5 reasons why I don’t use Watermarks?

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I have been in photography for a few years now, and obviously, I am still learning. I don’t think I would be continuing on this path if not for the constant advances in technology that continue to make the photographic process and the photography world so exciting. There’s ALWAYS something to learn. ALWAYS! With all that being said, I am often asked the question, “Why don’t you watermark your pictures?” ….OR….I’m told, “You really need to watermark your pictures so no one steals them!” 

First of all, I have already had quite a few people try to steal my pictures and  I try to stay pretty vigilant about my hard work, but I do realize that you can’t catch everyone. BUT, I do encrypt the metadata with all of my information and as I have purposely tried to remove it, it’s pretty hard to get rid of, even for me. The thing is, I have never been one for stealing other people’s pictures because it is hard work and I understand how hard the entire process is, so I don’t understand it. Photography is NOT EASY, and it’s way more than just pointing a camera! 

Let me explain why I don’t use watermarks and the fight I had with myself for years over why I should or shouldn’t use them. When I first started out in Photography one of the only things I was sure of it, I would use watermarks because I didn’t want someone else taking credit for my hard work.  

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Lessons learned over the years……

  • Watermarks take away the impact statement of the photo.

Let’s say you did a newborn session for a family and they want to purchase a canvas of little Tommy. Trust me, these people do not want your logo/watermark taking away the value of the most precious gift that they will ever receive in this life. And, I can already hear the people saying; “How will everyone know I took the pic? Answer; They won’t! Your work needs to speak for itself in that regard. You have to get so good at your craft that when Tommy’s parents’ friends walk into the room they will HAVE TO KNOW who the photographer is so you can capture the innocence of their little Jim Bob, in the same manner! Even if you are giving them the photo without the watermark, it just takes away from the presentation, they already know who took the pictures, they don’t need a watermark reminder.

  • They are easily photoshopped out.

When I first started out in photography I tested my photoshop skills first hand on a watermark. I set it up to be difficult on purpose. How? I have conformed to the technology of the world and ………like normal people, I YouTubed it! I followed very precise instructions on how to erase it. I pulled the photo up in a free editing app that any laymen could maneuver and within minutes I had figured out how to get rid of it. Point blank, if someone wants to steal your picture, they’re going to steal it one way or another.

  • The soul purpose of a watermark is to advertise. Or is it?

Once again, your work needs to speak for itself. You’re telling a story, and the viewers need to feel that intense emotion of why you took the picture, at first glance. Make them HAVE TO KNOW who took the picture.

  • You can end up paying high dollar for a watermark.

Unless you are handy with a computer or some type of Adobe application, you can end up paying high dollar for a watermark that you may want to change or you may just end up not using. So, you have spent money that goes right down the drain. Even if you make one in a cheap app those are the easiest to remove so they’re pretty pointless. Again, I’ve tried it.

  • The majority of watermarks look cheap.

The majority of watermarks out there, just look cheap! Plain and simple! I can’t even tell you how many Photography groups I am apart of and they are all asking, “What free app can I make a watermark in?” So I did a little research and just a google search and I found dozens of free apps that will let you create a watermark for free. I also found hundreds of youtube videos that teach you how to make one, in “said apps”. The problem with all of these, “easy peasy” ways to cut corners? They look cheap! People with NO photography experience are trying to make the most “eye-catching”, meaning; the most outlandish watermark to out-do the next person and it ends up looking homemade and horrible. Always remember; anything worth a damn is never free.

The pictures I’ve used in this post were taken in April of this year, 2019. There is a patch of different flowers that bloom at different times of the year on the side of my house.

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