By including a watermark on you images you are providing a service to help people find more of your work either for visual enjoyment or licensing.
1. To make it easy for interested parties to license your imagery.
As a matter of fact, that is what got me interested in putting together this post. Twice in the last week I have had unsolicited thanks from people who found my images on the Internet (yes, there are plenty of people and companies that would rather license images than steal them) and knew how to contact me in order to license the work. My watermark is ©johnlund.com so ALMOST anyone can track me down. These two people who did find me were thrilled that I had watermarked my images!
2. To make it easy for interested parties to find more of your work. Okay, so maybe someone does see an image of yours, doesn’t really need to license that particular image, but either loves it and wants to see more, or loves it and is hoping there is more work in the same style that does suit their needs…and if you watermark your images you are doing them a favor. So watermark your images as a gift to others…a gift for those who really do appreciate your work!
3. Because you are PROUD of your work! You are proud of your work, right?
4. If it was good enough for Picasso, Rembrandt, and Matisse it is good enough for you.It not only makes sense to watermark your work, but it has been the norm for hundreds of years! Artists have been signing their work since before the Renaissance.
5. To discourage others from taking credit for your work.
A few weeks ago while perusing 500px I came across an image of mine that someone else was claiming credit for. Not only that, he had dozens of compliments and people giving kudos for the image. Maybe it is just my ego, but when I see someone else getting compliments for something I have done I find it very irritating! When I sent him a notice to take the image down he told me that it wasn’t my image, that he had found it for free on the Internet. But it WAS my image…posted years ago before I started watermarking my work. This may still happen even if you do watermark your images (I have seen many of my own images with my own watermark sometimes clumsily Photoshopped out)…but it will happen less often! Come to think of it, there are a number of sites out there offering to sell my images some of which even leave my watermark on the files. Oh well….
6. To help establish that there is VALUE to photography. Watermarking your photos doesn’t just help you, but also helps out photographers everywhere! The value of photography is under attack these days. One thing that each of us photographers can do to help people realize that photography does have value is to watermark our images. If you don’t do it for yourself, then do it for the all the other photographers who do care about the value of their work!