The great thing about watermarking is you can make the mark as prominent or “intrusive” as you want. A good watermark would render the photo useless to the person trying to manipulate it, or it would at least require a lot of editing work on their end to get rid of it (something that most bullies and thieves probably won’t bother with).
There are plenty of great watermarking software programs to use out there, but almost all of them come with a price and require you to download software. However, you can see how watermarking works for yourself, before you buy, by checking out a site like WaterMark.ws. They have a watermarking tool that you can use right there on their site for free, and then decide if you want upgrade to the paid version.
One of the great things I noticed about WaterMark.ws, considering that I have five kids and tons of digital photos, is that you can upload batches of photos at a time and watermark them all at once!
A couple rules of thumb:
- It’s important that you create copies of your photos first so you don’t ruin your original.
- You also want to be strategic in the way you place the watermarks as some can be cropped out if not placed right.
Here are a couple of samples that I played with on WaterMark.ws.
An alternative watermark is to place an image on top of your photo. This, too, can be adjusted to work for you. And like text, the watermark image should be placed strategically so it doesn’t ruin the photo for those who want to see it, but also so it isn’t easily bypassed by those with ill intentions.
Another way to protect your family photos from being manipulated or used in any way without your permission, is to configure the photo-specific privacy settings on whatever site you’re uploading to. In addition, sites like Flickr allow users to attach copyright licenses to their photos using a non-profit service called Creative Commons.
Taking precautionary steps like these are a great way to stop people from performing the basic “Right Mouse Click –> Save Picture As” function to save your/your child’s photos to their hard drive. But there’s a trick around this—the screenshot. If you already know how to take a screenshot on your computer, then you know what I mean. All you have to do is press one button (Prt Scr), paste the image into any basic photo editing program (like Paint), and voila!
Parents, if you upload photos of your kids online, I highly recommend that you invest in a watermarking service/software. Take the time to check it out. I’m just getting started with my family photos, so I welcome any feedback or other ideas for solution providers.