What are watermarks and why are they on your images? Webster’s dictionary states a watermark as: a design or symbol (such as the maker’s name) that is made in a piece of paper and that can be seen when the paper is held up to the light. Why do photographers, graphic designers, and more use them? There are varying reasons, each business having their own necessity for it. There are many out there that don’t use them and equally as many that do; I personally like using them in my business and thought I’d share with you why and how I use them in my business! 🙂
Color vs. Transparent. Some photographers use a full color logo to place on their images, others use a form of their logo in white with different variations of transparency to allow for the image to show through the logo, but still be embedded in the image. In most instances I prefer the transparent watermark logo over the full color logo so as to keep the eye on the subject of the photo rather than the logo.
Marketing & Recognition/Identification. The watermark identifies the photographer. If a client shares the images from their session online, it is very easy for those whom see the images to know exactly what photographer captured the client’s family, senior, etc. and if they feel that photographer fits their personal style, they will know exactly whom to contact. Making it a very simple way to advertise. Word of mouth, referrals, and social media have become common, affordable ways of advertising today. While many still advertise in their local papers, etc., physical, tangible ads add up financially. This is a way that we can advertise without being viscous and to help keep our session costs low. When we post images to Facebook and our websites, we hope that potential clients will see our work, see the watermark, visit our website and business pages, and possibly hire us to capture a special moment in their family’s life.
Low Resolution Online Images. When I post sneak peaks of my clients, I don’t upload the high resolution image. I add the watermark and then downsize the image. These images make for great profile and cover photos, upload more quickly than large MB files that photographers are working with straight out of camera(SOOC), and if the image gets into the wrong hands, is saved, misused, and/or enlarged, will be produced with pixelation. One of my biggest concerns is my clients images ending up in the wrong hands, that’s why anything I post is downsized and watermarked, to protect as much as possible.
Protection. In today’s technological world, images are stolen daily. If a person wants that image bad enough, they will save it with the watermark, crop or shop it out, spend several hours removing it, and claim it as their own. All photographers know this. Photo theft is a very real problem for photographers and the clients we serve. It’s not out of the possibility that someone on the other side of the world could see an image of my clients, save it, remove the watermark, and use it in their advertising campaign. This is not only illegal by stealing someone else’s work(similar to plagiarism if claiming as their own work) but also hurtful to the client in the image. My clients sign a contract stating that my business is the only one to use their images as advertising and sharing. Therefore I as a business have the grounds to take legal action on that company/person for misusing my image. It gives me an added level of security to the image and my clients in the image.
Respect. Photography is an art, just like painting, drawing, etc. You wouldn’t consider removing the signature off a famous painting, right? In my contract it states that watermarks are not to be cropped or removed when sharing online or setting as profile and cover photos. Our watermark is our signature, photography is our art, removing that is disrespectful. Some say that if photographers are so concerned with images being stolen, then we shouldn’t post them. But if we don’t post our photos, there would be no way to advertise our business, talents, love of the art, and the passion we have to our clients and potential clients. We don’t take the images to keep just for ourselves, we want our clients to love them, to share them, and so that we can continue to do this for years to come!
Love. I love what I do. Capturing families, kids, newborns, etc, and getting to create some pretty amazing graphics. With all of the above comes hours of work, research as to what will work or not work for my business, how I can protect my clients, and continuing to push forward and grow with this ever changing profession. No session is ever the same, just as no graphics project ever is. I take pride in in every project and session, what it took to get me there, those whom have supported me through the years, taught me what I know, and the love it takes to maintain a licensed business in this amazing career. Stay tuned for many new things, from sessions and logos, to graphics and maybe even some new watermarks for my images!