Dave said, it took away from the image. I think a simple text copyright is about as unobtrusive as it gets.

Example:

 
#15
Lightroom or Photoshop can both be set to add one on save/export. There were a few hosting sites that could do this too, but it's becoming less and less popular.

That said, I wouldn't recommend it. The reason it's become unpopular is it's kind of like gun control...watermarking only punishes legitimate viewers. Photo thieves will take them watermarked or not. Quite frankly, going after them is more effort (and cost) than it's worth, unless that's just something you enjoy spending your time doing.
Yup, because unless you make it really obtrusive, I can do this:
DYeiNVal.jpg
@Dean :p
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#16
Yup, because unless you make it really obtrusive, I can do this:
View attachment 31958
@Dean :p
But... if you notice, a) it's not a full-res image. I still hold that. b) it's very easy to tell it's my jeep & trailer. and c) there is still enough of the original that it will show up on a reverse image search... all of which is fuel for a polite C&D letter or a not-so polite law suite.
 

Dave

Adventurist
Founder
Senior Staff
Editor
#19
I've been screwed too many times by people who don't have any ethics to let it go (realtors have been some of the worst offenders of photo theft in my experience). If people were like you then it would be easier. Some photographers might provide clean copies for certain social media outlets they're fond of (not that anything I shoot is necessarily what you would want or even like in the first place). ;)
You've shot many compelling images that we'd share on social.

But your watermark is heinous :lol
 
Top Bottom