To Watermark, or not to Watermark? That is the Question

Watermarked Frog

Watermarked on the bottom left. Is the frog pleased with that watermark?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to sharing photos online – you can put the smallest images possible online and watermark them or you can offer up your creations for the world to see and be thrilled when they are shared and used by others…in non-commercial ways, of course.

We had this discussion at the store when we decided to start posting our own, personal photos on Facebook and Pinterest. Most of us felt that we needed to watermark the photos in order to keep them from being “stolen”, used improperly, etc. You will notice, right now, we have watermarked our photos and we don’t know if that will change.

There is no right or wrong in this…it is difficult to change.

Those in the camp of sharing openly view it this way:

Sharing, regardless of what happens with the photo, is the best way to connect your art with the rest of the world. There are certainly a lot of people who view a watermarked photo and see it as annoying and move on.  Many photographers are seeing their openly shared photos go viral with hundreds of millions of views on Pinterest or Facebook or Google+. Photographers who use the Creative Commons Noncommercial license have started getting noticed worldwide with millions of followers sharing their work.

There is a fear of Pinterest that it strips away copyright. The link to the originally pinned photo is still there. So, if it’s a photo you own and posted from your own website, it will lead back to that website. This is a good time to start thinking about how to market your photos. Even if you aren’t selling them, having a website for yourself to archive all the photos is a great way to also protect your photos that you want to share.

What do you think about this issue? Leave your comments and share this blog with others. We would love to hear from you!

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One thought on “To Watermark, or not to Watermark? That is the Question

  1. Shayne B says:

    Here’s something a lot of people don’t realize when they post photos to Facebook. I don’t know if Pinterest, Google+, etc, have similar policies or not.

    From the Facebook user agreement:

    “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

    For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

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