In a previous post, I talked about the benefits of sharing your photos online. But, even after reading about these great benefits, you might be worried that someone will steal your photos if you post them online.
Well, luckily there’s a few things you can do to help protect your images:
#1 – Add Watermarks
A watermark is a block of text that you overlay on top of your image that identifies you as the photographer (like in the photo above). Watermarks can be really small and tucked into a corner of your image, or they can be really large and spread across the entire image.
The size of the watermark affects how easily someone could remove the watermark and reuse the image. There’s a tradeoff here: larger watermarks are much harder (or impossible) to remove, but they’re also much more annoying for the viewer.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of watermarks because I feel like they greatly diminish the experience for the viewers of your photos, but they do offer a great level of protection.
Here are a few tutorials for adding watermarks to your images:
#2 – Only share low resolution images
Another thing you can do to protect your images is to only share low resolution versions. This severely limits the ability of someone else printing your photo. Since most high quality prints will print at 300dpi, it’ll be hard for someone to create a useable print of your photo if you only share photos that are a maximum of 800 pixels in each dimension.
The nice thing about that 800 pixel limit is that it makes your photos look nice on most digital screens, but it makes it pretty much impossible for someone to make a good physical print of your photo.
#3 – Add copyright information to your photos’ metadata
Every JPEG file has a set of “metadata” that’s attached to it. This metadata describes some of the properties of your image. For example, you might be familiar with EXIF metadata which stores the camera settings that were used for the photo (such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc).
There’s all kinds of metadata that’s attached to your images, but one of the more useful kinds is the IPTC metadata, which you can use to store copyright information about your photos.
There’s no easily automated way to remove this information from a photo, so I feel like adding this copyright info to your photos’ metadata is the strongest protection you can add to your photos.
Here’s a great tutorial for automatically adding IPTC metadata to your photos in Lightroom.
What did I miss?
Is there another step you take to help protect your images online? If so, please share it with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks! 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.