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Protecting Your Photos Online!

Posted by on August 19, 2012

Each week I’ve been showcasing a different photography topic.  This week I thought I’d change it up and bring up a growing concern with the profound affect of the internet.

The importance of protecting your photos online!

Throughout my day I read roughly 20 to 30 blogs a day.  I don’t always comment, but often I get great ideas from what I read.  Do I take these ideas verbatim?  No, I make sure I write them down in my blogging notebook, but I also make sure to give them a spin of my own. I will never take an idea and use that idea straight from the other person, it’s not my style, and because copyright’s are so huge right now, it’s not worth it.

The past few weeks a few articles have come out about the use of photos, especially in the relation to blogging, and I thought I’d write about a few topics:

1) Use of Google Images

For many of us, our first go to search engine is “google.”  And often we look up images.  However, just because those images are on google does not mean you have the right to utilize them.  Someone out there took the photo, someone deserves the credit, and every person that has taken a photo deserves the credit.

We can’t just take the photo off of “google images” and credit the website (in the past, I’ve made the mistake to do this a few times!) The truth is, we must know the person behind the photo, and gain permission from them.  Some sites may have gotten the photo directly from Getty Images or other Stock Photography places where they paid for use of that photo, or it could have actually been the site’s photographer themselves.

2) Stock Photography

If you’re in need of photos related to a blogging article or topic, a good place to look into is “stock photography.”  Stock photography offers a wide range of photos for purchase and you are given the license to utilize these photos for a specific purpose.  In other words, when you purchase these images, you are protected from any copyright issues that may come up.

3) Flickr

Images found off of Flickr are copyrighted by the photographer’s showcasing their photo’s.  However, through flickr, it is very easy to have the ability to email the photographer and ask about utilizing such photo and beginning the communication with the artist if you find a photo you truly like.  Also, flickr has recently connected with Getty Images, and photographer’s on flickr have the ability to accept invites via getty images for licensing purposes.  Flickr has done a great job of protecting the photographer.  There is not even a way to save images off of flickr to your own personal computer.

4) Instagram

How many of us have instagram now?  How many of us connect our photos via facebook and twitter and other social media platforms?  I love instagram, and I just got connected to it this past weekend, and I’m already obsessed.  Now that I’m sitting down to write this article I’m thinking about how does instagram protect our photos online?

The nice thing about instagram is that you see other’s photo’s, and the program is only visable via your phones. However, there are also other programs in which you can utilize instagram via your computer (webstagram)  Webstagram has the ability to showcase your entire instagram via your computer, and with webstagram that means you can even SHARE other people’s photos.  Webstagram does credit the photo to the original instagram username, but still scary that it’s that easy to share other people’s photos.  This is exactly why we should be watermarking our photos. The issue on the photo sharing comes when we share our photos via facebook and twitter.  What is protecting our photos then?  And that is the scary part.  Did you know that if you share something on twitter or facebook, the rights to your photos are handed over to them?

If you’re not comfortable with that idea, think about what you’re putting out there, and ask yourself, what other means do I have in protecting my photos?  I will be sharing some other ideas later.

Just tonight I learned there are a few watermark apps available for both iphone and android phones.  You could always watermark your cell phone pics before adding them to instagram 😉 iwatermark is a great app available for both iphone and android phones.

So how do I as a blogger, someone that utilizes instagram, facebook and twitter protect my photos online?

a) Watermark, Watermark, Watermark

I’ve learned the hard way with this one.  But you have to watermark your photos.  Think about this.  Each day you write blog posts for your blog, each day you put a few of your photos on your blog, and each day you receive how many people reading your blog?  With a lot of the blogger programs, people can just right click your photo, and boom, it’s saved to their computer.  Pretty scary, right?

By watermarking your photos, it’s keeping your photo’s protected.  If someone takes your photo without asking, the watermark is on that photo as it goes with it.

