Should street photographers watermark their photos?

There is much debate on whether or not photographers should watermark, or place a logo on their photos. I am not going to sit on the fence here as I fall solidly into the NO camp. I will accompany this article with some recent un-watermarked pics!

Street Portrait. Yelahanka/ Bangalore

Most people don’t care who you are.

There are a number of articles that explain why nobody cares about your photography. I don’t think this is necessarily true, most people enjoy great images, even if your photo holds their attention for less than 10 seconds. However, while a good photo is appreciated most people don’t really care who captured the image. The exceptions to this are when:

  • you are a famous photographer
  • there is a personal relationship between the photographer and the viewer.

There are probably not that many famous photographers who read this blog. Spend a few minutes Googling some of the greats, and you will notice that they do not write over their images. Famous photographers don’t need to tell the world an image is theirs.

But some people DO care who you are.

If you are active in an online community, people will start to get to know you and the images you take. There are friends I have made online and I can generally spot their photos from a mile away, and they do not use watermarks. People will recognise your photos if you stay consistent and post regularly. Even better, people will start searching for your images.

What if my images get stolen?

It is easy to add your copyright in Lightroom

Hopefully your images will get stolen by a big business and you can sue the company for millions. Maybe someone will copy your image and pretend it is their own, but people who do this get caught in the end. Even a watermarked image can get stolen, as logos can be cropped or removed using an app. If your image does get pinched, just take it as a complement. A better way to protect your image is to make sure you have included the copyright and ownership information in your Exif data.

And it ruins your work!

Where would the logo go?

Finally, you have spent precious time capturing an image and spent an evening editing the shot until you are happy. After that you are going to spoil it by placing a logo over it? The composition will look wrong and the logo just distracts the viewer from the subject.

So if you want to look professional, don’t write all over your images. Instead, create your own unique style and people will soon associate you with the images you create. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Take care and Keep Clicking,

Chris Page

7 Comments on “Should street photographers watermark their photos?

  1. Thank you for this post…cleared up my thinking. Now Iā€™m free to ruminate elsewhere. šŸ™‚


    • Even if you don’t enter the copyright details, the copyright is still yours. Basically, the moment you take a photo, you own the intellectual rights to it.

      Liked by 1 person

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