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Images, Graphic Design, and Digital Photography Discussion of all things graphics.

Why should you watermark?


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Village Idiot

 
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I was going to post this in the POTM thread in response to some statements, but decided it would be better off in it's on thread so as not to derail that one.

Comments, rants, etc... Post them up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sennec View Post
I know you put it there deliberatly but it kinda ruins the picture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fozthedevil View Post
unfortunaly with these things you can spoil a image with the logos and copy right, i think you need to just take some faith in people put it in a corner and if people want to use it feel proud that you have taken an amazing shot
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryphotoguy View Post
A 800x600 image really isn't going to do anyone much good unless they'd steal it for some sort of web display.
A watermark is a good idea but you need to pick a new spot.
Unfortunately, I really dislike when people bust on some one for a large watermark/copyright in the middle of the photo. Unobtrusive and hard to see watermarks can often be easily edited out or cropped off. There's many, many, many occasions that I've seen this happen or have seen some other copyright violation that can be prevented by a large ugly watermark/copyright.

If you're running a business, you should do everything you can to protect yourself. If you think that no one is going to steal and 800 x XXX image off of some place like Flickr to use for their own, then you're thinking wrong.

Two examples:

David Hobby, the creator of The Strobist Blog recently had an issue that happened on Flickr. He has a Flickr group that he admins that is linked to his blog. There's over 19,000 members and it's one of the most active group on Flickr that I've seen, for discussion as well as posting photos. His personal Icon is one of the most recognizable because of this. It's a picture of him looking up over a MBP that's lit up by an off camera speedlight lying on the keyboard. An Apple magazine (with no official relation to the company, something like mac world) ran out of UAE (I believe) Used this image as a full page add in their magazine without his permission. A giant copyright in the middle would have stopped this.

Dwight McCain from P.O.T.N. had quite a few images stolen from his personal website and hosted on Flickr. Dwight is a photographer out of Vegas that gets some big gigs photographing well known performers that play at several of the local casinos. The president of the fan club for a certain Tejano singer stole a few of his images that were watermarked by a rather small symbol in the lower left hand corner and then cropped the watermark off to use for her fan club.

He's been trying to deal with Flickr since October. They refuse to remove the images and the person that stole the images will not respond to his request to remove them.

Sorry. I'm a photographer, so I understand where you're coming from when people say a watermark ruins the photo, but when you have a chance to protect yourself in this field, take it.

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scottyk617

 
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I'm with the village idiot on this one,
I do some function photography, we sometimes use smugmug to do online proofing, and I use it to host my own galleries.
now some of the shots are personal and they are in locked galleries.

but think of the portrait photographer who relies on print sales to feed his family (such as the guy I work for)

If someone downloads an image and its not watermarked then they can print it themselves on an inkjet, not everyone wants high quality!

thats money down the drain for a pro, hence why hardly anyone will give you a CD of images, or if they do, they will be watermarked.

(as it is I have seen loads of people on facebook et al with my images as their profile pics, blatant scans/ downloads, but its small stuff)

bit of a ramblng post but hey its boxing day!
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fozthedevil

 
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ok my view on this is if you shoot a wedding a event something of some nature that a lot of people will view and want it leave a water mark or prooof like the school pictures have

if your shooting to share with people, then share,

this picture has been viewed 1600 times, which to me is alot, i did not tag it as ive had it printed a few times, but anyone who knows the picture knows who shot it, i believe in sharing so people can use it for non comercial work, at the end of the day i have the raw file ive got proof its mine!

also this picture

people have emailed to use it and i have let them if its for the correct reasons

think how many people use photoshop brushes and images to do graphics? i know i do what if they felt no, your not using my brushes ill tag them?

i think its been senisble about the option and yes im willing to loose a few pictures for people to see them and come to me about doing shoots for them!

but this is my 2 cents .
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bryphotoguy

 
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A watermark is a good idea. The photo I commented on has a watermark on the only item in the photograph, a twig with a spider web.
If you're afraid someone will steal and image without a watermark or one with a watermark in the corner, feel free to cover up 990 of the 1000 words the image worth.
With photoshop and all of its tools, watermarks like the one I commented on can EASILY be removed even if it is in the center.
Most watermarks won't stop thieves.
I have no real reason to upload any of my photos or works from college, (although I think my college somehow owns the rights to some of it) or anything after, so I don't know what I would do in this situation. I guess a simple corner watermark would suffice.