A few watermark sites are:

1) Visual Watermark

The licensing fee for this downloadable program is 20 dollars (pretty reasonable) and once you have it it never expires

2)  (this was recommended by Maribel from Stroller Adventures)

b)  Sharing on Facebook and Twitter 

The key to sharing on facebook and twitter is to also watermark.  If you’re ever asked to cover an event, and you showcase your photos, put the watermark up.  The people at the event, if they love the photos, will want to know more about the person behind the photos.  And your watermark tells your name or your business.  They will look you up.  PS: your blog is your business

People are liking and sharing photo’s constantly on facebook, don’t you want to be known for the photos you take?  Since facebook and twitter are taking the rights to your photos if you share them on their sites, the least we can do is protect our photo’s by watermarking.

c) Instagram

If you take a photo on instagram that you truly love, keep it on instagram, but don’t share it on facebook or twitter until you get home.  Most cell phones can connect to computers, and you can take that photo and watermark it when you get home and then showcase it on facebook or twitter.

Or, make sure you have iwatermark app added to your phone.  Take all cell phone pics with your regular cell phone camera, add the watermark then put the photos on instagram.  It’ll save you a set by plugging the phone into the computer, and save you the worry about where your photos may end up.

As I just learned tonight, webstagram has the ability to connect your instagram to your computer, and not only does it showcase your own photos, it showcases the ability of everyone you follow, and even gives you the option of sharing their photos (ouch!)  EXACTLY why we need to watermark our instagram photos!

If you don’t care, then go ahead, and share it, but if it’s a photo you love and want protected, this is the way of doing that.  (watermark!)

d) Pinterest

This one gets my blood boiling! I love pinterest, and I have spent many hours on there, but you may have noticed, as of late, I haven’t been on there much.  One is because I’m concerned about the copyright issues happening on that site, and 2) It’s hard to maintain all social media platforms.

For those that utilize pinterest, can you do these few things for me?

If you pin a photo of a recipe off a blog you really love, in the description, credit back to the site where the recipe was shared.  And 2) Watermark your photos so if your blogs do get pinned your photos are protected, even if the website credit gets lost down the road.


I know this has been a pretty long article, but the last thing I want to leave you with are these common courtesy tips when it comes to working with other bloggers:

1) If you ever go to an event with another blogger, and you forgot your camera it is okay to send an email to another blogger that was there to ask for photos.  HOWEVER: be prepared that they may so no.  And 2) if they give you permission to utilize their photos, and they send them to you, make sure to always CREDIT them.  They were the ones that took the photos, they deserve the credit.  They will recognize the credit, trust me on this!

2) If another blogger ever emails you a photo they took of you at said event, please make sure to always credit them.

3) If you happen to be that blogger that emailed the photo’s over, watermark your photos.  That way, if the blogger you’re working with forgets to credit you, you are still protected.  And it’s perfectly okay to exchange emails after it’s been posted, and say, “hey, I’d like credit.”

4) If you ever have a GUEST Blogger on your blog, and they give you photos.  Always ask them if they took the photo’s.  If they did not, this is where you have to do your homework.  Remember, this is your site, so if any issues arise, you are the one that has to do the answering.  It may come down to you not being able to utilize such photos on your site.  However, if they took the photos, make sure to credit them.

5) And the last one.  If you have a group of bloggers in a photo, or if you took photo’s of a few other bloggers, and there is a shot you’d love to utilize on your blog, always, always ask the other bloggers if it’s okay to showcase the photo on your blog.  Some people don’t like their picture being taken, or may not be comfortable having their photo elsewhere, etc.

Yes, for the most part, we, as bloggers, are use to having our photo’s taken, but it’s still common courtesy to ask beforehand!  There are a lot of rules out there in relation to utilizing photos of other people.

In the end, just make sure to read up on the importance of copy right issues, and the use of photo’s in press publications, etc.

Disclosure: This post was written on my own accord, and with things I have seen happen on the interweb.  I will be the first to admit I do not know about all the copy right issues, but STRESS the importance of protecting your photos online. It is still your responsibility to read up on copy right issues in relation to photo usages and blogging etiquette.





49 Responses to Protecting Your Photos Online!

  1. The Mom Jen

    I need to get an app for watermarking my Instagram photos for sure. I took one at a Demi Lovato event and then I saw it posted on someone else’s instagram as their own, I was mad!
    The Mom Jen recently posted..Photography: Tip of Manhattan Island

    • Jamie

      Oh wow. Exactly why it’s so important to watermark. It’s one thing if they were to give you credit for it, but if they take it and it appears as if it’s their own… Ouch!

