Many photographers and creatives often struggle with watermarking the images on their website, social media, etc. The question often goes something lie this, "Should I watermark my images?" and it tends to pop up on Facebook groups, during networking meetings, and photography workshops.
Today, I'd like to share a few of my thoughts about watermarking and why I feel that it's really not necessary to watermark photos anymore. Don't worry I was down right shocked myself, when I came to the realization!!!
As a wedding photographer, I had been watermarking my images for YEARS! I've been enjoying the change and cleaner look.
Watermarking photos looks more professional.
When I first started photographing clients, I attempted to watermarked my photos because I thought it made me appear to be professional. You know, because if I had a logo on my images I must be seasoned, right!? Let's go ahead and seriously face it, right now, together ... The TRUTH is, watermarked or not people will take you serious IF your professionalism shows through, not your watermark.
Just go look around at some of those blogs you love, you'll quickly notice there are no watermarks on images. Why because it's distracting. They do however site the photographer if they are a reputable blog.
Watermarking photos protects them from being stolen, edited, and shared without your permission.
The truth is, your photos aren’t safe. Im guess that stung a little. It's ok, it almost made me want to stop putting my images online too. Let's go ahead and get real with each other, if your images do get stolen, do you have the energy or bandwidth to police the internet? This isn't the late 90's and early 2000's where finding duplicated images on the World Wide Web was easier. A majority of the images I've actually had stolen had my logo on it, they edited it out or cropped it out. That easy.
My clients invest a good portion of money into their one of a kind portrait story session. I want them to love and share their photos, for many years to come. My business exists to serve them, not my ego and a watermarks just distract from their memories. Plus, it actually takes extra time to watermark my images, which in turn is money I feel is wasted.
But let’s get back to the real-world application for a second, because my professional photos have actually been used without my permission, it's happened about 1,000+ times.
I have to ask myself these three questions ...
Do I have the time to search for the publishers, blogs, writers, etc that have taken my images?
Are they going to remove the image if asked?
Most likely not.
How much time would I waste if I had to police all my images?
Far too much.
If I wanted to get them to take down the photos they have stolen and shared without my permission, I would’ve had to go through an entire legal process — which isn't worth my time and probably isn’t worth yours either. Unless you think the money you lost (or they made) from stealing your photos is worth more than the legal fees you’ll most likely incur to fight them.
I'm not saying it makes it right, I am not condoning those that steal images without permission. However, as a small business owners I have to make sure my TIME has a higher value than it being wasted.
Take the five seconds to report them to Instagram/Facebook and move on with our day. Our time is too valuable to do more than that.
Some will say that watermarking photos is good marketing, you never know if someone will see the watermark and contact me for business.
I actually think it's good marketing for clients to actually upload the picture, shares it on his/her page where all of their friends can see it. They either thank you, their photographer in the caption (likely) or says nothing (still fine!)
LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW.
Whats your take on Watermarked Images?
If you're a photographer, do you wanted mark your images?
If you're a client do you prefer unmarked images?
Heather J. Keys
Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar Photographer specializing in YOUR story.