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Some photographers have watermarks on their photos.  Is this necessary to protect our images from piracy, or would anything they stole from the site be too poor quality?

If I should be watermarking images how do I do it?  In photoshop?

Thanks.

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
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We watermark our images selectively, but for submissions rather than for a site. Basically if anyone wants to steal images from a site they can do it with quality at least good enough for use on other sites, and with serious Photoshop work, perhaps for larger applications. We limit theft to some degree by keeping the image files relatively small on our own site and in submissions, but of course when our clients use our images on their own sites they're bigger and open to theft.

Watermarking is easy enough to do in Photoshop. We do it manually, but there is probably some feature in the program that will let you do it automatically.  We just create an extra layer and type onto that, using the related controls to adjust size, color and location. Lots of folks really object to seeing watermarks, but I feel it's justified on submissions. Potential clients can see the image without watermarks once they agree to terms, but in the meantime it slows or limits their unauthorized use before we have a contract.

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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Thanks for the clarification.  I think I may experiment with something small and discreet.  Now I understand why we want to keep our image sizes so small.

Victoria

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
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To elaborate a little Victoria, when you select the Text tool in Photoshop, a little color square appears  on the horizontal tool bar above your image, along with font choices, etc. If you click on that square you can move the selector around and choose text color and type in your watermark (I assume your name, a © and the date).  If you don't like how it works out with the image you can highlight the text and use the same color box and selector to experiment.  I follow tradition and keep my watermark in the LRC, but as the back ground color differs with each photo, so will the color I choose for the watermark along with the font size.  I'm attaching an example.

BTW-  If you don't know how to do the © mark, hit the Option key and G on a Mac.  I assume it's Command G on a PC, but can't confirm.

 

Edit------

 

Hmmmph.  For some reason the photo didn't appear.  I'll try again, and if it doesn't work this time I'll add it to my gallery.  Check there for the bear if you don't see it here.

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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In Photoshop, you can create "Actions" which are memorized sequences of edits. I have numerous actions I've created over the years. An important one is one that creates a "watermark" and always places it in the exact same place on every image. Once you have a action defined, you can apply that action to lots of images at once using the File > Automate > Batch tool. I also have actions for resizing images. And you can have actions that run other actions. I have an action that runs a "resize to 1000px" action and a "watermark" action. Using that I can resize and watermark dozens of images in minutes.

 

Copyright symbol on the Mac = Option + G

Copyright symbol on the PC = ALT + 0169 (numeric keypad)

 

   
Active Member
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 208
Location: Columbia, Maryland
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Hey Walter.   After reading your post I realized that using an action for watermarks makes sense, but can the same action be used on different sizes of files or will I have to make up an action for each file size, in order to make it appear the "right" size no matter the dimensions of the image?  And a related question, once the action has placed the watermark, can I go back and change colors of individual marks to suit the image, as I noted in my post?  We find the color adjustment for individual images to be critical for making them visible, yet not obstrusive.

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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I have one "watermark" action that I use on all my images, regardless of image size. I set the font to 10pt, but one should choose the font and size they like.

For resizing (downsizing for web) images to email or post, I have a different action for each size and I have many: 300, 450, 600, 750, 900, 1200, 1500. They all have basically the same steps, but two specific steps differ in each. The actual resize step (for obvious reasons) and the sharpening step. All my resize actions are based on the longest edge. Photoshop has built-in feature called Fit Image. When "recording" an action, execute File > Automate > Fit Image and specify the same pixel dimensions for width and height. Photoshop will retain the aspect ratio and resize the image to fit within that box.

A really neat feature of actions is that you can turn on and off any of the steps in the action. I have create one action to resize/watermark all my images. That action has steps to call all of my resize actions, and then the watermark action. I uncheck all the resize steps except the one I want at the moment, say 900 pixels, and I leave the watermark step checked.

Here the left image is a listing of actions that I have. You can see how some action steps call other actions, and how some steps are "checked" in the left column (enabled) and others are not (disabled). The right image shows the steps in some of the resize actions. You can see that the steps are pretty much the same in all of the resize action. The difference between them will be the pixel dimensions and the amount of sharpening. All flatten the layers, set the resolution to 72 dpi, resize with "fit image", convert the color profile to SRGB, and set the bit depth to 8 bits per color channel.

Also in the left image you will see at the top an action called "JPG © Watermark". That is the primary action I run. It executes other actions to resize, watermark and optionally provide a nice frame or shadowbox around the downsized image. Nesting actions in this way lets you create a very powerful, easy-to-manage collection of actions.

By the way ... I fixed a problem with the forums that was preventing attachments from working correctly.

Click on image to download Click on image to download

   
Active Member
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 208
Location: Columbia, Maryland
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Thanks Walter! Are you taking notes, Victoria?  I am!

In looking through your actions, I think I might end it without the flattening step so I could do a final check on color and font prior to manually flattening.  Our clients have commented on our varying the text color to suit the image and like it a lot, so I am reluctant to asign one color.

And thanks for fixing the attachment feature too!

I'm going to test it now with my "Watermarked Bear" image.

Click on image to download

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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Hank - edit your previous post and look at the "file" tag I used to reference your attachment for inline presentation. This is documented in the "TPN User Guide" document down in the Deeper Questions about Forums section.


Walter Rowe, Editor
Travel Photographers.net

   
Admin
Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 185
Location: A Global Community
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Thanks for fixing that Walter.  I just used the Attachments feature at the bottom of the comment page.  I'll check out the user guide before posting another.

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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I went about it in a different way. 

 

In Photoshop you can create a custom brush - I signed a bit of A4 paper, scanned it and then used that signature to create a custom brush.   This is done by selecting the signature using the magic wand, then using "Edit/Define Custom Brush".

 

This gives you a brush tool which you can use in the usual way, but with a custom tip - place it where you want at the size you want and one click stamps your logo/signature where you want it.  Easy to rescale, adjust opacity and quick to use!


Rob Sutherland
Alpinist Photography
Cumbria, United Kingdom

   
Regular Member
Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 102
Location: The English Lake
District
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That's brilliant Rob! I showed this to my wife, and she says she owes you a hug.

She signs all her studio prints 11x14" and larger by hand, and uses an embossing machine for anything smaller excluding wallet size.  She does it not only for identity, but also as a hedge against unauthorized copying.  Lots of processors including Walmart won't copy photos with a signature or copyright notice on them.

The problem is, many of her sales these days come from private portfolios posted online, with orders placed directly to our lab. The lab will print her name and © on prints down to 5x7" but no smaller, and she doesn't like the looks of it.  She's going to doublecheck with the lab, but it appears she'll be able to use you method throughout, greatly easing the process while improving the looks.  And no more fiddling with that embossing machine, much less locating the required embossing material!

Many thanks!

   
Junior
Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 25
Location: Kodiak, AK
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 Thanks. for the further info.  Have a crazy week, but maybe I can play with it this weekend.  You all have been so helpful.

   
Junior
Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 33
Location: Rockbridge, Ohio
13 posts :: Page 1 of 1