    • Jamie

      Definitely look up iwatermark! I’m pretty happy with it so far

  2. TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs

    Wow, that was totally eye-opening. The one I really took heed of was the one about posting instagram pics when you come home – I always post to FB and twitter at the same time as Instagram! Thanks!
    TerriAnn @ Cookies & Clogs recently posted..Yappy Hour at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay – 8/30, 9/28, 10/26 Only! #sfbay

    • Jamie

      Well, once I found out about the cell phone watermark app, I realized it’s pretty easy to take the photo, watermark then post to instagram =)

      but definitely some things to think about!

  3. isis

    Great info here! I used to just get images from Google Images and just found out a couple of weeks ago that I’m not supposed to because those might be copyrighted! Ack! So now I have to go back through all of my posts and check which ones need attribution or which ones need to be taken down. That’ll take up so much of my time though. 🙁
    isis recently posted..Enter To Win A Pair of Christian Louboutins!

    • Jamie

      I also need to go back because some of my very first posts included some images off of there.

      but really, if we take information or photos of anything that aren’t ours, it is technically copyrighted.

      the internet just makes things far too easy.

    • Jamie

      Yes, it’s pretty eye opening, and many of us have made that mistake in the beginning. Even I had some posts like this in the beginning days that I need to go back to.

  4. Ellen Christian

    Definitely some great suggestions and something I really need to start thinking about.
    Ellen Christian recently posted..Oraline Toothbrush Sanitizer is easy to use!

  5. Alma

    Really enjoyed your post. I won’t forget Watermark!

  6. Debi@ The Spring Mount 6 Pack

    I am so bad at remembering to watermarking my photos
    Debi@ The Spring Mount 6 Pack recently posted..Oasap Fashion- Updating my wardrobe

    • Jamie

      I’m good sometimes, and then I forget. It is a process to actually do, but in the end, I truly believe it’s worth it.

  7. Michelle

    This is such great information and very timely for myself as I have been trying to take and use more photographs.
    Michelle recently posted..Motivational Monday Inspirational Quote About Time Management + What is Your Main Goal for the Week?

    • Jamie

      It’s a good reminder for us on how to protect our photos, it makes me even think about blog posts, and how to make those protected, if possible too.

  8. Danielle

    Great tips and very helpful advice. I am definitely in search of a great watermark now. Currently I simply use picasa and type in my URL.
    Danielle recently posted..Creating a Healthy Lunch with Rubbermaid LunchBlox

  9. Holly (Woman Tribune)

    These are really great tips. I need to start watermarking my photos, especially when I see the horror stories of people stealing other people’s images and using them as their own, and every time this topic comes up, it really hits home again.
    Holly (Woman Tribune) recently posted..Tips for Adding a Hint of Flavor to an Otherwise Traditional Wedding

    • Jamie

      Yes, by writing this, I’ve been hearing stories, and it’s a good reminder of how important it is to protect our work.

  10. Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey

    Great post, Jamie! I do personalize all of my photos with my name & URL, but I should look into watermark as well.
    Bibi @ Bibi’s Culinary Journey recently posted..Apricot & Lavender Pizza

  11. Alexis Grace

    This is great advice… I need to go back through my photos and make some adjustments accordingly!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..The Chicago Air And Water Show

  12. Martha Giffen

    That is the most informative post I have read in a long time! The information you have shared will come in so handy! This is a post EVERY blogger needs to read. I learned SO much! Thanks!
    Martha Giffen recently posted..5 Fatal Social Media Mistakes

    • Jamie

      Martha, that is such a huge compliment coming from you! Thank you so much, and throughout the day I’ve been taught even more information through the comments! It’s a very relevant topic.

  13. Olga Hermans

    I am with Martha, you gave us a lot information. I am going to check out Instragram more, I have ever seem to like it. Thanks!!

  14. Alexandra McAllister

    Great informative post, Jamie. I am learning about what to do and what not to do and your article certainly has helped. I must go through my own photos and make some adjustments. Thank you!
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted..Drinking JavaFit Coffee Is Good For You

  15. Lyn Tuckwell

    Great article but you don’t mention Creative Commons images which are free to use as long as you credit the artist/photographer and in most cases link back to their website.

    This is an area of great interest to me as I have just started an off-shoot business (currently in Beta) Safe 2 Pin.

    I read an article only last week stating that only 5% of “Piners” are even aware of, or are concerned about copyright violations.

    A few months ago I took down my boards and began using only Creative Commons images, my own images and those images where I know the Copyright owner and can ask permission. (a full explanation is on my website.)

