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Protecting Photos with Copyright Symbols and Watermarks

Nowadays it is easy for a digital photographer to protect photos with copyright symbols and watermarks. Let’s see how.

With the advent of the digital camera, practically everyone has turned a digital photographer; digital photography has become more than just a hobby. Photo sharing has been revolutionized thanks to hundreds of photo blog and social networking sites available. Sharing pictures with friends and family had never been so easy in the whole of human history. Unfortunately, the facility to share your pictures over the internet can also be abused; in fact some unscrupulous people are abusing it by stealing the pictures.

Monica from Malaysia faced a similar problem. She was surprised to find a picture clicked by her for a documentary called “living with nature” on another site; and this picture had a different name under it. This made her aware of how people can steal others pictures or uses them for different purposes, not approved by you. Then she realized the importance of copyrighting her pictures.

Monica talked to different professionals for guidance, and she came to the conclusion that copyright symbols and watermarking pictures can be an effective way to stop misuse of your pictures. We will discuss both of these one by one:

Copyright Symbols

When we hear about copyright, we think about some big companies copyrighting their books, CDs, pictures etc, so we might think that copyrighting pictures is only for professional photographers or so; however, the good news is that you don’t need to be one in order to copyright your pictures.

Even if you happen to click a picture of your car, the picture exclusively belongs to you and you are the only person who can authorize somebody else to reproduce it or use it. The best way to let others know about it is by attaching a copyright notice to your pictures. Using the copyright symbol “©” or writing the word “copyright” along with the year and name is enough to let others know that they cannot use the picture without permission.

Monica, for example, used the following for her pictures: “Photo © 2010 Monica Gomes”.

You can also add a copyright to a photo in the photo’s caption.


To Watermark your pictures with a copyright notice is even a stronger strategy to protect your pictures than to just copyright them.

The question may arise, as to what a watermark is and how can I watermark my pictures with the copyright notice?

A semi transparent image which is placed over an image is called watermark. If one copies the picture, the watermark is copied with it. So it can deter the intentions of image stealers to quite an extent.

You would be required to decide the size and placement of the watermark on your picture(s).

Rule of thumb is that more intrusive the watermark image is, the harder the picture becomes to be stolen. The disadvantage is that it becomes difficult to view the image. You would need to find a balance between the two.

Watermarks can be of different types like generic or specific text, image, date or copyright. You are required to have right software to do this job.

One you have added the watermark, your image becomes copyrighted and definitely much more difficult to others to nick!

About the auther 

Rokaiya is a creative graphic designer, Internet marketer, and a blogger. She joined the team of clippingpathspecialist.com is a brand of Outsource Experts Ltd on 2010 as a head of it’s marketing department, and she's been working with the tool ever since! She likes to share tips and tricks on photo editing and graphic design!

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