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Should You Watermark Your Work?

In the digital age, it can be tough to even imagine the possibility of marketing your work without the help of the World Wide Web. While using the internet allows you to get your name out into the world and reach potential customers, it also puts your art at risk for being stolen. A good way to combat this is to use a watermark on images of your photographs or paintings. Not every artist likes to use watermarks, though. Here are some pros and cons to take into consideration when posting your work online:

Watermarking makes it harder to steal your image

This is obvious. Very few people will post a watermarked photo on their personal website, and having someone else's name will definitely deter them from trying to claim it's their own work. While someone with an entry-level knowledge of Photoshop will be able to remove the watermark, it will deter people who don't know how to remove it from stealing the photo.

"The name on a watermark can draw attention."

Watermarking can get your name out there

Most photographers watermark their work with their names. While the watermark may deter people from delving further into your work, the name on it may draw attention back to your website. This could lead to online purchases, or at least a fan that follows your work. If you find the use of a watermark to be a bit pretentious, remember that even if someone is Photoshopping your name off of the picture, they're looking at your name while they do it and remembering it.

It's an extension of your brand

If you have a logo, a watermark is a great place to implement it. Not only does it look professional, but it gives all of your work a cohesive vibe on your website. It doesn't have to be a big, ugly, distracting blotch in the middle of your work, and it certainly doesn't have to be a generic typeface with your name. You're an artist. Develop a watermark that doesn't completely take away from the image and is a piece of art in and of itself.

You put a lot of work into your photos, so it's understandable to want to protect them.

Watermarks take away from the photograph

Take what you're posting the picture on the internet for into account. For example, if you're posting your work onto your official website, giving people the option to purchase the actual photo, it doesn't really matter if the watermark
takes away from the aesthetic appeal of the photo because customers will have a real-life copy of it soon enough. However, if you're posting it on your blog or elsewhere on the internet in an effort to show people your work, without giving an option to purchase it, then why
take away from the subject matter?

Watermarking makes it difficult to share

Do you want your photograph to make its way around the internet, whether you're getting credit or not, or do you already have a fan base locked down? People are more likely to share and post images that don't have large distracting watermarks covering the subject matter. It's a bit of a Catch-22. Your work is more likely to be seen when it's not watermarked, but you won't always get credit for it. However, you'll always get credit for a watermarked image, but it probably won't be shared as much.

Watermarking can make you look like a jerk

Many people are hesitant to watermark their images out of fear that potential consumers will get the impression that the artist just assumes people are out to steal his or her work. This is a common reason behind why many up and coming photographers and artists steer clear of watermarking while more established artists embrace it as a semi-effective anti-theft tool. An established photographer may feel as if he or she has paid his or her dues and feels secure enough to begin watermarking.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining whether you want to watermark your art. When making the decision, just be sure to take where you'll be sharing your work and your reasons behind sharing it into account.