    Where your own images are concerned on the web, if you have access to either Adobe Lightroom or Bridge you can actually embed your copyright and contact information into the digital image.

    When posting to the web use only low resolution images. 72dpi is sufficient for almost all web applications but is far short of what is needed for serious print resolution.
    Lyn Tuckwell recently posted..Fun with fonts and typefaces.

    • Jamie

      You just taught me something new. I have never heard of Creative Common Images before. There’s a wealth of information, and thank you for your thorough knowledge and resources you provided!

    • Jamie

      Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions I sent you after your comment reply. I appreciate it. I actually didn’t know about Creative Commons, and my question I have is when you look through photos how you find the name as to where to credit them, etc.

  16. Sharon O'Day

    Jamie, the concept of Pinterest threw up flags the moment I heard of it. And I’m amazed at how many people are pulling images from the net and thinking it’s okay! I purchase all of mine from or I prepay for credits, and pull images as I write my posts. They might cost me $1.50-2.00 each … and that’s a heck of a lot cheaper than having Getty’s attorneys contacting you with a cease-and-desist order and a $4,000 invoice … as I had one person report to me. What a great service you’ve provided with this article!
    Sharon O’Day recently posted..Anatomy of the New Entrepreneur

    • Jamie

      Just by writing this I have been told stories, and it’s a huge issue out there. Of course, I’d still love to see some of your photos out there too ;0

  17. Mandy Edwards

    This was full of awesome information! With everything so visually based, it’s important to keep all of this in mind!
    Mandy Edwards recently posted..How To Run a Contest on Pinterest

  18. Alex @ Before The Baby Wakes

    Great information! About a year ago I received a very angry & threatening email from a photographer for a picture of theirs that I had used during my earlier blogging years. Than I had no idea about permissions etc so I used it & linked to the Flickr page where I found it. But now I try not to use any pictures that aren’t my own & if I do I always hunt down the source to credit back.
    Alex @ Before The Baby Wakes recently posted..What not to pack in your hospital bag.

    • Jamie

      I had no idea about all these issues that can come up just with blogging, there is so much information to learn. Hm, that’d be a good topic post, “Things I would have told my younger blogger self.”

  19. karen Presecan

    So so relevant!!

  20. Anita

    So important now given the increase in popularity in Pinterest. I buy my photo stock 🙂
    Anita recently posted..Women’s Business Leadership and The Wealthy Mindset

  21. Marie Leslie

    Such good and important points. Clearly, we were on the same wavelength this week since I wrote about copyright. These two posts go together so well. It’s important not only to protect our own photos, but also to make sure that we are respectful of the property (photos) of others as well.
    Marie Leslie recently posted..Eight Things You Need to Know about Copyright

    • Jamie

      Yep. Protecting your own work, but also being considerate of others. Huge Respect to others.

  22. Solvita

    I pay for the photos,unless I take my own…. and it is great to know about watermarking! Great points as always. Thank you for sharing such an important content with others. 🙂
    Solvita recently posted..How Do I Find Inner Peace When Working With PROBLEMS

    • Jamie

      Thank you Solvita! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I taught you the importance of watermarking.

  23. Helena

    This is really great information Jamie! I usually just use photoshop to add my url to any of my own photos I post. Other than that I buy from stock sites and even then give a credit. I wouldn’t want my photos used without credit, so always try to make sure I give credit back.
    Helena recently posted..Say goodbye to Helena Ritchie

  24. Susan Preston

    Thanks, Jamie for sharing such important info. I bookmarked this and will be sharing it on my social networks.
    Susan Preston recently posted..Your Thoughts Become Things

    • Jamie

      Thanks Susan! I’d been wanting to talk about this for quite some time, and the response has been so positive with it!

  25. Lisa D.B. Taylor

    I keep meaning to go back and make a thorough study of all you photo info/tips posts. As soon as my crazy schedule allows! Great information, as always 🙂
    Lisa D.B. Taylor recently posted..Summer Nights

  26. Susan Critelli (@momzilla54)

    Great article, and worthy of a bookmark! This ought to be tattooed (watermarked?) on everyone’s hand.
    Susan Critelli (@momzilla54) recently posted..10 Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business

  27. Maria Stefanopoulos

    Great post indeed, I am not good in remembering things, but I will make sure to watermark my photos before using it. Good reminder, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Maria Stefanopoulos recently posted..Unplugging While on Vacation

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