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Watermarking your images

22nd December 2015

Watermarking images is a topic that we regularly come across at Cosmic however there is no correct answer to the question “Should I watermark my photos?” Nearly everyone that we meet has a different view on this, so this blog is in no way telling you that you should be using watermarks on your visuals, but providing some insight in how to go about it. 

The main disadvantage of using a watermark is that it instantly introduces a distracting visual element that does not belong to the image. This can be anything from a little distracting to downright dire, but why do people use them? Well the two main reasons are copyright and marketing. The former is preventing others from using your visual content as their own and the latter to help others link back to you or your business.

Below are a few techniques in which you can watermark your images. 

By far the most commonly used watermark is to overlay text or a logo onto the image and is probably what you often see online. Text or logos can be incorporated onto the image in many ways. Some people place the watermark in the corner of the image as not to obstruct the main content, others place the watermark across the main part of the image. The opacity of the watermark can be changed to make it more or less visible on the image. The choice of your watermark placement is really down to you and the content that you are using.

If you are looking for an easy way to overlay text and logos on to your images, then a great and free website to use is PicMonkey.

If the images that you are using are being utilised as a marketing material rather than being sold directly to clients, then you can do away with a watermark completely. How? Incorporate your physical branding materials into your photos. Use the image below as an example. For us at Cosmic it can be used to market our IT training service and our logo on the laptop is clear to see. The great thing about this is you can include any branding material you like such as; pens, leaflets and banners whilst also cutting out the time involved adding a watermark to your images.

For those that are in a photography profession and sell their high quality images to clients, then a popular tactic to avoid theft of their content is to only put low-resolution photos online. When these images are appearing on a website or social media, the low resolution images don’t really look any worse than if you were to upload the high resolution version. In fact, social networks such as Facebook actually compress your high-resolution images to a low-resolution as they are uploaded anyway, so uploading high-resolution photos isn’t really benefiting you in any way. Using low-resolution images will help to deter those that wish to print or reproduce your photos as the difference in a low-resolution image compared to a high-resolution image in print is far more noticeable.

If you are worried about who else is using your work, then there are several ways to track the misuse of work online.

Google Images is an easy way of determining where your images are online. For those of you that use Google Chrome as your browser, you can simply right click on the image online and select “Search Google for this Image”. What Google will then do is perform a reverse image lookup and will display any websites that are showing your image or any other images that are similar to your own. Below I have used an example of a website we that we developed for the Cullompton Walronds Preservation Trust. By right clicking on the image and selecting “Search Google for image”

If we look at the “Visually similar images” section of the Google search, we can see that our image is the first on the list and is actually the one that appears on our website. The other results are alternative images of the Cullompton Walronds.

Through a bit of research we have also found a fairly new website online called Pixsy. A free online service for photographers that allows you to upload a collection of your photos. What Pixsy then does with your images is crawl the web in order to find matches and allow you to flag certain instances as well as offering legal recourse for having the images removed or filing a claim. Unfortunately at the moment, Pixsy is invitation only due to high demand, but you can request an invite from them using your email address.

If you need any support with your visual content online, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01404 548405 or [email protected].