Watermarks – Why I use them as an artist that is starting out in the business

Why I think I am batman and the dreaded subject of WATERMARKS!!! Should we use them, should we not.

It’s a good time to have this conversation with the proliferation of more and more social sharing sites such as facebook, pinterest, etc. I love sharing, liking and commenting on all sorts of things on these sites. Trouble is, sometimes I can no longer see who made the work, where they have more photos and where I can purchase them. This must be disappointing for the artist.

A little stamp or signature on a photo would help locate the owner for more of their work and be able to interact with that person. Batman had a callsign, he would flash his batty logo over the city and people knew he was about. He had his logo all over his gear too but he never told me where I could get a utility belt like his!

I have heard some great discussions from Thomas Hawk, Trey Ratcliffe, Miss Aniela and so on, and I will link to their discussion points on their blogs below on the for and against. And if you have time, watch the video hangout. At the end of the day, it does seem to be a personal decision.

Personally, I started out not using watermarks, but my decision was made that I wanted people to be able to find more of my work. I don’t use watermarks over the main body of the photo as it annoys me not being able to see the content, so why would my audience like it either. But having a discreet little name at the bottom of the photo like an artist on a painting would do so, this is where people can get more information

Resharing is huge on the internet with facebook and pinterest leading the way, it is one click and something you have posted is now shared with hundreds maybe thousands more. To ensure that people come back to the author it’s important to have somewhere on the photo, as content can be deleted, who the owner is

A famous local example was an Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald which used one of Trey Ratcliff’s photos without credit (see the blog post here)

Another side of the argument is sure, you can crop out the photo and if you are really savvy you can delete using content aware in photoshop (did I really just let that out of the bag?). And if people go to that much trouble to steal your photo then that is the risk in putting your work online. But there are a lot of good people out there and the percentage of those people who will do that is low

If you are thinking of using or not using watermarks consider the following points which might help your decision:

  • How to people find you as the owner of the work?

  • How do people find more of your photos?

  • Are you worried about copyright?

  • Are you concerned watermarks will take away from your photo content?

More posts on Watermarks in photography:

Thomas Hawk – http://thomashawk.com/2011/06/on-watermarks-and-signatures.html

Trey Ratcliff – http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/07/08/treys-variety-hour-81-reasons-for-and-against-watermarks-with-miss-aniela-and-thomas-hawk/

Miss Aniela – http://missanielablog.com/why-you-should-use-watermarks

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Justine King
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Justine King

Fine Art Photographer at Justine King Photography
I am a Fine Art photographer in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about using artistic expression in photography to convey a message
Justine King
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Justine King

I am a Fine Art photographer in Sydney, Australia. I am passionate about using artistic expression in photography to convey a message


  1. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content!

    • Hi Elixir, I have only just started blogging in the last few weeks. I really appreciate your feedback on my site! Thank you and keep visiting 🙂

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