Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Types of Digital Watermarks and Their Uses



         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 and Their Uses

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 the 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 photographers, 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.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

7 Best Camera Apps for Your Smartphone

7 Best Camera Apps for Your Smartphone



Estimates suggest than more than one trillion photographs are taken each year, and more than 80% of these are taken with a smartphone.

 If you take a look at your camera roll, you’ll likely see that you contribute a decent amount to this trend. Thanks to constantly improving technology, most cameras embedded in your smartphones take high-quality photos. If you want to make these photos look even better, here are seven camera apps to try.

7 Best Camera Apps for Your Smartphone

Take Better Photos


The following apps allow you to do more with your smartphone’s camera, so you can get better pictures with every shot.

1) Moment Pro Camera App


If you want DSLR-like capabilities with only your smartphone, the Moment Pro Camera App is the way to go. With this app, you can shoot photographs in RAW with fully manual controls. This allows you to adjust ISO, shutter speed, exposure, image format, focus and white balance, just like you would on a DSLR camera. Shooting in RAW allows you to get better results out of photo editing. It also has an anamorphic lens option, so you can de-squeeze photos. It’s available on iOS (free with in-app purchases) and Android.

2) Halide


This app is currently only available on iOS devices (and the company warned about a rip-off version on Android devices in early 2018). It turns your phone’s camera into a premium piece of equipment. You can shoot in fully manual or auto mode. All photos are captured as RAW files to give you full editing control. With a recent update, you can shoot pets and other objects in portrait mode, and a feature called Focus Peeking allows you to see where your photo is in focus.

3) Open Camera


This Android-only app is available free of charge with no in-app purchases required. While this open-source app is not as sophisticated as others, it’s still loaded with features. Your photos will not contain metadata but can set the app to capture time stamps and geotags. You can choose between auto-stabilize and adjusting modes, color effects, ISO, exposure and more. The app also has a clever option to take a photo remotely with a voice command.

4) Focus


Another DSLR-quality camera app, Focus is available for free with in-app purchases on iOS devices. Highlights of this app include large aperture, real Bokeh, 3D lighting and more. This app leverages computational photography technology so you can edit the photo – including making adjustments to focus, aperture shapes and adding lights – after you have taken the photo. The app is easy to use and is a great substitute if you don’t have an iPhone XS or XS max.  

Enhance Your Photos


Many apps have been developed to help with the photo editing process as well. They range from free to subscription-based, but you don’t have to pay a lot to get decent editing capabilities.

5) Snapseed


Snapseed is one of the best free photo editing apps available on both iOS and Android. You can edit JPG or RAW files using any of the 29 tools. Beyond the basic functions that are included in most editing apps, this program also includes capabilities such as:

  • Healing: Removes photo-bombers and other unwanted objects
  • Lens blur: Adds Bokeh
  • HDR Scrape: Create the effect of multiple exposures
  • Double Exposure: Blend two photos
  • Face Enhance: Improve portraits


The app also has a unique “Control Point” or Selective features where you can select up to eight points on your photo to assign enhancements and then the app’s technology does the rest.

6) Afterlight 2


This app is billed as an all-in-one photo editor for iOS devices. Note, currently only the original Afterlight is available on Android devices. Underlying its simple user interface is a wide range of editing capabilities. From basic edits like color, exposure and sharpness to advanced modifications such as curves, selective hue/saturation, clarify and tone, this app will help you upgrade your photography skills quickly. They recently added dust and light leak overlays and are continually offering new filter packs from talented photographers.

Dual-Purpose


If you want one app that will help you take better photos and make them look better during editing, here’s our pick:

7) Adobe Lightroom CC


Anyone who knows a little about photo editing knows that Adobe Lightroom is one of the main photo editing tools that professionals use. Now you can enjoy some of these capabilities on your iOS or Android mobile phone. Lightroom offers a powerful camera and photo editor in a single app. You can shoot in RAW and adjust shutter speed, white balance and ISO. The apps comprehensive editing abilities include one-touch pre-sets and advanced adjustments.

Before you post your photos online, be sure to watermark them. Watermarquee.com is a free online photo watermarking tool.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Where to Place Your Watermark on Your Photos



  Where to Place Your Watermark on Your Photos 



Watermark 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 centre of their photographs. In the centre, 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 centre, 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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Why Realtors Should Watermark Their Photos


Why Realtors Should Watermark Their Photos


Why Realtors Should Watermark Their Photos

According to 2019 statistics from the National Association of Realtors, 51% of buyers found the home they ended up buying on the internet. If you’re one of the two million or so licensed real estate agents in the US, this means your internet listings need to be strong, professional and compelling.

