Thursday, March 22, 2007

[Photography] How can I ID my photos?

I am wondering if someone can explain (in really basic language) how I can put a watermark or other identifier on the pictures I post on my site. (Like Mae does. Or Sam. Both of whom seem to be really photo-savvy.)

Since my pictures show up on other sites with some frequency, I'd like to have them identified as mine.

I am NOT tech savvy, and don't have Photoshop. Is there any other really basic (PC) method I could use to do this? I edit my pictures with Picasa.

Thanks in advance...(and sorry if this was discussed before...I did a search, but for some reason with new blogger, the "search" function doesn't work for me anymore.)

This Post was written by Rachael from Fresh Approach


Sam said...

I am looking at Picasa now - i don't see a way to do it.

I use photoshop.

You could get photoshops elements which is about $30 last time I looked. It is pretty sophisticated. You dont really need full photoshop.

Otherwise - i was just checking out which is a free paint system that is pretty good.
Doenload it for free - awesome!

I recently found out about Digimarc which is for the Pros. Totally beyond all or most of our reach in terms of cost I suspect, but how I would LOVE to be able to afford to protect my work like this.

mg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mae said...

I use photoshop too.

I'll look into it and report back.

Hang on...

SusanV said...

What a coincidence--I just started watermarking my photos today. While I was looking around for options, I found several shareware programs that might be worth checking out. Some even claim to do a whole batch at once. Just google "watermark photos."

In the end, I decided to do it myself, with my graphics software (PaintShop Pro, much less expensive than Photoshop and perfect for my uses). But there's still a chance I may try one of those batch watermark programs. I'm seeing my photos on other people's sites all too often, with no attribution.

mae said...

Looks and sounds like the best option is that of Susan's advice.

I've just seen her photos with the watermark on and it looks great! Very similar if not the same as what you can achieve with photoshop without the photoshop cost.

Sam said...

the other thing I started doing a little while back was including my name in the image name - ie: "CarrotSoupBySamBreach.jpg"

My picture was copied onto tastespotting for example (something I am still coming to terms about whether I am comfortable with) but it still kept my image name, so my name was still associated with the image.

BTW - I have a template set up for mine in PS and just copy and paste the image into the frame in the appropriate layer each time.

You could do this with too. I will do a tutorial when I have time

Rachael said...

Thank you all so much!
I will look into all these options.

mary said...

There is probably a way to do this with the Gimp (free open source option for those not ready to invest in photoshop) too. Something I may look into down the road...

Chef Tom said...

I use Photoshop as well to insert a watermark. You can also search on for freeware/shareware that will place either a text or image watermark on your images.

If you need help, let me know, I offer basic web and graphics services.

Haalo said...

The problem with those watermarks that run neatly along bottoms or tops or sides of photos are that they are very easy to crop. The alternatives that see watermarks through the centre of photos really just detract from the image itself. They may make you feel better but in reality offer next to no protection.

nika said...

If the mark bisects the image then it cant be "used".

One has to decide if one's images are property that have commercial value or if they are a gift to the commons. If they are property then the only way to protect them is either 1) do not put them on the internet (photog orgs recommend that pro photogs NOT put their stuff on the web esp flickr without watermark [visual and dig]) or 2) watermark the heck out of them.

If you choose to put images on the web without the watermark then you are giving implicit or functional permission to use.

One might dither all day about copyrights but possession is 9/10ths of the law and in this case, thats true in spades.

Homesick Texan said...

Sam brings up an interesting point I've been wrestling with myself: what to think about Tastespotting? And there's also a Firefox plug-in that allows people to clip images and content from the web (much like clipping newspaper articles) and store them in a public place with no guarantee of a link or attribution. I guess if you post something on the web you have to assume it's a free-for-all, but it still bothers me a bit. Any thoughts?

SusanV said...

I get a good number of hits from Tastespotting, so I don't really have any problem with it. Besides, it's just the photo with a link back to the site.

What I have a problem with is this service called Vox, or rather with one particular user of it. She's posting my photos and complete posts with a link to my blog's home page, but since the whole thing is on her blog, with little distinction between her words and mine, her readers have no reason to visit my blog. So far she's posted 9 of my recipes in a row. There's no way to contact her, other than to register with Vox and leave a comment, which I haven't done. Has anyone else had experience with Vox or something like it?

nika said...

Susan: yeah I have seen some hits from some girley mae something on vox..

