One of the biggest concerns many photo bloggers have (especially when starting out) is how to prevent the photos you post online from being ripped off and used elsewhere. On one hand, the web was made to share information and images, however there are those out there that think nothing of taking someone else’s work and using it themselves. While there may be some measures you can take to discourage this practice, the truth unfortunately is that once you post a photo online, someone can find a way to copy and use it somewhere else. Yes, there are copyright laws. But often, it’s just not worth the hassle to enforce your rights.
Once you’ve accepted the fact that no image on the web is safe from being copied (even if by screenshot), how should you deal with this issue? The answer probably depends on what type of photo blog you have. If you’ve created a website simply to show off your photos, using a watermark is a good idea. Likewise, if your site was created to sell your images, you definitely want to use a good watermarking system. And in both of these cases, you obviously don’t want to upload and display high resolution images on your site—unless you have a password protected area for subscribers, etc. Most sites that sell photos only display a thumbnail or very small image for potential buyers.
But what if you have a portfolio type of website to market your photography services? A huge watermark across the middle of your photos is probably not going to showcase your talents very well. Some great professional photographers I know display their images without any watermarks or copyright symbols (their websites do have a copyright notice in the footer). They are not displaying huge high resolution shots—just photos that are large enough for others to appreciate their talents. If you really have some images you want to protect, I’d say keep them in your printed book or tablet computer to show off.
So when it comes to protecting the images on your site, the best advice is not to spend a whole lot of time on trying to prevent others from stealing your photos. It’s better to concentrate on creating an awesome site that shows off your work in the best way or that markets your photographic talents effectively. While the web can have its downsides, the benefits are still much greater.