Imagine this: You wake up in the morning and do your daily morning Instagram scroll. You see pictures of your friends with their kids, your cousin’s trip to Paris, and your very own photograph on someone else’s account?! As a photographer, I love when my clients share my pictures with their friends and family because it means that I captured a moment that means a lot to them. However, it’s not cool to have someone use your professional pictures as their own without your consent and without any attribution! There are so many ways to protect your pictures from photo thieves, but here are a just a few my favorites:
Watermarks are the easiest way to protect your photos because it doesn’t allow others to share the photo without your name on it. However, not all photographers like watermarks because of the way that they look, but you can make them cute by incorporating your logo! If you don't like using watermarks, no worries... there are other ways to protect your images below. (I don't use watermarks personally in my photo biz because I don't like the look of them on images when shared on social media.)
2. Let them know about your copyright
SHARE your photos with your clients and vendors as soon as possible and BEFORE you post any images so that you can be the first to tell them how to post and that photo credit is needed if they use any of your images. Also, once you post on Insta, put in the caption that you have a copyright on the photo, and tag all the vendors involved. This tells your followers that you won’t allow them to copy your photos without required attribution. Its also super helpful to get other to retag vendors and give them the credit they deserve.
3. Include Your Photography Business copyright Info In The Picture's Metadata
When you FIRST import your photos into Lightroom or Photoshop, you can add a copyright to the raw photos. Make sure you do this each and every time. This will show up at printing companies like Walmart, Costco, Walgreens, etc, and your clients won't be allowed to print without your consent or a print release form. As far as social media goes, unfortunately the metadata is lost if someone either screenshots or reposts. So use another method to protect your images on social media.
4. Right Click Fix
If you have a website or blog that you post your pictures to you can make it so people can’t right click on your photos and can’t save them. This is the perfect way to share your beautiful pictures, but protect them at the same time!
5. Don't Post High Resolution Photos
It’s easy to post that perfect Insta pic with all the details defined, but this also makes it easier for people to screenshot them and take them as their own. If you post a photo with less resolution, people may not repost because its too pixelated on their end.
Hope that helps! Now go implement one or two of these steps to your photo business and you'll be more protected in no time!