I hate watermarked photographs. They say a lot about the photographer and, I suppose, everyone takes a different view of what exactly that is. To me it means only one thing: “Look at me, my pictures are so wonderful that the world would steal them if I didn’t deface them with a watermark.” There are honourable exceptions, of course, and some of my favourite bloggers and photographers do add watermarks.
Indeed, it is impossible to generalise on this. There are world-class photographers who watermark their shared work; but there are infinitely more who believe that by adding a watermark they are promoting mediocre stock to glory.
Whether or not to add a watermark is entirely up to the individual photographer. But generally speaking a watermarked photograph defeats the object. In my view it is pretentious and removes the pleasure in viewing the image. It is also annoying.
In a recent article, Nick Pecori at fstoppers.com explores the reasons why people add watermarks to their photographs before posting them on web sites. I agree with all he says.
It does not matter. If someone wants to steal your image, by any means they indeed will. There’s the good and the bad; the pros and the cons; and that’s just the nature of the beast that is the internet. They will blatantly crop out your image, screenshot your image, or if they’re savvy enough, they will clone it out.
Now another disagreement that will arise is the fact people will not credit your work. For example, let’s say there’s a popular Instagram page that features your image but they don’t give you credit. This sucks, I know, I’ve been there; but from my experience of feature pages sharing my imagery, the good people will always give you proper credit. If there are pages that don’t, it’s not worth stressing over a couple of bad apples force you to slab a distracting layer over your piece of art.
And lastly, if you don’t want your images stolen, don’t share them on the internet. It’s that simple.