Monday, November 19, 2012

The Case For Watermarks

An endless sea of bunny rabbits are a perfect metaphor for reproduction and distribution in the digital age.
In an age of digital reproduction and distribution watermarking your images only makes sense!

Watermarks, Copyright and Monetary Value
Imagine if all photographers had highly visible watermarks on every image that they have online.  The message that photographs are copyrighted would become universal. The concept that images have a monetary value would be advanced immeasurably. Further, if those watermarks also showed a viewer where that image could be licensed, there is no doubt that at least some amount of additional revenue would be in the hands of content creators (photographers).

Watermarks And Legitimate Licensing
I understand the argument against watermarks, that they interrupt the beauty of an image and may result in less “sharing” of an image.  But if you are seeking to earn revenue through photography, putting a watermark on your image is a no brainer!  If someone who actually has a budget to license an image, and is on the Internet looking for images, a watermark isn’t going to prevent them from using one of my images if it suits their needs.  Rather, it makes it far easier for them to legitimately license the image and far less likely that they will merely steal it.  In fact, I have heard from some art directors that they won’t use an image if they cannot easily find the creator or copyright holder of an image…it is just too big a risk.

Watermarks and Credit
With a watermark on your photo anyone who sees that image will know who created it. It won’t simply be another anonymous creation that does me absolutely no good for people to share and see. If you are afraid of ruining the beauty of your imagery make the watermarks on the smaller, less obtrusive side. As for me, I want my watermarks to be big enough to get the copyright message across quickly, to make it less optimal for Photoshop knowledgeable people to remove the watermark, and to get credit where credit is due. Sure, watermarks can be removed and people are going to infringe…but with watermarked imagery those infringers will be far fewer.

Dollars And Cents
Actually, even if you are just sharing images you are proud of, and are not attempting to earn money with them, you still should be putting watermarks on them. If you are proud of your images then take credit for them! Fine artists working in mediums from oil pants to watercolors don’t hesitate to sign their work! Do yourself and all photographers a favor and put an easy-to-read watermark on your photos and preferably with your website address included. It just makes sense (and it makes dollars and cents as well).


canvas prints said...

im impressed with your amazing photography.

Starck Design said...

Helping my sister with photos for an article she wants to publish. It's a pain trying to find out who shot the pics she would like to include. No, it's nigh unto impossible!

John Lund said...

Starck Design,

Aha! Vindicated!