Protecting your photos is something you owe to yourself. This is not only a matter of principle, but also a recognition of your hard work. After all, preparing the shots, finding the right lighting and composition, doing adjustments in a post-processing software, these are all steps that take time and energy. It just wouldn’t be fair if you didn’t get the proper appreciation and credit for your effort.
In order to protect your pictures from unauthorized use you can resort to various techniques, which we’ve covered in this article. Watermarking is undeniably one of the most popular techniques used. If you didn’t know it, there are two distinctive types of watermarks you can resort to: visible and invisible. Each comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages and each can turn out to be efficient, depending on your purpose and what you’re looking to accomplish through its use.
Let’s take a look at both and see how they can help us against content theft.
Why Use a Visible Watermark
A visible watermark can take many forms, according to the user’s individual needs and preferences. It can be a brand logo, a text with the user’s name, company name or website, a signature and more.
The advantage of the visible watermark is that, being right there on the picture, it states without any ambiguity that the picture represents your intellectual property and it can be used by others only with your authorization. People can’t simply say they weren’t aware of the ownership of that photo, since the text or logo is right there.
In addition to image protection, this type of watermark can be helpful from a different perspective: advertising. Having your company logo or name on an image that gets lots of likes and shares can help you promote your business in a truly effective manner. This can be a great way to increase your visibility online, to drive traffic to your website or blog and possibly gain new clients.
On the downside, a visible watermark can be removed in image manipulation software by someone who is tech-savvy. You can make the job more difficult for possible thieves, by repeating the watermark across the image. The drawback of applying this technique is it will draw the attention away from the image itself, making it truly unappealing for viewers.
Why Use an Invisible Watermark
As you may imagine, an invisible watermark can not be seen or perceived by the human eye. This watermark can be regarded as a type of steganography and consists in embedding a series of personal information into the image data itself. The information can be anything you want, from your middle name to your personal email or company website.
Besides being unremovable, the main advantage of the invisible watermark is that it can detect if and where your original photos have been used without your permission. With the aid of specially developed software, you have the possibility to run a web search and discover the websites that are illegally using your visual content. You can rest assured you’ll be able to identify the thief, easily prove ownership and take the required action.
On the downside, the lack of clear information directly on the picture means many people may be tempted to steal it, thinking it’s not copyright protected. Basically the invisible watermark can turn out to be useful only after the image theft has occurred. Moreover, if you’re a photographer, designer, visual artist or blogger, you’re deprived of the opportunity to advertise your work.
How to Add a Visible Watermark
If you want to add a watermark to your photos, whether it’s text or logo, you can accomplish this task using a wide range of tools.
If you’re looking for the most basic option, you can use the Text tool that is available in any photo editing program. At the same time you can resort to a professional image manipulation software like Photoshop. This is a complex program that can carry out an impressive array of operations and edits, but it comes with a certain learning curve and a certain price tag.
Another solution is to opt for a lightweight tool, particularly created for watermarking, just like our own PhotoMarks. PhotoMarks is a specially-built app to watermark photos in bulk on Windows and Mac. The app stands out through its batch processing capabilities and ease of use. In order to watermark your images all you have to do is follow a three-step wizard: add your files in the first step, apply the desired edits in the second and select your output format and folder in the third.
PhotoMarks gives you the possibility to customize your text and logo marks in a variety of ways. You can choose their exact placement, size and rotation angle, adjust the transparency, choose from a wide range of font styles and colors or apply special effects like stroke and shadow. To significantly improve your workflow, the app allows you to save your settings as Profiles and just load them in future editing sessions. This way you’ll never have to go through the same editing process again.
How to Add an Invisible Watermark
As we’ve seen above, adding a visible watermark is quite accessible to anyone. You have a multitude of tools at your disposal and can also find truly budget-friendly alternatives. When it comes to inserting invisible digital watermarks into your images, the options are considerably scarcer.
One of the most popular services in this area is Digimarc. The tool addresses anyone who’s in the search of a content protection solution, whether we’re talking about retailers, news agencies or photographers. The main drawback with Digimarc has to do with the prohibitive pricing, which makes it a rather inaccessible option for the standard consumer level.
An alternative worth taking into account is Imatag. The software can embed invisible watermarks in both photos and videos and is developed for all businesses who rely on visual content, from major brands and corporations to media and agencies. Imatag offers two main features: Leaks and Monitor. Leaks enables you to discover who is leaking your visual content before official release, while Monitor allows you to track copies of your photos and videos online.