February 19th, 2011
Everyone hates watermarks (at least I hope they do). They are distracting, ugly, and often in a horrible font on top of everything. Literally, everything.
People are scared of having their images stolen, I understand, but the scenario ends up being either that your image is too ugly to want to steal because of the watermark and low resolution (if it’s too ugly to steal, it’s too ugly to want to buy) or people will just remove the watermark in Photoshop – BUT what if they don’t know it’s there? I know you’re thinking “but if they don’t see a watermark they will DEFINITELY steal it, as opposed to probably not”. It’s actually likely they will steal it anyway. Which is why having an invisible watermark will protect you down the road, even in a legal dispute if needed.
While working on some photos for Etsy today, I started making watermarks for my photos, something I’ve never really done before because it always looks so terrible, and decided to do a google search and find a debate for and against.
Many people were against using watermarks because of pretty much the reasons I listed above, It will not deter thieves, or it may, but also customers – depending on how hardcore your watermark is.
Someone on an Etsy forum posted the ultimate solution to everyone’s woes, instructions on how to make an invisible watermark and I’m sharing it with you here: Invisible Watermark Instructions
See the watermarks? no? good.
Using this watermark also gives you the freedom to stop squashing your images down to 500px wide as well, though that will be up to you. In my photos, details are important and the fact that my medium format images are so crisp and clear, is barely noticeable in a tiny photo. Why bother sharing if you’re not sharing the whole experience? This may mean that I add the invisible watermark all over the image rather than in just one place, just to up the chances of safety, but at least I get to display what I want worry free.
Check it out and give it a try. I know adding a watermark to all your photos might sound tedious. It will be. Also, think of it this way. Anyone who buys a print of your photo can scan it and put it in their own collection any time they want. There is really no safeguard from art thieves, so decide for yourself which preventative effort is worth it and which is not.