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"How do I protect my photography and art in general?"
~Eitvys200



"As Eitvys200 pointed out, at least 1 journal per month makes it to the top of the list and is about stealing art. Sometimes this is something small such as posting a piece to facebook, other times you see hoards of pieces on a  website selling wallpapers or something similar. Regardless of how it happens, or where, it can hurt just as much to see your hard work disregarded and especially someone else profiting or taking credit.

Protecting work is a huge deal for some people, and not for others. It depends entirely on your outlook - how you view your work and indeed whether or not there needs to be some constrictions on it due to the content being a child, or family member. But how do we protect our work properly from art theft and wrongful use? The simple answer is you can't provide for every eventuality. Even if you upload your work to a website where right click -> copy is disabled, someone could, if they were that desperate, screen shot and crop. The strongest but most invasive length you can go to, to ensure that your work remains used solely by you - is to watermark slap bang in the middle of the main focus of the shot. But that detracts from your work. Some do it, some don't go to such extremes, it's up to you. Sometimes, it works...

:bigthumb324800932:

You can however, make a watermark that is subtle yet noticeable enough to compliment and put a stamp on your photograph. Almost a signature or an autograph more than anything else.  You have to accept that if someone wants your work, and there isn't a watermark in the middle but rather it's in a corner - they can crop it. But it's also good to ease up slightly on getting emotionally involved in protecting your work. Be proud of your achievements, be annoyed when someone steals it, but also allow yourself to feel a little flattered. Well, depending on what they do with it...!

Go by IsacGoulart

Creating a logo/watermark is really simply. I'm not going to re-hash a tutorial that's already out there but instead I'll link you to this Simple Photoshop Tutorial. If you want to try it out and get stuck by all means come back to me as I've used this before to make a few logos in the past. You basically are creating a stamp that you can choose the3 colour for, resize and stamp wherever you like on whichever images need it.


It's important to make guidelines as to when you do and don't watermark your work. You can quite simply put your stamp on every single piece you do. Or you could draw up some guides. I tend to only watermark my paid work that involves people especially babies/children. Everything else I am quite happy to be submitted over the internet without a logo. I've found some bits on sites before and I've simply asked for them to be taken down or credited, and it has been done. There doesn't need to be drama.

I watermark for several reasons:

:bulletblack: To create a professional logo/design that accompanies an image
:bulletblack: To protect my image and deter people from copy/pasting/saving it (Watermarks, although not central to an image can deter those who might click and save.)
:bulletblack: To promote myself and my services

The latter is the most important to me right now. When you do a wedding, or a baby shoot - the first thing that the bride/groom/mothers and fathers do is share the shots like crazy. Obviously I provide them with clean shots, but online and especially on facebook (my business page) if they start to share and tag e.t.c then my name on the logo with my website - goes with them! Free advertising!

Izaac by Kaz-D

You don't have to be a photographer to have a watermark. They can accompany all kinds of mediums of art. Watermarks help protect traditional, digital and other mediums just as much as they do photography. If you think your work is being used, or you are just curious to check then use Tineye or google images to see what's lurking out there." ~Kaz-D

Skyview by ValaSedai


Did you also know that here on deviantART there is an option to add a watermark when you submit your images? It's quite simple and if you don't have a watermark or don't have the time to create one it's an easy way around it and a quick fix solution. The option is presented to you when you resize your submissions, it asks if you want to add a watermark or not. Check out this FAQ #332: Does deviantART have a feature that will automatically watermark my deviations?.

There are lots of useful guides and tutorials out there that can help with watermarking, copyrighting and the Do's and Don'ts.

:bulletblack: Watermark Brush Creation Tutorial

:bulletblack: How to Watermark

:bulletblack: How to NOT watermark

:bulletblack: Watermarking and Copyrighting

Previous Troubleshooting Articles...



