Friday, October 14, 2016

Choosing Your Watermark - Text, Logo, Or Both

Photographers are compelled to protect their photographic images from Internet thieves, but often can't decide whether to use a graphic logo design or a text for a watermark. There are certain advantages to both. The final decision is up to the individual photographer and how he or she wants their work presented to the public.

Logo Watermarks

Portrait photographers are known for using logo watermarks on their photographs for the purpose of advertising. They want their work to be known and recognized by their brand. Often the logo contains a design and text. Before digital cameras and online galleries came into vogue, portrait photographers printed "proofs" for their customers. These sample photographs had the word "proof" printed across the photo to prevent theft or misuse. The purchased photographs would have the logo of the photographer, usually in gold color, embossed in the lower corner of the photograph. Watermarking your images in a digital age is no different than the bold "proof" that used to be printed on photograph copies years ago.

Text Watermarks

Many photographers use text watermarks that contain the photographer's business and personal name. Wildlife Photography by John Doe is an example of simple text. The words can be in a row or the company name above or below the photographer's. Decorative fonts are popular with text watermarks and may include underlining or other embellishments. Color text can be used to blend in with the image, and be less conspicuous, while still displaying the photographer's watermark. Text is easy to place on any image and doesn't require as much space as a logo. There is less distraction from the content of the photograph when text is used.

Portrait and Wedding Photography

If you are posting client images for sale on a password protected website, you must be sure your watermark can not be easily removed. Some people will simply crop out a small watermark in the bottom corner of a photograph and reproduce it on their home printer, instead of purchasing professionally printed images. Use a larger watermark, logo or text, and be sure it covers a portion of the image's essential content. Your watermark is also your brand and a successful advertising tool.

Wildlife And Scenic Photography

Amateur and professional photographers want to preserve the integrity of their photographic art and avoid placing it at risk for theft. Wildlife and scenic photography are the most popular categories for people to steal online and use for financial gain. They are used to produce calendars, prints, greeting and post cards, and journal covers. It is a huge loss to the photographer trying to sell his or her work. Watermarking your images makes it difficult for the thief to use your images. Watermarks can be removed in Photoshop, but only someone with great talent can do it skillfully. Many laymen can recognize when an image has been altered in Photoshop and will hesitate to buy the product.

Watermarks Are Your Protection

While some people say watermarks are distracting, the majority of amateurs and professional photographers use them to protect their intellectual property. Make sure your watermark does not detract from your image by making it too large or using a bright color. Allow it to be visible and a bit understated. If your eye is drawn to the watermark rather than the image, it is too prominent. Placement is also important. Most photographers place their watermark in one of the lower corners of the picture for less distraction. Portrait photographers place them on the image to prevent unauthorized duplication.

Watermark your images with either a logo or text. People looking for a photographer will recognize the work of a professional or skilled amateur, because he or she has branded their images. You will be hired based on the quality of your work. People who steal from photographers are among those who complain about watermarks, and they will never pay you.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Types of Digital Watermarks and Their Uses

Digital watermarking lets photographers protect their images in today's digital world. There are several different ways of digitally watermarking an image, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here's a look at each type of digital watermark used for pictures today.

The Types of Digital Watermarks

All digital watermarks can be separated into two broad categories: visible watermarks and invisible ones. As the categories' names imply, visible watermarks can be easily seen, and invisible ones are hidden from sight. Visible watermarks are also known as overt watermarks, and invisible ones are sometimes called covert watermarks.

Visible watermarks usually take the form of a semi-transparent image that's overlaid on the original image. The image usually contains the name of the photographer or company that holds the copyright for the image, although it can contain additional items, like the year or a copyright symbol. Since the image is semi-transparent, it's clearly visible but also lets the viewer see the original image.

When superimposing an image as a visible watermark, it's important to make sure the superimposed image can't easily be cropped from the photograph. The semi-transparent image that's superimposed should either cover most of the picture or a vital part of it, such as a person's face in a portrait or wildlife in a nature shot.

