Photographers, artists, designers and any other types of visual artists are all too familiar with the dilemma of sharing images online in order to increase exposure, but at the same time risking copyright abuse of their own works by other internet users.
Watermarking images is one of the best ways to handle the problem of safeguarding your visual content from illegal use. While adding a branded message to your images does not prevent people from right-clicking and saving them, it does guarantee that the images continue to bear your name and trademark wherever they end up.
In this regard, watermarking is not only a smart step for protecting your copyright, but also a branding strategy for getting your name out there. If your images are moving around, they might as well act as advertising agents for your work, right?
But how do you apply watermarks to your images without ruining the aesthetics? Here are a couple of tips to help you watermark with style.
Quick Guide for Creating Clever Watermarks
- Use a free photo editor to create your watermark and place them on your images. Watermark.ws, WaterMarquee, and PicMarkr are three good options to try.
- Start with the copyright symbol. © is how you show you mean business.
- A watermark that covers the entire image may deter web users from stealing your pics, but it will also spoil the fun for anyone who harmlessly tries to view images on your website or your social channels. A subtle watermark on the top, bottom or corners of the image is much more pleasant on the eye.
- While we completely stand behind advice no. 3, it’s also important to emphasize that the watermark should not blend seamlessly with the image so that it becomes practically invisible. Don’t forget the initial purpose of preventing copyright infringement! A watermark is useless if no one notices it.
- If you’re using a textual watermark, make sure it doesn’t extend beyond one line. Your full name or your brand name with a short description of your work will do (something along the lines of “Dream Day Photography” or “John Doe 3D Art”). Alternatively, you can also use the address of your website.
- You can also go for a visual watermark that displays your official logo. In this case it is nevertheless important to add a short text that clearly identifies you or your brand as the owner of the work.
- Not all of your images have the same color palette or dimensions, so your watermark should be adjustable to a variety of shades and layouts. It’s a good idea to prepare at least two colors (one to match light photos and one to match dark ones) and at least two styles (one “corner” watermark and one “strip” watermark). And in any case, make sure you save a version of the watermark that can be modified and customized.
- If you use a software to mass-watermark a large number of images (which is doable with Photoshop and other non-free photo editing tools), don’t forget to review the images and make sure that they all look decent. You don’t want a watermark right on someone’s face, do you?