The best internet listings have high-quality photographs which highlight the outstanding features of a house, include accurate information about the home and neighbourhood, list clear contact information and profile the real estate agent’s expertise.

Pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words. In real estate, they can be worth thousands of dollars.


How Does Real Estate Photography Work? 


As any realtor knows, selling a house requires beautiful photographs. While you may consider yourself an expert at smartphone photos and filters, you need better quality photos if you want to make a sale.

When you hire a photographer specifically to take photos to use on an internet listing, whether as a full-time employee or as a contractor, first review his or her portfolio to ensure that the quality meets your standards. Then make sure you have a carefully worded contract. In addition to the regular legalese listing the parties, property location, number of photos, payment terms, etc., this contract should also include specific wording around who owns the photos and how they can be used.

Unfortunately, in the competitive world of real estate, photos that are posted online are often stolen and used by other parties to advertise the same listings. However, there are ways to protect against this, and they should probably be detailed in the contract so both your and the photographer’s businesses are protected.

Why Watermark Photos?


One of the best ways to protect your photos is to put a watermark on them.

A watermark is an image or text placed on another image to make it harder to copy or duplicate. Watermarks are typically transparent, so you can still see most of the image underneath the mark. They can be large or small, but either size has the same goal: protecting your assets.

Watermarking your real estate photos send a clear signal to other parties that they cannot use these photos without your permission. Watermarks also help build trust with potential buyers as they show authenticity.

If other parties do try to use your photos, buyers will likely be suspicious of a company that is using images that they clearly do not own. You may even be able to pursue legal action if you discover your watermarked photos on another site.

Best Practices in Watermarking Photos


When it comes to watermarking photos, there are some best practices real estate agents should follow.

Before watermarking, makes sure your listing portal and local MLS allow watermarked photos. If they don’t, there are still ways to protect your images through copyright filings. Although watermarking is relatively simple with online tools, it’s important to check the listing rules so you don’t waste your time.

Where Should the Watermark Go?


Place your watermarks somewhere on the photo where the main content of the photo is not obscured. The bottom right corner is a standard choice, however, anything that is near an edge of the photo can easily be cropped out.

Placing the watermark near the centre of the photo is more prominent and can’t be cropped out. It could be removed by someone with advanced photo editing skills, but that’s time-consuming. One downside of centre placement is that you risk obscuring the beauty of the house you are trying to sell.

How Bright Should the Watermark Be?


The colors of the watermark should strike a balance between opaque and to transparent. If it’s too opaque, then you won’t be able to see the photo’s content. If it’s too transparent, then you won’t be able to see the watermark. The watermark should be visible but tasteful, and it may take some experimentation to get it just right.

What Should Be Included in the Watermark?


Since the watermark is a claim of ownership, it should include the name of the real estate agent. It should also include contact details, such as a website address, so anyone who sees the image will know where to go for more information.

Next Steps for Real Estate Agents


If you have any existing listings, it might be worth adding watermarks to those photos and re-uploading them to the site. With online tools, you can add watermarks to multiple images fairly quickly.

Even if you don’t have time to update your existing photos, it’s worth taking the time to develop a watermark to place on future photos. In this highly competitive field – which gets even more competitive during market booms – adding this image may make the difference between you or another agent getting the sale.

WaterMarquee is an online photo watermarking tool. Get started free.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where You Put Your Watermark Matters


Where You Put Your Watermark Matters


Nearly 80% of people who use Water Marquee use the default "Top Left" position when positioning their watermarks.  While you can drag your watermark to a different location manually, it makes me wonder if many users are missing out on the need to find the perfect location for their watermark on their photos.

Why are you Watermarking Your Photos?


The location of your watermark should be driven by your rationale for using a watermark in the first place.  Generally, people put watermarks on photos to either protect the photos from being copied without attribution or to prevent potential customers from downloading the image without paying.

If your intent is to make sure you get proper attribution, you'll want to minimize the impact of the watermark while not making it too easy to remove (see our Guide on Watermark Removal Software to see how that works).


Where You Put Your Watermark Matters


In the above photo, the watermark sits on the bottom left, away from the focus of the image.  However, because the background of the watermark is completely black, it would be easy to remove.  This type of placement is good only if you're only partially concerned with receiving attribution for an image, and is not appropriate if you're actually trying to protect the image.


