You’ve worked so hard!
Taking great photos for a professional photographer is no walk in the park (although it may involve a walk in the park). You have to invest in a good camera and use a lot of time in getting the angles and lighting right for that perfect shot. You then have to go through hundreds of frames to pick out the best ones and sometimes to do some touch ups to complete the shot.
Therefore, I would be pretty mad if after all that work; someone just downloads my photos and uses them for another purpose without my permission (and pay!). Not to fear though, there are various means of protecting your intellectual property online. There are photo protections services offered on sites like http://phtosafe.com/ along with other simple things you can do on your computer.
Wait! Do you understand your rights?
Before we go on to give you tips, you should understand that someone taking your photographs is not just a bad thing to do. It is actually theft; it is illegal. However, if you haven’t indicated that on your work, then it is essentially a free for all.
You should state that you are reserving rights alongside the photos or you even place the copyright information on the actual photo. That way, wherever your images turn up, they will show as copyrighted and anyone using them without your permission is consciously breaking copyright law.
Keep them as small as possible
If it is bigger than a thumbnail, it is much too big. Most people are not interested in stealing a thumbnail no matter how beautiful it is. It has the added advantage of improving the performance of your website by cutting down on loading time. Just make sure not to use code to shrink the pictures because while it may be small it will still be pretty high in resolution. Use the image size function to make a smaller version of the photo.
This works in a similar way to copyrighting pictures. You place your watermark clearly on the photo; if it is a smaller picture, you can use a smaller watermark and a larger one for a large picture. Granted, with Photoshop, people can simply remove those small watermarks but if they are big enough, they may not be sufficiently motivated to spend all that time trying to get your watermark off. In this case, bigger is better.
Keep it all together
The best way to secure anything (including human beings) is to keep them all in one place. So, keep all your photos in one place, especially your high resolution photos. If you are posting them on your site, let them all be there, if it is on Facebook then they all go there. You can organize them into different folders but have them all in one place.
Limit your distribution
In addition to keeping them together, be clear on how to distribute your images, especially the high resolution pictures. If someone wants these photos, send them a link. That way, if any of those photos are used without your permission you can easily trace the source of the leak.
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