Thursday, March 23, 2017

A New Version of Water Marquee is Coming

On April 1st we'll be releasing a new version of Water Marquee, both for free and Pro users.  If you'd like to take it for a test spin, we'd really appreciate your feedback!  The new version can be found at:

In addition to being more reliable and faster, the new version adds the ability to "unlink" watermarks - so you can adjust each watermark individually, if you wish, without altering the watermarks on other images.

Unfortunately, any watermark templates you've created (assuming you're a Pro user) will be lost when we transition to the new version.  The existing templates are not compatible with the new template format and there is no automated way to convert them. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you do have feedback, you can let us know by emailing us at

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Watermarks for Models

Modeling is a tough business to crack into - comp cards, portfolios, casting calls - and all that may even be before you land your first paying job.  The topic we're focused on today is crucial to getting your modeling career off the ground - managing you portfolio.  It's great if you have an agent who will do this for you, but if you haven't signed on with one yet, a great portfolio could help you get there.

You probably already have a collection of your favorite shots - the ones where you look your best, the ones that highlight your unique features, the ones that are sure to stand out in a crowd.  But those photos won't help you at all, unless you circulate them to the right people in the industry.  That's the hard part - just about everything is done online these days, so how do you really know who you're sending your photos to, and what are they doing with them? Beware - scammers want to use  your photos for their own profit, and to impersonate you online, or worse.

If you want to have full control over defining your persona and building your brand, you need to have control over where and when your photos are used.  Your photos displayed on the wrong sites by the wrong people could sink your career and reputation.  You've got to protect yourself and your photos!  It can be as simple as adding a watermark to each of your photos, to prevent them from being used commercially without your permission.  Photographers do it, and you should too.

There are several approaches to watermarking your photos, but the main point is to place your watermark in such an obvious place that it would render the photo useless for commercial purposes, but still allows the beauty of the subject to shine through.  You should always include your name and contact info in your watermark, so that, wherever your photos end up, you can be contacted by an interested party.

Another good idea is to occasionally use Google Reverse Image Search to find out if your pictures are in fact being used anywhere on the web.  You can drag and drop your images onto the Google search page, and Google will search for any similar instances online.  While this can help you find out if your photos are being used without your permission, it's a better idea to watermark your photos so that this doesn't happen in the first place.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Watermarking Tips for Family Photographers

For family photographers, watermarks present two opportunities. They, of course, deter clients from using photos without paying for them. They also can help promote a family photography business. If you're a family photographer, here's how to make the most of your images' watermarks.

Using Watermarks in Their Traditional Role

Watermarks have long been used by photographers to deter customers (and others) from using images illegally. In family photography, watermarks have prevented clients from printing their own photos. If a family would like another print without the photographer's advertisement on it, they must pay for that print.

Selling prints has been, of course, how family photographers have traditionally made money. They've offered clients packages of prints, and people who wanted additional prints paid for each extra one. Thus, watermarks have provided vital protection for family photographers' income.

Today, many family photographers still use watermarks to deter people from printing out photos without paying for them. As technology changes how people use pictures, though, this role of the watermark is slowly becoming less important. People don't often print out pictures anymore, so there's less need to prevent them from doing so without paying for an image.

Using Watermarks in a New Way

Instead of printing out pictures, people now share them online with family and friends. When they're emailing photographs or posting them on social media, people often don't mind if the images are watermarked. Thus, a watermark's ability to deter people from using pictures without paying for them is less in today's world of sharing pictures online.

Watermarks aren't obsolete, though. Since clients frequently don't remove watermarks before sharing them, family photographers can turn watermarked photos into advertisements for their business. The people clients share photos with are family and friends, some of whom may live in the area and be potential clients themselves. If they like your work, they might contact you to photograph their family--and this is where the watermark comes in. A watermark can help ensure anyone who sees your pictures knows you took them and has your contact information.

Designing a Watermark for Both Purposes

A well-designed watermark can still fulfill the watermarks traditional role, while also helping a photographer advertise when their pictures are shared. To create a watermark that does both of these things, your watermark should:

. contain your name (or your company's name)
. include your email address and website
. have a professional appearance that complements your photos
. be large enough that clients can't crop it out of a picture to make a print
. be located in a corner so it doesn't detract from the people in the picture

Additionally, you're watermark shouldn't be the focal point of your pictures. It ought to be visible enough that anyone who looks at your work sees the watermark, but viewers' eyes should first be drawn to your clients' families. Adjusting the color, font and opacity of a watermark can help you find the right balance of visibility and subtlety.

To design a new watermark that will help protect your images and advertise your business, try out Water Marquee. With Water Marquee, family photographers can quickly and easily create fully customized watermarks that work for them.

