Watermarks can be a Huge debate for photographers…and Sometimes, a huge hindrance for those who steal images off of the net. I’m not really one to go for the huge markings on my images, I simply figure it’s not that difficult to alter an image and remove a copyright – so I’m not going to destroy the look by plastering marks all over it. I do know of some photographers however, who’s logo’s actually add to the look of the image…and others, that basically made a great image look cheap by “protecting their image”. At least one photographer I know of marks their images in a way that I like – Matt Nicolosi – he is creative and fun in how he does it.
There are of course two main reasons why photographers watermark their images 1: Advertising purposes 2: to keep others from copying their images off of the net and reposting it as their own. Recently a fellow Canadian photographer became aware of one of her images being blatantly used online for advertising by another fauxtographer.
The photographer who actually took the image was Vancouver Portrait Photographer | Cathy Empey Photographer, a well established and talented Photographer out of British Columbia, Canada. The image was re posted however by a “fauxtographer” in Atlanta. Now I’m quite sure the actions are prevalent among “want to be photographers” who simply do not have a portfolio due to lack of work, however – be sure – if you take this route, you will be found out. In this case – the fauxtographer was actually foolish enough to steal from multiple photographers sites, and or flickr pages, and posted them as her own as advertising.
In essence, it is almost impossible with today’s imaging tools to stop image theft even with a watermark – plain or elaborate. (the more elaborate methods will stop those really poor at PS though) That said however I would like to direct you to a post specifically dedicated to a variety of watermarking methods, as well as encourage you to be sure to set your metadata in your Lightroom or Photoshop settings (as again – those who really don’t know what they are doing, wouldn’t know to check metadata either). Check out “Creating Safe and Effective Watermarks” at Photoshop Tutorials for more details.