Why I'll Be Watermarking My Photos (And You Should Too!)

Before I launch into today's ramblings...it's time to announce the winner of our Posh Baby Boutique Store PettiSkirt Giveaway...

Dntry #33 Christy Germaine

The winner has been emailed and has 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen! Didn't win this time? That's OK, because my Halloween giveaway from Perideau Designs is going on right now!  Alrighty, switching gears...

There is a crazy debate over watermarking your photos when they are posted online.  Many professional photographers do, so that illegal prints are not made of their photos or they are given credit for their work.  Many professional photographers think that's tacky and shameless promotion.  Many bloggers don't watermark the photos of their tutorials.  Many do.  Many party bloggers, especially the big-wigs, don't watermark their party photos.  They also have copyrights and lawyers and their work is so well known, readers will catch it. However, many do.  Those who don't, argue it takes away from the integrity of the photo. Usually, the big ass ones with your full name and website will.

I've never watermarked my photos.

Until now.

Last week, I discovered a site was LIFTING my ENTIRE blog feed and passing the posts off as their own.  Down to the post labels...the exact same day I was posting.  A reader clicked through one of my links that pointed back to me and realized what was going on and gave me the heads up.  By doing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) report, it was down within days.

It sickened me...I spend a lot of time blogging, taking photos, sharing other stuff, etc.  For someone else to take any credit is unfathomable to me. It's a lot of work to sit here and write  anything, and someone else using my posts and taking credit for it is insane.  Sure, a tiny part of me was thrilled that someone thinks my words are worth pilfering.  But that's the part of me that needs blogging validation, and it's a really, small part.

I have always taken extreme care when using ANY photos I use from someone else.  Every idea I shamelessly use, every printable has a link back. I get emails asking where I found items and I write back 'Not my photos, not my party, click through the link'.  I have seen well-known party photos being used in local ads, seen entire party sites using my photos advertising they can create this party.  Which, in no parallel universe can they offer that package.  The person who hires them has no idea and it becomes a nightmare of epic proportions.

I blog and share because I want my readers to be INSPIRED. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but passing something off as your own is not.  I know there are no new ideas out there; but how many variations of my felt owl tutorial are out there?  Seriously, it is way too distinct. I know, you are thinking about the  ' room full of monkeys on typewriters' idea. I did the tutorial, but the original idea was not mine. I made that clear and there is a link to the original artist's shop when she contacted me.  When I originally posted the tutorial, I had no idea she had a shop and made them herself.  If she had said no, I would have taken it down in a heartbeat. I see those damn owls everywhere if I do a search.  Some credit, some don't.  I got tired of leaving passive-aggressive comments like "I love how your owl turned out, you did a great job with my tutorial".  There are just too many out there now.

proper pinning etiquette
Pinterest is another reason why I'm going to watermark my photos.  Many people do not pin properly and are careless where the image came from.  Social Media Today has a great post on pinning etiquette and why it's so important!

How to truncate your posts
My feed getting lifted taught me a lesson in truncating my posts so this doesn't happen again. Check out this awesome and easy tute for us Blogger folks at The House Of Smiths. It shortens down your posts from your main page so they can't get lifted. Plus, it looks neater. For other platforms, just search how it works for you.  I also put a little line in my feed's footer about if you aren't reading this post through email or your RSS feed, it's been stolen. For Blogger, from your blogger.com page, just go to SETTINGS, then OTHER, and type in your choice of wording in the Post Feed Footer box.

Watermarking will keep others from using your photo as their own.  I know it won't stop people from passing the ideas off. If you want to duplicate it step by step instead of just a simple link to me, that's on you.    It is what it is...and see, mine is small, just my name.  In the middle so it can't be cropped out.  Seriously people, really? Ugh...I'm done.  I'm just mad.  And I hope you get mad enough too, protect your work the best way you can.

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