Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summertime Updates

We just released the another big update to Watermarquee, for both Free and Pro users.

Reduced Memory Usage

We've cut the amount of memory used to render your photos in half, which should lead to less of a load on your computer while rendering your watermarked photos is occurring.

Incremental Rendering

Previously, all of your photos were rendered at the same time. Now, the system will render 3 images at the same time and then automatically move on to the next 3. This should let you see rendering progress much faster, when you're rendering a lot of watermarked images.

Auto-rotation of photos

This one is my favorite. It's a pain to have to rotate images taken on your camera phone, so now Watermarquee will automatically rotate photos for your when you first upload them.

If you run into any problems, please let us know by emailing us at support@watermarquee.com.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A New Water Marquee

In January, Water Marquee is going to be getting its biggest change since it started over four years ago.  The change includes a complete new look and a complete re-write of both the front and back-end code base.



A New Look


The new version of Water Marquee has a completely new design that is cleaner and more modern. Gone is the red background you saw when watermarking your photos, replaced by a more conventional dark background, which will help to highlight your photos while you add your watermarks.  You'll also have more room in the editing window, so you can position your watermark with a higher degree of precision.


New Features


Users of both the free version of Water Marquee, and Water Marquee Pro users, will see a lot of new features.

  • New fonts. Water Marquee users currently have 12 fonts they can use. In the new version of Water Marquee, that jumps to 23 for users of the free version, and over 60 for Pro users.
  • Bigger photos. Users of the free version of Water Marquee will now be able to watermark photos up to 3 MB in size, up from the current 1 MB limit. Pro users will continue to be able to watermark images of any size.
  • Multiple watermarks.  Currently, Water Marquee users are limited to 1 watermark, either text or logo, per photo. The new version allows you to add an unlimited number of either type of watermark, allowing for more creative and interesting watermarks.
  • Templates.  The new version of Water Marquee will offer watermark templates, which are pre-made watermarks that will help you find the watermark style that works best for you.
In addition, the new version of Water Marquee is much faster, both for free and Pro users.

Lower Price for Pro Access


The current version of Water Marquee is $5 per month, but the new version is $5 for life. That means that you pay $5 one time, and then can use Water Marquee Pro forever.

Coming Soon

The new version of Water Marquee goes live in January. If you'd like to check it out before then, you can head over to the Beta version. We'd love to hear your feedback!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tips for Better Landscape Photography

Whether you like to take travel shots on vacations or just wander around the areas close to your home, landscape photography is more than just point and shoot. As with any other type of photography, a little knowledge and a lot of practice will make your landscape photography much better. The practice is up to you, but this article will give several tips for taking your landscape photography to the next level.
 


Learn About Focal Points and Depth of Field

 
Most landscape photography covers a lot of territory from close to the photographer to the far distance. There can also be a wide variety of subjects in the shot, such as architecture, trees, mountains, etc. The first thing you need to decide is what is the main subject? This will be your focal point. Learn how to choose the focal point for your camera and make sure the main subject is in sharp focus. Depth of field refers to how much of the image is in focus. For most landscape photographs, this will be almost everything in sight. To achieve this, you will need to shoot a small aperture. In many circumstances, this will cause you to slow the shutter speed below what can be handled hand-held. This will lead to ....
 


Use a Tripod

 
You will never, ever see a professional photographer take a landscape shot that they are going to use in their portfolio without a tripod. This piece of equipment is more than just a gimmick or expensive toy. Using a tripod serves one main purpose and provides a side benefit you may not know about. The main advantage most people are aware of is that the tripod eliminates camera shake from hand holding your camera. This is especially important with the small aperture needed for the depth of field desired in most landscape shots.

Another advantage to the tripod is it forces you to think about the shot a bit more. It's easy to walk around, raise the camera, snap a few frames and then move to a new spot. The tripod takes a bit more time to set up and get in the right position. This will slow you down and force you to think about what is in the viewfinder. And this leads to ....
 


Think About the Composition

 
As you look through the viewfinder, think about what is and what is not in the frame. Are there things in the frame you don't want that a few steps to the left will eliminate? Are there things that aren't in the frame you want that backing up a bit would include? Where is your main subject? Avoid putting the main subject in the center of the frame. Placing it a bit off-center adds more interest to the shot. How about the angle? If you have a beautiful sky, maybe tilt the camera up a bit to include more. If it is is dull or blown out, tilt the shot down and minimize the visible sky. Walk around and look at the landscape from different angles, positions and elevations.
 

Learn these few simple tricks and get out there and practice. Before long, you will be taking home breathtaking landscapes.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Make Money from Stock Photography: How to Prepare Your Pictures

If you're interested in making money with your camera, the world of stock photography can be very lucrative. A stock photographer can choose the subjects he shoots and the hours he works, and it's a more flexible option than being a portrait or wedding photographer. Stock photography is very competitive, and you have to be able to produce high quality images with an original and creative approach.

