This is a subject that discussed all the time in blogs, on podcast, and by photographers standing on the sidelines. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do have a opinion on this matter.
When I first started posting some of my images online I didn’t use a watermark at all, I just posted them up to show the world what I was shooting. To be honest with you I had no idea how to make a watermark, and I didn’t think I really needed one. At first I was ok with people using my images on their Facebook page and other social networks. Then when I was talking to other photographers about people using their pictures without permission, I started to think that maybe they were right, I should put a watermark on all of my images.
So that’s what I did, (once I figured out how to make one and apply it). At the time I was shooting High School sports, and then posting them to my site for the students to buy. I thought now that’s taking care of, they will buy some images and use them for their social network profile pics, NOT. Oh they used them all right with part of my watermark on them and the rest cropped out. I’m like what the heck do I do now? My sales were ok but, I was thinking if they didn’t take them then I would be selling more of them.
This went on for awhile, and it was driving me crazy, what should I do? How can I stop this from happening? I was driving my self crazy. Instead of learning how to get better images I was worried about stopping kids from taking my pictures. After awhile I said to my self if I can’t beat them join them. This is what I did, I made another watermark that had my website in the middle of the picture. I thought well at least I will get some free advertising out of the profile pictures.
Now I post images with and without watermarks, it all depends on what it is and where I post it. I try to just post a link to the image so they go to my site to view it. This seems to help drive traffic to my site, and make more sales of that event I posted.
I try not to sweat it any more, if they are going to buy some pictures great, if not then that’s ok too. I will just keep on shooting anyways. If people are removing watermarks now that’s a different story. I do not agree with it, but there again what can I do about it? My customers have been good to me by purchasing images from me on a regular basis. I am grateful for those people, and it helps me keep covering those events for them.
All I can say is I hope people will respect the photographer and do the right thing.
Please leave a comment on what you do when you post your images online and why you do what you do.
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Check out my site where you can get links to my social networks. John Zachary Photography
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