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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tools for Protecting Your Photos and Graphic Images

by Cynthia Light Brown 

We've written in this blog before about being careful to always get permission before using a photo or other image. But writers--and especially illustrators--also need to understand whether and how to protect our own photos and images.

You may want to protect or track your images, or you may not. If you have a personal photo and are fine with it being in the public domain, then don't worry. But even if you just want credit, take some precautions before you upload an image onto a blog or website.
There are two main types of protection: visual and digital. 

In visual protection, you can put a watermark on your image that gives visual information - like your name and website. An ideal place for a watermark is near a face, but not covering it. Adobe Photoshop and other image manipulating software can do that for you, or you can simply add a label. 

Free sites that allow you to add a label or watermark:

http://picasa.com (you add the watermark when you export the photo)

You can also add either using PowerPoint or Word. In Word, you insert a text box, then format it how you like. To make the words a watermark, just use a light gray color. There's even a true watermark function in there for images. 

In digital protection, you add a digital tag that lets you track where the image is on the internet. Stipple is a free site that allows you to tag your photos, but you have to put the tagging on your website or blog. The closest thing to instructions I could find are under the "Support" link.


Stipple also allows you to reverse search. You move a photo onto the website, and it searches for other places on the web that have the photo. Google search also does the same thing, as does Tin Eye:

If you are really serious about protecting your images -- if you are a professional photographer or artist, you might consider sites that you pay for more robust digital tagging as well:


Happy Photographing!

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