Photography Watermark: is It Worth Using in 2023

By Tata Rossi 13 days ago, Photography Tips

Watermarks were originally signs printed on documents and bills in Italy in 1281. Nowadays, they are widely used online. With the appearance of the first author images, people wanted to protect their authorship and put their names on these visuals. A watermark is a sign on an image that refers to its author or owner. It should be half-transparent and barely noticeable.

What Is a Photography Watermark?

watermark for photography

A digital photography watermark is an overlaid photo, logo, or text put over a photograph to save it from unauthorized use by third parties. I can’t say the watermark is an effective way of protecting photos online. There are more effective, alternative ways to protect and promote your photos. However, before discovering these alternatives, let’s make everything clear about old-school photography watermarks.

By default, according to generally accepted standards, the watermark should be translucent, and barely visible, like circles on the water. The sign itself should be implacable, as the image itself is important, and not its authorship. A professional watermark is discreet and not too bright, but it is a quite discernible sign of authorship.

Despite the generally accepted rules, a lot of beginning photographers make mistakes, putting too big or too visible watermarks in the image, which diverts the attention from the picture.

I recommend using free logo templates to create a beautiful and professional photography watermark.

creating photography watermark fixthephoto service creating photography watermark fixthephoto service

Want to Add a Watermark to Your Photos to Protect Your Copyright?

If you want to get a photography watermark that will meet all the standards and won’t distract a viewer’s attention from your photo, contact the FixThePhoto team.

Common Mistakes

There are 4 basic mistakes that you might make when adding a watermark to your photo.

1. Marking the Whole Image

photography watermark marking the whole image

It is the first example of an incorrect way of adding a watermark to photos. In the picture, you can see an excessive amount of information about the photographer, so the aesthetics of the image is damaged, and the first thing you notice is the sign but not the photo. While this watermark is designed properly, the colors look bleak. It does not stand out very much against the background, however, the information is excessive.

2. Writing Long Phrases

photography watermark writing long phrases

This is another example of watermarking photos incorrectly. The tone and font are too sharp and eye-catching, and there is a large amount of unnecessary information. Do not write phrases or long sentences; remember that a watermark for photo should contain easy-to-understand information about the creator of the image, which is not conspicuous and does not spoil the aesthetics of the image. Put your logo and that’s it.

3. Incorrect Watermark Placing

photography watermark incorrect placing

The text tone and font are chosen well, as it’s not flashy, but when creating a watermark for photography, do not forget about the basic rule that the watermarks should be placed only in the corners of the photo and have a smaller size.

4. Using an Overly Bright Logo as Watermark

photography watermark using an overly bright logo

In many images, you can notice the watermark for photo made in the form of a photographer’s logo. Of course, such watermarking method also has the right to exist. However, there is a violation of some rules in the given example. The colors are rich and bright, which makes them stand out. The sign is placed on the entire width of the image, and this spoils the impression. If you take a look at the photo, you will see that the watermark attracts too much attention because of its size.

If you want to get professionally edited photos but don’t have advanced image editing skills, you can outsource this task to our color correction service. Our photo retouchers will quickly enhance your images and send you them back within the set deadline. They will adjust shadows and white balance, make colors pop and perform other subtle edits to give your photos a unique look.

fixthephoto color correction

If your services are in high demand, you might not have enough time to enhance thousands of photos every day and perform color correction. FixThePhoto can also help beginner photographers who don’t have a lot of experience in post-processing. Make sure to contact the agency if you want to save time.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Photo Watermark Usage

To protect photos. Photographer watermarks are specially designed to protect images from theft. You can just put the name of your website/Instagram, logo or just a name in the corner, and it can protect the photo from theft or being used for commercial purposes.

For popularization of a brand name. A good watermark for photography will help you promote and popularize your name. People might use your image for any purpose, send it on social networks, use it in various contests, or post on their own resources, websites, and personal pages. This is kind of free advertising, promoting your name.

Brand image. You will often see watermarks on images used for advertising purposes. Brand logos are added to any type of content, which is why watermarks are necessary for businesses that promote their services online.

Spoils the overall impression. Many people think that the main disadvantage of a picture with a watermark is that it doesn’t look so harmonious, because it distracts a user's attention. In many cases, it also affects the quality of a photo, but everything depends on the author's sense of style and taste.

Watermark can be easily removed. The protective functions of such signs are rather vague, and you cannot use them as a real tool against content thieves. You should agree that the name of the site in the corner does not stop those who decide to get your picture. The intruder will just have to use watermark removal software, like Photoshop, GIMP or Pixlr, or maybe just crop the photo, but it will take no more than a few minutes.

Watermarks are not subject to legal protection. Watermarks for pictures are not the objects of legal protection, because it is possible to find hundreds of thousands of “clean” images on the web and mark them with your own signs. Of course, with the copyrighted photo, you can make things right, but you will have to provide more solid evidence to prove that the pictures belong to you.

The aggravation of sharing. One of the factors that encourage people to refuse using a photographer watermark is that it discourages sharing, that is, the use of images in third-party publications but with backlinks to the source.

You cannot use plugins to add a watermark. The plugin can generate watermarks only based on already existing images. This means that you will have to create a watermark for photos in Photoshop with a transparent background, save it in PNG format and load it into the program. As the plugin does not allow removing previously applied watermarks, you will not be able to cancel the changes in case you are not satisfied with the results.

It’s not popular. Serious platforms won’t steal your content since they abide by the laws. These days, even small websites add links to sources this is why there is no need to add a watermark.

Tutorial for Lightroom

You need to follow these steps to add photography watermarks:

1. Find the ‘Edit Watermarks’ option on the Lightroom menu or the Edit menu.

2. Select the style of a watermark and decide which text or graphic you are going to use. After editing your logo, save it in PNG format with a transparent background. You can select any font for your text that is supported by your device.

