To Watermark or Not to Watermark…

…it’s the question I asked myself when I started this blog many months ago and, despite reading opinions from both sides, never really got a good answer.

Initially, I opted to watermark because one of my early posts was my Camera Strap Tutorial, which I had planned on Pinterest, and I wanted to make sure that anyone who repinned it knew where the original came from- I had heard too many stories of people finding their How-To guides on Pinterest with no link back to their original site or credit given.  And while no image online is safe, at least that watermark/logo is one more thing for a would-be digital thief to remove before reposting my image.

I had also intended this site to be a way for me to share some of the pictures I take with my DSLR, however, as I started documenting house projects, it was much quicker for me to just grab the point and shoot (plus, I’m not as worried about possibly damaging the $200 camera as I am the $2000 camera+lens), but it seemed silly to watermark some images, but not others.

When I first started uploading pictures, I did upload the original size, but that quickly ate through the limited amount of space I have on this free site and while I’d love to have my own domain name, I can’t justify paying for something that is essentially just a hobby, not right now anyway.  There are still a few pictures (like the ones from my light painting adventure, or the 3-part series I did on microprinting, or anything I drew and scanned in) that are original sized, but everything else has been condensed to the point where you can’t really make a usable print from it.  In light of that, I’ve started trying to blend my logo a bit more- instead of making it stand out as much as possible in my earlier pictures, I try to see how well I can blend it in (while still staying in greyscale), but I can’t help but wonder if it’s really needed.

Here’s what I’ve been using as my logo:

Watermark-stacked2I did experiment with it a bit- I mean, I feel like I should keep some sort of logo on my pictures so people know where to find me, but at the same time, I don’t want it to be intrusive.  I love that camera graphic and want to keep it as part of my brand, and Rebecca Lynn is how I’m known on several photography sites, so that has to stay too.  I made this more simplified logo, which I used initially on other sites where my photos are uploaded in their full, uncompressed glory:

500px-watermark (Small)

But is it necessary?  I mean, if someone’s going to steal my pictures, a logo in the corner isn’t really much of a deterrent, and I hate when people throw a giant watermark across the middle of their pictures.  You may have taken an extraordinary picture, but by obscuring it with an obnoxiously large and conspicuous watermark, you pretty much ruin any chance of having me ever looking at your pictures again.  The only reason I like having my logo somewhere on the picture is so that when one of my pictures ends up posted to a site by someone else, viewers have a way of finding the original site and me.

What are your thoughts on logos/branding/watermarks?  When/How would you use them?  Do you shy away from them entirely?  I want to know your thoughts!

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One Response to To Watermark or Not to Watermark…

  1. Gary says:

    What do the “big boys” and “big girls” do? What would Ansel do? What do painters do? (Not quite the same thing, but close.)

    Personally, I like the look of a logo (though I don’t have one of my own yet) because of the positive thing it says…See, this is me. I’m not too worried about the theft prevention.

    I have the feeling it’s going to come down to personal preference, which is why you haven’t found a clear cut answer already.

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