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Cherokee

 
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I would watermark an image if I didn't want it to get stolen. I would also keep it small and low resolution. Those two steps will limit the amount of people who will want to steal it.

I look at it like "The Club" for your photos. It may deter some folks, but it's not a real fix. If someone wants it, they will find a way to take it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherokee View Post
If someone wants it, they will find a way to take it.
yep. just like an mp3 or a movie.

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Village Idiot

 
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Foz - The Supra picture is awesome, but if it ended up as an add in a magazine without your permission, would you not want compensation?

I agree that some watermarks can be removed easily or cropped out, but having something across the image (transparent, whatever) deters lesser thieves. I mean, no one wants an image of a supra with your name on going across the middle of it.

Plus not every country has copyright laws or is part of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the international copyright treaty. I believe that was the case with the David Hobby example posted above. The magazine that was using the stolen image didn't think they were doing anything wrong in the fact, as they were from a country that doesn't have the same copyright laws as the US, or doesn't adhere to international copyright laws.

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If I really wanted to post an image or an image gallery, and I didn't want to have the images stolen or "borrowed", I would:
  • lower the quality and image size as low as I could without losing too much detail
  • Watermark it (and possibly include the copyright symbol in it, though not really necessary)
  • NOT post in on a social site like Flickr or MySpace or Photobucket and the like (sites like these have 'clauses' in their TOS that sometimes actually say you waive all intellectual ownership if you post on them or that by using their site you grant the site permission to distribute your work without any additional consent from you {Flickr being one of the latter})
  • embed it in a Flash player or othewise code the HTML page to disallow right-clicking (this does deter some people)
  • place a statement of copyright on the page (again, though not really necessary, it does help to drive home the message for some)

If I really don't care about the images, I will post them anywhere and not make a fuss about any of it.

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Watermarking can have another valuable purpose, one that can be served with a smaller less obtrusive watermark, and that is advertizing. If you do feed your family with your camera, you may chose to post some of your work for public consumption, clearly marked with a watermark that contains your web address for example. I know of at least one semi pro who does this for this very reason.

I tend to believe that watermarking makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. The watermark doesn't have to ruin the photo, any more than a painter's signature ruins the painting. It should however clearly indicate the "authorship" of the the work.

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well its all fair points, i have no problem what so ever with tagging or watermarking your photos, my biggest problem is people putting across the main image in the picture.

thanks for your kind comments village.

In regards to Flick i've found it great to help, and great way to published my pictures and get some exposure
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A photographer friend of mine recently saw a photograph of his blown up large and printed on the side of a lorry, complete with his watermark!! Water marked or not there are people out there who will steal it so always always watermark it and then even if they do steal it, you still get credited cos your watermark is there for all to see (unless they clone it out).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D3v1L80Y View Post
If I really wanted to post an image or an image gallery, and I didn't want to have the images stolen or "borrowed", I would:
  • lower the quality and image size as low as I could without losing too much detail
  • Watermark it (and possibly include the copyright symbol in it, though not really necessary)
  • NOT post in on a social site like Flickr or MySpace or Photobucket and the like (sites like these have 'clauses' in their TOS that sometimes actually say you waive all intellectual ownership if you post on them or that by using their site you grant the site permission to distribute your work without any additional consent from you {Flickr being one of the latter})
  • embed it in a Flash player or othewise code the HTML page to disallow right-clicking (this does deter some people)
  • place a statement of copyright on the page (again, though not really necessary, it does help to drive home the message for some)

If I really don't care about the images, I will post them anywhere and not make a fuss about any of it.
I personally follow DB's rules. I am not using a Flash-based websites, but I only post images that aren't too degraded in quality but have been very compressed and put in the copyright sign on them. On my Flickr page, I only post images that aren't really interesting.
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