How to Add Copyright Watermark to Your Image

Bacchus - Applying Copyright WatermarkFor every lock, there’s a locksmith.
Discovering that there are at least 6 reasons people and entities download and save your images from the Internet, it’s imperative that you take the time to protect your image to prevent unwarranted use.

3 Easy Steps
For the novices without the fancy software, I’ll show you how to add a copyright watermark image through the Flickr site that will lock out thieves and bring back honest buyers.

In this age, it’s not a matter of ‘if someone steals your image,’ but ‘when.’ Your intellectual property (IP) -aka: your images are the foundation of your life and for many of you, your business. The fuel for businesses is IP and it certainly is for mine. I depend on my IP to build my small empire just as Mary Englebreit has done for her empire. Even if my images are properly submitted to the official copyright office, they will continue to get pilfered from those who claim ignorance.

It’s happened to me.

In Our Backyard
This isn’t just about a great photo of a car your late uncle took back in the 70’s or my showcase image of Bacchus, but also includes the adorable photo of your 18month old redheaded girl whose face may show up on the front of a software box –or worse.

Currently, Google and Microsoft are lobbying to steal our images under the guise of ‘Orphan Laws’ and while you might think that including metatags will prevent this from happening, there are online programs that can scrub this information, too. If it’s impossible for someone to find you, the original artist, it’s impossible to give you due credit (read: royalty payments). I want to strongly encourage you to apply a watermark to your image so that it cannot be misconstrued as orphaned.

The big boys are not the only ones trolling for great images. Individuals who want to use it for collage purposes to image stock companies to fill their banks to overseas manufacturers who have all the resources to make a product for just a few cents.  These entities have absolutely no regard for privacy, personal property, or IP, they won’t hesitate to steal it out from under your nose and many will scream ignorance when caught.

This is why copyright and patent protection were developed in the first place: To secure IP with the founding scientist, engineer, or artist who, through their creative endeavors are talented enough to recognize the value of their creations.

At least 6 Reasons People Download & Save Images

  • Fill image stock portfolios and become a image license resource for other companies
  • To include it on a Web site for article enhancement
  • To use in their personal projects (from quilts to embroidery to decoupage)
  • To apply as a layer in their art collage project & profit from the print reproduction (as seen on ETSY, et al)
  • To apply on ceramics and profit from the mass manufacturing, distribution, & sales (overseas mfg)
  • Or simply because they want to show their loved one how wonderful you are.

Depending on how high the resolution is on these stolen images (they should be small), some may be used ‘as is’ or some may be remedied by the hands of hired help to improve the composition brought into a larger format. I’ve seen bad things happen to good people and it can be devastating. Not all of these entities are bad, but there are a few bad seeds out there who can make it extremely difficult for the rest of us.

Applying a watermark to your images will remedy any being who wants to hide under the bliss of innocence. I will say that watermarks won’t necessarily prevent this from happening (hell, condoms are only 98% effective), but it will make it more difficult for them (read: time consuming) when their efforts are defined as deliberate.

This leads me to a great resource found thru one of the largest image aggregates online to-date: flickr.

I ♥ Flickr
There are some extraordinary artists out there after whom I pine, swoon, and eventually stalk because they make me insatiable for their work. Flickr is a great treasure trove of images and coincidentally, a great place to steal.

Without further ado, let me show you what I’ve learned on how one can easily apply a watermark to an image. It’s not that laborious, but if a person downloads your image, they’ll know it’s yours. If they have honest intentions, like building a virtual library of gifts to buy, they’ll know where to return.

How to Add Copyright Watermark to Your Image
Bacchus - Applying Copyright Watermark3 Easy Steps
1 Apply Copyright
2 Apply Web Address
3 Save

SideNote: I’m not getting paid by flickr or Picnik. I just know that there’s been a need for the creatives who are not computer savvy, much less software savvy. This is the first free DIY application I’ve seen and thought it was worth investigating.

