Why You Should Always Watermark Your Travel Photos

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from blogging it’s that you should always watermark your travel photos or any picture that you own for that matter. Not only do watermarks state ownership but they can also help protect your images from being used online without your permission. And believe me, that happens quite too often. It doesn’t exactly prevent people from right-clicking and saving your photos but if they decide to use your pictures for their own means without your consent, then they will be committing copyright infringement, which is a criminal offense.


No one enjoys getting their photos ripped off except for the people who are committing the felony. This has always been the ire of many bloggers and photographers alike and, sadly, we can only minimize but not completely stop it.

What do people get from stealing your photos?

Some people may not know this but your pictures are worth a lot more than you think. If I were to boil it down to two things on what perpetrators can gain from stealing your photos, I would say it would be for the money and attention.

Money

How exactly can they profit off of your pictures? Well, to name a few they could:

  • Sell your travel photos which they claim they took themselves
  • Use your photos as marketing assets for advertisements on print and digital
  • Use on contests and exhibits where there’s a huge amount of money to be won
  • Publish or upload them to websites where they have advertising enabled and attract readers using your pictures, which in turn provides them with ad revenue
  • Insert your photos on a YouTube or Facebook video where they can still make a decent amount of money from the ads provided by the platform

Attention

  • Showcase your photos on a travel or photography website without your permission
  • Edit and spread your photos through their Facebook page or use it as part of a ‘meme’. The amount of Likes and Shares it can get will certainly drive people to follow their Facebook page where they can then promote all sorts of things in the future to their subscribers


But the way I see it is that it still boils down to making a quick buck from your work so who knows what other reasons these people might have to illegally use your images? Whatever that may be, they should always ask for your permission first – even if they say it’s ‘free exposure’ for you. Because for the most part, they stand to benefit from it more than you do.

Different ways to watermark your photos

During this past couple of months, I’ve been experimenting on different ways to watermark the images on my blog. To be clear, these are pictures that I personally shot or asked from someone I’ve gotten permission from. Again, always ask for permission no matter how small or generic the picture may be. Save yourself from any legal trouble before you get into one.


Below are common watermark techniques/placements I’ve found and some of them I actually apply on my own photos. I used Photoshop to insert my watermarks but you can use your own image-editing software as long as it allows you to superimpose one image over another. Feel free to create your own ways of adding watermarks to your photos. Be creative!

Logo watermark on corner and my personal preference.
Logo watermark on corner and my personal preference

Big logo watermark at the center. A bit too strong for me though
Big logo watermark at the center. A bit too strong for me though

Website URL watermark at the corner.
Website URL watermark at the corner

Copyright footer. Not a watermark but more of a copyright notice. Just decided to add this in
Copyright footer. Not a watermark but more of a copyright notice. Just decided to add this in

How to deal with copyright infringement

If you found out that someone was illegally using your work, what you should do is to confront or contact the uploader or publisher if possible. Tell them that you have not given them your permission to use your photos and that they should take them down immediately. At the same time if the picture was used on a social media site, then look for a Report link so that you can request a takedown – just in case the uploader does not oblige.

Elmer Balbin

Web developer from Bacolod, Google Local Guide, and casual DotA 2 player.

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