Uploading photos online to share with worldwide communities has become so easy today. Unfortunately, it has become equally easy to have your original photography misused or stolen. Image theft has sadly turned into a rather common situation. According to a survey, 64% of professional photographers reported their pictures stolen at least once. Hobbyists were not spared either: 44% of amateur photographers experienced image theft.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer, photojournalist or design artist. As long as you create original content, you need to safeguard it against theft. In order to protect your images from being stolen or misused, you can try different approaches. One of the recommended methods is to copyright your photos. For this purpose you have diverse alternatives. One option would be to register your copyright with your local authorities. The second is to add a visible copyright watermark to your photos.
Register your Copyright
Theoretically a photo becomes your intellectual property the moment you release the shutter button. Once you take a shot with either your camera or phone, you become entitled to certain rights. For instance, you’re the only who can use, edit and display it in public, make and distribute copies. As we said, this is theoretically. Practically, it’s not the case. People tend to disregard the rule and use others’ images without any permission whatsoever.
If you want to benefit from legal protection, you can take things to the next level and register your copyright with your local Copyright Office. In the US for instance the cost of the registration is $45 for a single work by a single author or $55 for a collection of images (no more than 750). It’s important to know that all images must be created by the same author and all need to published in the same calendar year. It’s not allowed to register unpublished images.
Add Copyright Info in 3 Easy Steps
If, for financial or other reasons, you don’t wish to register your copyright, you can choose to watermark your photos. Once you insert a visible watermark into your pictures, you clearly state those pictures belong to you and can’t be further used without your prior authorization. At the same time, depending on its placement, a watermark can be rather difficult to remove without ruining the entire image.
In order to add a copyright notice to your photos you can resort to diverse tools. You can opt for a general photo editor to accomplish the task, but if you’re looking for a truly effective solution we recommend a tool specially for this purpose, such as our own PhotoMarks. PhotoMarks is particularly designed to batch watermark images and offers a multitude of customization options. Of course, this Windows and Mac app comes with the major benefit of being truly user-friendly. All you have to do is follow three simple steps:
In the first step simply add the desired images. You can load individual files by clicking on the Add Photos button, add folders with or without subfolders by clicking on Add or just drag & drop your files.
This is where you get to watermark your photos exactly how you want, using text and/or logo.
In order to copyright your photos all you have to do is go to Add Filter > Marks > Text. By clicking the Add Keyword button, the app gives you the possibility to add multiple symbols: Copyright, Registered, Trademark or Servicemark, according to your personal needs.
You can easily customize the text to match your requirements. There are options to adjust the placement, the rotation angle and size of the text, to select the desired font style and color, to set the opacity or apply special effects like stroke, shadow and bounding box.
Besides watermarking, PhotoMarks places at your disposal other useful options. The app enables you to automatically rotate, to crop, resize and convert images (provides support for RAW files), as well as decorate them with graphical frames and borders.
In the third and final step you get to set your final parameters before the processing begins. You can choose where you want to save your pictures (there are options to save them on a local folder, upload them to FTP, send them via email or directly upload them to Flickr). At the same time you can select the preferred image format.
One of the truly useful features of PhotoMarks is its ability to save your frequently-used settings as Profiles and easily load them in future editing projects. This option will help you save considerable time and energy, as you won’t have to make the same edits repeatedly.
The app is also available for iPhone & iPad, in case you want to watermark images on the go.
If you produce original photos, if you earn a living from your photography, it’s important to protect them. Why should someone else get the credit for your creative work? If it’s financially feasible, go ahead and register your work officially. If that’s not manageable, add a copyright watermark to the pictures you share online. This will deter thieves and make them think twice about copying your images.