I remember, years ago deciding that I needed a watermark before I even put any thought into why. I just knew that all the pro’s had one and since I was going4pro…that meant I needed one too! My original watermark that I created has changed several times over.
These are my personal thoughts from my own experience…they have come through trial and error as well as through observations of trends in the industry. The first thing we need to understand is why a watermark is used.
A watermark is placed on an image for 3 reasons:
1. To protect the image from being stolen, used and credited by someone else.
2. To deter clients from attempting to grab and print images pulled directly from your site.
3. (My favorite) So that if and when clients post your images elsewhere people will know how to find their way back to you!
Let’s recap, a watermark is placed to deter stealing and unauthorized printing and to help new fans find their way to your site. With those ideas in mind, I’ve been seeing a common mistake lately among photographers in that if the watermark is of such it won’t help someone newly exposed to your work find their way to your website.
Let’s take a look at 3 watermarks and breakdown what’s going on with each one.
1. The Icon.
I’ve been seeing the icon become more and more popular as a watermark. The problem with using just the icon is that if this image showed up on someone’s Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook Feed and it was not properly tagged, a new viewer would have no idea how to identify that the photographer was me.
2. The Distracting Watermark.
Another popular trend is to place the full logo directly on each image. This distracts from the photography and instead brings attention to the logo design. Depending on how you look at it this could be good or bad. I remember watermarking an image several years ago and having a friend tell me (with the best intentions) that the image looked even better with the watermark, I agreed whole heartedly but couldn’t decide why that felt so unsettling. Years later I’ve decided that I’d rather my work speak volumes without needing the help of a watermark yelling “pro”. Notice how your eye involuntarily keeps being lead back to the logo instead of the image.
3. The Simple Watermark.
This last watermark is actually my current watermark for Leah Remillet Photography. Its simple and understated and yet gives all the information necessary to bring new followers to my site and blog. By placing the watermark on top of the subject, I make it more difficult for someone to try to crop it out but because of the simplicity and color chosen for this image it’s doesn’t create a large distraction for the viewer.
Using watermarks effectively can help protect your images from misuse and insure that a new excited viewer can become a raving, following fan!