Should You Watermark Product Photos?

Whether you are posting products on Etsy, Instagram, or your own website, it’s essential to have clear, eye-catching photos of your products. You may have concerns about protecting your images from being stolen, or maybe you want to ensure that customers will be able to trace them back to you when shared on social media. So, should your photos be watermarked, or is there another way?

As a general rule, watermarks help to protect photos from plagiarism and are a quick way to establish branding. However, product photos usually aren’t watermarked because this can distract from the item being featured.

It makes sense to take as many steps as possible to protect the hard work you’ve put into creating product photos. However, watermarking may not always be the best solution. Keep reading to learn more about watermarks on product images, and what you can do instead.

Should You Watermark Your Product Photos?

Whether or not photos should be watermarked has become a controversial topic in the world of photography. While some see this as an essential way to protect images from being stolen, others see it as an unnecessary distraction.

In terms of product photography, you generally don’t need to add a watermark. While you make feel like your images are protected in that way, this can ultimately distract from the product being sold.

Ideally, your brand logo or business name should appear somewhere on your packaging. If you are photographing products in action or those that don’t feature labels, it’s a good idea to try incorporating your branding into the photo in some way.

On top of being a distraction, watermarks can hinder your marketing effort. If you sell on Etsy, this will make your products ineligible for onsite features and Etsy Find emails. Other advertising programs like Google Shopping also have restrictions on using watermarks.

When Should You Use A Watermark?

If you are concerned about your images being stolen or reused without your permission, then, by all means, add a watermark. These days, it is so easy to find photos online and save them as your own. Watermarking your photos can help deter thieves to a degree.

A watermark can also act as a sort of free marketing. Aesthetic photos that don’t include branding elements like packaging and logos are more often shared. If your images are shared on sites like Pinterest or Instagram, it can make it easier for customers to trace the photos back to your shop if the photo has a watermark.

Just make sure to make the watermark small enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the photo, but big enough to be seen.

Do Watermarks Really Protect Your Work?

One of the biggest reasons to use a watermark is to protect your photos from being stolen. While this does help to some extent, advances in technology have made it easier to work around watermarks.

For example, editing programs like Photoshop can easily remove a watermark from a photo. There are tons of free apps available as well, that can get rid of a watermark with a simple tap.

A watermark acts as a reminder that the image is copyrighted and not to be used without permission. However, an image without a watermark is just as protected by copyright as one with a watermark.

Really, the only way to guarantee that your photos won’t be copied or stolen is to not upload them online in the first place.

What Are The Some Alternatives to Using A Watermark?

Watermarks aren’t the only way to protect your photos. One of the most common solutions is using a copyright notice. This simply states that your photos can’t be used without your consent. You can add this notice above the photo, or even add it to the Metadata in Lightroom. This might make thieves think twice before taking your photos.

Some other options include:

  • Disabling the right-click feature on your website
  • Upload low-resolution photos
  • Use services to search for unauthorized use of your photos

While none of these are foolproof, they add different layers of protection to your product images without the added distraction of a watermark.

Final Thoughts

You should now have a better understanding of using watermarks on product photos.

Product photos are an essential component in selling items online. After spending so much time and effort perfecting the branding and aesthetic for your images, you don’t necessarily want to distract from that with the use of a watermark. Luckily, there are alternative steps you can take without sacrificing the integrity of your images.