:bulletblack: Snaps To Professional
:bulletblack:Lighting
:bulletblack:Backgrounds
:bulletblack:Noise
:bulletblack:What Digital Camera?  
:bulletblack:Filters
:bulletblack: Dull images on dA

An article exploring the benefits of watermarking your work, and the many options there are available to you, including on deviantART. Do you watermark? Leave your thoughts and feedback on the article!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcookiebaby722:
cookiebaby722 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for sharing these options,,
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconcookiebaby722:
cookiebaby722 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cool
Reply
:iconrangan2510:
rangan2510 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
A really good article! I used only my name as a watermark, but sometimes, people would just crop it out...
Later I added the link to my dA profile and CC licensing...
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks :)
That's a good idea :nod:
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:iconnicpi:
NicPi Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you! This article was very helpfull!
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Welcome!
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:iconlenspirations:
LenSpirations Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I have always used some form of a signature and lately I've been creating logos/signatures for my photos but I have always had a hard time on deciding what is the best option. Here [link] I have my most recent experiment and I have chosen the last eye as a signature/logo if anyone has the time check it out and let me know what you think.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent!
I think it's a good idea for a watermark, the only thing I will say is that your font is a little hard on the eye, if you want people to get your name and remember you, just maybe make it a tiny bit clearer :)
Reply
:iconlenspirations:
LenSpirations Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :) And I understand what you mean about the name being clearer - that's why I actually chose the one with the 4th font for now .. it's clearer than the last one which I previously considered.
Reply
:iconxternal7:
xTernal7 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Looking from left to right:
First yes, fourth yes, others no. My two cents.
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:iconlenspirations:
LenSpirations Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank :) I will consider your opinion and I may change my final decision .. for the fourth one.
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:iconeitvys200:
Eitvys200 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
As I was reading this in morning when it was posted I didn't had time to post a comment, as always it's a great article. :heart: And congratulations making it to the first place of top journals I hope it will help. :)
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for inspiring it! :heart:
Reply
:iconsunsetthedragon:
SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not a photographer but nonetheless this article caught my attention. I put watermarks on my images because I know they're worth stealing. I used a rather excessive watermark on the center/corner of an image for a very long while until I stumbled upon this tutorial [link]
It's very clever, I've been using this one for a little while now and it works great! It's practically over the whole image yet it doesn't distract the eye.
And for extra protection use the watermarks mentioned in this FAQ ;P
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the info! :)
Reply
:iconsunsetthedragon:
SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome c;
Reply
:iconadmx:
admx Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012
Nuu! You should have told them that the only way to have a nice watermark on their photos, is to Commission me! :nuu:

:giggle: anyways, it's a great article, really informative and helpful :clap:
thanks! :hug:

:heart:

and yay! one of them has a watermark I designed :'>
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh yes :D
:lol:
Reply
:iconlilium892:
Lilium892 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
it really fucks up the image if you slap on a big center-watermark though
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Aye it does. Pros and cons!
Reply
:iconcoffeblack:
CoffeBlack Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Student General Artist
Great article! Thanks for all of the tips! I think I'm going to start watermarking all of my photos from now on. But first I'm going to need to work on a watermark.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for reading! Good luck ! :)
Reply
:iconpapercrownn:
papercrownn Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You could also digitally watermark your images by doing this via your DSLR. Your DSLR should have a copywrite information section where you can input your name, year and other info.

Than, everytime you upload your photos, save them etc it has the digital watermark in your exif data. So if someone decides to steal it, if you look in the exif data/info your name will still be there.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a great tip!
Reply
:iconcloneddragon:
cloneddragon Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
that is assuming that they don't strip that data, removing exif is sadly quite easy.
Reply
:iconpapercrownn:
papercrownn Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That is true but alot of "new" photographers who end up stealing probably don't know what EXIF data even is. It's much easier for them to crop out a watermark or steal someones work without a watermark than bothering about the EXIF data! :)
Reply
:iconcloneddragon:
cloneddragon Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
true, i tend to give thieves more credit than they have proven them selves worthy of when it comes to stealing.
Reply
:iconsniperplier:
sniperplier Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Student General Artist
If I can I like to put my watermark in a difficult place like a place with a lot of colour. And I sign it. But at times if I can't watermark I'll use the dA one but other than that I make my watermark
A. Somewhat blend / go along with the background
B. placed somwhere difficult but not too noticeable(sometimes)
If I don't want it stolen I simply keep it to myself. But if I find it stolen (not that I have) I would probably contact the website and tell them and since dA has that lovely lovely upload date on it THAT is my proof.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a good idea :nod:
Reply
:iconstung1010koth:
stung1010koth Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Professional Photographer
I put a watermark of my own at the bottom of each image - but it isn't really going to stop someone who wants to copy it who has no moral values. The people who have moral values wouldn't do it in the first place so a watermark is more of a salve for my conscience than anything else.

