It is a long term issue with some photographers. Many are in favor of watermarks, others not so much. My own, personal view and opinion is simple. Keep the watermark unobtrusive and simple without distracting from the image. With or without Facebook, a watermark is an effective marketing technique. If I were to give 100 images to 100 people, 1000 people saw the work with no watermark and didn’t ask who took the picture, then no one would really know or care. So I put something small on my images where it doesn’t take away from the value, quality or concept of the image.
Occasionally you can find someone who plasters their watermark right across the front of the image. If you want to destroy good work, that’s one sure fire way to make that happen. You can lessen the opacity but if it’s still covering someone’s body or face, it’s all the same result.
If for some reason you believe your work will be stolen after you put it on the internet, it could be. If you want to keep that from happening, don’t put it on the internet. A watermark isn’t your fix to prevent theft. A proof sheet is a good way to display your proofs to a client. I have a site where my proofs go and they are indeed watermarked, but not to be used for anything other than a proof.
Here are a few snippets from topics about using watermarks from industry professinals.
A watermark is intended to prevent theft, and for it to really work, you have to ruin the picture by placing it in a spot where removing it wouldn’t be worth the time or effort.
Branding? Fine. A small indication of your name/company name in the lower right corner, unobtrusive, is fine. But a watermark for the purpose of preventing theft is shooting yourself in the foot. ANY Art/Photo Director or potential client who views it will move right on because it screams amateur.
Watermarking images seems like an internet photographer thing. It’s rare to come across an experienced pro that does so. Given that, watermarks would almost always make me move on to the next photographer.
I think it’s ego, regardless of what people say and really, lets be real…. the photos I see watermarked on this site are so bad that taking credit for them is a big mistake in the first place.
I find the scale of the watermark on the images I receive is DIRECTLY proportional to the quality level of the Photographer’s portfolio.
Call it a Rite of Passage, Ego, Insecurity, whatever you want but it is an absolute truth in my experience. The better the photographer, the smaller the watermark – to the point of NONE at all.
The quote above is a generalized statement. Philipe is top notch and he uses a large branding mark, but it doesn’t cover the image.
You should be careful when using a watermark or brand. When used in the wrong manner, it doesn’t do you any favors. I also will not put them on print material, anything for publications and the like. You should be honest enough to ask yourself if you believe someone would steal your work to make money with it. That very thing happened to me. However, it didn’t have anything to do with a watermark or anything I had put on the internet.
Choose your Watermark/Brand carefully. You can put yourself out of business. If you’re doing it to prevent theft, stop putting your work on the internet while you can. 🙂
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