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Do you watermark your photographs? And why?

watermark copyright

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#1 konzy


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Posted 06 November 2017 - 12:17 PM

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Hey guys,


I'm under the impression that I see more and more watermarked images, for instance on various Fuji-related Facebook groups I follow. They used to be some simple transparent text, in a corner or right in the middle, but I now see more and more elaborated watermarks like the one below:


Do you use a watermark? Why?


I know it's an old debate, but here are a few additional questions I've been asking myself:

- If you use one, do you use it in a preventive way, or because in the past someone used your work without your permission?

- Don't you think it kind of ruins a picture?

- Don't you care that other people could use your work?

- Do you use workarounds, like, "never publish a high resolution file"?

- Is the watermark mostly for the sake of intellectual property, or is it more a financial matter (for people who get money from their photographic work)?

- I often see watermarks on pictures that, honestly, have nothing really special... or that are not beautiful (highly subjective judgment). In that case, could the watermark affect negatively the photographer? In otherwords, posting crap and labeling it with a watermark to make it more professional and less snapshoty.






#2 Festus



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Posted 06 November 2017 - 03:40 PM

No, I think it is obnoxious. Vain!

#3 milandro


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Posted 06 November 2017 - 03:52 PM

a watermark is not a signature that shows in the pictures





I sign my pictures but I don’t bother watermarking them

Edited by milandro, 06 November 2017 - 07:29 PM.

the popular expression wishful thinking is an oxymoron!


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#4 Nero


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Posted 06 November 2017 - 09:32 PM

I don't use one, but the only digital platforms that I share through automatically downsample the images, so there really isn't a way for anyone to "steal" them in a usable form. If someone wants to copy a 1024 pixel resolution version of one of my photos, they can have it. Nothing they can do with that low-res image will have a significant impact on me. Aside from that, the only way that they are publicly visible is if I've printed them for an exhibition in a gallery.


Signatures on photos are like logos in many ways, but less prominently displayed. I've seen elegant solutions, awful ones that degrade the image as a whole, and everything in between. If you're going to use one, my best advice is to place it on a few different images from your portfolio with a wide range of subjects and ask a few fellow photographers and friends whose opinions you respect and trust to give you feedback. Go through several refinements of the design if necessary.

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#5 rrrrrichard


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Posted 06 November 2017 - 09:32 PM

I'm a casual amateur photographer, so I don't even think about it. If I were more serious, or if my income depended on it, I don't think I'd watermark either. (milandro, I understand the distinction you're making, but, sadly, as with so many language errors, the ship has sailed on this one.) First, watermarks damage the image, by definition (except in vanishingly rare cases where the watermark itself is part of some ironic artistic statement). And they also damage the relationship between the artist and the viewer, in my opinion. Serious or professional photographers should by all means copyright and register their images and employ steganographic techniques for protection. 


When viewing photos online, I tend to give images by those I believe are not taking themselves seriously much easier "likes". If an image is watermarked and I have any doubts at all about it -- no likey. :)

#6 Jrgaston



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Posted 07 November 2017 - 02:56 AM

Ugh no. Maybe if the signature is subtle and the picture is amazing I'll overlook it. But my usual reaction is amusement at their naïveté.

#7 Arthur


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Posted 07 November 2017 - 04:41 AM

I only publish images not exceeding 1024 pixels.
No need for watermarks

#8 Tikcus


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Posted 07 November 2017 - 07:42 PM

it depends on what i am posting photograph for


on my website photos that are for sale (normally from events) are watermarked, portfolio shots or photos to flickr/Instagram are not normally watermarked

"Share what you have learnt"


My Flickr

#9 lisa



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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:54 AM

As it reduces the beauty, increases the uncertainty. So, you can show photographs with a fair resolution.

#10 Larry Bolch

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:11 AM

On Facebook and my website, all images are highly compressed JPEGs of modest resolution. Printed at a common resolution of 300 pixels per inch, would produce just a thumbnail-size image. Printed larger would result in horrid JPEG artefacts. If a viewer likes my image and wants to keep a personal copy on their hard drive, I am fine with that.


If an advertiser wants to use one in a brochure, they can contact me and I can provide them with a high-resolution version licensed for their needs at an equitable negotiated price. If they want to use a download, the horrible quality will certainly detract from their product.

#11 lleo


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Posted 10 November 2017 - 03:04 PM


the only reason for signing or watermarking a photo is avoid others to get money out of it. Usually you do it if photography is your job or in case you have such an exceptional photo, or what you think is a exceptional photo, and you're worried somebody might get cash out of it.

There are also people who just want a citation, you can use their pictures if you name them.

Anyways, as other mates said above, the only way on the net to avoid having your work stolen is publish only low resolution pictures.

I publish my stuff on the socials only for work, not liking socials at all, with a size in which the longer side of the image is 450px

In this way, even if the photo is published with high resolution, it cannot be used for anything being too small sized.


#12 Adam Woodhouse

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 07:37 PM

I use to when I started my part time photography business.  But over the years I realized it accomplished nothing.  So I don't any longer.  Images that I post online are typically no more than 2 mp and I usually save them at 1 DPI.

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#13 Chucktin


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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:49 PM

Be warned - if you are concerned about copyrights (yours), not only can metadata be stripped, and a lot of sharing sites do that, but recent news includes an article about software that strips out watermarks unless you can randomize it sufficiently. And the beat goes on ...

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

#14 konzy


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Posted 09 December 2017 - 06:34 PM

Haven't checked this topic for a while. Thanks everyone for your inputs! That's very interesting, and indeed, I guess it depends on a lot of factors.


Chucktin, I wasn't aware of this new "feature"... That's sad!

#15 JXPhotoGuy



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Posted 09 December 2017 - 07:44 PM

I don't worry about it any longer.... retired on social security, so I don't shoot for profit any longer.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: watermark, copyright


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