5 ways to protect your images from unauthorized use


Theft of photos, the unauthorised and uncredited use of someone else's pictures, is an unfortunate and very frustrating occurrence for photographers. While you may not be able to prevent it entirely, there are some precautions you can take to help avoid it.

protect your images

1.Watermark all of your publicly posted images. Photographers don't generally like to use them, because they feel it detracts from the photo, but watermarks can help reduce the likelihood of having your photo used without your permission. We advise applying a watermark to a section of your picture which would likely make it difficult to crop out without ruining the integrity of the image. And of course, this post will help you to create watermark in Lightroom: https://www.beart-presets.com/blog/add-watermark-in-lightroom

2. Only upload lower resolution files. Using high resolution makes images more prone to theft. An increasing number of photo storage and sharing websites are straying from allowing photographers to upload higher res images. That helps protect against image theft.

3. Share your images exclusively on your website and disable the right-click feature so that would-be thieves aren't able to copy your images. If you insist on uploading your pictures to photo sharing websites, check out if you can disable the right-click option. Flickr is one that allows you to do that.

4. We suggest posting a disclaimer on your website as well as disabling the right-click feature. Some internet users don't realize that using someone else's work without attribution (or without requesting permission) isn't an acceptable practice and can amount to photo theft. You will need to be clear in your disclaimer what your rules are for using your work. Is anyone allowed to use your work so long as they give you credit for taking the image? Do they need to notify you as well? Is ANY unauthorized use of your images forbidden? Be clear on your expectations and provide a method of contact if someone would like to request permission to use them. If someone does use an image in a way which violates your disclaimer, reach out to them! Politely point out that they have violated your rules for the use of your pictures and ask them to a minimum to give you credit. Not everyone will respond, but most people are willing to give credit where credit is due. If your photo was posted by someone else on a credible and public website, such as Google or Flikr, contact that website and plead your case. 

5. You can decide if you'd like to trademark your photos. It's less common with everyday professional photographers, but it's possible. 

To learn more about how to trademark your photographic images  in the United States: https://thelawtog.com/trademark-law-for-photographers/

In the European Union: https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/start-grow/intellectual-property-rights/index_en.htm