Photojournalist John D. McHugh was sick of having his photos stolen and infringed upon the moment he posted them online. And even though he can, of course, put watermarks on his photos in Photoshop, he found himself wondering if maybe he couldn’t come up with a better way. Enter Marksta, an app that allows you to watermark photos right on your iPhone before posting them to Facebook, Instagram, and other places where they may be easily stolen.
Watermarks are commonly used by photographers these days to protect their work from unauthorized use and distribution. However, they’re not very popular among photo viewers, since they do a lot to detract from the content of the photographs. Photographer Kip Praslowicz was thinking about this earlier this week, and writes,
[...] it seems like many amateur [photographers] spend more time putting elaborate watermarks on their images than they do making images worth stealing [...] I don’t really recall ever seeing the photographs of famous art photographers with a gaudy watermark.
He then decided to see what famous photographs would look like if the photographers behind them had slapped obnoxious watermarks onto them.
Watermarks are a popular way of “signing” photographs and deterring theft, but having a giant logo overlaid on your images can ruin the viewing experience. Photographer Klaus Herrmann has one solution: integrated watermarks. He writes,
[Watermarking] seems to be a viable way of protecting your images from online theft, but a watermark can ruin a photo if placed carelessly. Indeed, with a semi-transparent giant piece of text (and maybe Comic Sans as a font) written straight across the image, many people won’t bother looking at the image for more than a second. I have been applying watermarks (or, to be more precise, signatures) to my images for some time now, but I use a different philosophy by making it an integral part of each image, almost as if it was there in the original scene.
He has written up a tutorial on how you can make your watermark look like part of your photo. It’s a pretty time-intensive process, but could be useful for sharing fine-art photography online.
Creative Watermarking – How to Integrate Your Signature into Your Photos [Farbspiel Photography]
Image credit: Photograph by Klaus Herrmann
Wanting to shed its image of being “old media” and “old fashioned”, Getty Images has unveiled a new watermark that does away with the annoying logo in favor of short links. Rather than plaster the words “Getty Images” across the front of photos, the new watermark is actually useful: it provides a short link that directs viewers to the webpage for that particular image and also gives credit to the creator of the work. Inspired by the plaques found at exhibitions, the new watermark is offset to the side rather than smack dab in the middle.
This comment posted (and deleted) by Reddit user WonkoTheLucid shows why photographers need to make sure their websites are secured properly:
My friends wedding photos were posted with watermarks on a photo reprint site for sale. The prices were a bit outrageous. Another friend who does web design clued me into manually entering the photo address to display a full resolution photo without a watermark. I wrote a script and downloaded 500 free high res photos. Burnt many dvd copies and mailed them to a bunch of random people who were at the wedding.
If you’re a professional photographer that lets clients review proofs online, make sure the high-res, non-watermarked versions of the photos aren’t accessible by simply changing a portion of the URL.
As a professional photographer, this really makes me angry [Reddit]