As Photography made the transition to the digital format, it has become easier to share and upload images via the internet; however it has also become easier for browsers to steal these images and claim them as their own. Whether you are a professional or an amateur photographer, it is critical to protect your own body of work and prevent others from stealing and profiting from your imagery. There are numerous methods of claiming ownership of your work when publishing them online, its best practice to implement as many of these methods as possible in order to protect your imagery from plagiarisers.
One of the best way to protect digital photos is by learning how to watermark. A watermark is a faint logo or text overlaid over the picture. It is difficult for others to remove a watermark from a digital image and websites can’t openly publish it with the artist’s logo or names blatantly apparent on it. If a site uses the watermarked image, it is more likely to get flagged by site users and it is probable you’d to be notified about its use. There are numerous watermark generator sites such as watermarker.com and Digimarc.com, however if you wish to watermark your own images at no extra cost, you can do so by using layers and opacity tools via Photoshop.
Before you even publish your own images to the net, it is vital to make sure that you have the rights to upload the image. When on a shoot, its best practice to get your model/subject to sign a release form stating that you can use their image. Image usage rights and laws will vary from country to country so it’s important to read up on these laws, especially when shooting in public. Release forms can be found online and can legally cover yourself and your models, it is also a written agreement to revert back to if needs be.
By using metadata on your images, it embeds your name and information into the image properties, so that if the image is taken, your details go with it. The best way to add metadata is via Adobe Bridge. Select the images you wish to add metadata to then click “Window > Metadata Panel”, you can then fill in the required fields such as Creator, Website, Copyright Status among many others. Once you have filled in these details be sure to click save to apply the metadata to your work.
This is one of the handiest methods of preventing your images from being stolen. Shrink wrapping applies a transparent overlay to your picture, so that when a person right clicks to save the image, it takes the clear layer as opposed to the image beneath it. This can easily be achieved in Photoshop.
Although it is beneficial to share your images online and get your name out there, there is always a risk that someone will plagiarise and violate your trust. By combining these image protection techniques, you protect your work and ensure you are credited for your own creativity.
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