Do You Need to Watermark Your Photos?
A real common question I receive is about whether to use watermarks on images. You will be putting photos of your handmade items online for the whole world to see and you may be concerned about theft. Here is what you need to know about watermarks.
What is a watermark? A watermark is an image that you place over a photo to either show where it came from or to keep it from being reproduced. Watermarks can be logos or text and are usually semi transparent. Sometimes a watermark is a copyright symbol as well.
Why would you use a watermark? To protect your image from being reprinted or reproduced illegally or to show where the item in the photo came from. If you paint for example, a watermark would prevent someone from downloading an image of your painting from your website, having it printed, and hanging it on their wall.
People may be sharing images of your handmade items and if you have a watermark in the corner with your website address people will know where you find you.
Do you need a watermark? Not everyone does and the people who really need them, photographers, painters, illustrators, may just use lower resolution images to prevent someone from making a quality reprint.
Aren’t watermarks distracting? Of course they are. I would only use one across an image if I absolutely had to. The alternative is to use a lower resolution image that would not be good for printing.
Does Google have an issue with watermarks? At this time Google does show watermarked images in their image search results. All the stock photo companies that sell photos are able to have their images show up in Google so I would say that there is not an issue.
How secure is a watermark? If someone did download one of your images of either a photo you took or of a painting or drawing they may try to print it rather than purchase your art from you. If you do sell photographs, paintings, drawings, or prints and you have the watermark diagonally across the image then the person will have to take the time to edit out the watermark. Print shops have a general rule of NOT printing copies of images with a watermark. That definitely does not mean that some of them won’t though.
How easy is it to remove a watermark? To skilled people it is pretty easy. The average person will probably not go through the effort of learning or have the capabilities. Experts can always find ways around things but they are in the minority. I guess you could say watermarks keep honest people honest.
Where should the watermark go? For handmade items and crafts, a small watermark in the corner or along the edge will work. For these items the watermark will be there to tell people where the image came from and would be there mainly for marketing rather than for protection. Keep the watermark off of the product itself in this case. You can put your web address or store name as the watermark.
For printed or painted pieces you will want a watermark that covers key aspects of the piece. They usually go right through the center.
How do I put a watermark on my photos? I put a link to a free way to add watermarks in the resources area at the bottom of this article.
Other tips – If you sell artwork in the printed form, photos, paintings, etc, use smaller images of your art on your website. Rather than use one huge photo with a lot of detail, crop a large image and use that as your closeup. To really make a good quality reprint of your image a person will need a full size high resolution image. Only showing a small detail shot will keep them from having that. Keep the resolution of the large overall image low, about 72 px.
picmarkr.com/ Free and very easy to use – Works Great
Have people been using your photos? Check and see with this site:
Have fun watermarking