1. Steve, Thanks for your help.

    It’s not hard to copy an image from a website without it’s Meta data.

    I think that the best way might be to paste a nice signature and-or logo in the corner of the photo, and keep the image low-res.

  2. Is the copyright information Canon cameras append to photos the same?

  3. Chetan K Jain says:

    I reduce the dpi to 72 for online — the image still looks great for screens. 300 dpi only for prints..

  4. Great roundup of options, Steve, but I have to agree with Paul. It’s really not hard to strip EXIF or metadata from a photo. You can do it right from Windows Explorer. (Right click on photo -> Properties -> Details Tab -> Click Remove Properties and Personal Information)

    I’m not so concerned about people using my images for prints, but more concerned with companies stealing my images to republish online, or to resell. I’ve even had extremely low quality images that I thought no one would ever want stolen and resold! For that reason, as ugly and distracting as they are, I choose to use watermarks. I don’t like them and they’re not foolproof (I’ve definitely had people crop them out of my photos and use my photo anyway!), but they’re the best way to let people know the image belongs to someone else – especially if they’ve never heard of EXIF data.

  5. Brian in Whitby says:

    I have toyed with the idea of adding a very small pixel sized water mark to the photos so I could easily prove they were mine.
    The watermark would be almost the same colour of as the part of the photo it was in so it would probably go unnoticed.
    This of course in addition to your three excellent suggestions. My camera automatically inserts copyright information into the exif file. would this be carried over when I process the raw file and save it as a jpg?

    • A pixel sized watermark would be easily removed… There would be no telling which ones the original.

    • Brain,

      Lightroom did not copy over my Copyright information:

      This is how to see a JPEG’s Meta data on recent versions of Windows:
      1) Right-click on the image.
      2) Choose “properties”
      3) Choose the “Details” tab
      Note: that’s also where Theresa was able to easily delete the owner’s Meta data. Another way to do it is to use the Print Screen button for copy-paste.

      Thank you,

  6. In regards to watermarks, I like to add make them large enough that they aren’t easily cropped out without too much loss to the photo. They don’t have to be obnoxiously large or anything, but some(many) of the watermarks I’ve seen could easily be cropped out with very little loss of the overall images. I also think the larger it is the more tasteful it needs to be.

  7. I too am a fan of watermarks. I use copyright lines in either black or white. Then in free Gimp software, I lower the percentage of color so that the watermark is legible but fades into the image just enough so that it’s not an annoying distraction.

  8. Steve and Friends:
    There is not much to be done to fully protect our images because burglar’s creativity exceeds by far our time and efforts to protect our images.
    You could add a #4 point in your article by saying to display images in your website in protected mode. This makes the stealing more difficult but it is not 100% reliable.
    In my opinion, the significance of the problem is directly related to the significance of the image for the photographer. Therefore, if we really want to protect a picture, we would combine a large watermark (transparent), in low resolution and in protected mode.
    Regarding the EXIF information, it is useful after the fact where we are going to need to dispute the issue. Also useful is slightly cropping the picture by one or two pixels and keeping the original.

  9. Great article.

    I personally use all 3 methods. With regards to watermarks, I don’t really use them as a deterrent. Instead, I think of them as a way of proving intent to steal/use a work without payment/credit. Intent is clearly ahown if they remove your watermark.

  10. I am the developer of a watermark software called uMark and I’d say watermarks don’t prevent people from stealing your photos but they help in establishing the ownership. As Daniel Cybulskie mentioned above, if people copy a watermarked photo and airbrush or crop it then it clearly shows their intent at stealing. Very often people don’t realize that using someone’s photo without their permission is not ok. A watermark at least informs them that the photo belongs to someone.

    Also a watermark discourages people from using a photo because no one wants to advertise someone else name when they use a watermarked photo and for most people removing a watermark is too much of a hassle. They would rather copy a photo without watermark than the one with it.

    So adding a watermark may or may not stop copying but not watermarking it will definitely not help.

  11. The evolving trend is to worry less on the front-end, instead searching for commercial violators. For the DIY, use Google Search to scan the net for your beloved photos (and regular searches for your EXIF data). For those wanting others to scan and fight to recover fees on your behalf, try ImageRights.

  12. Use the copyright meta tag as your website. It will show up in the description when shared on social media and link to your site.

  13. Point #2… I was told that I can change that resolution once I have saved it on my computer so that I can now print it. Is this true? I am pretty sure it is as the information was told to me from a very reliable source.

  14. Good information and tutorials Steve.

  15. Good article. I needed to read this, now I will be more secure when it comes to publishing my images.

  16. Steve, Thanks for your help.

    It’s not hard to copy an image from a website without it’s Meta data.

    I think that the best way might be to paste a nice signature and-or logo in the corner of the photo, and keep the image low-res.

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