Images look different when viewed online, and there are several steps you must take to make sure they appear as sharp and bright as when you look at them on a camera screen or external monitor. The stock photographer also needs to take precautions to protect his pictures and reduce the risk of copyright theft. The following 4 step process will ensure your images have the greatest chance of selling when listed on a stock photography site.



1) Get it right in the camera


Don't create work for yourself by making basic mistakes when shooting stock images. Ensure every picture is composed and framed for maximum impact, and pay attention to focus and exposure. You can make minor adjustments in Photoshop or other photo editing software later, but it's better to get things right first time. If you work with a modern digital SLR camera you should be able to rely on automatic shooting modes, but don't take things for granted and expect perfect results every time. Difficult lighting conditions can fool a camera's metering functions, and great pictures can be ruined by over or underexposure. Shooting with a tripod can help to ensure maximum sharpness, and can make the difference between an amateur and a professional photograph.

If your camera has the capability, shoot in RAW mode rather than the more popular JPEG. Working in RAW format gives you much greater flexibility to correct exposure, color balance and sharpness of images. If you're serious about making money with your camera, you need to learn how to work in RAW to produce the finest quality images possible.



2) Adjust exposure, contrast and brightness


Even the most experienced photographer doesn't get it right every time, and stock libraries will only accept perfectly exposed images. Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop are great for making the necessary adjustments, and it only takes a minute to use the tools available to adjust and correct exposure. Learn to use the levels readings to understand the best way to adjust an image.



3) Sharpen your images


Picture editing software offers various tools to sharpen images, and this is another important step in preparing them for submission to stock libraries. If you've shot in RAW format it's very easy to improve clarity and sharpness using the filter options.



4) Adjust color and white balance


Color casts are one of the main reasons pictures are rejected by stock libraries. You can rely on your camera to adjust white balance automatically most of the time, but it's necessary to intervene manually in some conditions. If shooting indoors, pay attention to the color of artificial lighting and how this mixes with light from windows. If you can't find a suitable camera setting, remember to process the images in the digital darkroom to correct color casts.


Most stock libraries will apply their own copyright protection to your images, but always check this before submitting. If the policy isn't clear, add a watermark using Water Marquee to ensure your pictures aren't downloaded and used without your consent.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Share your Photos with the Water Marquee Community

Hundreds of talented photographers use Water Marquee every day, and now we're able to show off what everyone has been working on.  If you'd like the world to see your work, share your photos with the Water Marquee community!



If selected, your photo will be displayed on our Facebook Page and Twitter feed.  We'll include a brief description from your about why the photo is special, and link to your home page where everyone can see more of your work.



If you're interested, just fill out this form. We look forward to seeing what you've been up to!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Social Media Marketing - Instagram for Photographers

Social media marketing is now widely accepted as a very effective way of winning new customers and building loyalty with existing ones. Visual marketing is being cited by many experts as one of the most important business trends for the next twelve months, and platforms like Instagram are a perfect tool for this. Photographs and pictures appeal to emotions, and they are very powerful way of developing a brand and promoting products and services.

 
Instagram marketing may not be something you've considered for your photography, but the rising popularity of the social media platform means it could be a fantastic opportunity to reach mass audiences. There are now close to one hundred and fifty million active users of Instagram. The following questions and answers will help you to decide if Instagram marketing is an activity you'll see returns from.

 
1)      What is Instagram?

Launched in October 2010, Instagram is a social network application for sharing photos and video clips. The platform integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other networks, and allows the user to share pictures instantly. One of the things which sets Instagram apart from other photo-sharing apps is the ability to apply filters for different effects. Simple snaps can be made to look like professional photographs with creative use of the digital filters.


2)      Do I have to be a great photographer?

Instagram marketing is all about sharing the moment and making your customers feel close to you. The quality of images most smartphones capture is very good, and there's no need to worry about technical expertise. If you want to share images of your products, you simply need to make sure they are in focus and well lit. If your pictures look too professional, you'll lose the impact of sharing images which should appear to be taken in the moment.

 
3)      Do I have to have a product?

Visual marketing is ideal for promoting products, but you can also use the same techniques for services. If your business is fashion retail, it's easy to see how sharing photographs of your products can raise awareness and lead to sales. A business such as a dental hygienist may need to think more creatively when it comes to Instragram marketing, sharing more abstract images related to freshness and confidence. Some of the most successful examples of marketing using Instagram involve sharing pictures of happy customers, and this is a great idea if you have willing volunteers.

 
4)      What is 'User Generated Content' (UGC) and how can it help my business?

Some experts believe UGC is the ultimate form of online marketing. Word of mouth recommendation is recognized as being incredibly powerful, and businesses have thrived on this for decades. In the online world, customers can have an active involvement in how your business is seen and perceived by others. Happy customers may share photos of themselves enjoying your products, and this is a very powerful sales tool. UGC creates trust and raises awareness. Smart business owners are encouraging customers to take Instagram pictures that will ultimately lead to positive reviews and further sales.

 
5)      How can I expand my audience with Instagram?


