What Are The Best Protection Strategies For Your Photos?

You need to protect your photos.

This is no small task, but this can be done with one or more of these strategies.

Protect Your Photos

Option #1: A Custom Watermark

Choose a font that is easy to read but not easily copied. It should be an image or graphic of your design. Make it something unique and identifiable as yours. The watermark’s color can be black, white, or even transparent (which means you would want it to stand out against most backgrounds). Make the watermark size large enough that it will show up well in all your photos but small enough that it doesn’t over-crowd them. Use the same watermark on every image you share, whether for sale or not.

Option #2: Copyright Information

You can include your name, the photo’s title, or your copyright symbol ( © ) in the file information. This is included inside each file (and you can view it using Adobe Bridge). Your camera should already put this information into the metadata of every image you shoot, but if not, Photoshop Elements will do it for you. If someone doesn’t know how to access this information, they probably aren’t going to steal your photos (but still might).

Option #3: A Signature Or Stamp

Signing each photo seems like a good idea at first, but there are many reasons why that’s not always ideal. First of all, no one wants to sign their name or stamp hundreds or thousands of photos. It’s tedious and time-consuming (not to mention the fact that you might forget or make a mistake). Second, some people can forge your signature or stamp quite easily—and if they steal one of your images on the internet, no one would even know you didn’t do it. Third, some places won’t let you sign images with sharpie markers because they could potentially damage them. Finally, if someone steals just one photo from you and puts their watermark over yours—you’ll be left with nothing but an unrecognizable mess of pixel noise.

Option #4: A Photograph Of A Signature Or Stamp

Well…  when I learned about this option, I was pretty thrilled! To me, this is genius, and it’s what I choose to do. This option allows you to leverage both sides of the fence. You can leave your signature with its unique look, but if someone tries to steal it (or one of your photos), they will end up with nothing but your name in a box with no meaning. Plus, when people see that arbitrary “signature,” their red flags go up, and they are less likely to use it (even accidentally) without permission.

Option #5: A Copyright Symbol Combined With Your Personal Information

You can put your copyright symbol along with any necessary information about yourself inside each image file’s metadata—but this is not recommended because anyone who knows how to get into the metadata will be able to find it easily. If someone tries to steal your photo, they will be able to find out who owns the copyright and contact you. While this may work as a deterrent for some people, others will ignore it (especially if they are outside of the United States). Be extra cautious with identity thieves and agencies; they can exploit this loophole and use your personal information for nefarious purposes.  In the case of identity theft, LifeLock and Identity Guard are the big dogs in this battle and can help you protect your personal details. You can check the reviews at this link https://www.homesecurityheroes.com/lifelock-identity-theft-protection-reviews/ to decide if this identity theft protection tool is best for you.

Option #6: A Digital Signature

This method is very similar to the last one. You add your name, address, email, phone number inside the metadata of each photo you share—but this time, it’s done in a way that can’t be copied or changed by someone else (not easily, at least). This option isn’t bad in theory—but in practice, you’ll probably find it too cumbersome and tedious to complete every time you upload photos. The truth is: most people will not take the extra steps required by either digital signature option. Keeping your identity intact is much more valuable than preventing theft.

Option #7: Licensing Your Photos With A Watermark

This is another excellent option that offers an extra level of security for your photos—and although it may take more time than other options, I think it’s well worth it in the long run. This type of watermark requires you to permit others to use your work by attaching a licensing code (usually an alphanumeric string) to each photo file before sharing them online. When someone accesses one of your photos, they will be prompted to enter the code to use it. This ensures that only those who have permission can download and use your photos.

Option #8: Copyright Registration

If you want to take things further, you can always register your copyright with the United States Copyright Office. This process costs $35 per work and can be done online or by mail. It’s not required, but it does offer some extra legal protection if someone tries to steal your photos without permission. Plus, it’s a great way to prove that you are the work’s original creator.

To Sum It All Up…

So, which option is right for you? That depends on your needs and what you’re comfortable with as a photographer. As you can see, they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

In the end, I recommend that you sign up for a free account with PhotoShelter, as it will allow you to store all of your photos in one place and watermark them, so they are protected from theft. Plus, they offer fantastic licensing options for those who want to sell or license their photos online.

I hope this post helped answer some of the questions you may have had about protection strategies.

Would you please let me know in the comments section below if you have any additional questions?