When we share our images via the web, as nearly all photographers must do these days, there is a very real risk that some images will be downloaded and used by others without our permission. This has happened to me and to many of my friends who are photographers. For those of us who make a living selling our images, this theft is more than an annoyance. So, it’s important to attach a watermark to our image files before sharing in cyberspace. A watermark is an identifying image or pattern included as part of the photo. While putting your name and/or copyright logo on a watermark does not offer any special legal protection under US law, it does tend to discourage theft of your work. And if someone does borrow or share your watermarked images, the watermark will identify them as yours and can even make good advertising.
Like most photographers, I have been using a watermark that simply states my company’s name (Kyle Adler Photography) and the year the image was taken or most recently shared. The photo below, taken in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, shows an example.
The problem with this style of watermarking is that is isn’t very attractive and it can distract the viewer’s attention from the image itself.
This week a friend and fellow photographer told me about a company called PhotoLogo (https://www.photologo.co). For about US$40, they will create a watermark logo consisting of a stylized calligraphy signature of your name along with whatever other identifying information you would like included. My custom watermark was sent in less than the 48 hours they promise. The photo below, also made in Torres del Paine National Park, shows the signature logo they made for me.
PhotoLogo delivers your signature logo in the form of PNG files, which means they are usable by nearly any image processing or image sharing application or site, and because PNG files are transparent, you can make them as prominent or as unobtrusive as you wish. They are also fully scalable, so you can make them larger or smaller relative to the size of the images to which they’ll be attached. PhotoLogo delivers the watermark in both high-resolution and low-resolution versions, each provided in both black and white, for a total of four files.
In the next photo, made in Svalbard high in the Arctic, the white version of the watermark would be invisible against the white snowy background, so here I used the black version, instead.
I’m quite pleased with the PhotoLogo service. For a reasonable price and in a short period of time, they created a stylish customized watermark that works for most of my purposes. I’ve used it in my direct publishing from the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom application and also on my website and (obviously) in this blog. The feedback has been very favorable so far.
Note that the PhotoLogo team never sees your actual signature, so the logo they create is an artistic rendering of your name but not your true signature. That’s a good thing, both because some of us have dreadful signatures and also because providing the world with your actual signature can invite identity theft.
What watermark do you use for your images? Do you have tips and tricks you can share with this forum? Please leave your comment here.