Photography, Tutorials

Just a Little More On Watermarking and a Bit on Searching

The other day when I did the post on Scott, I asked him why he didn’t watermark his images, and he was telling me how he had come across others using his images, quite by accident.  They had given him credit, but they hadn’t asked his permission.  So I asked him if he thought I should do something on how to search the internet to find out if people are using your images without your permission.  So today I have done another screencast for you and I will show you how to do a very basic watermark on your images, and then how to use Google Chrome to search the internet to find your images, or to see if someone has stolen them.

The video is a bit rough, but I hope you can follow it.


  1. Hi LC, I love your work and appreciate your lessons. Just a question, why do folks scale down their images before putting them on a blog?

    • Thank you Belinda. Interesting question. there are a few answers,
      1/ if people steal it the image is too small to do that much with.
      2/ easier for people to load your image or images when they are looking at your blog. If you put full size images up it takes a long time for it too load.
      3/ the final reason, is because with WordPress you are only allowed so much space to upload images, I think it is something like 1GB or something, so if you keep loading large images, then you will find that you fill up on your allotted upload limit, and you will have to pay more money to upload more images to your blog.
      I have uploaded, I don’t know how many, but because I always use low res images, I have never reached my limit.

      I hope that helps Belinda.

  2. No photos that I put on the net are bigger than 300K – that way if someone does steal one of my images they can do little with it. They can’t sell them as no publisher would accept them at such a small size (a friend of mine recently had one of his images published in a local magazine attributed to someone else) and they can’t print them bigger that 8″ x 6″ as they start to fall apart- but they are good enough for viewing on a screen but not full size.

    • I totally agree, I always put up small images, very small files, try and make them bigger and you just get lots of squares.
      How terrible for your friend, I hope he did something about it.

      • He has written to the magazine and is considering legal advice – but little money has changed hands so he probably won’t get much remuneration – but (understandably so) it grieves him to think that someone is peddling his work around as his…

      • Sounds like it is the guy who is peddling his work is the guy that needs the legal advice, who knows how many more of his images he has sold. I would be devastated if I found out someone was doing that with my images.

  3. Thanks for the tip – a constant concern (theft). I do the DigiMarc and down sample to put up a few road blocks – but as they say, “locks only keep out the honest people…”

    • I haven’t heard of DigiMarc, but you are right, if someone wants to steal your image there isn’t much you can do.

      • It is a filter in Photoshop (comes standard with P/S) – where you can set the copyright information – you can also pay to have them do Web monitoring of the images, but the basic water making is free.

      • I might have to have a look at it. I know that my copyright information is embedded in my images, I set that up on my camera. Thanks Robert.

  4. Thanks for the info. I too agree with making sure your images are protected anyway you can. At the same time if someone wants to steal one’s images, there is little we can do. That is just a fact in our digital world. At the same time, it is one of the greatest times to be a photographer.

    • You’re welcome, If someone wants them they will take them, but hopefully the watermark is a deterrent to most. It is a good time and a bad time, so many photographers, makes it hard to be a professional one.

  5. I watermark at the bottom as a way to get credit. Sad thing is once a photo is on the internet it can go anywhere. For a while I did not do it. As for Gimp, too bad it isn’t 16-bit.

    • It can go anywhere, but with the watermark people can trace it back, if it isn’t removed. I try to put my watermark in the image somewhere where it would be harder to remove and you would be able to tell it had been. I don’t use GIMP much, I did for a long time, but I find it a bit limiting now. Good to do things like I did with the tutorial though. Thanks Ron

      • Leanne, I suppose it is different for each of us because I am not trying to make money off photography. I suppose that I would be thrilled to sell a few prints.

      • I would be thrilled too, selling is the key and not stealing, I mean people buying and not stealing.
        I want to make money from it, because I don’t want to have to get a job doing something I don’t like, so it is important that I try and make some money from this.

  6. Hi Leanne,

    I don’t have the patience for Gimp, so I write my blogs using Windows Live Writer and put a copyright notice in the corner of the images with that. It’s very quick and easy. Good tip about searching for images though. I use Google. If you want the URL of an image just right click in Chrome and select copy url.

    • I used GIMP for this as it is free, and therefore everyone has access to it, I use Photoshop all the time, but I know many don’t. GIMP is pretty easy to use for some things and this was one of them, but you use what you have, or make do. I thought it would be something like that. I don’t use it much, seems better to be ignorant sometimes. Hahah. Thanks

    • Yes, give it a go, see what you get. I don’t use GIMP much anymore, but it is what I first learned for processing. I have been using Photoshop for a few years now. I am glad you found it helpful and good luck.

  7. This is the hardest part about exercising a level of control over your content, particularly with photos. In Scott’s case, at least those who used his images gave photo credit.

    • That is so true, it is good that you can find out if you images have been used elsewhere on the net, but if they are used for print, nothing you can do.

