After my recent post on my twins’ photos being stolen, I received a lot of requests for a tutorial on how to watermark photos. I cannot stress the importance of a complex, graphic watermark enough, especially for bloggers. But even if you don’t blog, you should still consider watermarking your photos.
1. With the popularity of social media, it’s easy to share photos and stay connected to family and friends. But these platforms can give easy access to identity thieves. Facebook is notorious for having poor privacy settings. So what, you set your profile to private, but did you know that your friends’ friends can see your photos too? Or that your friend who has a public profile posted a photo of your child and tagged you in it and everyone and their dog can see it?
2. I bet you also didn’t know that your Facebook cover photo was public, despite having a private profile. This one really ticks me off. It’s something that you cannot change, so even if you’ve worked really hard to keep your kids’ photos private on your profile, if you’ve been changing your cover photo, all of the photos are there for everyone to see. In most of your albums, you can change the setting by clicking on the little globe (circled in red below) but not for cover photos. I suggest changing your cover photo to a generic one, a family photo with yourself in it or one that doesn’t show faces.
And while, you’re checking those little earth symbols in your other albums and changing them to ‘Friends Only’, go to your timeline and check to see who you’re sharing posts with. Even if your profile is set to private, you may be posting publicly if you haven’t changed your preferences. Once you do it, it will remember and share only with that group in the future. But, you’ll need to go back and change all of the posts that are in fact public. You can check your setting by clicking on the symbol under your name.
3. Your photography is your intellectual property. I know that most of us aren’t taking and posting professional quality pictures, but for those of us who try to take pictures from unique perspectives or use creative editing should definitely be getting credit for it.
You might already protect your photos with a text watermark, but it’s not enough. I did that too, and someone creatively cropped it out or erased it in Photoshop in order to pass my twins’ photos off as her own. No watermark will deter someone from stealing your pictures if they really want to, but the majority of people will respect the copyright if it’s there. I use a few different methods to watermark my photos.
The first is Photoshop. It’s super easy to create a graphic watermark. Simply use the shape tool to create a watermark bar or another shape, change the opacity so that the shape fades into the picture, and use the text box to display your text on top. You can also download a dingbats font, like I did for more trendy shapes. I use KG Flavor and Frames frequently. Instead of creating the same content, I’m going to direct you over to Kristen Duke Photography Blog for a great tutorial on watermark bars. If you choose to use a dingbat font instead for a more trendy watermark, here’s what you’ll do:
1. Open your photo in Photoshop. (I’m using a wedding photo instead of a baby photo for tutorial purposes.)
2. Create a text box and type the keystroke necessary to create the shape of your choosing (every font download comes with a .pdf file containing a “map” of keystrokes and corresponding shape). I used KG Flavor Frames font- letter m.
3. Re-size the shape, and create a separate text box to type your blog name. Position your blog name within the shape.
4. Group your layers. (This is allows you to move and size the shape and text as one unit) To create a group, select both text boxes and drag them into the little folder at the bottom of your layers menu.
5. Change the opacity of the watermark in order for it to fade into your photo, and position it in a place that cannot be easily cropped or edited. I like to position mine next my kids’ faces.
If you don’t have access to editing software, PicMonkey is super easy to use and has similar features to Photoshop. I have used PicMonkey for collages and text, and in some ways, I believe it’s way simpler and faster than using Photoshop.
Be sure to check back on the blog this week for my post about how to watermark photos on your phones and which apps I use.