Thursday, June 12, 2008

To watermark, or not to watermark?


Actually, I've already answered that question by watermarking a few of my photos... but I do feel ambivalent about it. When I first started posting pics on Flickr years ago I reveled in the endless oceans of pics uploaded by amateurs like myself. But little by little I began noticing tense "someone stole my photo" discussions in big groups like Flickr Central and also noticed that people started watermarking their photos. I've never been a fan of putting a big copyright symbol on my stuff, so I've held off for a long time. On most photos it's unattractive and pulls attention from the most important part: the photograph.

But lately I've started to see my pics blogged on other blogs and sites and I think it's cool! However, I do experience a one-second feeling of shock when I see my pics up there, on someone else's site. I've been lucky and people have always done the right thing and linked back to my Flickr stream or my blog... but it still feels odd. I wonder if I should go an extra step to identify my pics as "my own"... I love doe-c-doe's watermarks - they're not overpowering and are actually a design element that I enjoy. But it's hard to find a font face I'm happy with... I like this font a bit...

pink doe

As you can see, I'm still on the fence - I'm beyond anal when tweaking my photos and this will only add an extra step! So I thought I'd ask all of you - what do you think about watermarks and copyright symbols on photographs? Does it make you like them less? Do you think it detracts? Go ahead, you can be honest! :)

Oh, and by the way, I was blogged here... the only problem is... I can't read Turkish! (I think it's Turkish). Does anyone read Turkish? I'd love a translation! :)


Jennifer said...

My dos pesos...unless I had some sort of commercial enterprise and stood to lose something, I wouldn't bother. I understand people wanting credit for their work, but if it seems like a hassle to you and most folks are linking back to you anyway, is it really worth the trouble?

docwitch said...

Although I don't sell stuff, nor do I have any intention of doing so, (hey - rank amateur here), I still think it's a good idea to copyright.

Whether or not people sell their work, if we consider all the creative energy, time and resources that can go into creating and photographing, I wouldn't necessarily leave it up to others to be honest about crediting work.

I work in academia, and it's just good, sound practice to reference everything, attribute every piece of work to the rightful author/creator. When I write something, I expect that in return.

It's not just a legal issue, it's also an ethical one. It's about respect, and honouring someone's creative endeavours and ideas. I always try my best to make it clear on my blog who has copyright of any images or content, (even though hardly anyone reads my blog...hehe)

Even if people don't intentionally steal/plagiarise, it can so easily happen. It's your beautiful stuff, out there in the world so put your name on it I say! Our creativity needs protective boundaries, and this is one way of doing that, whilst still being able to share your ideas with a community of like-minded people.

There - my two bits. I'll be quiet now. (Love your work).

Carina said...

I've been thinking for a little while that it'd be a good idea to put my name on the photos I let lose upon the world. But I'm a bit lazy (an extra step in the adjusting process, eep) and so I rarely get around to it. Unless I'm making a tutorial for some reason. And even then I sometimes forget. Also, I'm thinking, if I start putting some kind of copyright on my pictures, shouldn't I really go back and do it to my old photos? And then my brain just overloads and shuts down. I have found this online tool for watermarking, but never got round to testing it. Maybe I should. Because I suspect it probably is important to do, even if you're just an amateur. Someone who does it beautifully is Danielle of
The copyright message is there, very visible, but not in a distracting way. I think the copyright message must be placed in a way so that it cannot be removed without ruining the whole image. Otherwise, what would be the point? I guess I'm still pondering how to do that in a pleasing way.

Thanks for a great post, Flor - it really got me thinking. And writing! He he. Maybe it should be a meme of some kind, to make people think about it..?

Anonymous said...

subliminally copyrights on photos make me think of corporations...ew

conscieously though copyrights on photos could be construed as signatures on art which I like. If you've ever read any of the discussions about a & c provenance you may become even more convinced of it's value...however it is a lot of extra stitching so lately I've been thinking about sharpie signing my embroidery.

for photographs that aren't of crafts I say watermark it for sure because it is the primary work of art.