Find Your Image
Choose Your Image | Go into your flickr account and find your image.
Your Image Set

Choose Your Image | Be sure the image you want is enlarged on the left side of your screen. You will know it when you see the tiny options located just above it.
Choose Your Image

Edit Photo within Picnik | Within those tiny options, choose & click ‘Edit Photo’ to edit your image with Flickr’s partner: picnik
Edit Your Image

Picnik’s Application Window | Picnik shows a progress bar and inserts your image into their application desktop.
Picnik Upload Image Picnik's Application Window

Create Your Copyright Symbol
Starting the Process | Within Picnik’s App Window, Choose Create Tab.
Choose Create Tab

Select Stickers & Photo License | Also in the top nav, find and choose the tab ‘Stickers’ and in the left nav, scroll down to find and choose ‘Photo Licenses’.
Select Stickers & Photo License

Choose the (C) Symbol | Within the Photo License, choose (C) for Copyright.
C represents Copyright; TM represents Trademark (that is being approved); R represents Registered Trademark (that has been approved and you’ve received official notification from the government)
Choose the (C) Symbol

Note the Sticker Properties Box: | This will help you define how you want your sticker image to look.
Note the Sticker Properties Box

Applying Style to your Sticker | Define Your Image size by adjusting the nodes on the edges of the selected sticker [in case, the (C)] allows you to adjust the size to your preference. The Sticker Properties Box allows you to apply color & fade options (plus more).
Applying Style to your Sticker

Adding Your Web Site Address

Choose Text in Top Nav | To add basic text, find the ‘Text tab in the top nav.
You’ll want to add your Web address to your watermark, so select the ‘Text’ tab now.
Choose Text in Top Nav

Type in Your Web Address | Type in your Web address in the field box at the top of the left nav. One can omit the www at the front -it’s okay, I grant you permission. Everyone knows that 98% of Web addresses begin with www. Also, from a design perspective, it looks so much cleaner.

Oh! The fonts choices! One can utilize all of them (if you’ve got a paid account -I do not), so I chose the frugal method by applying one of them that did not require a paid account. One of my favorite fonts is Arial.
Type in Your Web Address

Mea Culpa: You’re going to see a jump here with the (C) image. I thought I would also show a bit of design sensibility. Look for the symbol on the bottom left side of the image.

Apply Style to Your Text | Text Properties Box
Here you can define your color and other choices as needed.
Apply Style to Your Text

Review Between Tasks | One can click on the blank area of the screen to make the dialog boxes disappear between tasks.
Review Between Tasks

Save Your File
Save When Ready | That is the question, isn’t it?
If you’re happy with the results, you can save now. While saving, picnik allows you to retitle your image and even save it in a new set. Nifty!
To Save or Not to Save

In My Studio
ecs-studio-comIn most cases, you will see this image in various flavors on my images. I’m able to do this in Photoshop. I’ll apply an overlay color of white or black, reduce the transparency to something palatable yet safe, and save it.

I looked for a similar application within picnik but found nothing. It’s possible that one can create a sticker and apply the same methods as I do in PS, but only within the paid account. I don’t know for sure, but it’s worth checking out.

If you like this article and would like to read similar articles, I invite you to INDIECreativesa site I’ve created just for fine artists and gallery owners– other creatives may also find it useful.

Article Topics include:
Marketing & Social Media for the Fine Artist
Web Presence
Setting Up Your Web Site Using WordPress (a blogging platform).
Branding and more.

Hope to see you there!

Live Creatively,

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12 thoughts on “How to Add Copyright Watermark to Your Image

    • creativegoddess says:

      Kay, that much is true.

      The idea of using the watermark is to have trusted sources return to my Web site and purchase. I expect those who know and use the tool have dubious plans for my image. To remove the watermark takes time and thieves will have to let conscience be their guide.

      Karma bites.


    • Kay L. Brown says:

      It’s too bad Piknik isn’t around anymore. I know many people, including my daughter, used it. I do my watermarking in Photoshop, but I don’t do a thorough job of it. I need to to through several steps to ‘lock in’ the watermark in the pixels of the image so potential thieves can’t easily cover it up in Photoshop or another high end editing software.

      Lisa, thank you for being a gifted artisan, you do the most amazing work and I really like your blog. Keep up the wonderful work. I especially love the bustiers / corsets. 🙂


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