Last year I mentioned the importance of watermarking your images in passing but I wanted to reiterate it again especially with the growing popularity of Pinterest.
If you share photos on your blog you should be watermarking in some manner. Pinterest involves people sharing a photo and supposedly that photo should link back to your work. What if someone stole that work or tutorial and put it on their own site without giving you credit? All that hard work you put into creating the tutorial is now out the window and someone else is enjoying the spoils. You can make this difficult for them to do if you add a watermark to all the photos you post.
There are a couple of different types of watermarks: visual (you can see my visual watermark in Bernie’s photo) and digital. A digital copyright/watermark is contained in the EXIF data saved when you take a photo on your digital camera. If you have a regular point-and-shoot camera you probably don’t need to worry about that too much. If you have a DSLR and edit your photos in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom you might want to consider taking a look at your EXIF data to make sure your information is correct.
For visual watermarks there are a few free options out there:
Personally I use Photoshop or Lightroom to add mine in after I’ve edited my photos. If you aren’t that advanced you should use one of the free options at least.
Obviously if someone really wants to steal your photos they will but you can make it difficult for them. At least if anything from your website gets linked on Pinterest and it wasn’t linked correctly people will know the photo is yours. Google Images also pulls images from your site for their search and people can randomly pin that without it linking back to your blog or website.
There have been some recent dustups regarding Pinterest and copyright law. Photographers are leaving Pinterest because of their policies on the subject. I don’t mind people pinning my tutorials or any of my pages because, for the most part, my images are watermarked and I keep all my negatives (RAW format photos) to prove they are mine.
Heck I even watermark all the photos I take of my corgis. Reddit loves corgis and I never know where my photos will end up.