Friday, January 27, 2017

How to Choose the Right Colors for Your Watermark

The color used for a visible watermark greatly affects how noticeable the watermark is when it's overlaid onto an image. There isn't one color that all watermarks should be, as the right color for any particular watermark depends on the photographer's branding, photo the watermark is being used on and other factors. If you're designing a watermark for your digital photographs, here are some tips to help you settle on a color to use.

Only Consider Colors That Complement Your Branding 


With an almost infinite number of colors to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices to a few finalists. To make the selection process easier--and ensure your watermark's color goes well with your branding--limit your selection to colors that are consistent with the branding you already have in place. You might want to consider:

. colors included in your logo
. neutral colors
. colors you've used in your website's background 
The colors included in your logo, obviously, match your branding, and you've likely already determined that any colors on your website's background go well with your marketing scheme. Neutral colors, especially black, white and gray, will provide an alternative to the colors you've used elsewhere, but they'll still match since they go with anything.

Choose a Color That's Visible Yet Tasteful 


From the colors that complement your brand, the next step is to find one (or a few) that go well with your pictures. The color you use for a watermark should show up on images. You're making a visible watermark, after all. It shouldn't detract from your picture, though, since that's what clients are most interested in.

For instance, a white watermark likely won't show up well on a winter landscape picture that has lots of snow. For a bold look, a black watermark will be noticeable and might complement a striking, strong image well. Gray, however, is more likely to produce a watermark that's visible but doesn't take away from the photograph. A logo color may be suitable for some images, but it also could be too strong for a peaceful, relaxed winter scene.

Once you have a color that complements the picture well, you can adjust the location, size, font and opacity to increase or decrease its visibility. Finding the perfect combination of these factors is often a trial-and-error process.

Settle on One or Two Watermarks That Work Well with Most Images 


Because professional photographers take a lot of pictures, most streamline their workflow by creating two watermarks that work well with all their images. Some photographers have a watermark made from their logo's colors that they use on most pictures and a second that's neutrally colored for images that their logo-colored watermark clashes with. Other photographers have two gray watermarks, one that's light gray and another that's dark gray, and they use whichever shows up better on an image.

With a pair of versatile watermarks, you won't have to spend time creating a new watermark for each image. Instead, you'll be able to focus on taking more pictures and promoting yourself. To create a couple of watermarks that will go with many of your photographs, check out the selection available on Water Marquee. The platform lets photographers use any colors they'd like in their watermarks.

Friday, December 9, 2016

How Visible Your Watermark Should Be

All photographers who watermark their photographs must consider how opaque or transparent to make their watermark. No one opacity is right for every image or for every photographer. If you're struggling to find the right opacity for your watermark, here are some factors to consider.

Opaque Enough to Be Noticeable

Your watermark should be opaque enough to be noticeable. After all, the whole reason to have a visible watermark is so that it's seen. If no one notices your watermark, then what is the point of having a visible one? You might as well use an invisible watermark that's more difficult to remove.

Making sure people notice your watermark is especially important if you're using it to communicate copyright information, which some platforms strip from images' meta data. Without your details included in the meta data, a visible watermark is the only way to keep copyright information with a photograph. The watermark will only work, though, if it's seen.

It's also particularly important to make sure your watermark is noticeable if you're using the watermark for marketing purposes. If your primary goal in watermarking your photographs isn't to keep them from being stolen but to get your name out, you'll want people to quickly see your watermark when they look at your photos.

Transparent Enough to Not Detract

Your watermark, however, shouldn't be so opaque that it significantly detracts from your photograph. Even if you want people to see your copyright information or name, you also want them to appreciate the beauty of your pictures. If they're turned off from your photo work, it won't matter whether they see that you took the picture.

If you aren't sure whether your watermark is detracting too much from a photo, check whether you see your watermark or the image's subject first when you look at the shot. If the watermark is more prominent, make it a little more transparent.

Of course, looking at a photo that you've taken, edited and created a watermark for with fresh eyes can be difficult. You may want to ask a friend to look at a watermarked photo and ask whether they notice the subject or watermark first.

Visible but Tasteful

In short, your watermark should be visible but tasteful. Many photographers find that an opacity between 20 and 30 percent makes a watermark visible but not too intrusive, but this range isn't the only solution. Some photographers use higher opacities but place their watermarks in areas away from the subject. A few even make their watermark 100 percent opaque, and place it in negative space and match the color to a color in the photograph.

The percent opacity for your watermark will depend on its size and location. You'll need to experiment a little to find out what works best for your photographs and goals. If you'd like to try several different opacities, consider using Water Marquee. The platform makes it easy to create a customized watermark and adjust the opacity to any level that you'd like.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Where to Place Your Watermark on Your Photos

The placement of a watermark on a photograph greatly affects both its effectiveness and its intrusiveness. If you're trying to decide where to place watermarks on your photos, here are some common approaches photographers take and how they impact photographs.