  8. Hi! Great topic and great video I must say (and besides, don’t get me wrong, I just love your accent!!). Myself I feel very lost at this area, but when I’ve a little more time I’ll sit down and watch the video once more, that search function sounds great! I’m very divided when it comes to watermarks. Since I don’t have photoshop or something like that I found a site where you could add watermarks for free, so I’ve used that sometimes. But the thing is, that you really don’t want to “destroy” your photos with a text line and what is more, you don’t want it on a very noticeable place, but still on the other hand, there’s really no point in using a watermark in the first place if you place it let´s say in the left corner, where no details are shown, because that’ll not be any obstruction at all if you want to “steal” the picture… Don’t even know if I’m right on the last sentance, so please correct me if I’m wrong :P

    • I have had a few people say they like my accent. The program I used to put the watermark on was GIMP and it is free, you can download it and just start using it. You don’t really destroy your images, if you resize the image first, then watermark it, save it as something else, then the original image is still there and untouched. I think I misunderstood. I put my watermark into the image, I place it somewhere, or try to, so that it looks like part of the image, then I change the opacity to fade it more. I haven’t had anyone complaining about my watermark for a while now. I agree about putting something down in the corner, too easy to get rid of, and I have had that happen, where people just crop it out. You are correct there.

  9. Thank you for the video. I found it very interesting. What program do you use to put on the watermark? A special program?

    • I normally use Photoshop, I have my watermark all set up and I copy it on and then put it where I want, I have heard of people using it as a brush, but I haven’t done that. There are, apparently places were you can put on a watermark for free. GIMP is free, so you can download it and use it to put on your images. Thanks

  10. Since photography isn’t how I make my living, I have finally settled for signing the pictures. I know they get stolen. I find thems howing up on Wikipedia — with no credit. I really can live with having people use my images, but would it kill them to at least give me credit for my work?

    • I have to agree, though I think a lot of people just don’t care, and think it is all free and they can do what they like with it.

  11. One caution, Leanne, Google photo search does not find all the copies of a photo that are out there on the Internet. For example, I have a photo in a blog post that resides in my SkyDrive. I have another copy of the same photo uploaded to my Google (Picasaweb) album. Given the address of one, Google does not find the other. I have tried it both ways. A lot of folks, myself included, only watermark at the corners (I do not watermark most of my photos). The “badies” can easily trim that part of a photo away. You have used clever places withing photos to place your mark. Often that blends in so nicely that it seems to belong. Tip o’ the hat to that technique!

    • I thought Google only checked on the internet, so if you have a photo on your computer it won’t find it, have I missed something. I have had people remove watermarks that were just in the corner, so I have worked out how to change them and put them into the image so that they are harder to remove, I hope. Thank you.

    • It is always possible for people to remove watermarks, it won’t protect you if someone really wants your work, I am not going to say how it can be done here, don’t want to give anyone any ideas, but nothing is foolproof. However, it is a deterrent, and if someone wants your image, then they have to really want it and then work on getting rid of it and not stuffing up the image. Realistically speaking for the time it takes them to do it, it would probably be easier to just buy the image. Especially if it is a low res image. All of mine are. Long answer, did it help?

      • Thank you, yes. I’d actually be quite flattered if somebody wanted one of my photographs enough to steal it, but for professional photographers it must be a concern. Love your work, and all the help you give people.

      • It is a concern, the real problem is not so much the professionals, but the people who get on the internet think a photo is nice and just take it, without any thought that what they are doing is illegal. I used to see it all the time when I was photographing cycling. The kids were the worse, they would take the photos and put them up on facebook, not care they it was illegal, it is used to drive me crazy.
        Thank you Chris, that is wonderful. I do like teaching, which is something this blog has helped me to discover.

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  13. I did not know how to do that search, Leanne…and I thank you very much for sharing the technique. I just conducted a search and found one of my images on a summer camp/summer vacation business in Maryland…. Thank you again….

    • That is great Scott, I mean that you can now check, apparently it doesn’t find them all, but it does a pretty descent job. So are you going to contact them and ask them to remove it, or ask them to pay for it? I would try asking them to pay for it first. LOL. Good luck with it.

      • I did just send them an email asking them to choose to pay for it, credit me with the photo, or to remove it. I also told them that I would have given them permission, had they asked and credited me…. We’ll see where it goes. Thank you again for the tip. :)

    • It isn’t a bad idea, after awhile it just becomes a habit, takes me about a minute to do it. It certainly doesn’t hurt to do it.

      • Yes, I know, though I have done them differently in the past, by adding a new layer of text and adjusting the opacity levels. Just didn’t care much about it for a time, but it’s more than likely a “must do”! I have had, though, several people e-mail me for permission, which I gladly agree to as long as they give me credit.

      • That is great that you get asked. I must say, I don’t think any of my images have been stolen and I never get asked for their use, maybe mine are crap. Haha. I think it is a bit of a must do these days, you just never know.

      • Not ‘crap’ at all!!!

        But there are some very unscrupulous ‘snatchers’ out there…with weird personalities like that guy who was bugging you some months ago (remember, his pix WERE crap!)

  14. Thanks for liking my photo blog! Very insightful video. My concern though, if you use the Google search with uploading the image, what does Google then do with the image? They can also store or use it?

    • I don’t know that they keep it, or do anything with it, I think it is the only way for them to see your image, though you can also do a URL of where the image is, so you aren’t uploading anything.

    • You are welcome, if you remember come back on Wednesday, I was asked to review some watermarking software, and I tried and agreed, so I am going to do a post on it on Wednesday.

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