Kristin said...

Watermarking is VITAL in my mind. I protect photos that are important to me. There are some on my blog right now that are missing the copyright mark but that's only because I didn't want to neglect my blog for too long while I waited for my new copy of Photoshop (for this computer) to arrive in the mail.

With the new copyright laws potentially going into effect, it is IMPERATIVE for people to make sure that they stake claim on their photographs, ideas and artwork. Its getting to where now if someone breaks copyright law they have to try and prove that they tried to find you. It used to be that copyright was protected no matter what. Not the case now. Be very very cautious.

Personally I feel that copyright is a symbol of awareness and respect for oneself and other artists.

**clapping for copyright stamps!**


Stacy said...

Flor, I am glad you brought this up since I recently posted on you. I was so unsure of how to do it, but wanted to be able to show people what I meant about your work. If you had the little watermark it would have been a lot easier, no confusion. Especially on the photos of your original work. Sometimes the watermarks are huge and gaudy, but I really think they can be done with class. Thank you so much for your recent posts and thoughts, they have meant a lot lately. Here is my blog link, the post is "Summer Whispers". Please let me know if you want me to change it. Thanks, Stacy

Kat said...

Definitely watermark. The important part of the photo is still intact. You're just identifying it as your creation.

mkjn said...

I'm still pretty new to all this and I haven't really considered watermarking any of my photos at all. I do wonder though if a good and effective watermark would have to be in the middle on the picture. Can't someone just crop your photo. I don't really know. I think it's kinda sad that everything needs to be so protected. I would never dream of stealing someone else's work and I wish others felt the same way. Intereting question!

Sandi said...

I think you should watermark your work. They are your own original creations. (And I like the font you have used, it doesn't detract from the photo).

Sprittibee said...

I mark my photos so that even if someone does use them, they can find my blog and see where they came from. It also is a good help if they accidentally discover the photo through a Google, it will lead them to ME. I would love for people to use my pictures if they give me credit and links. Also - it shows me which pictures people like... and I really appreciate being emailed or left comments so I can know that the usage is taking place. Those are the reasons why I watermark.

:) I love your handiwork, by the way... but I would definitely ask you before taking a photo.

roseylittlethings said...

I think it is a good idea and would like to know how? If you have a sec to drop me a comment that would be great!
Love your site!! LOVE LOVe the embroidered deer and the adorable monkey! SO cute! I am adding you to my ever increasing to read list, look ing forward to to reading and seeing more of your darling goodies!

Stitcher S said...

I know I'm coming in late here but I guess I don't see the need for it. Even if one does watermark, can't it easily be altered later on, and removed in some way? (I really am technologically challenged, so I guess this wouldn't be easy to do.)

I'm with Jennifer in thinking it's too much trouble.

Rebekah said...

I have thought about doing watermarks on my pictures for awhile but laziness does rule out. I think it would be a good idea. Would you go back and do all your old ones? That is where I get lazy I would want them all to be the same but I really do not want to go back and watermark all my old ones. I you decide and are happy with it. That is all that matters. You need all the credit for the wonderful things you make and the beautiful pictures you take.

g said...

Hey - I'm so flattered you like my watermark! {I'm so behind in reading all my favorite blogs so you'll have to forgive me for just finding your post...}

I decided that if I was going to post photos on flickr that I wanted some kind of signature. I know they can be removed & that they don't make "borrowing" impossible. But at least I know that if you went to the trouble of removing it that you knew what you were doing was wrong or you wouldn't have bothered.

I figure what the heck, it can't hurt. Besides I invested time in coming up with that name & searching for the typeface I thought best represented me and dangit I'm going to use it as much as I can!

I really like what you came up with & how you're incorporating it into your photos. I like the challenge of finding the perfect place for mine...its like the cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae!