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Old 02-20-2007, 02:35 PM
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kmdunlap kmdunlap is offline
TE Newbie
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 21
Default How to watermark your images- tips for new TE users

If you are a new TE user you are probably excited about the potential of TE, the usefulness of gaining feedback on your images, and the general photography community here. But if you have perused any of the forums, you have likely seen that many TE users are having copyright issues with their images. Let's learn from those who have been on TE for a long time, and begin to at least watermark our images, starting with the very next upload. Otherwise eventually you will have hundreds of images on TE that are easy to steal.

Copyright issues are complicated and vary by country sometimes, and some countries don't enforce the laws (if there are any.) At the very least you can reduce the likelihood that someone will steal your image and put it on their site if you use a good watermark. If we as a community begin to watermark all our images it will reduce the amount of theft and thieves will stop using TE as a good place to steal images for their travel brochures, websites, etc. The sad fact is that many people don't recognize taking someone's image off the web and using it as a copyright infringement- some simply don't care. Copyright is a fact, not just a theory- whether you are able to enforce it or not. If you live in a place where you can't enforce your copyright you should do all that you can to protect your images.

So, about watermarks. A watermark has several purposes- first to identify who the photographer of the image is. Second, to make the viewer aware that the image is copyrighted and is your property, and third, to discourage thieves from stealing your image. In order to accomplish these purposes a watermark needs to be large enough and prominent enough that it can not be simply spot healed or patch tooled out in Photoshop. In part that means not placing it in a small dark or light corner- it should cover enough of the image to make it difficult to remove. It should have your name, and can have your website if you desire. While we don't want to watermark to be a slap in the face of the viewer, it should be clearly seen, and enough of a distraction that other sites won't be able to use it without it being obvious. Some people even put watermarks such as "This image was stolen" or other equally drastic phrases. Each photographer will have to decide for his or herself about what language is appropriate for their situation. If I took images of places copyright is not enforced I might put something like that on my image.

Now, how to create a watermark. Watermarks are simple to make, and you can use an action to record your watermark process once you are satisfied with the placement, size, and color of it. Here are the steps to making a watermark on your image- note that this is a summary of a good website reference,, although this site isn't using CS2, so the screen shots may vary. Kudos to the site maker of All Things Photography for making it simple for us to follow.

1. Open your file
2. Select the Text tool
3. Click on the image where you think you'd like the watermark.
4. Enter your text, choosing the font type, size, and color. This will create a new layer on your image with the text in it.
5. At this point you have several options- for a simple watermark just reduce the opacity of your text layer. For a fancier one you can go to Layer Effects and choose Outer or Inner Glow, or Drop Shadow, or whatever you like.

After you have played around with the watermark and gotten it how you like it, start over with a clean image (go into your history palette and click on the original Open image) and record an action. To do that:

1. Go to the Actions palette
2. Choose create a new action. It's a good idea to name your action.
3. Now hit Record, and go through and add your watermark to your image.
4. When you're done adding the watermark hit the Stop button.

Run the action before you resize and compress your files for upload to TE. I unfortunately have 3 images on TE which I did not watermark- I won't be making that mistake again. In my opinion the best defense is a good offence when it comes to copyright protection. If you are an old school TE user consider beginning to watermark now- perhaps Adam might find a way in the future for us to watermark images that are already uploaded. The more of us are watermarking the fewer images will be stolen.

Best of luck to you all in choosing your watermark phrases- if someone comes up with a really good one pass it on. :)

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