December 9, 2019 By SnapSentry

Yes, it’s a fine line. How do you balance protecting and branding a growing photography business with preserving the beauty and composition of your shots?

If you’re pondering how to share your work, then check out our guide to the pros and cons of watermarking your photos.


Watermarking Positions Your Brand and Business

As high as 54% of businesses will fail within the first five years, according to the US Small Business Administration. Poor marketing is in the top 8 reasons they fail, reports Many companies die because their name is unknown to potential customers or clients.

Watermarking gives your viewers a chance to contact you if they want to learn more about your work or book you for jobs. You can look at every shot as an online billboard pointing people back to your business. It’s only a matter of time before the right pair of eyes sees your work and hires you.

Watermarking Protects Your Photos

Watermarks stop the vast majority of opportunistic photo snaggers. Removing your watermark is too close to hard work, so the lazy people move on to another victim. These folks aren’t malicious. They just don’t understand copyrights. So, they right-click and add your shot to a blog, presentation, or social media post. Watermarks deter this behavior and protect your photos online.

But watermarks won’t stop the sophisticated cyber thief. These infringers have specialist skills and know how to remove them. Watermarking is still valuable in this situation because you can prove the intent to steal if you ever catch up with the criminal.

There’s another hidden benefit that goes back to our first point. If someone steals your work with the watermark visible, then at least you get some value from the free advertising.

Watermarking Preserves Your Print Revenue

The industry has gone digital. Many photographers have forgotten about print and left much moola on the table. Let’s say you’ve just wrapped up a shoot and have created an online gallery for your client. The customer loves your work and wants to print several shots. Your watermark gives the client a reason to pay you for the prints. It’s one more way to monetize your business.

Not watermarking can cost you. In a world where many people believe they’re a photographer because they have an iPhone, you don’t want to miss any means to add to your bottom line.


Watermarking Ruins the Aesthetic When Done Poorly

Ugly watermarks make ugly photos. But your watermark won’t be an eyesore. It’ll be classy, congruous, and conspicuous.

You spend countless hours refining and editing for just the right look. Invest a little of that intensity to create your watermark template. If you watermark your photos, then please make sure it doesn’t detract from the composition of your shot.

Watermarking Restricts Your Shot’s Reach

Your watermark may cause the casual thief to opt for someone else’s photo to plaster all over Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Is it more important to get attention for attention’s sake, or do you want people to link your work with your name?

Photographers come down on both sides of the question. Some people would rather go viral than go to the bank. If this is a business, not a hobby, then you may want to consider getting people to contact you.

Watermarking Ruffles Some Photo Purists’ Feathers

Some photo purists view anything that labels your work as a crass, commercial ploy. These photos snobs want nothing to detract from the art of the shot. The purist may have a point in some genres. For example, it’s rare to see watermarks used in editorial photography like high-fashion or beauty.

If you’re in one of these genres or have a business that markets to other photographers, then you may want to think about not watermarking. But if you’re trying to share photos with the rest of the world, then you might want to watermark to boost your business.

You’re Thinking: Should I Watermark My Photos?

To watermark or not watermark, that’s the question. You should now have some tips to help you decide.

If you’re most concerned with the number of eyeballs on your work, then you may want to skip watermarking. On the other hand, if your desire to grow your business, then you may watermark to protect and brand your work.

After considering the pros and cons of watermarking, if you’d like to get started, you can try SnapSentry, our free watermark software, today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a watermark on a photo?
    A watermark is a superimposed, transparent message on a picture or image (usually a signature, stamp, or logo).

  2. Should I watermark my photos?
    A watermark protects your photos from online theft and brands your business at the same time. But they can take away from the composition of your photo if done poorly.

  3. Where is the best place to place a watermark?
    It depends on your purpose. Typically, an inconspicuous placing on the on the edge of the photo works fine. It should be large enough to read your message for branding. If you want the greatest protection against theft, you can place a larger, more transparent watermark in the center of the photo.

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