There are over 2.5 billion downloaded and used illegally every day, reported by Copytrack in its Global Infringement Report.
This figure already conveys the truth about image piracy. Your photos are or will be the next target of thieves unless you take quick action.
And you know what, watermarking appears the most common method to prevent others from taking and using your images unauthorizedly.
But how can you add a watermark to your image? What to notice when using this method or which tools to create a watermark? We’ll give answers to all these questions in this article.
Before digging into details, let’s clearly define what a watermark is as well as its pros and cons.
- What Is a Watermark?
- Advantages of Watermark
- Disadvantages of Watermark
- Best Tools to Watermark Photography
- Watermark Advice for Beginners
What Is a Watermark?
A watermark refers to an image or a piece of text embedded in a photograph. It aims to prove that this photograph belongs to a photographer or a company. While the image watermark can be the logo or the stamp, the text watermark includes the brand name or company website.
Plus, the watermark is often transparent and small enough so that it doesn’t affect the appearance of the photo. You can find the watermark in the corner of the image or right in the center.
Advantages of Watermark
There are numerous benefits of watermark making it common over years. Some artists stamp their photos to protect them from unauthorized usage, others use them as a marketing method.
Protect the Copyright of Your Work
The internet growth makes it easy for people to find and download your images within seconds. With just a click, visitors can view millions of relevant photos in Google image search and get them downloaded.
Watermarks help reduce image stealing problems. Since the photos are clean and contain strange text/images, it discourages thieves from taking and reusing them. They understand if they reupload these photos to their sites or on social channels, others can easily realize these files aren’t the original ones.
On top of that, image owners are able to require payment from users in order to remove the watermark and officially use the photo.
Marketing Your Brand
Watermark is a highly effective marketing strategy for companies stamping their logo or site domain on files. You can do this not only on commercial photographs but also on any digital files such as blog images, featured images, GIFs, and more.
Every time users view the photo, your brand carves in their minds. If these images go viral, more and more people know about your organization and profile.
Show Document Status
Apart from protecting and marketing, a digital watermark also works as the status indicator of a document. Owners will stamp on files with terms like “SAMPLE WORK”, “COPY”, or “EXAMPLE”, etc.
This allows people to separate which documents serve what purpose and make sure they’re not misused. As result, you can organize files better. You can easily find this on wedding studios that provide customers with sample photobooks
Disadvantages of Watermark
Although watermark comes with various benefits, there are still several drawbacks discouraging people from making use of this protection method.
Do not a Protect Image Copyright Perfectly
It’s sad that you take time to design and add watermarks to your document but thieves can remove them easily. There are a lot of tools and apps letting them erase your stamp in a minute.
If your watermark places in the corner of the image, it’s much simpler for them to steal by just cropping it. Consequently, these photographs belong to their own without your permission.
Ruin the Image Appearance
Although your watermark is really small and already transparent, viewers seem to concentrate on it once opening the photograph. It’s because the stamp looks like it doesn’t belong in the photo and this catches viewers’ eyes right away.
Watermark also detracts from the image’s aesthetic. Everything stays perfect until a logo or company name appears on the file and covers part of its content.
Reduce the Chances of Getting Featured
If your photo becomes virals, many big brands will want to feature it on their sites or blogs. This helps you reach out to larger groups of audiences and build your brand awareness.
However, the watermark will prevent your images from appearing on these sites. It’s because nobody plan to publish an unprofessional watermarked file. Their visitors will think that they’re stealing or reusing photographs from another.
If possible, they just want to leave the source and the link to your site/profile in the image caption.
Misunderstood as a Signature
Once completing a painting, the painter will sign to mark it as their own property. And photographers will also sign their printed photos. This helps others recognize their artworks in exhibitions easily.
But the same thing doesn’t go for watermarks. They are just marks and don’t work as signatures for your documents. Even worse, they will also draw attention away from the image.
Best Tools to Watermark Photography
You have a huge selection of tools and apps to add watermark to your photos. It depends on the device you’re using to pick the right one.