Invisible watermarks are embedded into an image and intended to remain unseen under normal viewing. They're only visible via specialized software. There are several different types of invisible watermarks:
  • superimposing an image but keeping it extremely transparent so that it's not noticeable
  • flipping the lowest-order bit of specific pixels, which only works if the photograph won't be modified and, even then, is usually too basic to be effective
  • spatial watermarking, which applies a watermark to a specific color band so that the watermark only visible when the colors are separated, such as for printing
  • frequency watermarking, which applies a watermark to a specific frequency so that the watermark is only visible when that frequency is separated out

Of these, spatial and frequency watermarking are the most common invisible watermarks used.

When using frequency watermarking, the watermark is best applied to either a low frequency or a frequency that's critical to the image. High frequencies are often lost in compression and scaling, and the watermark will be lost if the frequency it's applied to is lost.

The Uses of Visible Watermarks

By stating the copyright holder's name, visible watermarks help protect an image from copyright infringement. Their usefulness in tracking down illicit uses of an image, however, is limited. Not only is it difficult to search for all uses of a semi-transparent watermark, but these watermarks can be removed by software. Visible watermarks are getting better at resisting image transformation, but a determined and knowledgeable thief will still see the watermark and, with the right software, possibly be able to remove the semi-transparent image.

The strength of visible watermarks lies in their immediate claim of ownership. The best visible watermarks clearly label the image with the copyright owner's name and, thus, eliminate any commercial value for people who would use the image illicitly. Because they state the copyright owner's name, they can also be used for promotional purposes.

The Uses of Invisible Watermarks

Invisible watermarks are used to prove an image's authenticity and identify the rightful copyright holder. Since they're harder to identify and remove than visible watermarks, invisible ones are especially helpful when searching for and prosecuting illicit postings of an image. They can help prove that a person violated a copyright claim, which can make prosecuting a copyright lawsuit and collecting royalties easier.

Invisible watermarks can also be used to track down occurrences of an image and identify the original source of each occurrence. The photographer's, copyright holder's, distributor's and consumer's name can all be embedded in an invisible watermark of an image.

Copyright Protection Options for Photographers

Photographers have always needed to take steps to protect their work. In today's digital age, these watermark options give photographers several ways to prevent, identify and prosecute illicit uses of their images.

Friday, September 16, 2016

3 Reasons Why You Should Watermark Photos of Your Children

Most parents take pride in showing off pictures of their children and the Internet one of the most popular ways they do this.  Millions of people can see the photos you post in a matter of seconds.  Birthday parties, first steps and first days of school are just a few of the milestones that flood Instagram, Facebook and many other social media sites everyday.  Photographs are a great way of getting a glimpse into someone's life.  Usually this is a positive thing, but it's important to be careful when posting photos online.  One of the ways to keep your family safe is to watermark your photos.  While most photographs online aren't watermarked, there are many advantages to watermarking photographs of your children.

Use Personal Watermarks to Protect Your Photos from Theft

One benefit of photo watermarking is that it helps deter potential thieves from stealing your pictures.  Photos without a watermark can easily be stolen by anyone that has an Internet connection.  If your name is watermarked across your photos, thieves will be reminded that there are consequences for stealing pictures.  It's not a sure fire way to stop them, but if they do attempt to steal your photographs, it will be apparent to others that they are stolen.  Your pictures will still have the potential to be distributed, but your chosen watermark will give away that the pictures belong to you.

When it comes to photo theft online the reality is it happens all the time.  It can be scary to think there might be someone distributing your child's photographs as their own.  In some cases, it can even ruin your life.  If you're a parent, this probably sounds terrifying, but it's not hard to prevent it.  Watermarking your photographs will help protect you and your family and give you peace of mind in the virtual world.

