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Guidelines for Using Watermarks in Web Images

Image theft has become an issue of great concern for most professional photographers. As a result, many have resorted to using watermarks to protect their creative works. However, these watermarks could end up working against the photographer’s business. Heavily watermarked images have a lower chance of being licensed by photo buyers compared to those that have no watermark at all. In addition, people are reluctant to share images with prominent watermarks via social networks. Finally, when photo buyers see prominent watermarks on your images, they might conclude that you are a difficult individual to deal with since you are overly concerned about protecting your images. For this reason, potential buyers may hesitate to contact you.

The following are some points to consider when it comes to using watermarks on your images.

1. Register your image with the copyright office     

Having a prominent watermark on your image will not necessarily stop people from using it. Some will even have the audacity to use your images – complete with watermarks. In such a case, even if you went to court, you wouldn’t have any real advantage. Therefore, the best way of protecting your images is by registering them with your country’s copyright office. This way, the law will work in your favor and you won’t have to worry about anyone using your photos without your permission.

2. Watermarks are removable

If anyone is really determined to use your image, they can always find a way of removing the watermark using Photoshop. This means that the only way of protecting yourself is by registering your images with the copyright office.

3. Take advantage of infringement

If you realize that your images are being used on another site without your consent, you could ask the owner of the site to remove the image. Alternatively, you could request them to add a link back to your site and a credit. Backlinks are great for SEO purposes. The more links back to your site to have, the better your ranking in search engines.

4. Use watermarks with subtlety

If you have to use watermarks on your images, you need to do it with a lot of subtlety. Don’t overdo it. The watermark should not distract the viewer from the image, otherwise you might end up losing business. In addition, make sure your watermark contains useful details such as your website address, your name and how you can be reached – in case someone is interested in licensing the image.

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