Why I Stopped Watermarking my Photos

In the photography world, some folks watermark their photos, and some folks don't. It seems like a really small decision in the grand scheme of things, and while that might be true, it's a very calculated one. 

I watermarked my photos up until about nine months ago when I started sharing my photos without my logo or any other text. There are a few reasons why I do this, and why I think others may do it, too! This is one of the many decisions in business where there is no right or wrong answer, but I think it's interesting to hear why people do what they do! Here's my two cents. 

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1. It doesn't prevent stealing

T-Swift taught us that haters gonna hate, and guess what? Stealers gonna steal. There are a million and one ways to remove a watermark from a photo, and if someone wants to do that, they will. Heck; I HAVE DONE THIS! Multiple times I have download my own photos off Facebook, dragged them into Photoshop, content-aware'd or cloned my own watermark out, and uploaded that photo to Instagram, or to a vendor gallery when I was in a pinch. All it takes is some basic Photoshop knowledge or the ability to do a quick Google search, and that watermark is gone.

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2. It doesn't look more professional

Please realize I am NOT saying it looks unprofessional; I'm simply saying it doesn't look any MORE professional. I spent years thinking my watermark was what made the image look like a pro captured it, but what makes it look like a professional image has nothing to do with having 'Mad Photo & Design' smeared across it. 

This was a big realization for me when I started paying more attention to what some of my role model photographers were doing. It was eye-opening to me that when I looked to photographers who I admired and respected, none of them watermarked their photos. And yet, I could almost always tell who the image belonged to simply by the style. I thought, that is what I want; for people to be able to tell it's a Mad Photo image without needing a watermark.

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That's a tall order, and it's never going to happen across the board (people who don't know me from Adam will never be able to identify my photos, and that's fine!), but I think as I develop an even more consistent brand style, it's an awesome goal. Not watermarking my photos reminds me that that consistency and style are so important to my brand.

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3. It doesn't get me more clients

I am amazed year after year that 90% of my bookings come from referrals. Not social media. Not SEO. Not advertising. Pure, simple referrals from happy clients. I want to encourage my clients to share about me and their Mad Photo experience because it's 100% why I am still in business - and I feel like it's most inviting and encouraging for them to talk about that experience if I take down all the barriers. I don't want clients to be nervous about sharing images because they're not sure what the watermark means, or because they don't like the look of it. I just want them to share! 


If you're a photographer, do you watermark your photos? Why or why not? Tell me what you do in the comments or on Facebook!