Instagram marketing only works if you have an audience of followers. There are various ways to cultivate a following, and the techniques are similar to those used to build audiences on Facebook and Twitter. Engaging potential customers by following them and liking their pictures is a great place to start. Instagram allows you to label pictures with hashtags, and this is a very powerful way to expand your following. Think creatively about how you can use popular hashtags to make your images appear in searches.

6)     How can I protect my photographs on Instagram?

Putting a watermark on your photos is hugely important, because images on Instagram are meant to be shared. Without a watermark, the source of a photo can quickly be lost.  Make sure your watermark is visible, without detracting too much from the image itself.  Check out guide to Where to Put Your Watermark for ideas.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Practical Tips for Awesome Winter Photography

Snow and the winter landscape make for very photogenic backdrops but they can be tricky to handle especially if you are a beginner with a camera. Here are a few tips and techniques on how to shoot in snow so you can take awesome winter photography before the season ends. 


Compose, compose, compose!


The basic principles of composition remain the same no matter what kind of photography you are into. You can get more creative with your composition when taking snow photos because you can find interesting focal points of interest and points of contrast in the snowy landscape. The contrast of dark shapes and white snow can serve as great inspiration on how to compose and frame your shots. The Rule of Thirds is a tried and tested classic that you can use for landscape shots. However, as with any form of photography, you can break the rules from time to time for really awesome shots. Shoot portraits from above, using the snow on the ground as natural reflectors, and using the details of your subject's face against the pure white background of fresh snow. Get down and low to shoot snow details or fallen leaves or twigs or step back and capture snow-covered rooftops with a wide lens for a new perspective. 


Check your exposure!


One of the most common problems when taking snow photos is ending up with a backlit subject especially if you are shooting portraits. Experts recommend always using a light meter so that you can take accurate exposure readings and have a subject that is well-lit all around. Exposure compensation is the best tool to avoid overexposed or underexposed shots and most cameras have this feature built in. You may need to take a couple of shots before you get the right exposure for a snowy setting but this could mean the difference between great snow photos and images that you can't use.


Aim for accurate white balance


Snow is very reflective and may cause your camera's white balance settings to go haywire. This is seen in the bluish or grayish tinge that you can get with your first snow photographs, especially if you underexposed your shots. In order to get an accurate white balance, use your camera's custom white balance feature which allows you to gauge the most accurate white balance by choosing the setting where the snow is most closest to white. New camera models have a one-touch white balance feature but if you are using older models, you may need to set your white balance manually. 


Shoot in RAW


Many professional photographers shoot only in RAW and for a good reason. Shooting in snow will often result to a few underexposed or overexposed photos, especially if you are new to photography or if this is your first time shooting in an all white landscape. To ensure that you can still work with these photos, save your photos in RAW format so that you can recover more detail in post processing. The RAW file format allows you to make corrections that would otherwise be impossible to correct if you used JPEG files. RAW files will take up a lot of space in your memory card so make sure to pack an extra one or two cards along when you go out to shoot. 


Take advantage of contrasts


Contrasts become easily noticeable with snow photography, where you have light snow and dark subjects and details. You can direct the eye's attention towards a row of trees in the background, for example, if the trees are dark and sharply outlined, making them stand out against the snowy whiteness of the foreground. Use the white snow to serve as the stage for shooting important objects as well, making sure that the color, texture and other details are in contrast with the white surface.


Overexpose


After all that talk about overexposure, many people would think twice about overexposing their shots. However, you can overexpose by one or two stops to give your photos a brighter feel, without blowing away the details. Working with RAW also helps you keep the details visible even if you intentionally overexpose your shots. When you overexpose your snow photos, you can get the effect of whiter snow and better contrast which allows you to capture that bright, wintry feel that snow tends to evoke.


Use reflected light


While all that light reflected by the snow can affect how your camera sees light and dark areas, you can also take advantage of snow's ability to reflect light in order to shoot your subjects in the right light. Angle your subjects so that they are surrounded by white which is mostly coming from the snow in order to get light areas where the important details, such as the body or face should be. The best thing about reflected light is that it is a soft, diffused kind of light which you won't get with the camera's built-in flash. 


Choose your colors


If you are taking portrait sessions in the snow, have subjects dress up in pastel and other light colors. White outfits will reflect more light and give you more highlights than you care to deal with. Light and soft colors look more attractive against a white background, since intense, deep colors tend to pop out of the picture and dominate the entire shot. Try to incorporate colors in your landscape shots as well. Colors and gradations from light to dark will serve as interesting points of contrasts in any winter photo. 


Stabilize shots with a tripod


A tripod will stabilize your camera and allow you to take images using a slow shutter speeds. If you want to capture snow with city lights in the background or a wintry sunset, a tripod will allow you to get sharp images even as the light is fading.


These are just a few proven techniques that can help you take your winter photography to the next level. While knowing a few photography basics can help you nail some great shots, learning about techniques specifically suited for snow and winter photography can help you capture the season in all its winter glory.