The internet has made it very easy for photographers to share their work, but the age of internet sharing is also the age of online photo theft. It’s easy to steal a photo off the internet, downloading with just a few clicks. The ease of image theft online prevents some photographers from even sharing their work on the internet at all. While keeping your images off the internet is a surefire way to prevent online image theft, you’ll end up losing out on all the exposure the internet has to offer.
So what’s the best alternative? Is there a way to safely share your images online? While no online image is totally protected from theft in the first place, these five tips can help keep your images safe online.
Adding your name or logo to an image not only makes it easier to identify as yours, but it also discourages image theft in the first place. Yes, a watermark might distract from the image, but that’s exactly why it discourages website visitors from taking the image in the first place. Typically, image thieves are looking for an image that’s easy to reuse. A watermark can be removed by the best Photoshop artists, but most won’t go through the extra effort.
Often, image theft occurs accidentally by people who don’t realise it’s not okay to share any image online. Adding a copyright symbol to your image is a way to prevent that. While it is a good idea to copyright your images, you don’t have to copyright them to use the copyright symbol. They’re still protected by law, there’s just not as much you can do if someone steals your image.
Metadata is hidden information inside of an image, like when a camera embeds the aperture and shutter speed data inside the digital photo. But metadata can also be used to identify the photographer, and it’s easy to use. To add metadata to an existing file, open the image in Photoshop and navigate to File > Image Info. Click on the description tab, then add your name to the Author and Copyright fields, then save.
You can also add your name to the metadata in-camera, so you can do it once and not think about it again until you use a different camera. The steps are a bit different depending on which camera you own. Try looking in the menu for an option that says copyright or metadata. If you can’t find it, consult your owner’s manual.
Disable the right click download
Making it harder to download your image won’t keep your image protected for certain, but it will discourage a lot of web browsers from nabbing it. Sure, there are ways around it, but making it a bit harder can go a long ways.
If you share your images on your own website, a simple HTML code will prevent visitors from being able to right click and use the “Save Image” option. It’s a bit difficult to do if you’ve never looked through code before. However, if you’re familiar with a tiny bit of code, simply locate the code for the image (it starts with “< img” mark. Some website builders also have plug-ins that do the same thing without the need to understand basic HTML code.