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Old 02-23-2007, 02:32 PM
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bstreeck bstreeck is offline
TE Newbie
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 51
Default Re: How to watermark your images- tips for new TE users

Watermarks in photos are a often discussed thing on all photo sites, and I seldom give my opinion, but now, I don't know why, must add something to this.

Do you really need a watermark? When contemplating this, you need to ask yourself: Is my photography really that good? Is it that distinct, that if I don't watermark it, the thief would not be able to find another picture that suits his needs just as well? Can I create a watermark that is not only visually destructive but also effective enough to justify that "slap in the face"? What am I trying to do with the watermark, prevent or prove?

IMHO, most photography presented on this site, and any other, does not need to be watermarked.

I say this because seldom can you find here a picture, which is so unique that not 50 other pictures of a similar motiv and quality can be easily found that would suit a thief just as well. Think about it: if some cheap travel agency is looking for a picture of a beautiful beach for their homepage... any problems finding such a picture on the net? Nope.

Is someone going to be able to take your TE portfolio and turn it into a 200-page high-gloss hard cover picture book about travel photography? No, no picture hosted here is suitable to be printed in a size greater than 3 inches.

How should I watermark it without destroying the visual sensation for the fellow TEer while still being effective. Most likely, you can't. The less of the picture is covered, the easier simple photoshopping will recover the picture good enough to use it for a website. The more of the picture is covered, the less enjoyable the picture is to view. Do I use a a solid font, or do I use a see through effect? The solid font destroys the picture but is rather effective. Bold letters help. See-though-stuff can often be reversed, for instance if part of it was lightened, simply by darkening.

And consider this: Someone stole your picture and used it on a travel website. What difference does it make, whether you had watermarked your image or not? The watermark was removed of course.
- Say, it's a Lithuanian site. You tell them to remove it, threaten them with a letter from your lawyer. Probably they will take it down, but maybe not. By the way, if they remove it upon receiving your letter, they will do so regardless of a watermark or not. If they don't you could try to find legal representation in Lithuania from your internet-pc in the states. But what good is it going to do? No court in Lithuania can be made to even discuss the possibility of collecting money in your name, while you sit at home and keep screaming "copyright violation!" How far are you willing to go to protect your rights?
- Let's say, the site owner is from your State. You have properly saved evidence of the theft, you get a lawyer, a court date, you file a case against him, and then, the big day comes. Nobody is going to care whether there was a watermark on the image or not, all you need to do is prove that you took the picture by providing the original jpg file in full resolution or even better the raw file and nobody is going to claim that you don't have full rights. Again, the watermark made no difference.

So what is the watermark going to do you good? Nothing. Simply, it just slaps the viewer in the face. And if your picture is really close to being truly spectacular, the 10 minutes required to remove your watermark are not going to discourage anyone from using it.

And personally, I feel that none of my photography is worth stealing. And if somebody does and I actually find out about it, and they don't react to my friendly mail telling them about their copyright infringement, well, I'm just going to let it slip. I'm not going to be able to help grinning, knowing that some moron thought my photography was good enough to steal and take risks for.

And then you do know, the kind of watermarks you instill on your images are not much of a challenge to anyone with only 5 minutes time... right?
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