So, you watermarked your pictures? Alright, what’s the next step that you plan on taking to protect your photos from being stolen? Oh, you have not even thought about photos protection? In the ear of growing image theft securing copyrighted images is a must. Let us explain why watermark is not enough to make sure your photographs are being secured.



Painters usually paint their signature on their canvases to sing their works. In order to do so photographers use a watermark. Watermark is either a logo, signature or stamp superimposed on a picture. It shall not distract the picture – its size and placement are important. It is supposed to be easy to recognize and distinctive but at the same time barely visible. The design should correspond with the photographer’s style and favourable aesthetics. Some like to have it more explicit, others barely visible.


A watermark is usually being used for two reasons. First, it helps photographers to be identified. It communicates the style and helps with brand recognition. If someone comes across a picture and is interested in purchasing it – the watermark will help this person to contact the author. The second reason why watermark is so commonly used is that it communicates that the picture is copyrighted. True that it does but at the same time it does not serve as perfect protection for the photographers. So far the concept of watermarking seems to be understandable and justified but does it really serve its purpose?


The digital revolution seems to be a two-edged sword. It creates endless possibilities to share content and promote it but at the same time, its volume is growing so fast that it is hard to process. It is also easier than ever before to steal and use the pictures without photographers’ consent. Stolen images get lost in the piles of pictures being non-stop published. No wonder you also started thinking how to protect your photographs, but… if someone wants to steal your pictures they will do so anyway, and watermark may not do the job there.

©tomasso lizzul


“But I need the exposure. Watermark is a great way to let others know who the author of the picture is.” Once you find your images used for commercial purposes without your consent, the watermark is not much of a help. As long as you can prove that it was you who took the picture and you have the RAW file it should be enough. The watermark won’t rescue here.


It is a common belief that once a picture is watermarked it will stay this way forever. There could be nothing more wrong than that. A watermark can be actually easily removed, and image thieves know well how to do so.  In order to be effective and almost impossible to remove a watermark needs to really big which is surely not visually appealing. Small and unobtrusive watermarks that look much better can be removed in a few simple steps with photo editing software. Instead of editing, some would just crop the image in such a way that the watermark is cut off.


A lot of photographers still think that having their photos watermarked would make their portfolio look more professional while it quite often works exactly the other way around. It is rarely the case that the watermark is done in a professional way. Instead, it is usually quite tacky and often spoils the look of work. Adding watermarks to your pictures is also quite time-consuming. Decide, if it is worth your time.  Wouldn’t you rather use all these hours on working on new projects instead of spending time on something that is only a partial tool against image theft? Before you make up your mind, we have one more thing we would like to take into consideration. How about registering with PhotoClaim (completely for free) and having your entire portfolio scanned for copyright infringement? Once we finish monitoring the Internet, we send you an email with our findings. Most of our clients are often surprised by the scale of image theft. They are even more shocked once they discover the watermarked pictures being used without their consent. The ball is in your court now.

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