People are often surprised that I don’t watermark my photos. I fully understand the reasons most people have for watermarking, but I have a hard time believing any photograph looks better with a watermark. I have seen so many bad watermarks in my time that I’ve been conditioned to wince whenever I notice a watermark on a photo. They draw my eye away from the content of the photograph, especially when the photographer has decided to get a bit creative with their typography.
Something I only realised when I started thinking about writing this post was that I want my photos to look their best online. I don’t consider prints to be the end product for my photos. I do sell prints, of course, but I don’t want to reserve the unaltered view of my photographs to those select few who are kind enough to part with their hard-earned cash for them.
There are obvious downsides to not watermarking. I’ve seen hundreds of uncredited uses of my photos. Thankfully most are benign non-commercial uses, and I don’t release the full-resolution files into the wild, but occasionally I have to send a shirty email to a company using my photos for promotion or marketing. Luckily my photos are quite well known and a lot of my followers on social media are quick to tell me if they find my photos floating about in places they shouldn’t!
Does it bother me that people don’t know that they’re my photos? Not really. I’m probably missing out on some Likes, Faves and other magical Internet points when people share my work without credit, but I’m pretty easy to find on the Internet if people want to find me. Just searching for “lego photography” will point people at my best known photos.
The interesting flip-side to that is that I often get praised for photos that aren’t mine, but that’s a nice problem to have!