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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Watermarking made Easy!

It shocked me to learn that many shops don't know what watermarking is, or how to do it!

Today I would like to share a few thoughts about this process and some easy, inexpensive ways that you can protect your images!

First, what is watermarking? Officially a watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper or print that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light. This "watermark" term is more commonly used to describe a layered image on top of a photograph or digital file that claims the copyright rights to that image OR product.

I use a watermark on my digital files to claim ownership of that image, so other photographers can not take the credit for it. Nor can it be sold by anyone else under copyright law. (I will explain copyright on a different day, but basically without my permission even the young lady in this image wouldn't be able to print it out, say at Walmart... because Walmart doesn't have my permission to SELL the image)

Why should you protect your images online: Shop owners, and bloggers have taken to watermarking their images so as images are shared digitally, pinned and tagged etc it's
1. Protecting another person from saying it's their item or creation (like another shop or blogger using that image to promote themselves, or their shop.)
2. People have a name, or something to search if they want to purchase or find out more about the product or image. Say if you found something on Pinterest but the link was broken. If the bloggers web address is used as a watermark you can easily contact them about it.
3. Advertising. It gets your business name, or information in front of other people.

NOTE: You should know that just because this is the standard and well practiced option, it does NOT prevent less then honest people from stealing your ideas, or images if they really want them.

How can you do it? Almost any core editing program has a layer function these days, you can pick up a old copy of Photoshop Elements (some as low as $10) and that works AWESOME. Because each version lets you not only work in layer but create a png image file where you can remove the background. (so you don't have a big square over your image) Most allow you to simply drag and drop the watermark over to where you want it, adjust size, and opacity (how see through it is)

Placement: Ideally, the watermark should be on the image, but not over the product itself. You still need people to see what your selling after all! What good is a product image if you cant SEE the product or quality of it!

Now... I perfer to do my watermarking in batches over one at a time. WHY do people do it one at a time? I think because most of those "core" programs don't allow for "batch" processing. SILLY programs! Who has time to do 100 images one by one... well maybe shop owners and bloggers don't do 100 images (or more.. my last shoot was 400+ of like 20 products!)  at a time. Fair enough.

But.... if you want consistency, and SIMPLICITY. Batch process is totally the way to go. You can pretty much set it and forget about it - unless your like me and offer it as a service. I find myself doing client images with their shop watermarks, or for other bloggers all the time so I am constantly changing my settings to their preferences and watermark images.

In past Photoshop Elements (which is a consumer grade program, it cost less then Pro-programs, so I suggest it often) You only had the option to do text, but you can control the color, font, placement and opacity still.

You simply select the folder you want to "batch process" and where you want it saved to... select any other settings such as image size changes, file name changes and your watermark (or label as its referred to in some). Hit run and BAM your computer does the rest.

Now.. ready for this... I have the TIP of the WEEK! For some it might even be the tip of the year considering how much your going to love it!

I found you a FREE software you can use to batch process your files
Yep- cus I rock like that!

You can download and read more about the program here: http://www.watermark-image.com/

It works really the same way I explained above... only it gives you a few other options... like a 3D effect... which looks really snazzy!
Product provided by: Melli's Yarn Works

Product provided by: Melli's Yarn Works

I really liked testing this software out. I even suggested it to a few clients and wrote out directions - so if anyone needs them I can post them for you. But overall it was fairly simple to navigate. I think the biggest thing was having the right image for the watermark to start with.

So if anyone needs your logo turned into a watermark - ask me! This month I will be happy to do it for free for you!

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