Digimarc came out with this "hidden digital watermark" that would tag your image in such a way that you could trace where it had been posted. It's a nice idea - but it assumes that the web hosting service allows a web crawler to examine the site and that the individual posting doesn't alter the file in any way. Not likely to happen. You also cannot apply this mark except in Photoshop and only when you are in 8 bit mode. For the price they ask it isn't worth it. They have the right idea but it isn't going to work with the technology we have now. Even if you could track down a site posting the work if you asked them to take it down and they blew you off there isn't much you could do except set the legal system in motion. And that rarely is worth the cost.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
No, but it will promote you a bit :)
Reply
:iconstung1010koth:
stung1010koth Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Professional Photographer
True. :)
Reply
:iconoonyaoo:
oOnyaOo Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic article. You cover everything perfectly.
I couldn't recommend watermarks, especially with an easy url on them where people can contact you.
My photography for the longest time just had Avalon Jane then under it it had my dA page address. I was thinking of changing it just to my name when I got a note from a girl in America.
Her classmate was using my photography and getting her work displayed in galleries and exhibits as well as displaying it on her FB and website with big crazy prices on them. She was getting her own exhibits! (I choose to be a little tiny bit flattered by this but still.)
The only way the classmate was able to contact me was because the plagiarizer had (stupidly) left the source art about and she saw the link under my name.

I managed to get it all sorted out but if it hadnt been for the address in the signature I would have never known and the girl would have kept getting away with it and being praised for my work.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!
Wow that's crazy!!! :o
I'm glad you sorted it, and great use for a watermark right there!
Reply
:iconargolith:
Argolith Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I wouldn't recommend the automatically generated dA watermark to anyone -- that thing is just ugly and can completely destroy a decent picture. If someone is so concerned about digital art theft, they should simply not upload their work to the internet.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I get that :nod: Though if needing a watermark, it's a last minute resort. However efforts should be made indeed to create ones own. :)
Reply
:iconargolith:
Argolith Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Absolutely. :)
Reply
:iconlisasky-art:
LisaSky-Art Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012   General Artist
l have seen sites where Right-click + copy/save doesn't work properly and you have to have work-arounds.

But I think watermarks are a good way to help prevent theft, and can be added without detracting too much.
Placement so they aren't just cropped out is important... those last two are almost an art themselves... XD
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yus :nod:

They are and can detract only a little! :) Yes :giggle:
Reply
:iconlisasky-art:
LisaSky-Art Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012   General Artist
:)
Reply
:iconthefantasim:
thefantasim Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012   Digital Artist
I don't watermark. If I see that someone has posted my images somewhere with out my permission, as long as they do not state that the work isn't theirs, I don't go crazy about it. I simply contact the web host and tell them the situation with details. That has always worked for me. Either the host removes my image, or they bring down the entire site.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent advice :)
Reply
:icongregman104:
gregman104 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
lol I just put a written 'GR' (generally in bottom right corner unless un-fitting) that I draw in paint for every pic & save it. Don't have photoshop, but I figure it suffices. Certainly doesn't stop ppl from stealing unfortunately but I don't want an invasive watermark so I guess. . . What can ya do?
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a good method :) more a signature than watermark, but makes it yours!
Reply
:icongregman104:
gregman104 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
yup. :)
Reply
:iconartstrac:
artstrac Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
Sometimes I use free stock images that have no watermark and display or photomanipulate and enable print.
Prints are mostly for me or anyone. I give credit to the image source. Search engines like Google.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:nod: :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
Really good, and important, article. I think artistically done watermarks can sometimes add to an image, often making them look really professional.

I starting using a stamp on my images when someone basically mirrored my entire food blog. It still happens (usually bots) but at least my stamp is on the images now. Mine's in the corner, so if someone was that desperate it's quite easy to crop. But I would rather that than have an invasive watermark. If someone is going to steal your work, they will go to whatever lengths they are capable of. I don't get too worked up by it. But this isn't a career or source of income for me as it is for other artists.
Reply
:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
That's very true...they will go to whatever lengths they want sadly. :(
Reply
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