Where You place Your Watermark Matters


In this image, a "tiled" watermark has been applied (available in Water Marquee Pro).  Because the watermark text is partially transparent, it is still possible to get a sense of the overall image.  However, it's very unlikely that anyone would steal this photo since the watermark is still so noticeable.  This type of watermark is best when you're a pro photographer, such as a wedding photographer, who needs to be able to let customers see photos but needs to make sure you'll get paid for your work.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

7 Tips for Etsy Photos


7 Tips for Etsy Photos



7 Tips for Etsy Photos

For Etsy entrepreneurs, great product photos are crucial. They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but when was the last time you bought or clicked on an online product with a bad photo?

You might offer the best quality items, but if you’re serious about growing your business, the power of good images shouldn’t be underestimated. The photo can make or break a sale.

Creating a perfect product image can seem a bit overwhelming for those just starting out. Here are 7 tips for great Etsy photos.

1. Consider the purpose of your photos


Tips for Etsy Photos
This high-quality photo by ZwoodZ attracts attention, gives a great sense of texture, color and size, and has a minimalist look.


You want your photos to attract attention, present a clear view of the product, and highlight your brand image. When planning your next shot, it’s useful to remember the purpose of the finished result.

The photo is the first impression your potential client gets. It has to attract enough attention for them to click and find out more. If the photo quality is low, chances are people will simply overlook your product.

The photo is also there to give the visitor a good sense of the product. Online, you can’t get the same perception as holding a physical item. Your picture thus needs to convey all the details. It has to clearly show the texture, color, size, for your potential clients to make an informed choice.

There are many styles of photos, and yours need to match your product, brand image and industry. Do you want a minimalist aesthetic? A vintage one? Bohemian? Spend some time looking for inspiration and figure out what vibe you want for your photos.


2. Lighting



Etsy Photos
The natural window lighting by JasmineSupply highlights the look of the product and creates a light, cozy vibe.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of a good photo. It can completely change its look and enhance your product in different ways. While investing in professional lighting equipment can make a difference, you can also make the most out of your existing equipment using various techniques.

Make sure to look into the appropriate lighting conditions for your preferred photo aesthetic. For a clear, clean, and minimalist look, window light is a great tool.

If you’re taking outside shots, the ‘golden hour’ can create warmer, softer tones. Take your photos either right after sunrise or before sunset.

3. Close-ups and Details


for Etsy Photos
The close-up photo by YesterdaysGaze of the vintage alarm clock shows its details and scratches, which only add to the vintage look in a positive way.

Give a better sense of the texture and details of products by including close-up shots. The details of intricate items such as handmade jewellery can only be captured by a quality close-up.

Close-ups also help you be honest and transparent when it comes to scratches or irregularities of vintage or handmade items. Creating a realistic expectation is better than obscuring these details and risking to disappoint your client.

4. Backgrounds and props


watermark photos in Etsy
The props and background enhance in this photo by BuffaloGalOrganics, of a makeup product, highlighting its natural ingredients.

The type of your product and your brand image will be reflected in the style of your photo. For this, the product itself is not the only aspect that matters. Complete the picture by considering your background and props.

If you’re selling colourful ceramic mugs, you might want to create a cozy scene. For a natural makeup product, you can add some of the natural ingredients used right next to the item.

5. Scale


watermark photos in Etsy shops

Using the apple as a prop in HopscotchLondon's photo, together with the candle, not only shows scale but also highlights the product’s scent.

It’s important for potential clients to know the sizes of your products, and for certain objects, the dimensions aren’t always clear in photos.

For products such as art pieces, toys, bowls, candles etc., it’s important to offer a sense of scale, by placing your product next to objects with a standard dimension.

6. Editing & optimizing


After you take your photo, editing is a great way to take it to the next level. You can adjust the lighting, contrast, or remove any imperfections such as dirt. You can crop the image and slightly rotate it if necessary.

Be careful not to overdo it. Too much editing might give an unrealistic image of your product, which can bring you, unhappy clients.

A significant amount of traffic nowadays is mobile, which should not be overlooked. Make sure your photos are optimized for mobile and look good on a smaller screen.


7. Watermark


You have your perfect photo. Before you upload it, you might want to consider watermarking.

Watermarking is a great way of protecting your images and preventing others to use and claim them as their own. Additionally, it can also help you increase brand recognition. By adding a form of digital signature, your products and images become more identifiable with your brand.

For effective watermarking, get creative and match the watermark to your photo. Avoid watermarks that create a different focal point. The product, not the watermark, should grab the attention.

Water Marquee offers a high-quality, free watermarking service. The watermarks are fully customizable, providing multiple templates, as well as allowing you to choose your fonts, colors, add logos, and more.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

10 Unusual Types of Photography to Consider for Your Career

10 Unusual Types of Photography to Consider for Your Career



One of the most exciting things about photography is the vast potential to express your creativity and artistic strengths in a niche that best suits your talents. While you can experiment with several different styles, most professional photographers choose a particular niche and centre their business and customer base around it. Here are ten unusual types of photography to explore.

