The Importance of Watermarking

Copyright - Google SearchEvery day I’m sent emails asking questions and advice about various photography and website topics. I try my hardest to reply in a timely manner, with as much detail. The follow question came from Erik Kerstenbeck, a photographer and contributor to

Erik asks

…would you have any guidance regarding watermarking images posted to Blogs that use WordPress? These can be easily copied and usually are a decent size, if anyone wants to resize and print.

My Answer

We all have our opinions, so here is mine. If someone wants to steal your photograph they will do it no matter what. Now that Photoshop CS5 has content awareness, it makes for a simple watermark removal. With that said, always watermark your photographs that are on blogs, Flickr, Facebook or any other website. Protect your photo not only with the watermark but also with the EXIF data. Make sure that your copyright is in your file. Most DSLR cameras can do this in camera, but Lightroom allows you to import and insert the copyright at the same time. Take advantage and protect yourself. Also, never give out your RAW files because those are your negatives. Those are your proof that you photographed the image and own it.

Batch Watermarking in Lightroom and Photoshop

If you have never used the watermarking feature in Lightroom or haven’t played with Photoshop Actions please give it a try. It is very simple and worth the effort.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Great advice. I have just finished my watermark and am now using it within LR each time I export.

    And, BTW, you DO reply quite frequently. Thanks for being so giving with your talents and insight Scott.

    1. Thank you Michael. I appreciate the comment!

  2. Great post. End of the day, if someone wants to copyright infringe, they will. And most will have a terribly stank attitude about it when you confront them, even if politely. However, just because they can take the images does not mean that we should make it easier for them by posting large un-watermarked images. At the same time, someone used a screen capture and stole an un-watermarked photograph from my website (since blog and Facebook version had watermark and website did not, and in this instance, I doubt the person knew how to use CS5), so they still find ways.

    Thanks for the information!

    1. My pleasure Trudy. I learned the hard way when a photo (without copyright) was used without permission. Since then I watermark everything I put online.

  3. I got into the habit of creating low-res images for upload only (usually to Flickr or Facebook) where I re-size the long edge to 1024, set the DPI to 25 and always include a watermark. Hopefully it makes for a pretty good deterrent!

    1. I did something similar. Left the DPI at 72 but scaled the image to 800px at its longest. For Flickr, the highest protection is needed. In my opinion. They’re safeguards are the worst.

  4. Very informative and easy to understand advice, thank you.

  5. I wonder if this is still something photographers question. I’m creeping up to 1000 photos on Unsplash and it’s done so much more for me and my photography compared to a watermark ever could.

    When I see someone watermarking their photos still, I cringe. I feel so sorry for the clients of those photographers when I see them sharing their own photos….with watermarks for the photographer across them.

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