The Bottom Right is a Standard Choice

The bottom right corner is a standard location to put your watermark. A watermark in the corner is visible, yet it doesn't significantly detract from a photograph. (Any corner works, but most photographers settle on the bottom right one.)

When a watermark is placed in the bottom right, it's usually kept fairly small. The watermark certainly shouldn't cover a large portion of your photographs, since the main reason to put it in the corner is so that it doesn't take away from the images.

The disadvantage of putting your watermark in the bottom right (or any other) corner is that it can easily be cropped out of your photographs. With any basic photo editing software, your name and details can be removed in just a few seconds.

A Border Below Your Photo is Easily Cropped

Some photographers don't even like how much a watermark in a corner intrudes on their photograph, so they create a border below their photos and place their watermark in the border. A border is even more easily cropped than a corner, though. If people share your images without altering them, your name will remain attached. Anyone who wants to remove the watermark, however, can easily do so.

The Center is More Prominent

Photographers who are more concerned about theft (and many stock photo sites) place the watermark in the center of their photographs. In the center, a watermark is more difficult to remove from a photograph. It still can be removed with photo editing software, but getting rid of the watermark without altering the original image requires advanced knowledge. People who aren't familiar with photo editing software won't be able to remove the watermark, and even those who know how to get rid of it may have to spend some time altering each photograph they steal.

When a watermark is placed in the center, it's typically fairly large. Keeping the watermark big ensures that it covers the focal point of each photograph it's used on, even if the focal point isn't in the middle of the image.

The downside of putting a watermark in the middle of your photographs is that it will detract from them. Its impact on your images can be minimized by reducing the opacity of your watermark, but any visible watermark in the middle of a photograph will detract from the picture at least a little bit.

Individual Placement Takes Time

A few photographers change the placement of their watermark with each photograph they publish. They look for a visually complex area that's not the focal point of each image and put their watermark there. In such a location, a watermark is difficult (although not impossible) to remove, and it doesn't significantly interfere with the image.

Customizing each photograph's watermark takes a lot of time, though, which is why only a few photographers take this approach. You may want to use on only your most valuable photos, and use a quicker watermarking method for most of your shots.

Placement Anywhere You Like with Water Marquee

If you're looking for an easy watermarking solution, consider using Water Marquee. The platform lets you place your watermark anywhere you'd like on your photographs.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Watermarking for Wedding Photographers

For wedding photographers, a watermark is much more than a means of protecting photos from being stolen. When used properly, a watermark can be a wedding photographer's most effective marketing tool. If you're a wedding photographer, here's how to watermark your images so they help you attract new clients.

The Watermark's Past Role

Watermarks have traditionally been used to prevent images from being stolen. In wedding photography, they've prevented newlyweds from printing their own photos--thus ensuring that the wedding photographer was paid for the photographs they provided. If a couple wanted an additional print, they typically had to pay the photographer for the extra print.

In the past few years, though, two technological developments have rendered the watermark less effective at ensuring photographers are paid for their work. First, software programs have made it possible for individuals with just a cursory photo editing knowledge to remove watermarks. It's easy for couples to take out a watermark and print their own photos. Second, people have become less interested in physical prints as social media has grown. Couples would rather post their photos online or email them to family than send prints in the mail.

A New Role for the Watermark

The changing landscape of wedding photography hasn't made watermarks completely useless, though. By continuing to watermark photos, you can turn people's inclination to post photos online into advertisements for you. Whenever someone shares a photo with your watermark on it, the people they share it with will see your brand name. Assuming they like your shots, they'll likely think of you if they ever have a wedding.

In effect, your shared watermarked photos are visual recommendations of your work. These kinds of recommendations are often more effective than other advertising methods, because they're:
  • from trusted family and friends
  • often shared with bridal party members and other friends who may also be having weddings soon
  • reach people organically through their social media news feeds or email

(Admittedly, some users may still remove your watermark before sharing. Not everyone, however, will go through the trouble of taking a watermark out of each image they share, so you'll get at least some exposure online.)

Make Watermarks Work for You

To make watermarking an effective form of advertising, you need a watermark that conveys the essential details about your business without being too intrusive. A good watermark designed for marketing will:
  • contain your name and website
  • look professional
  • not take away from the bride and groom
It's vitally important that your watermark doesn't detract from a photograph, because this strategy only works if your photos are good enough to be shared. Couples won't want to share photos if your company name is more prominent than the people in the photos. A subtle, faded watermark in one corner is often the best way to subtly include your name.

Additionally, you may want to move from a product-based pricing structure to a service-based structure. Since you're using watermarks to generate more business from other clients, instead of to make sure past clients purchase prints from you, you'll need to find a way to make up for a potential reduction in print sales. You can easily compensate for lower print orders by charging a higher fee to shoot a wedding, and then providing watermarked photos at a lower price--or even giving them away for free. They are advertisements for you, after all.