Should You Watermark Your Pictures

fattoush-salad-with-chicken10

This is a topic I’ve been contemplating a lot and have been going back and forth before I finally made a decision I’m sticking with. I started out not wanting to spend the time to watermark all photographs, but then I realized that as my blog was becoming more and more popular that my pictures were being stolen more and more. So I started watermarking them. Then I realized that it’s pretty much pointless because unless you watermark across the entire picture, people will always find a way to crop out the watermark and steal your pictures. Let me tell you now, you cannot win.

I have come to the realization that once I upload something to the internet, whether it’s a recipe, a photograph or any type of content, it’s out there for everyone to steal. I know it’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the ugly truth.

For a while I used to think that my pictures looked better with watermarks on them, like the picture above in this post, that it looks like the cover of a book. While that may be true, I strongly feel that the watermark takes away from the photo having a clean look.

fattoush-salad

Here’s a list of pros and cons of using watermarks.

Pros of Using Watermarks

  1. Protects your images from theft by informing people that you are the owner of that image.
  2. Watermarking your images makes them less appealing to thieves.
  3. Promote your brand and your image. Branding builds your recognition.
  4. Even if your image is stolen, your image still speaks for itself, it has your brand on it.

Cons of Using Watermarks

  1. Thieves will always find a way of cropping out the watermark.
  2. Watermarks cover up some of your image that you’ve worked hard to create, and takes away from the clean look. Watermarks are distracting, people might focus more on the watermark than the image itself.
  3. Watermarking may deter big websites, like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, etc., from featuring your images, which in turn could bring you lots of traffic.
  4. Watermarking takes lots of time you could be spending on something else.
  5. Watermarks can look ugly, even if you use the a great looking font you’ve searched months for, they can still look ugly.
  6. Do people even read your watermarks? Do they even know who you are?

I was just beginning to look into something called digital watermarking. According to wikipedia, a digital watermark is a kind of marker covertly embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as audio or image data. This all sounds interesting but could cost money and requires more time investigating.

There are also some services out there that you can use to help you track your images, such as Google reverse image search which will help you find who has been using your photos. I’d like to warn you though that this is highly addictive, I have spent hours looking for my images, and I have found many websites that have stolen them. Great tool though and I highly recommend it.

Conclusion

There probably is no right or wrong answer here. You may feel strongly about protecting your property thus watermarking your images, but one thing to remember is that it can take someone less than 2 minutes of photoshopping to remove that watermark. My take on this is that anyone is welcome to use my pictures on the internet, as long as they link back to my blog, and that’s what we should strive for. The more links to your blog, the higher you will rank in Google.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and maybe you have a different take on this that I may have not thought of.

Comments

  1. I’m a new blogger, and there are so many things to do that I haven’t started using a watermark. BUT I took a class on social media that said using a watermark on your images just for brand recognition is smart. How many times do people scroll through facebook, insta and pinterest without reading the caption?….a lot. So there’s your brand, where they are actually looking. I agree with you that markes are pointless if we add them so someone can’t steal images, and pointless if it minimizes your work. Love your blog, you have seriously taught me SO MUCH. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Jo,

    I just started a food blog and I feel inspired by yours. I saw one of your picture stolen. I knew the picture was from your blog because I liked it so much and I made one similar but still very different. The link where I found your picture http://www.historia.ro/exclusiv_web/general/articol/sarmaua-un-preparat-care-c-l-torit-unde-s-au-n-scut-sarmalele
    I wrote a comment to that site with the source of the picture, but they marked me as spam. I guess things like this happen…

    • Thanks for letting me know, I will also comment, but you’re right things like this will happen, not much we can do about it. 🙂

  3. hi, I just read this and I think water marking the image is good thing but for me if you want to share it to the public then just let it be, no matter how secure it is there is always a way for thief.

    Check this~~~ buy soundcloud comments

  4. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Jo, thanks for writing this piece. I’m currently in dilemma whether or not to watermark my images. I guess not putting a watermark do make the images appear more appealing. Also, I guess it’s flattering in a way that people would steal your images. Your images are awesome. Well, as long as they don’t make money out of your images, I guess you can’t really stop them. But when they do make money out of it, you got to get a lawyer ready to sue them.

  5. I m a newbie. I don’t use watermark on my image. After reading ur post I HV to think about it. Nice article though.

Speak Your Mind

*