This is my personal view, everyone has their own opinion about watermarks and at one time I used to have a little white watermark on my own images.
The reason I had a watermark was mainly because I was led to believe I needed one !
The reason given was that if my image was stolen people would know it was mine, people would know whose the image was no matter where it was posted. I was told I needed it for copyright reasons and the reasons went on and on, so I started to watermark images.
I then had an image stolen that had been watermarked and the watermark was removed by the thief. I did an image search to see who had used it and there were 34,000+ usages around the world !
The interesting thing was it was not my watermark, it was a stock sites. I contacted the agency and they basically said we don’t have time to go after every image theft it would cost a fortune. This bugged me at first so then I looked who had taken the image and then I got the message. It had been used all over the world on thousands of sites. Just the research to see who had it took me a few hours, imagine the time it would take to try and get people to pay up.
I decided I agreed with the stock site and removed my own watermarks the very next day because I had always found it distracting. What is the point in a mark that distracts from the image, none when it can be removed in seconds in PS with content aware.
I fully understand people want people to know who their image was taken by but over time people work out your style and follow your images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc
I stopped using Watermarks years ago now and in Street Photography circles Watermarks are discouraged any way.
I will never use a watermark and there is no need these days as you can Google image search any image and find out where it was posted first. You can screen print an image and load it up and find out all about the image it’s so very simple. Just type Google image search in to Google then when the page loads choose images at the top of the page then click in the camera next to the search box and use the URL or Upload an image.
I also understand that anything you post on social media or the internet can be stolen. I find this quite funny as the thief is then helping me to share my work so saves me hours.
Someone said on Facebook last week, the bigger the watermark the worse the image ! I laughed and then took a good look around the internet and it was quite true.
There is nothing wrong with Watermarks if you want to use them but there are some things to consider. If you have spent thousands of pounds on photographic equipment and editing software and ages composing and creating a great image, why stick a coloured www. blablablaphoto .com watermark across the middle in a rubbish font ? Trust me as soon as I see a rubbish watermark I think lazy photographer and don’t even look at the image. Some are really bad and bright colours are even worse. If you are going to use one it needs to compliment the images and the image needs to be the first thing you see not a bright red, yellow or blue watermark.
I am one of the Admin on a very large Street Photography Group with over 70,000 members and I see hundreds of images every day and trust me lots of images are let down by really bad watermarks.
I have seen some good watermarks very discreet and very small they work very well and are normally brand specific and very well designed by a graphic designer. There are also quite a few designs to fit with the photographers different image styles one for black and white and one for colour etc.
So if you are going to use one and personally I would not recommend it, because if you don’t want it stolen don’t put it out there to be stolen. But if you do take as much time and trouble over it as you would a CV for an interview, after all in some cases thats exactly what it is !