Protecting Your Images on the Internet

Protecting your images on the web has been a hotly debated topic since photographers and graphic artists started using the Internet many, many years ago. Some people try to protect against right-click, others smother obnoxious watermarks on their images, while still others go so far as to put transparent gifs over their images.

However, there’s one big problem with all of these methods. None of them work. No matter what you do, someone can get your image, and only you will end up losing by taking extreme measures to protect your work. The best case scenario you can hope for is that your work is so good that it gets spread all over the Internet like wildfire. Marketers pay millions of dollars for the kind of exposure that most photographers complain about.

Now, we completely understand being proud of your work and wanting to protect it. You should be proud of the work you’re putting out there, and there are reasonable measures that can be taken to ensure you receive credit for your work. But, putting massive watermarks over your images or disabling right-clicks on your website just degrades the experience for your customers and prospects, which loses you money.

Just for argument’s sake, lets go through the measures people take to protect their images:

Big watermarks:
A small watermark is both warranted and suggested, while anything that could be considered obnoxious will only lose you business and turn prospects off of the beauty of your art. it detracts from your images and displays an attitude that will turn off most prospects.

And, all it takes is a person who’s used Photoshop once in their life to remove your watermark.

Disabling right-click:
This is likely the oldest, weakest, and most obnoxious method of protecting your images. It removes an important functionality of your websites by using an outdated pop-up box. Screen-capture gets past this in a heart-beat.

Clear .gifs:
This is likely the best method of protecting your images. It’s a light-weight alternative and has no function on the usability of your website. This method simply overlays a clear gif over your images, so when people go to download the picture, they just end up with a clear picture of nothing.

However, this can easily be beat by screen-capture or looking at the code.

Slicing images:
This is as effective as laying a clear .gif over your image, but with the downfall of putting a large load on your server, driving up costs for you and bringing down the usability of your website.

There are many more ways of attempting to protect your images, but they’re even worse than the ones we’ve listed here.

So, you can never truly protect your images from being stolen. Most of you that are still reading this are probably wallowing in despair right now. Cheer up though, because people sharing your work is the best thing that you could ever ask for!

How do you pitch a new client on your work? You have to go out, find them, convince them to come in, and then show them your work. What if you didn’t even have to find your prospects, and they came to you already pre-qualified for purchasing? Your work is cut into nothing. Like we said earlier, marketers pay millions of dollars for the kind of exposure many photographers go out of their way to stop.