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Thread: Watermarks, pros and cons.

  1. #1
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Watermarks, pros and cons.

    I often read about watermarks and how many people think that they are automatically a good thing. After all, they do make it a little bit more difficult to steal the photo (not much, but a bit) and they do often show people who took the photo. All good, you might think. But - there is a downside.
    The biggest problem with watermarks is that they put off reputable publishers, like thisiscolossal or boredpanda. You will notice that no photos with watermarks appear on those sites and if it were not for those sites, particularly thisiscolossal, I would sell very few fungi images. So, the choice is - put on a watermark and get some recognition from the small, unimportant sites, or - skip the watermark and get publicity from sites that customers really take notice off. To make that even more specific, since thisiscolossal first published my photos, I have had almost 10 million photo views on my websites and I have had a steady stream of paying customers. I know a professional photographer who has been trying to get his photos shown for years on this site and no luck, because he knows that they are give great exposure. I suppose it is possible that thisiscolossal would have asked me for non-watermarked versions of my photos, but that is a lot of extra work for them, and me, and I doubt that they would have bothered. As it was, all they needed to do was send me an email asking for permission, I replied with a yes and they made the article. Done, and things have taken off from that point. They have even done another article a year on from the first one. The people who steal the photos are irritating, but am I going to shoot myself in the foot to try to stop them? After all, a facebook site that gets almost 100 shares of my uncredited photos is unlikely to be significant compared to 86,000 shares from thisiscolossal which gives credits. And then you need to consider the people who subscribe to thisiscolossal.
    My view is that I would only make a fraction of what I do if it hadn't been for thisiscolossal and that I wouldn't have been on thisiscolossal if I had used watermarks.

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    Fishy bricat's Avatar
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    An interesting view and one that has worked for you. Shows there is more than one way to skin a cat. cheers Brian

    PS. No cats were hurt in this sentence!!
    Cheers Brian.

    Canon 7D Kit lenses EFS 18-55 IS EFS 55-250 IS EF28-90 Canon EF 2xll Extender Sigma DG150-500 OS Speedlight 420EX. 580EX

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Steve. I suppose you've heard of these methods:
    http://www.viprefect.com/steganograp...l-watermarking
    Am(hidden).
    Last edited by ameerat42; 28-06-2015 at 11:35am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

  4. #4
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Steve. I suppose you've heard of these methods:
    http://www.viprefect.com/steganograp...l-watermarking
    Am(hidden).
    Not sure what the point would be. I could easily prove that the photo was mine. I have the RAW image.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    If somebody "stole" your image w/o you being aware. What do such as these companies want, jpegs, tiffs?

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Interesting thoughts and that thisiscolossal site is quite interesting as I hadn't heard of it until today.
    Maybe they have relaxed their watrmark rules as the article on the current page about hammock / tent thingies has a few photos from 2 different photographers with watermarks.
    Andrew
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Most companies that pay a significant amount want large images for print. JPEG will often be ok, but it must be high res, so images stolen from the net aren't good enough. Anyway, NatGeo or similar will not steal images. They will always ask or offer an amount. Web images are different, and some companies are willing to pay whilst some are not. I usually have a rule - if they are non-profit or very small, then ok, but if they are profit making then they can pay. It's usually only a small amount, but it is something. I haven't been aware of any reputable company stealing my work. Some, like Wired magazine refuse to pay and I have always been unsure if I should let them use the images or not, but I haven't. What do you think? Is Wired good publicity?
    I get the strangest requests at times, like the English university that wants to do a huge print on the front of new building. I hope that comes off, but I'm sure the architects will have a say. Or the science museum in Canada that wants to do an exhibition of my work. Or the restaurant in Moscow that paid for a trip out there for 10 days last year. Or the forestry centre in Yunnan, China that is showing me around for 3 weeks in August to photograph wild mushrooms. I doubt that any of these people would have found me apart from the internet. Not that I earn a living wage from this, but it does help pay for and keep me interested in an all consuming hobby.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Interesting thoughts and that thisiscolossal site is quite interesting as I hadn't heard of it until today.
    Maybe they have relaxed their watrmark rules as the article on the current page about hammock / tent thingies has a few photos from 2 different photographers with watermarks.
    I hadn't noticed that, so maybe the do allow watermarks at times, but it is quite unusual. Most of those photos don't have watermarks.

  8. #8
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I watermark my photos, others don't! Personal choice, nothing more. Everyone is free to make that decision for themselves. Whether someone else watermarks their photo or doesn't, does not impact on my opinion, critique or the value I place on their photo.

    I personally can see the benefit of a watermark, but is that going to make me tell others to watermark, or not? Not really, each to their own. In this world of 'sharing' internet content, a watermark simply gives a viewer one way to find the photographer if they want to. There are many others ways to find the photographer, like EXIF, or linked information for example. Which ones we choose to include as photographers, is really up to each of us.

    So to answer your question. Pros - gives people one way to locate you. Cons - some people/sites do not like them.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    So to answer your question. Pros - gives people one way to locate you. Cons - some people/sites do not like them.
    To expand on that a little
    Cons - you may get less exposure and make less money.

  10. #10
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    To expand on that a little
    Cons - you may get less exposure and make less money.
    It depends what you photograph. Take a wedding photographer, people see their watermarked work on FB and like it, contact them and it might result in more money. As I said what works for one, may not work for all.

  11. #11
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    Of course, Rick, it does depend. The point is that it may be more important than you think. If you are a wedding photographer, then by all means put a watermark on anything on the Internet. Your customers probably expect it. But, if you specialise in something, like fungi for example, it may not be all that smart. It really is worth some careful thought rather than just passing it off as personal choice.

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    When you say watermark. Do you mean the big distracting obscene ones that cover most of the image? Or a small one in a corner?

    For example, would they have an issue with the way I do mine?



    Or is this what you mean when you say watermark (used iStock for an example as it was the first to come to mind with watermarks):


    - - - Updated - - -

    Mine, for example, I know that anyone could easily just crop it out. I'm not going to worry about that, if they're going to do it, they'll do it regardless of what I say. But, I just like to have it there. Just in the chance that someone may see it and follow it I'm not looking to make big bucks out of photography, it's a hobby!

    But I can't stand the big ones, they ruin the photo! I try to enjoy so much of the photography I see on Facebook groups, but so often they're just ruined by the big watermarks.. I understand why, everyone has their reasons!

    I'm going to check out this "this is colossal" thing, I'm super curious!

    Decided to "shave" my signature ;]
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/
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    I meant any watermarks. Now, I don't know that it would be a problem because they can always ask for versions without a watermark, but there are almost none on that site. My photography has always been a hobby as well and it is just incidental that I make some money from it now, but it did strike me that using watermarks may or may not be of value. Certainly those large watermarks are just going to put people off. At least they put me off.

    p.s. check out this http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/0...-a-bald-eagle/ on thisiscolossal.
    Last edited by Steve Axford; 20-07-2015 at 7:13pm.

  14. #14
    Ausphotography Regular poorman's Avatar
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    old thread I know but the person who places the watermark on his/her picture " is there a way they can remove it back off for the client without cropping or destroying there image ??

  15. #15
    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poorman View Post
    old thread I know but the person who places the watermark on his/her picture " is there a way they can remove it back off for the client without cropping or destroying there image ??
    If they retained the original file and or saved the PPed photo before adding the watermark then they don't have to remove the watermark ........ is that what you're asking??

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    Ausphotography Regular poorman's Avatar
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    yeah if u had the raw file u wouldn't need the copy , but was asking only with the copy with the WM could they remove it with the same program ? always thought of it if someone wanted that photo but not your water mark ..cheers mark

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