I was stumbledupon today so my logs are hard to fish through.. I bet its the same person.

very frustrating

nika said...

I found that link and its totally not the same person. This link comes from a real blog (a nice one at that!) so I apologize to !

Kalyn said...

Susan, my sympathies. I've been finding more and more people lately doing similar things, copying my photos and reposting the recipe with my photo. I've starting leaving a comment "killing them with kindness" saying how flattered I am that they like my recipes and they probably didn't realize that the photos are copyrighted, and I'm sure they wouldn't want to break copyright laws and risk having their blog shut down, so would they please put a proper credit under the photo so people can tell it belongs to me. Usually they stop doing it after that. I've had a few people remove the photo and one even removed the recipe and photo, which is fine.

I write it nicely enough that I don't sound like a bitch, but not so nice that they don't get the point that I'm serious about the copyright. Plus it alerts their readers to the fact that they're using photos without permission, and they don't like that.

SusanV said...

Thanks, Kalyn, I will have to try that, though I really have trouble not sounding like a bitch. Must work on that! :-)

cybele said...

I've been struggling with the loss of my photos for the past year.

Nika mentions just because we've put images on the web we're implicitly giving permission for others to repost them without attribution. I'm up in arms about that sort of attitude, because I see it from so many other bloggers.

I'm tempted to turn off right click saving/properties on all my photos on my site. But that tends to punish real readers and not the thieves.

As for programs - Photoshop Elements is an excellent program and offers the ability to use layers and make watermarks or add copyright notices. If you buy a small mouse tablet it usually comes with it (I got my for $99 and consider it one of the best investments I've ever made for my computer - and I've had it through two computers already).

If you self-hosted your blog you could also block the image search engine spiders from indexing your images by creating a robots.txt file on your server.

I have been contributing to Tastespotting and didn't realize that people were upset about getting posted there. It really is just a link to your site with a photo there to entice people. It's not a destination site, it's a place to go and see the most delicious things and then visit them. Consider me humbled by folks who were upset by the use of their photos - I honestly thought we were helping to share them to a wider audience but still maintaining where they came from quite transparently.

Should we ask permission to tastespot folks in the future?

Kalyn - how can I learn to be less bitchy sounding when people take my stuff? Right now I'm having trouble with eBayers using my photos. Sigh.

Trig said...

Cybele - turning off right click/save won't stop your pictures being copied. Al they have to do is display your page, hit "print screen", paste into an editing program, edit out the rest of the page leaving the picture and then save it.

I take the view that if someone wants to nick anything I've done then I'm flattered and don't really care. I might change my mind later on when I'm a professional, but then I guess I'll be separating my pro work from my blogging, so I probably still won't care who steals from my blog.

I think Kalyn's got it just about right. Put a notice on your blog if you want (I haven't done this on my blog) and then relax about it. People will always lie, cheat and steal. But if you get too worried about them you'll probably die of stress, whereas they will still be sunning themselves on the beach at your expense.

cybele said...

Trig - Ooh, yes, I should have shared the limitations of turning off right click and the workarounds! (But I tend to ramble, as I'm about to do.)

I do think it'd be enough of a roadblock for the ebayers who seem to think I'm a royalty free stock photography site. (The photos I see on their auctions are either hotlinked to the google cache or have the same name as mine.) Again, more of an annoyance to my readers than a viable means of stopping image theft. One of the other recent image thieves was a vendor that sells on Amazon ... that's pretty unprofessional.

That said, it's only a temptation ... not something I'm planning on doing. (And I'm not sure you can do that in a blogger-hosted blog either for those who are thinking about it.)

Turning off hotlinking to my site HAS saved me hundreds of dollars in bandwidth (yes, this month alone I'm up to 270,000 hotlink hits to my domain). No, I don't have that many readers.

Many of the photos on my site have been licensed later on. I feel a duty to those who buy them from me to protect the uniqueness of the photos. This is part of how I make a living ... how many bloggers make a living (selling rights to other things associated with the passions we blog about). I'm not flattered by it because it's not a compliment. They don't take my photos because they appreciate me or my work, they do it because it's easy. (And that whole print screen and crop in a photo editor would probably be considered more work than it's worth to the majority of image theives, because they're that lazy.)

While I'd love to say that we should all relax and share, I also say that we should all respect each other.

mae said...

Lara over at Still Life With have just posted an informative take on watermarking along with some links to softwares that does the job.

Here's the link. I hope it helps.