In the Home Staging & Design Industries, we have to post tons of beautiful photos. It is after all the first place that anyone coming to our websites wants to see. While I know that we cannot watermark images that we provide to our real estate affiliates, (they must be unbranded for use in IDX and MLS feeds) we may need to pay more attention to watermarking the images that appear on our websites and social media streams.
Oh, you think you are safe because you have your site “right click protected”? Well, I hate to break it to you, but there are two easy ways around this. The first, and suddenly the most common is the “pin it” button that millions of users now have on their browser buttons. That’s right, the “pin it” button will still allow right-click-protected images to be snatched up and pulled over to pinterest. Even without the “pin it” button, any user can simply take a screen shot and crop your images.
The only real answer seems to be to go back to the drawing board and begin being diligent about watermarking our images. Your images should have your company name and/or your website URL written across in such a way that cropping them out would destroy the photo and become pointless to try to alter. Picnik was my preferred method for watermarking as it was simple and allowed not only for me to choose the location, color, and angle, but also allowed me to adjust opaqueness, so that I could make it ghost over the image without disrupting it. Picasa will allow you to watermark, though I have to admit it is a far less user friendly application.
Whatever program you decide to use, think carefully about how you want to brand your work. I know some stagers have opted to make sure that they are fully credited, which may be the best advertisement of all when their work is shared.
The great news about today’s technology is that our websites may get huge traffic bumps by having tons of beautiful photos shared with the masses through multiple social media sites and circles. The bad news is that we’ve also made it much easier for new or unscrupulous stagers to steal our work and claim it as their own.
Sometimes the best methods are the old ones. Find a watermark program you like, decide what and how you want to begin branding your images and make it a point do it with every image going forward. Think of this as an opportunity to put just one more business card out there – only where millions of people can see it. How easy or hard do you want to make it for them to find you when your work is shared?