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Make your mark and protect your IP with Dropbox digital watermarks

Take credit for your hard work. Watermarks are a powerful tool to help professional photographers safely share their images and also build their brand.

A preview of a portrait being digitally watermarked in Dropbox

Photography is an art, it's a passion, and for many, it's a way to make a living. Whether shooting weddings or wildlife, your work as a photographer is an extension of yourself. And clients choose you for your aesthetic and your creativity.

Of course, it takes more than just a great eye to be a successful photographer—you also have to market yourself and your work. The emergence of social media and platforms like Etsy make it easier to find an audience. But there's a caveat to so much connectivity: The more people can access your work, the higher the chance someone might steal it. In some cases, intellectual property theft is as simple as clicking on a photo and selecting "save as.”

Policing every online sharing platform for cases of copyright infringement is a no-go. There are too many posts for anyone to monitor and sort through. But there's a simple and highly effective way to maintain ownership over your art: Use a watermark. Everyone from stock imagery websites to ebook publishers deploys this simple tool to protect their IP. Watermarks help prevent unauthorized use of your photos, and they're a great branding tool, too. Here are the top three reasons to watermark to all your creative work.

1. A watermark prevents your work from being reused or altered without your permission.

It's not uncommon to see a post on social media where someone takes credit for a photo they didn't shoot. Because the internet provides a certain degree of anonymity, this unscrupulous behavior typically goes unpunished. Often, the only person with anything to lose is you, the original photographer.

A properly placed watermark makes it nearly impossible for someone to steal your photos. Use a transparent mark and put it over a busy part of the image, so it's harder to Photoshop your info out. And be sure to place your watermark away from the edge, where it'd be easy for someone to crop out.

2. Watermarking is a simple and powerful way to build your brand.

Posting on social media and online forums has ups and downs. There's always a chance someone might take credit for your work. But, it's also a fast and inexpensive way to build your brand. If people like and share your photos, it quickly increases your exposure to new audiences and potential clients.

Putting your logo and contact info on an image is a great way to get new business from a popular post. But you don't want it to overshadow or obfuscate your photo. Instead, opt for a small watermark that's easy to spot but not overpowering. And place it in a less prominent spot—like over the background.

3. Add a watermark to ensure you get paid.

Often, photographers have to finish a job before getting paid in full. A signed contract goes a long way in holding both parties accountable, but there's still a risk you might get stiffed. Understandably, a client will want to preview the final product. But it leaves you at risk—what if they decide they don't want to pay?

Once again, a watermark is a quick, easy way to protect yourself. Don't be afraid to cover the entire photo with a repeating image which is nearly impossible to Photoshop out. It’s standard to use a logo or even words like “preview” or“sample.” If the watermark is translucent, your client can easily see the image underneath. But, it'll be unusable for business or personal purposes until the watermark gets removed. When the client is happy and has paid in full, you can deliver the unwatermarked versions of their photos. 

Ready to watermark your work? Let Dropbox do it for you.

Traditionally, a watermark is applied to wet paper and is only visible when held up to the light. Of course, that won't help modern-day digital photographers—but Dropbox has a tool that can. 

Many professional photographers already use Dropbox to store, organize, and catalog their work. But there's more: You can add a custom watermark to any image right from Dropbox. Our digital watermarking tool can layer your logo or text over a photo in just a few clicks. Then you choose the size, transparency, position, and location of the watermark. It’s simple—and our digital watermarks are as easy to remove as they are to apply. That way, you won't have to jump through any extra hoops when it's time to deliver the final product.

Get credit for all your hard work and passion

Learn to watermark photos in Dropbox