To watermark or not to watermark: How do you protect your photos?

Photography is the story I fail to put into words.

-Destin Sparks

Photography is the story i fail to put into words. True & wise words from Destin Sparks don't you think?

Have you ever stumbled upon one of your photos on a social media site and no credit was given or the person who took it “innocently” without telling you about it or believing you would never find out?

Well, that’s exactly what happened to me a couple of months ago. One day I was randomly checking my Instagram feed and could not believe what I saw! One of my own photos had been uploaded by another travel blogger to their own account and then they were happy to mention what kind of filter they had used.

Seriously, that really bothered me. I was simply not going to sit there and do nothing!

So I left a comment for the person asking her where she got the picture from and she did not reply.  I posted my own link to see the similarities; I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The picture appearing on someone else’s site

Mine (original photo posted 3 months earlier)

After seeing my link she said oh maybe she did forget to give me credit or that WiFi was not working properly? What kind of excuse is THAT? Wasn’t it just obvious what she had done?

Things would have been different if she would have admitted that yes she took the picture from my feed or by using one of the hashtags and that she would link back or give proper credit to the owner or in this case the photographer? Isn’t that the right (and most ethical) thing to do? Had she ever heard of photography rights by any chance?

She just replied saying that she did not like the way this situation had turned out, she was the insulted one (because I left her a comment & her followers saw that?). What did she expect? An applause? an apology for causing her unnecessary stress? Seriously.

Moreover, I asked her to delete the picture immediately and to refrain from ever taking any of my photos without my permission. What was her reaction? She blocked me from Instagram! Isn’t that something? I found this childish, unacceptable and unbelievable behavior totally inappropriate.

I mean I honestly don’t mind sharing my images (or seeing it in other sites) and I definitely feel honored that someone likes my work so much that they want to share it or upload them to their own site and share them with their own followers or audience. However remembering to give credit is the golden rule. I always do it when I use someone else’s captures or images.

Here is a great example of a request from the Minister of Tourism of Quebec (and the best way to ask, even if it’s directly through any of the Social Media channels) and it’s exactly how it should be done:

I did appreciate that gesture and next thing you know I saw my photo on their Facebook page!

That made me very happy to see that my work is appreciated and good enough to be shown to a wide audience. It motivates me to keep going and improve my technique. It’s the little things that make it all worthwhile and we remember them long after!

After that episode, I did think thoroughly and asked myself:

To Watermark or Not to Watermark?

How do you protect your photos online?

To watermark or not to watermark_pros-and-cons

Should I add a watermark or make a logo then add it to each and every single photo I upload to any social media site?

Honestly, it is time-consuming and yes people will notice and remember who the images belong to of course.

After a while it does get boring (and annoying) to look at a feed saturated with watermarks. It really takes away the focus from the main image!

Would you prefer to see an image like this?

photo with generic watermark, photography, example of watermark

Or this? (Watermark is a bit more discreet)

Gyeonghoeru Pavillion, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea, Asia, Pavillion, Palace, Travel, Visit KoreaOr none at all?

Now I have done some intensive research online and even one of my favorite photographers wrote very interesting posts regarding this matter.

Trey Ratcliff  is an amazing photographer and experts in the world. This is what he says:

Should you use watermarks to protect your photos online? Photography expert Trey Ratcliffe explains why he doesn't. #copyright #photography #watermark #blog #blogging #photographers

Another photographer and lawyer Dan Peters explains the pros and cons of watermarks (and provides legal advice as well):

What exactly are the pros and cons of watermarks on photographs? Come read more about it and see if you should or shouldn't. #watermarks #copyright #photography #photographyrights #blog #blogging #bloggers

As you can see the pros definitely outweigh the cons. The final decision is completely ours!

I will admit that experience of “catching someone” really got to me but I learned my lesson. I should see it differently. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery right?

So instead of letting it bother me, I will simply continue doing what I always have been but will keep an eye on where my photos appear.

I really do appreciate all those who ask for my permission before sharing or put them to good use. That definitely makes me feel better and puts my mind at ease.

I believe that what goes around comes around and I will only focus on the positive from now on.

Now over to you, what is your take on this?

Tell me….

To watermark or not to watermark?

Are for or against adding watermarks or a logo to your images?

If someone took your photos & wouldn’t give you credit what would you do?


I’m all eyes and ears! I can’t wait to read what you have to say.

Share your stories!

All the best,