10 Unusual Types of Photography to Consider for Your Career

1. Food


Have you ever snapped a photo of a great meal and posted it on social media? Most of us have. In today’s digital generation, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. As more restaurants and food producers turn to social media for their marketing efforts, food photographers will benefit with more work and greater creative license.

Lighting is one of the biggest skills to master when it comes to photographing food. Whether you are trying to capture the ambience of a local restaurant or the brightness of a basket of produce, experiment with filters, diffusers, and reflectors to see what paints your subject in the most delectable light.

2. Landscape


If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, you’ve probably snapped your fair share of landscape photos. Photographers in this niche have great success selling their work to travel companies, tourism websites, and directly to consumers as framed art.

Landscape photography used to be limited to wide-angle, horizontal shots, but as technology has changed, so have the possibilities for artistic techniques. Some photographers use drones to capture a unique angle of a well-known landscape. Others experiment with vertical shots or full panoramic views. A good way to see what works best is to photograph the same landscape with several different lenses.

Unusual Types of Photography to Consider for Your Career

3. Sports


Sports photography is an exciting niche that requires the ability to shoot at high-speeds to capture actions as they happen. With so many photographers crowding professional sporting events, it might seem challenging to break into this niche. As a first step, contact your local little leagues, sports clubs, or high school athletic departments and offer to photograph games and events at no charge. As you get more experienced, you will quickly build your reference pool and portfolio.

4. Macro


Macro photography is one of the most specialized and unique niches. It is the art of making objects look much larger than they are in real life while capturing tiny details that would be missed by the naked eye. Macro photography can be done with a wide variety of equipment, from a DSLR camera with a macro lens to a simple smartphone camera and clip-on macro attachment. While it can be difficult to find a regular client base for this niche, many photographers sell their macro photographs as prints or framed art.

5. Wildlife


Wildlife photography is a unique niche that poses some interesting challenges. Depending on the subject, wildlife photographers often operate in dangerous conditions and remote locations. Because they need to capture crystal-clear photos without making the animal aware of their presence, these photographers need top-notch lenses and equipment and must also take precautions to stay safe from both the animals and the environment they shoot in. Despite these challenges, wildlife photography is a popular niche for adventurers and assignments pay well.

wildlife photography

6. Pets


For the less-adventurous animal lover, pet photography is an increasingly popular niche to explore. While the subjects can be unpredictable, they are also highly coachable with treats and praise. Just like wildlife photography, pets require lots of high-speed images to catch a few exceptional shots.

To get started in the pet photography market, take photos of your own pets and those of your friends and family in exchange for testimonials. Don’t limit yourself to just dogs and cats--showcase your talents by adding prints of some unusual pets to your portfolio, too.

7. Photojournalism


Some of society’s most compelling and memorable stories were captured by photojournalists. This specialized type of photography covers news stories and world events, including natural disasters and wars, as well as historic moments in time like rallies and celebrations.

Because these photos are in high demand with newspapers, magazines, and online publishers, photojournalists tend to be paid well and receive a great deal of notoriety for their work. Photojournalists are skilled at capturing the essence of a historic event and not necessarily a perfect shot.

8. Stock photos


There is a large market for stock photos, and it’s growing by the day. Organizations of all types and sizes use stock photography for marketing purposes and to accompany the content, both printed and online. While it may be difficult for some to sell their “art” to someone for commercial gain, stock photography is a lucrative niche for photographers who are just starting their professional careers. Unlike many other types of photography, stock photos can provide passive income to the photographer through repeat sales of the same photo to different buyers.

9. Weather


Weather photography is one of the most unusual types of photography that also delivers truly beautiful images. It features various types of wild weather, including snowstorms, thunderstorms, and even sandstorms. While there is certainly an element of danger that goes along with weather photography, the resulting images are often sold at a high price and can even win awards.

10. Architecture


Architecture photography is in high demand. It is not only used by design companies and architecture firms but also coveted by consumers for its clean, sleek styling and crisp images. It takes practice to capture the right angles and avoid sun glare and reflections, but this niche is the perfect fit for photographers who like to blur the lines between artistic and technical photos.

Whatever type of photographer you want to be, practice will make perfect. Try several different types of photography to get a feel for your strengths and investigate the market before you invest in special equipment. Above all, choose a niche that you enjoy, and your work will reflect your enthusiasm.

Thinking of putting your photos online? Make sure you protect your photos with a watermark.