The For Photographer’s Series:
Part 1: Top 5 FREE Instagram Tools
Part 2: How to Balance “All the Things”
Part 3: Busy is Not a Badge of Honor
Part 4: 3 Steps to a Better Mindset
Part 4: Why I Don’t Watermark My Photos
While building my business, I would see photographers all over social media, sharing photos with either a huge opaque watermark over their image, or it being a distraction in the corner/middle of a photo. After doing research on whether I should or should not watermark my photos, I believe that to give the most beneficial client experience, I should not watermark my photos. **DISCLAIMER** This is not to say that people that do watermark their photos give a bad client experience, not at all!! For my brand, my ideals, and preferences, watermarking takes away from what really matters within the image. Here are my top 3 reasons why I don’t watermark my photos (not even in a client’s online proofing gallery).
1. I want to give my customers a personal experience they feel they can share anywhere.
I can remember when my friends got their senior portraits done in high school. They’d show me their online proofs during our free period and we would “oooh” and “aaah” over the ones we liked and loved. However, I also specifically remember that the photographer watermarked their logo over every image, so when she wanted to share one of her favorites on social media, it was obstructed by this giant imprint of the photographer’s logo. Trust me, I get why they did that. It adds credibility and gives the photographer photo-cred without someone having to say “pc?: @andreacablephotography”. However, it also prevents those clients from sharing their photos — something you DON’T WANT at all. The amazing thing about this technological age is that you can share anything, anytime. Essentially, I think about what I would want if I were in the client’s shoes, and a huge watermark over my photos isn’t it.
2. It encourages word of mouth referrals
If people really want to know who took their Facebook friend’s photos, they will ask them. I’ve gotten more referrals from word-of-mouth and friends asking friends rather than someone seeing my logo plastered on the background of a photo. It is literally statistically proven that word-of-mouth referrals are the #1 source of receiving business for photographers. Yes, watermarks “help” your photos from not getting stolen on the internet, but this day and age you can reverse image search, embed metadata into the photo, and find/stop copyright issues almost immediately.
3. It looks more professional
Trust me, when I first started I watermarked EVERYTHING. Even my phone camera photos…(*face palm*). I thought to myself, “If I put a professional logo on everything, people will look at my work as more professional”. However, when looking at photographer’s I really admired and sites I wanted to get published on, I noticed there wasn’t a watermark in any of their photos. So what was I missing? When wanting to get published, having watermarks across your photos decreases your chances of having your photos seen by thousands of people. Why? Because watermarks create a distraction and remove the actual emotion and feeling out of the photo. In fact, most publication sites don’t even let you submit your work if there are watermarks on them.
** BONUS ** Receiving Photo Credit
In the case where my client posts a photo and doesn’t give me photo credit or tags me in the caption, I always comment on the photo with something like, “Such a great one! Definitely one of my favorites from your engagement session. Can’t wait to photograph you and _______’s wedding in July!”. This gives everyone reading the comments knowledge that I took the photos, encourages them to check out my page, and lets the client know that yes, I really do follow along and love seeing photos they post of our time spent together – because I genuinely do!! Following past clients of mine is awesome, because we get to keep in touch even if it’s just through simple Instagram comments. A simple comment or “LIKE” can go a long way.