Watermarking your pictures

StonehengeMy friend AJ Morris at TechSmith showed how he would respond to a client question. Instead of just verbally walking someone through the steps, he’d show it using screencast. I’ve posted 5,000+ pictures on flickr. Although I believe in sharing documents (in this case pictures) to quickly increase one’s learning process, I also expect appropriate attribution. I may not be a professional photographer, I do have pictures that are usable for powerpoint presentations. I’ve received requests and I appreciate that because I know where the picture is going to be used. The issue came in when I found out that someone in Asia was delivering a face-to-face presentation and using one of my pictures that I took a couple of months ago. I would not have known it if not for a dear friend who just happen to be attending the session. This is alarming for a couple of reasons:

For the organisation ~
1. The next level of intellectual property indiscretions – how can HR and Leadership in general handle a stolen (it is stealing right?) picture (a pdf file, a powerpoint deck, a document, a business process or model)?
2. How are organisations preparing their policies to address perceived minor irresponsible activities only to realize their larger extent / reach?

For the owner ~
1. How can you find out where all your posted materials are? Is there a way? Can you even find out by tracking downloads?
2. Do you share just enough material online to entice the audience but not so much as to not feel raped when someone steals your complete work?
3. Or do you not share at all but maybe risk potential partnerships because of them not knowing your product suite and altogether displace you for someone else?

Screencast.. then I remembered Rannie Turingan’s posting on a possible solution – watermarking. If you watermark your more important pictures, then once stolen, it needed to be recropped or otherwised cleaned up if the miscreant really wanted them (so there’s extra work for them which hopefully translates into a deterrent effect and leave your photos alone altogether). Although you don’t want to have ridiculous looking watermark images, the point should be made enough for it to be non-usable without your consent.

So my next question that I twittered was: Which software should I use? And if there is a way to watermark batches of pictures.

Although Dave MacIntyre suggested I use Photoshop CS2 with an additional suggestion to only post small sized pictures on flickr to limit uses of the picture if downloaded (or right-clicked), I am going with AJ’s suggestion {in the above screencast link) since I already have SnagIt and do not need to purchase another product. Besides I do like the ease of use of this product. AJ’s screencast was very helpful in pointing me exactly where I should be in creating watermarks for my pictures.

2 comments to Watermarking your pictures

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  • Chris L

    Or there is the approach I and a number of colleagues take: drop a CC license on the pictures and then feel happy with the attributions and notices you get and don’t sweat what you can’t control. I want my stuff to get out there and though I have far fewer photos and am in no way a photographer (more of a snapshotter 🙂 I am happy when I see something of mine out there with attribution or someone is kind enough to let me know when they use something. But I’m ok knowing that stuff gets used with and without attribution and I never know it. It just feels like too much work to try to both be a solid participant in a socially networked site like flickr and fight for complete control of the distribution…