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Watermarks are used for various reasons. To protect the copyright of images, to enhance their appearance or purposefully detract from it. Sometimes they blend in, other times obtrusive. Traditionally, water marks were what they say in the name: marks on images which were transparent, a watery resemblance of text overlaid on the image. Now, the term ‘watermark’ is broadened and widely used as a way to describe any form of text or imagery laid on or around an image to let folks know who that image belongs to.
I’ve been through a load of different watermarking methods so far and have been astounded at the lengths people will still go to in order to steal my images. One client even went so far as to take a screen shot of an image from her preview gallery and crop the portion of the image not touched by the massive © so that when I spotted the image on Facebook, only the top half of her daughter’s head remained. It was then that I realised that if a client isn’t going to purchase images from their session, and then proceed to steal the previews for their Facebook, I should at least make the image advertise my business by way of a watermark that clients actually enjoy being part of their image.
As important a function in your workflow as watermarking should be, I’m surprised by the lengths I’ve had to go through to find a way to watermark a batch of images. In Lightroom, the only way I’ve found is in the ‘slideshow’ panel but of course, then you have the slide background and other elements to deal with. There are a host of downloadable programs to batch edit images, including adding a watermark, but the ones I’ve found have been rather archaic in their interface and I don’t feel that they have any artistic sense about them which doesn’t help when you’re in the visual arts field.
Finally, I’ve settled on a method which kills the proverbial two birds with one stone. Blogging templates. I’m a fan of The Album Cafe’s ‘Blog-it’ templates. They’re a cheap and customisable way to 1.} Format and resize your images for the web and 2.} Mark your images with text or a logo in an unobtrusive way that actually enhances your images in a way that clients will enjoy sharing with their friends and family (not all the blog-its have a place for a logo so choose carefully).
I’ve found that marking my images in this way and sending a couple choice shots to clients to share with their network of hundreds of friends has been a great way to advertise my business. I regularly get bookings from folks who saw their friends photos on Facebook.
How do you approach the giant that is watermarking?