To watermark or not to watermark?


May 6, 2015 by 250 Beers

I try not to let things shit me off. I’m generally an easy-going kinda guy. Those that know me will (hopefully) agree. Yeah, sure, I’m a pompous Londoner sometimes but it takes a lot to really rile me.

A flurry of something persistent occurred recently and the annoying irk finally tipped me over the edge.

You see, I take a lot of beer related photographs – mainly on my iPhone and iPad. Many get uploaded to my Instagram and Facebook feeds – especially when the subjects of the photos are beers that are new to me and my continuing beer tally.

I should state at this point that I will never proclaim to be a photographer – more so a beer drinker that simply likes to take snaps of his beers.

Over the past year or so, I’ve stumbled upon at least a dozen of my images being used to promote certain things such as events and tastings – even bars and breweries have been at it. That’s 12 times that I’m aware of. Heaven knows how many other instances there are where I’ve been ‘exploited’.

I feel dirty, used.

At first, I thought it was a bit of a novelty when I saw a photo of mine elsewhere but then I started to realise that in most cases my photos (which, again, are just a hobby for me) were being used by bars and breweries to generate business for themselves – bringing in the coin on the back of my goodwill.

I’m reluctant to name and shame but we’re talking sizeable organisations from all over the country here.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Grow up mate. Get a life!” or, in traditional Aussie fashion, “Pull your head in mate, you Pommy prick!” Well, put yourself in my shoes. I’m sure you’d feel the same way especially if a business was pulling in cash from your unpaid efforts.

Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have flown off the handle if the images received a little credit here and there – a wee mention in the small print somewhere. I don’t want any monetary gain.

A burst of three occasions in the space of two days knee-jerked me into action just a few weeks ago…I decided that I needed a lawyer.

Not really. That’s ridiculous.

250 beers watermark 3I decided to employ the use of a watermark on my photos. It’s something that many photographers do to retain their dignity and prevent others from using their gear. Whilst I’ll never deem myself a photographer – far from it – it seemed like an achievable way to go as I lack any knowledge in copyright or property law or experience in breaching ones personal rights.

250 beers watermark 1The decision to introduce a watermark – which is just a transparent version of my logo – wasn’t one that I took lightly. I pondered over it for a while. What if looked a bit wanky? In the end I knew that something had to be done so I ran with it.

250 beers watermark 2A few people have commented positively about it online and on Instagram. I’ve even had a few ask how they can go about following suit. I don’t want the watermark to be intrusive on my amateur photography – I just want people to respect what is owned by me. At least now if a business decides to use a photo without my permission, a little hat tip to 250 Beers will be unavoidable.



12 thoughts on “To watermark or not to watermark?

  1. Lee says:

    They are actually good photos of beers that probably aren’t photographed often. You should definitely be cheesed off! And the watermark is a great idea. Looks classy but rightly gives attribution for your work.

    I’d be contacting the offenders and asking that they at least provide a footnote back to for free use of the photograph. You own it. You can licence it for profit, or for a return link back to your site. Nobody should work for free!

  2. Beardface151 says:

    Reblogged this on The Fermented Follicle and commented:
    Me too @250

  3. Liam says:

    Get yourself some protection for your IP:

  4. Liam says:

    Also to be more cynical, insert something about snarky about the brotherhood of craft beer.

  5. This is why I take shit photos. No one wants to steal them then!

  6. Adam says:

    I’ve had a few of my beer photos shared on Instagram and the brewers/breweries have always asked permission before using my photo. As someone with a lot of professional photographer friends I’ve seen a lot of their work used without permission and the court cases involved in seeking compensation cost a lot of time and money.

    I’d politely ask that the people using your work without permission credit you (probably too late now to generate any traffic to your feed/blog) and provide some liquid compensation at the very least

  7. Ben says:

    I’d be more tempted to move the watermarks to the centre of the image and maybe just make them a little more transparent…enough to not detract from the image but enough to stop anyone trying to crop the watermark off the edge.

  8. That’s one of the reasons i gave up pro-photography many years ago! Some would rather use the low res watermarked images, then pay for a top quality image. Many a times I’ve spent days photographing race meets with $10 000+ worth photo equipment, where teams would easily drop $200 000+ into their race cars, yet quite happy to rip a shithouse watermarked image from my site then to pay for image rights.

    A few of my Instagram and Facebook photos get used for various beery things too, and yes it would be nice to get the photo cred in some way…..or credit for ideas. Try not to stress too much about it……I’m going to have another beer!

  9. Alan Magin says:

    This is called plagiarism old chap. I often see it happen with my hobby. People just assume they can use other people’s work, photo’s or write-ups!
    Funny enough I told a guy only yesterday, that someone had used material from his website, exposing someone else’s email address! He took it as a compliment, I got wound up about it!!

    Good comment about the watermark being in centre of photo, or perhaps somewhere it is not cropable!

    Dad. x

    Sent from my iPad


  10. For those that have used your photo already, at least ask them to attribute it to your blog, with a link – at least that might help build your traffic.

  11. shanef says:

    It’s well worth protecting what is yours. Specially if no recognition is offered when using your images.

  12. […] 250 Beers | To watermark or not to watermark? […]

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