3. To make your photography watermark even more stylish, add various effects. For instance, you can create a shadow effect or adjust the transparency. Besides, you can select the area that you want to enhance with the help of this effect.

4. When saving the result, select a suitable name for your file and click ‘Save.’ It will make your watermark available from different Lightroom modules and make it easier to add it to images before publishing them online.

If this short tutorial seems too difficult for you, learn how to add watermark in Lightroom in detail.

Alternatives to Protect Your Images

Regardless of how well you are trying to protect your intellectual property by watermarking your photographs, if an intruder is serious about possession of your photos, it may be difficult for you to cope with this problem.

Alas, no one has come up with an absolutely reliable way to protect photos published online. However, despite this, today I will tell you some alternative ways to protect your images, thanks to which a person will have to work hard to steal your photos.

1. Deactivate the Context Menu

To save your images, you just need to right-click on them, select the “Save Picture as” option and copy the URL of an image. This is probably the easiest way to save images. Everyone knows how to use the context menu, which gives several options for copying a photo, but what if you deactivate it? This will confuse an inexperienced person, and they will leave your website.

You can deactivate the context menu by changing the code using JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, or by installing the No Right Click Images Plugin (for WordPress), AntiCopy (for Joomla), No Right Click VQMod (for Opencart), which will deactivate the context menu for all graphics online instead of putting watermarks on photos.

2. Upload a Small Image Size

Upload a small image to your page or website. That is, not in a full-scale size, but approximately 400x600. However, do not use the code to reduce the picture. For instance, a full-sized 12MP image can be reduced with simple HTML code, and it will look smaller, but in fact, it will be a high-resolution one.

You can just reduce your photo in any photo editing software and upload a copy to the site. Thus, you will not only protect the image from copying but also improve the productivity of your website without watermarking your photos.

3. Use Compressed Images

photographers watermark

Try to make the photo as compressed as possible. It will still look beautiful, but, as a result, the thief simply won't be willing to copy and use such an image. The picture will be very poor-quality for work and printing and will be of no interest to the potential clients.

However, it is worth remembering that you can always leave a message on your website that a high-resolution image is available on individual request. In such a way, you will let your potential customers know that you have this image in good quality, and a compressed copy is provided on the website in order to protect it.

4. Connect Your Website or Profile Page to Google+

Do not forget that the Google+ profile is also an alternative way for watermarking your pictures. Using it, you cannot protect the image from theft, just prove that you are the author. So, any image can be linked with a personal or business Google account. In the case of plagiarism, the Google bot will show your first and only authorship, and the perpetrator will be penalized.

5. Add a Hidden Transparent Image to Your Photo

There is another good and easy way to surprise thieves without using a watermark for photography. You can add a transparent image to your photo. For such a method, you will need Lightroom or Photoshop.

It is quite easy, so there is no need to have special skills. Putting a transparent layer is a simple task. You need to create a transparent image of the same size as a unique picture and put it in the foreground using HTML or CSS. The image will not differ from the rest on the page, but after saving it, the plagiarist will see only the top layer instead of the desired one.

Laws Protecting Your Copyright

If we’re talking about photography copyright, the US Copyright Office allows you to register almost any of your photographs officially, thereby make a photo with the copyright, which is the legal proof of your possession of the image. The registration of one image will cost $50 on average.

The edited photo is marked separately. The Bureau will pay close attention to this photo and carry out the procedure more thoroughly. The cost of such a service is $1000 for a user. However, you do not have to register your photo to own it. Right after you close the shutter of the camera, you are already the owner of this picture. In case someone tries to dispute your rights for a picture, such registration will almost invalidate all these attempts. Moreover, a person who has passed the registration procedure immediately has the right to receive legal compensation up to $200,000.

The author who hasn’t registered their work can also win a lawsuit, but in this case, it is more difficult to prove the photography copyright. However, when taking a photo, you should take into account the fact that if the commission discovers any intentional distortion of the information in the filled-in forms, you can be fined up to $3,000, so you need to be very careful and check everything that you write twice.

FREE Bonus Tools

If you want to create a photography watermark and add it to your photos without using watermark software, download these free tools and add them in several clicks. They are fully adjustable and can be used on all photos.

1. Watermark in the Bottom Left Corner

watermark in the bottom left corner watermark in the bottom left corner

2. Watermark in the Bottom Right Corner

watermark in the bottom right corner watermark in the bottom right corner

3. Watermark in the Center

watermark in the center watermark in the center

4. Text in the Center

text in the center text in the center

5. Photography Logo

photography logo photography logo

6. Photography Text Logo

photography text logo photography text logo


  • • What's the best watermark for protecting photos?

It’s better when a photography watermark is small and monochromatic. It should not be too colorful. Large watermarks of bright colors distract a viewer’s attention and make the main subject of your photo less noticeable.

  • • Do professional photographers add watermarks to their photos?

Some beginners mistakenly think that watermark will give their photos a professional look. However, famous photographers avoid using them. A large or low-quality watermark might spoil the first impression from your portfolio and make it obvious that you don’t have a lot of experience.

  • • Can a watermark be considered as copyright?

You can add a watermark with a copyright notice and your name written in translucent text. It should let other people that you want to protect your images from copyright infringement and discourage them from using your photo without indicating your authorship.

  • • Where do I need to add a watermark?

It might be difficult to select the right place for a watermark. You need to select the right place for it to ensure that it won’t distract a viewer’s attention. Some photographers put it in the center of a photo if it doesn’t have a solid-color background. If the background is simple, it won’t be difficult for other people to remove the watermark from your image.