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Rant: Should I add a watermark to my photos?

Bad watermark

Guys, it's time we had a talk.

Please stop ruining your shots by putting a watermark on them.

99% of the time no one wants to "steal" your photos. No one cares. Literally.

It's so frustrating to see beautiful shots defaced with a big ugly fake signature scrawl or logo.

And it's just as frustrating seeing watermarks on snapshots. There really is no point.

If for some reason someone does want to "steal" your photo, they can easily erase any watermark.It takes minimal time and effort in Photoshop. There are even specific programs for removing them.

If your watermark is on the edge of your shots it's even easier to just crop off. Stick it in the middle and you've made your image look like garbage. All watermarks do is detract and distract from your shot, no matter how discreet.

If you're worried people will "steal your photos" (they won't!) then perhaps putting them online isnt the best option for you. Anything you publish on the internet is fair game for anybody who so wishes to share - without credit. Seriously, uploading an image to a Facebook group, for example, and adding "please don't share without permission" is akin to standing naked in the street and asking people not to take your photograph. There is nothing you can do about it. It is out there in the public domain and you've whipped them out and slapped them on there.

Sheffield rooftopping

I admit, I went through a phase of using a watermark. I thought it would be good for advertising; people see the shot, they see who took it. It makes sense. But in this day and age where everything is on demand and people expect things with one click of a button or tap of a screen, you could have a nice watermark identifying you as the owner of a shot, but if there's nothing to click on to take someone to your website or social media then it wont matter anyway. People dont want to hunt around for things, and if that means Googling the name of a photographer (if your name or business name is even legible on a watermark, a lot of which arent at all) the majority of the time it wont happen.

And if someone else is using your shot uncredited (which they won't) - and really we're talking social media here, Instagram in particular, but also Facebook and Twitter - just ask for a credit. A couple of times on Instagram I've had shots shared without a link back to my account, and it's been purely by accident. The reposting apps that a lot of people use can miss parts of the original post off. There's nothing malicious about it. Point it out, politely, and you'll get your credit added.

I hoped this wouldn't turn into a big rant, but it has.

I'll just sumarise it by saying: the benefits of not ruining your shots with an ugly and useless watermark far outway any potential benefits, including advertising, of having one on there.

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