Do you watermark your photos?

Casey McCallister watermarked photo

With the increase of the Web as a form of marketing and exposure for photographers, it is becoming more common for artists to have their work stolen and displayed elsewhere as the thief’s own. One way that photographers have chosen to combat this is by watermarking their images.

I have chosen not to take this path. If the person wants the image bad enough, they will get it. With how advanced applications like Photoshop are these days, a professional could remove one of the most advanced watermarks from an image in under an hour.

I want people to see my photos as a whole, to envision themselves at that place and not be distracted, rather that be from a watermark, logo, or copyright symbol. As a photographer, I take my time to compose every photo perfectly within the camera, making sure that nothing is distracting from the main subject, so why would I add something distracting in post-editing? I upload my images to my blog and to social networking sites with small enough dimensions that if anyone did ever take it upon themselves to call my photos their own, they would never be able to print them with enough resolution to be able to profit from them. I also embed every available amount of metadata into my photos. I know this can be removed, but I’m willing to bet that the average person does not know how, or that it even exists in the first place.

I also refrain from disabling right-click options on this website. I’ve seen this method from several photographer’s sites, and I feel that it is just as ineffective. There are many different screen-capture applications available for free, not to mention the often-ignored Print Screen key on most keyboards.

So, what about you?

  • Hi Casey Mac,

    Nice post. I totally agree with the right-click disabling, it’s kinda lame really, and couple that with a statement/tooltip that says “this site disallows right-clicking or downloading of photos” – pwned!

    I’d like to point out & reach out to presume though, that you’ve assumed watermarks are only for anti-theft purposes… which I’d have to semi-disagree on. The purpose of putting it there may not solely be for someone saying “you can’t use this”, but perhaps leaning towards “you can re-use this, and thanks if you attribute it to me” type of folks. Except of course for those who actually watermark almost the whole frame.

    Don’t you think those who are just starting out also want a name as hefty as the likes of yours? :p