Sometimes people urge me to watermark my images. I must protect them from unauthorised use! They will steal it! Its recognition!
Nah. I will not do so and I tell you why. For those who watermark and are happy with it, I am happy for you! For those who are undecided, read ahead.
1. Its ugly
Imagine a great image. Say a landscape. An amazing one. People will look at it and say: yeah thats nice. But then, in the bottom left corner are the words “Phillip Glombik Photography”, maybe written over a nice part of the image in big bold letters and in a colour with a high contrast to the background. In my humble opinion, it breaks the magic of any image if my eye has to cover a piece of writing or a logo covering a part of the image.
2. Its distracting
That goes together with the first point but makes it a little bit worst. If I look at an image, I WANT to look at it. The image, the scenery, the sky, whatever there is. Watermarks are mostly chosen to be contrasty to whatever is behind it, so it pops out of the image. Are you interested in people learning your name or are you interested in people enjoying your images? If they do, they will look up your name anyway! Whats the point? Its just making your eye to go there so that you must stop enjoying the image.
3. I want people to use my images
When I upload images, I am very happy if people use it for a blog or a website or whatever! In 95% of the cases I will be informed and there will be a link to my website or portfolio together with my name. There is no need to write my name all over it, again, because I want people to enjoy the image not my name.
4. Legit companies won’t steal
If a company is interested in your images to use them commercially, they won’t just steal them! They have a reputation to loose and they won’t jeopardise it.
5. It is super easy to track your images online
Should it happen that people take your work and use it as their own, its easy to find that out. Just go to google image search and check where on the internet your image is uploaded. Once you found someone, just (publicly) remind the person in the comments that this is your work and you would greatly appreciate a reference to your name in the caption. People are quickly embarrassed to be caught and either remove the image or add the name. If not, just complain to the host and report the post.
6. Watermarks won’t protect your images
Give me any image. If I want to remove the watermark, I will do so, no matter the size or the position. Mostly it is as easy as spending 1 minute in photoshop to remove the precious thing. If someone really wants to steal it, they will. But again, you will find out quickly.
Of course, this is my personal opinion. And, I might add, there are some watermarks which are super small and half transparent so that they do not disturb the image at all! Thats great – but we all know that massive XX-Photography writing over an image (sometimes as wide as the image itself!). Make up your own mind – its your images in the end, hehe.