Canva comes as a powerful graphic design platform to create images for social media, presentations for work, posters, and any other types of visual content. The software provides you with tons of free templates with different themes to use.
In terms of watermarking, Canva simplifies the process by enabling you to drag your logo/image and drop it to the image. You can freely add text with multiple fonts to any area of the photo. Your image and text watermark sizes are adjustable easily.
#2 Watermark WordPress Files
If you have a WordPress site and want to watermark PDF files there, the Watermark WordPress Files plugin is a smart choice. There are no more photoshop skills needed.
You no longer have to go through the painful process of downloading files from the website → Uploading them to Canva to watermark → Then downloading them to the local device → And after that re-uploading them to your site.
This takes a lot of time and effort. The plugin helps shorten this process by automatically add a watermark to your PDF documents. All you need to do include decide the watermark types and size and the plugin will handle the rest.
Out of the box, the Watermark WordPress Files plugin gives you the right to disable right-clicks on PDF documents. You now can take the file protection solution to a higher level.
#3 Arclab Watermark Studio
Mentioning free watermark tools, we shouldn’t miss out on the name of Arclab Watermark Studio. The tool assists you in customizing your watermark. Choosing the font and the size of the text or adjusting the opacity of each watermark has never been easier. It’s possible for you to add multiple watermarks to a single image too.
However, the software is available for Windows only. You need to look for an alternative if using Mac or other desktop operating systems. There is a Pro version whose pricing plans start from $29 for a single computer license.
#4 Mass Watermark
As the name indicates, Mass Watermark permits you to watermark huge numbers of photos quickly. Its Image Optimization function gives you a helping hand in improving your photo quality. Besides, you can freely crop, rote, or resize your pictures with ease.
This watermarking software supports both Mac and PC computers. It’s also integrated with Flickr and your Picasa Web Album to upload your pictures there.
Downloading the software doesn’t cost you anything. However, you need to pay $30 for a lifetime license and explore more advanced features.
There is a lot of other feature-rich and effective watermarking software to choose from. While some support Windows or Mac only, others are available on both. Some popular ones are:
- iWatermark Pro for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android with $30
- uMark for Windows, macOS, iOS with the free version and requires $29 for the full version
- TSR Watermark Image for Windows, macOS and it costs $29.95
- Watermark Software for Windows only with $24.90 for a lifetime license
- Photomarks and Shortcuts for iPhones
- Photo Watermark and Watermark Maker for Androids
Watermark Advice for Beginners
It’s simple to display a watermark on your image, photo, or document. However, making it professional is not an easy task, not to say a serious headache. There are a few things you must bear in mind before start watermarking your images.
Pay Attention to Watermark Design
Your watermark shouldn’t be just the brand name or the company logo. Since it appears on all of your photos, you need to spend more time giving the watermark a special look.
Try to design an evergreen logo so you can use it over time. You can also hire a designer to get support on this project.
Choose a Suitable Watermark Size
Sizes are another crucial factor for a watermark. Your image and text watermark shouldn’t appear too large or too small. You must pick a conservative size for it.
While the huge watermark distracts users from your photo, the tiny ones make it difficult for people to recognize. Small watermarks are also easy for thieves to remove or crop.
Make Use of Copyright Information to the Metadata
Copyright law is used to protect artistic works. The owner of the image or photo will own the copyright.
Instead of placing the watermark on your photography which can distract viewers, you can try adding copyright information in the metadata. This allows you to keep the original version of the image and at the same time warning ill-intentioned users.
Watermarks help emphasize your ownership of photography. You can add your logo or company name/website to your photos to prevent others from stealing and reusing them.
You have a lot of selections when it comes to tools creating a watermark. Some are completely free and a few require a small charge to upgrade to the Pro version. It depends on your device to choose a suitable one.
In fact, there is no proof that watermarks are a 100%-secure solution to your images. Thieves can still remove or crop watermarks and steal photo ownership easily. To reduce this, we’ve given you some advice before watermarking your files.
Do you think watermarks are effective? Will you use this method to protect your media? Share your thought with us in the comment section below!