watermarks photography kkhphotos

Watermarks – Three Good Reason To Keep Using Them

It seems that people fall into one of three categories when it comes to the topic of watermarks on images. You have those who think they are hurtful, those who think they are helpful, and those who are just over it and don’t really care anymore.


Watermarking is as old as paper itself.
The practice of watermarking to protect documents
and such dates back to the 13th century.
Cartiere Miliani is credited with the earliest watermark
dated 1282.


As I was creating a new watermark for D the other night, and creating something new to use on my own photos this morning, those little voices were whispering in my head. You know the ones… they repeat the comments you’ve had on your blog that say things like “watermarks make your photos look horrible”, they remind you of the article you read that said “watermarks are easily removed by the ‘photo thief’ “, and they bring to mind that remark you heard about how “watermarks just make you look arrogant and self-centered”.

Those all may be true [dang those little voices] and even the most awesome photographers aren’t really using watermarks much these days; but there are some good reason to keep using them too.

Good reason number 1. Branding

Let’s say someone wanted to use your image on their own blog. No a watermark isn’t going to stop them, they can still take a screen shot or copy the image in their favorite way, but with the watermark on it at least your branding will be spread far and wide!

I don’t mind if someone wants to share one of my photos online. Inwatermarks photography kkhphotos fact I’m happy to know someone likes it enough to do so! But like the big guys at Dreamstime, Fotolia, 123Rf and the like; I’ll just keep adding a watermark to my online photos.  At least when it is shared others will know where to go if they’d like to use it themselves in a way that will remove the watermark; i.e. purchasing a license.

Good reason number 2. Out The Photo Thief

When someone pays for a digital download to use on the web, or for a print to hang in their office, that watermark will not be there. If it is you can be sure they didn’t really pay for the use of that image; or create the image themselves as some would have you believe. If that watermark is on there they didn’t have permission to use that photo. And if it was their own photo it wouldn’t have someone else’s name on it.

Good reason number 3. Credit

No one thinks twice about the painter signing his work, why shouldn’t our work be “signed” in this digital age as well. Yes it will have to be done differently to give your work that little protection but it’s basically the same idea. Give credit where credit is due.

And as far as those who will take that extra step to remove a watermark… well there are always those who will use their powers for evil instead of good. What goes around comes around and their actions will come back to haunt them someday. After all you know what they say about karma!

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5 thoughts on “Watermarks – Three Good Reason To Keep Using Them”

  1. T – were they images with the stock site logo (like Dreamstime)? or were they images with your own watermark from your site? If it’s the DT watermark it could be one of their affiliate sites; if that’s the case your ok. You’ll still get paid for the sale. I’d ask DT to be sure that it’s one of their affiliates. If it’s your own watermark from your site. I’d start by sending an e-mail to the site where you found it and request they remove your image. Good luck!

  2. Wow. Just down right ripped the images off your blog and put them up for sale?!!! I’d send them e-mails and request they remove your images to start with. You should also blog about them; maybe there will be a reader who has dealt with them before. You could look for their FB pages and leave comments there if you get no response to your e-mail. I’ve heard that the legal process for this kind of thing is extremely costly and a long long process and difficult to win. But Maybe if they get “bad press” from you they will take your images down. Might Google them to see what other folks have done in the past. Keep us posted on your adventures with them and what if anything you learn about the sites.

  3. Hi there, I’m not a photographer but I think you are quite right to use watermarks. I can’t take photos to save my life, so I respect people who have those skills and artistry – keep on adding ’em!

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