Recently I have heard quite a few stories from talented people who make items to sell, stating that their photos are being used by someone else. Either claiming it’s theirs, or perhaps they took it innocently to show what they could make. There are a number of reasons that someone else could take your photos and pass them off as their own, and in this digital age that we live in any pictures that are put on the internet can be easily copied, saved, screenshot, etc.
There is no way you could ensure that your photos aren’t used, but there is a way of preventing it from happening for the wrong reasons, and that’s the simple art of watermarking (putting your own translucent mark/logo/text onto your pictures so you can still see through them). Like the ‘PROOF’ text that you used to get all over your school photos!
A watermark can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. It can be just plain text with your name or business name on the picture or it can be your logo. Whatever it is, try to put it on your picture somewhere where it can’t be cropped off easily. But at the same time, you don’t want it to obliterate your picture. A watermark can also advertise your business too if you use your logo or business name on it.
I have made up some examples of different watermarks here:
This one has my business name at the bottom in full opacity. I think this looks neat but it can be easily cropped out.
This has my business name right through the picture but the text is translucent so you can still see through it. Personally I don’t think this looks as smart, but it can’t be cropped or taken out easily.
In this picture I created a watermark with my logo and added it onto my picture in an area where it can be seen but isn’t obliterating much of the detail in the picture.
If you want to create a watermark for free it’s incredibly easy to do (if I can do it then you can too!). There is a fantastic website that you can use online called picmonkey, it’s a very straightforward website and they have their own useful guides on how to use it. There are also many apps on your phone and tablets too, and the one I am enjoying using at the moment is ‘pixlr’ (I have just discovered they do a version for computers too!). If you’d like to make a logo watermark with text and don’t know how then I suggest using gimp. I had a play around on it and taught myself but if there was anything specific I wanted to know I’d youtube it. There are so many youtube videos on practically everything to do with the gimp software.
It is a shame that we should feel threatened by people taking our pictures but, you should be proud of your work and putting your watermark on is like putting your signature on. We should be flattered that someone thinks our work is so good they want to copy it. At the end of the day there will always be someone willing to undercut you and think they can produce the same items as you for a fraction of the cost, but if they have to steal your pictures instead of putting their own up, they clearly aren’t proud of their own work, and I dread to think about the materials they use, as there is a reason you charge what you do.
This leads me on to another topic about the cost of handmade but I shall save that for another day!!
For now, please ‘sign’ your work and be proud to show off what you have done! PLEASE watermark your own work.