The main reason to watermark your product photos is to protect your hard work, so other won’t use your photography without paying. Watermarking is also a good way to brand your photography, so that as your photos are used, your name is getting out there as a from of passive marketing. Many photographers also watermark photos to discourage low-quality prints.
As somebody who takes product photos for your blog or website, you are likely wondering should you be watermarking these photos? The answer to this is YES, in most cases you should be watermarking your product photos. There are both pros and cons to watermarking and you need to consider these before you decide what is right for you. More often than not, however, you SHOULD be watermarking your product photography. Carry on reading to discover why you should take this step and some ways that you can protect your photography without watermarking if that is something that you would prefer to do.
Reasons to watermark your product photos
- The main reason why people watermark their product photos is so that those images don’t get stolen. It is so easy to just find a photo on the internet, save it and claim it as your own. When people are selling products online, they often try to cut corners and this means looking for product imagery that is not their own. If your photos are watermarked, this stops this from happening to a certain degree but sadly, this doesn’t apply in all cases.
- You will probably know how much time you take over your photos and getting them just perfect. The lighting and composition being just right can take a lot of effort. When you take a lot of pride in what you do and this if this just gets taken by another person, it is horrible and you don’t want anyone else to profit from what you took the time to create.
- A lot of photographers watermark their product photos to discourage others making low-quality prints of their work.
- Another reason why you might want to watermark your product photos is simply to “sign” your work. If people see the photo and they want to find out who took it, they might be able to find you from your watermark, which could help you get more customers. This is like marketing in a way because it gives you the opportunity to show off your work.
How to watermark your product photos
Before you start watermarking your images, you might be wondering what your watermark should consist of? If you are only concerned about theft, you might just want to create a logo. If you want to watermark for marketing reasons, however, you might want to include more personal information such as a website or even an email address. You do NOT need to pay anybody to watermark your product photos, although there are companies out there that offer this service. It is super easy to watermark photos yourself and there are a couple of different ways that you can do it. Below are a few different options for you to choose from when putting a watermark on your product images.
- Use a super-simple and free photo editing software to add your name onto the photo that you want to be watermarked. While it might not look THE most professional, it does the intended job. Some examples are Canva.com and Pixlr.com.
- You can use an online tool that was specifically designed to create watermarks, PicMarkr is recommended and extremely easy to use.
- If you use software to professionally edit your photos anyway, you might be familiar with Adobe Lightroom, which is ideal for adding watermarks to photos in bulk. You will need to create and edit a watermark first using the platform but when this is done, you should be able to easily add it to whatever photo you want.
There is more advanced watermarking software on the market but these can be quite expensive. It is up to you to research the different options and discover what is right for you. If watermarking is going to hugely be beneficial for your brand, then it might be worth paying for a more professional service.
Why you may not want to watermark
While there are some very valid reasons to watermark your product photography, there are also a few reasons why you might not want to go down that route. The following reasons are all for the argument against watermarking your product photos.
- A watermark can ruin an image and even though you likely have an original out there, having your image plastered online with the watermark might take away how much of a good photograph it is. It can distract viewers from the composition and distracting the eye is not something you want to do when you have worked particularly hard on a photo.
- Watermarks might not prevent theft of images as much as what people might think it does. There is actually software out there for removing watermarks or the image could even just be cropped so that the watermark cannot be seen.
- While those who perform image theft can be prosecuted, often this will not result in a conviction. This will only mean time wasted for you and possible even hefty court fees.
How to protect your photos without a watermark
There are ways that you can protect your photos from being used by others without a watermark. You could simply add a copyright notice above the image stating that photos cannot be used without your consent. Keep in mind however that while the original photographer does have copyright to their images, this is actually really difficult to enforce by law. Just having the copyright notice there however might make individuals think twice before saving your images and passing them off as their own. You could also brand your photos without a watermark but still having something on the background that says your name and/or logo is definitely advisable.
Another option is to upload low-resolution photos, many users will be less likely to use them as their own product images. One of the best options for preventing image theft without watermarking is to disable the right-click feature. You can do this in WordPress with a plugin (like Disable Right Click for WP) and there are other pieces of software that will also help you protect your images in this way. These are all methods that you can consider if you don’t want to watermark your product photos.
Things to keep in mind when watermarking product photography
- Give some thought to the watermark that you are adding to your photos. Typing your name might promote your photography but if you create an aesthetic logo for your brand, this is even more eye-catching and will get you the right kind of attention.
- You need to pick the ideal size for your watermark, not too big and not too small. You want it to protect your image and be legible but you don’t want it to overwhelm the overall image.
- Try and use an app where you can watermark all your images in bulk, as this will save you so much time.
Hopefully, this article has helped to answer the question “should you watermark your product photos?”, and has given you some ideas as to what is the best course of action for you. There are pros and cons to adding watermarks to your images. While it isn’t foolproof, it does add an extra layer of protection to your photos – which is really important in decreasing the chances that somebody passes off your work as their own. Watermarking can give your brand necessary exposure but it might distract from the overall quality of your photos. It is important to consider all this and everything else that has been mentioned previously in regards to watermarking product photos.