Showcase Your Child's Personality with Custom Watermarks

Another benefit of watermarking your photographs is that you can let your creative side shine.  If your child has a favorite cartoon character, you can create a custom watermark of that character.  Turn your child's favorite animal into a watermark.  Have a school bus watermarked into a photograph of the first day of school.  Not only will your child love the personal touch, but people will get to know a little more about your family.

Explain Your Photos Through Descriptive Watermarks

You can turn just about anything into a custom watermark.  You could use a quote, date, description or just about anything else you can come up with.  Dates come in handy for photos of the first day of school, first steps and birthdays.  Descriptions can be used to explain what's going on in the picture.  A quote could be an inspiring thought or funny anecdote that you can look back on and smile.  If you have vacation photos, watermark the name of the city or attraction you went to into photos of your family's trip.  Let yourself get creative and let the world get to know your child's likes and dislikes.  The possibilities are endless.

When it comes to parenting, it's always good to be safe.  Don't risk the safety of your family.  Watermarking your photos can protect you as well as be fun.  Let your children be part of the process if they're old enough.  Have them help choose the designs you use to watermark your photos.  Turn it into a fun bonding experience that you can use to discuss Internet safety.  Most importantly, have fun creating memories with your children.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Watermark Your Photographs To Protect Them From Theft

Technology has brought wonderful advancements to the field of photography. The digital age allows photographers to see their images as soon as they are taken. Some adjustments can be made inside the camera and others in a digital darkroom, such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Pro. The Internet has opened up opportunities for photographers to show and sell their work on blogs and websites that can be viewed from computers, tablets, and smartphones. Along with benefits for photographers, the Internet provides opportunities for intellectual property thieves. Photographic images are being stolen from Internet websites every day, and used for profit making ventures by someone other than the owner. Watermarking photographs that are placed on line is the best way to prevent theft.

Why Are Images Stolen?

A small number of people believe every photograph posted online is free for the taking, but the majority know better. Everyone is looking for a way to make a few extra dollars, and some are using other people's photographs to create products in on-demand print shops. Zazzle and Cafe Press are just two of the many companies that offer mugs, clothing, greeting cards, tote bags, calendars, and numerous other items to be printed with photographic images. The items are then sold at a profit to the person uploading the photographs. Unscrupulous freelancers grab photographs from blogs and websites and upload to on-demand print companies and earn money from another person's hard work.

Photography calendars are very popular items during the holidays, and some small print shops search for location-themed images online to print calendars to sell to businesses in their community. These calendars are usually printed with the business name. Newspapers and magazines have grabbed images from the Internet to avoid paying a local photographer. The sad fact is most photographers cannot afford to sue someone for using their image without permission. Even though intellectual property is copyrighted the moment it is created, you must go to court and prove it is yours if you want to recover the financial loss. Some people steal images to post on their website or to use as screen savers. They aren't using them for financial gain, but they are still doing it without the knowledge or permission of the photographer.

How Can Your Protect Your Work?

Don't become discouraged if you have images stolen. Avoid the temptation to stop posting your photography on the Internet. You will lose opportunities for sales and the chance to build your name as a brand. Watermarking your photography is the common sense solution for the thievery that is becoming commonplace. There are several ways to create an effective watermark for photographers who have graphic editing programs and skills. If you are using Adobe Photoshop, you can make a custom watermark brush that is saved and can be used for all your images, and you can watch a tutorial on how to create it at Corel PaintShop Pro, and Gimp online tutorials also demonstrate ways to create attractive watermarks. Some photographers type their name in capital letters on their photographs, but that can appear distracting, awkward and unprofessional.

What If You Don't Have A Graphics Program?

If you have never used a graphics program other than what your computer and camera software offer, you can still protect your images with online watermark services. You can pick and choose your style, color, and font from a large variety of presets, or you can follow the instructions to design your own. It's easy, fast, and affordable. You can be protecting your beautiful photographic images in just minutes.

Don't take chances with your images, because no one else should be profiting from your work. Create a professional watermark to protect your photography and thwart the intellectual property thieves.

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

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.