The Watermark - Love it or Hate it?

March 23, 2012  •  4 Comments


Watermarks are a continuing controversy among photographers both on the professional and amateur level.  Ranging from how big they should make them to if you should use them at all. Most photographers use them on social media websites to get work.

While watermarks can get you attention. They are very easy to remove with simple software and are distracting from the impact the image makes. Believe it or not a few minutes on Google and you can find free software out there that you can download to remove any watermark or logo. If someone really wants to steal your work they will. There's not much you can do to stop them. You can however send them a legal notice after if you find out who actually did it. I chose not to put watermark's on my images because I feel it takes away from the image. Instead on Facebook and Google plus have a legal notice posted below the image and also have links to my website. If a model decides to post one of my images on a social media website then my copyright will show up underneath courtesy of programming my  Nikon camera to embed my copyright data into the image. If you don't have the option to do it in camera there are programs like Lightroom that can do this.

What are your thoughts on Watermarks? Do you love them or hate them? Would love to hear everyone's feedback! 


I have been talking about this topic with some other fellow photographers locally and overseas. Personally I think that there are some really tacky and some tasteful watermarks. Sometimes it makes me laugh when I see poor quality image with a large watermark - but hey ..... if it works for them - doesn't bother me! :)

I have watermarks on all of the work related images, especially the once that are up on the social networks and I make sure that my models follow the rules, because:

1. it tells that I am the photographer

2. it tells to others who are not related in the photography/art world that I have the copyright of the image (I had an incident where another person modified one of my image, covered my name and copyright sign with her photoshop art work and it was in her company page under the album called "Our Work". Guess what - despite the artwork being cool and I was flattered that someone liked my photo so much to alter it - but it wasn't their work to begin with and she never asked permisssion from me. She couldn't even argue with me because she knew that my signature and copyright sign were there)

3. why not - it's a free marketing tool!

4. not everyone is so savvy to remove the watermarks and if they do - then depends where the images are used and how - once again .... it's their problem, because they eventually are the once to face the circumstances.

At the end of the day - I think it's a personal preference. I will continue using watermarks (my name logo and copyright sign) on the images that go out to social media websites.
If done tasteful and for the right reason, I think it's a great way for people not to have to go "Who was the photographer?" I watermark my social media media photos and web optimized images, but for my own website I don't. If people want to take your photo they will and as Jonathan said...get your copyright embedded into the data on the image if anything.
I always watermark my images, especially the ones that go on social media websites. On my website, the option to right click to download is taken away (but those are not watermarked), because I want my customers to purchase them (at times).

I'd like to see someone try to remove the (poorly created) watermark in the above photo - it would look very obvious that they did!

Also, when you upload to facebook they automatically remove the exif information. I just downloaded a photo from your recent wall feed and opened in CS5 - sure enough, nothing was there other than the image itself.

So yes, I love them! I've gotten quite a bit of wedding and portrait referrals through friends of friends on FB posting images I've taken from them and noticed my watermark and got to me through that. There are ways of making them tastefull and classy. I actually have 3 different 'versions' of my watermark. One used for weddings and engagements, one for my commercial work, and another for everything else.
The girl to the far left is my home girl. Watermarking is a joke sometimes and this is why Metromix got rid of watermarking photos
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