April 24, 2014 | Posted by Mandy Blake
You have just received the email from your family photographer that your image gallery is ready to view! So you hit the link, open up the gallery, excited to see all of the beautiful pictures of your children and family. But then you see a watermark right through the middle of each picture… CRAP.
“Why would they put it over our faces?” you wonder aloud. “How am I supposed to share this on Facebook?” you think. Well I am here to answer those questions, and maybe a few more!
Photographers use a watermark or logo on their images for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it is added to identify the image as their own for copyright purposes, to protect against image theft. In this internet generation, with social media permeating almost every corner of the world, protecting original work is harder and more important than ever.
Believe it or not, many photographers have their images stolen every day. By large corporations looking to save a dollar or two on the photography budget, by meme-makers to accompany hilarious quotes and even by other photographers who are trying to add some shine to their less-shiny portfolios.
“But I paid for these photos, I am not trying steal them!” you protest. Of course not! You are going to order beautiful prints for your home and maybe some digital images to archive. But if that watermark wasn’t there, maybe you would want to save your favorite image and use it as your cover photo or profile picture…
Now photographers LOVE when you are proud and happy to share the images they captured of your family. Until your one random Facebook friend – you know, that one that you added when you became new besties at the yoga retreat after a few glasses of organic red wine (we all have one, it’s okay) – well she thinks that that picture of your kid is SUPER cute and saves it to her desktop. And then she shows her photographer friend (we all have one of those too), who thinks it is SPECTACULAR, so much so, in fact, that she puts it in her portfolio. And voila, image stolen!
But if your photographer had given you a watermarked image, with their logo or information clearly visible, this whole scenario would be a lot less likely. Your family or children won’t be shared somewhere in cyberspace without your knowledge or the knowledge of your photographer. WIN-WIN!
“Well, does it have to be over our faces?” Well, yes and no. Often when your photographer has added a watermark that is large or obstructive, it is because you will be ordering images or image files at a later date and the ones in the gallery are simply for review and selection. We want you to have the very best products that we offer, gorgeous prints and stunning digital files to print for your home. And that web-sized, low resolution file in the gallery is not exactly the BEST. Many times I have seen the situation where a well-meaning, over-enthusiastic parent or grandparent takes a screen shot of their favorite gallery photo and then prints it out proudly, only to realize that it suddenly looks fuzzy or the colors are weird. And that is definitely not the type of product your photographer wants you to leave with! So that is why the watermark can sometimes be found running over-top of the smiles of your darling children and semi-
Here are a couple of examples of what you may see in a gallery, showing the watermark through a large portion or the center of the image:
If you want to be able to share your new, lovely images on the internet, be sure to ask your photographer if he/she could provide a watermarked, web-ready image for sharing. I am willing to be that most photographers will be very happy to accommodate this AWESOME request!
Here are a couple of examples of what you may commonly see for the watermarking of web-sharing images:
So the bottom line is this: Watermarks are there to protect both the photographer and YOU. Having a watermarked image on display on the web guarantees that everyone knows that the image is the copyrighted property of your photographer and also it helps to deter that over-sharing yoga “friend” won’t be hanging a photo of your child on her fridge!
MEMBER ONLY ALERT - Mandy will be available in our Facebook Member Forum LIVE for one hour on Thursday evening, April 24th from 8-9pm EST to answer additional questions about this topic. See you in the Forum!