What’s the need of putting watermark on images?
Adding up a visible watermark is a common way of identifying images and protecting them from unauthorized use online. A watermark is a visible surrounded overlay on a digital image consisting of text, a logo, or a copyright notice. The intention of a watermark is to recognize the work and discourage its illegal use. Though a visible watermark can't prevent unauthorized use, it makes it difficult for those who may want to claim someone else's photo or art work as their own.
Another type of watermark is the digital watermark which was pioneered by Digimarc Corporation. Digimarc offers a service for embedding digital code into photos and other media that is unnoticeable during normal use, but enables tracking and identification of the media.
While using a watermark, care should be taken to ensure that the watermark is efficient, not only for proving that an image was customized, but also for educating the would-be pirates about copyright and ownership. Ideally, the watermark should be a copyright symbol along with the name of the owner, and the URL of the owner's web site, if applicable. This not only conveys the message of copyright, but it gives others an opportunity to contact the original owner of the image.
Watermark placement can be a bit of a balancing act. The watermark should be placed carefully so as not to detract from the image too much, but you also don't want to place the watermark in an area of solid color or a textured area where removal would be easy to conceal.
How to Watermark Your Images
There are many ways for watermarking high resolution pictures individually or in batch mode for multiple images. Many image processing and web gallery generating applications will have the watermarking capabilities built into them and there are also particular tools designed for watermarking many images at once.
Unless one is giving prints or files to someone who has paid for them in some way, one should always use watermarks on all publicly displayed electronic images. This includes images on all social media, the blog, and one’s online gallery and all business stock images. Many people are probably innocently unaware; they see an image they like, right click it, and save it to their desktop or repost it to their sites. Only few people are actually looking to steal professional images. Watermarking them ensures that anyone who looks at the image knows who took it.
By watermarking, one not only takes advantage of passive marketing opportunities but also protects one’s financial and brand image. Suppose a magazine editor sees one of your photos on someone’s Facebook page that would be perfect to accompany one of the magazine’s articles, but the photo has a big watermark on it.
First of all, the person knows immediately that who produced the image, and second, he knows that he can’t use it in that condition, so he has to contact you for a non-watermarked version of the image. That’s when you have the power to approve or decline the usage and set your terms. Without such a safety net in place, one’s photo could end up anywhere without acknowledgement or even permission. These are your photos and your marketing opportunities. If you don’t protect them, no one will.
Photographers who use major watermarks are losing business. Image theft is a valid concern for a professional, who makes their living by receiving money for the use of their creative works, but watermarks do harm to a photographer’s business for a variety of reasons:
First majority of them stated that an image with a prominent watermark is less likely to be licensed than an image without any watermark at all.
Second, business stock images that are heavily watermarked are less likely to be shared by others via social networks. If the photographer places a prominent watermark on top of the images, people will be less likely to pass it on to others, or to post it to their blog, or share it.
Third, the presence of a prominent watermark sends a faint signal to a image buyer that you might be a difficult person to work with. That you’re more concerned with someone using your images without permission than you are about the images themselves. Some people may actually shy away from contacting you for this very reason.
It’s important to build excitement about the images but it’s really difficult if there are watermarks all over them.
If you don’t watermark your images, will they be used elsewhere without your permission? Most likely, yes. But is that really a problem – or is it an opportunity?
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