Why I don't use watermarks

Written by Jesse Chance​

Gone are the days of someone physically having to steal your pictures. Welcome to the future where someone can right click or screenshot and have your picture in a second all from their smartphone or computer. Better plaster large translucent watermarks over every image you post, right? Wrong!

I’ve been a photographer for roughly 4 years now and have been running my business for 3. Yes, I did probably jump from hobbyist to business a little quick but it pushed me to either progress or fizzle out. Pretty much from the moment a family member or friend thought I was creating images slightly better than a 6 year old with their mums iPhone, I was swamped with “Make sure you watermark your work. Someone might steal it!”. The advice went in one ear and out the other and I haven’t changed my opinion.

I refuse to watermark images as there is nothing that is more detrimental to the look of your photo than a translucent name or logo across your image. Even one in the corner ruins a photo for me. Why ruin the amazing image you have created? Especially if you have just started. Do you really think Bob from Nike or Jim from BMW are out to steal your images? Incase you're wondering they're not, but you better watch out for your mums friend or your auntie Jane who will steal that photo in the blink of an eye haha.

If someone wants to steal your photo off the internet, let them! Upload all your images so they are too low quality for you to do much more then use it as a screensaver on your smartphone. Maybe a large company or newspaper will use your photo every now and then. This is great publicity for you and generally if you just send them an invoice for using your work they will happily pay you. Thats a win, win in my books.

I may have lied a little, I do use watermarks… sometimes. Taking photos for a client that is going to purchase particular images from the set but they need to view them first? Watermark the shit out of them! There is a lot of people in this situation who just may steal your work. The same rule applies if you capture something that may be highly sort after by either a newspaper or magazine. So make sure you protect that image of Britney Spears with her new found love!

All in all, don't stress so much about watermarks. There is billions of photos for people to steal on the internet and the chances of your's being the one is slim. If they do, send an invoice and brag about the time Gucci or whoever used your photo. It’s a pretty cool thing to tell people.

Follow me on Instagram @jesse.chance