Why do I Watermark

Jimmi Eyes with and without watermark

I watermark to market myself, it's all about the image, not about how nice my watermark looks. What I have seen is that new photographers seem way too concerned about someone stealing their work, and because of that use big/bigger watermarks in an attempt to deter the practice.

 I never watermark for the purpose or fear that someone will steal my images. Now if I see them using the photos for a reason other than what I approve of, yes, I will say something, but the main reasoning to use a watermark should be marketing. In the past, I never used to watermark my photographs, but then I started seeing people asking past client's who took the photos. Then no one would respond. Well, with my watermark on it, they can go to my site or use Google to search for the name.

If you look at some of the most famous paintings you may see a signature or a mark, but it does not take away from the image and at times it's barely noticeable. Look at it this way, if someone really wants to steal your work what do you think you can do to stop them? Take a look at "Photo Stealers Blog" you will see dozens of examples of photographers that go out of their way and remove watermarks just to use the image in an attempt to get clients or to make their portfolio look better. Once you have photoshop and some know how there is not much you can't do. There should be no reason why a watermark should look better than the image you created it should not take away the focus.

 What some fail to realize is that photographers sweat-blood, cry-tears and spend countless hours producing their work and they want credit or to promote themselves. It's also a form of protection. In reality, if I post an image how do you know I created it? Who is the photographer? Sometimes watermarking is a brand or a sense of pride "I created this and I want others to know" If you watermark your work put it somewhere that does not devalue the image. It's very tacky for magazines to have watermarked images printed in their publication, they know how to properly credit the photographer/s (most times). When clients crop images so the watermark is no longer visible is VERY disrespectful sometimes this is done without malice.

You must understand that people have legitimate reasons for downloading and saving your work. One of the most common is potential clients, models, and photographers saving images that they like or are inspired by. There is a diffrence between someone copying your image for inspiration, sharing it with others, or displaying it on their Facebook page, but to make others assume they created it or do not credit the photographer is a big no no in my book.

In any case, I want my watermark on the photos so that potential clients know how to contact me. I actually encourage people to save my work, it acts like a little business card on their computer. All they have to do is open them up and they see my name and/or website at the bottom. Eventually someone will steal your work this is something that cannot be avoided. Once someone removes your watermark and replaces it with their own, then that can be grounds for action. Usually a simple "Cease and Desist Letter" is sufficient, but if it's a company or individual using my work for monetary gain without permission then its best to proceed with a lawyer.

Google has a great tool called 'Image Search' it's a great option that helps give photographers some peace of mind that their images aren't being used or misused. You can find your photo in use on the Internet. The video will walk you through Search by Image feature on Google.

In closing, if you don't give yourself credit for your own work, then no one else will. So with that being said, I'm all for putting your logo/watermark on your work sometimes I just choose not to.