6 Ways to Protect Your Photos

fashion digital photography


Creating and sharing your images online is one of the best parts about being a blogger. However seeing your photos on a website that doesn't match your blog or your brand is no fun. Although the very nature of the Internets is to republish and repost, you can take certain steps to protect your photos.

Here are 6 ways you can protect your blog's photos:

1. Use a watermark. I know this is not the most optimal route since it clogs up an image but it works. If you set the opacity to low (in Photoshop) you can better blend the watermark into the photo, instead of having it literally jump out of the frame.

2. Tag the photo's backend data with your copyright. Thanks to Photoshop, you can now go in the backend of your photos and enter your Copyright info, which means that whenever your photo is uploaded to Facebook, the Copyright information will remain. The only downside to this is that the copyright can be deleted in Photoshop.

copyright digital

This is the screen in Photoshop that allows you to change the copyright information. Go to File in your navigation bar, then click on File Info. Go to the Copyright Status bar and make your adjustments.

3. Disable the right-click option on your blog. This prevents people from copy/pasting your images or saving your images onto their desktop. However, this doesn't prevent people from taking a screenshot of your images and using photo-editing tools to save the photo.

4. Use Stipple to track and monitor where your photo is being used. IFBCON sponsors and a blogger's best friend, Stipple is a platform that monitors where your photo has been published. Through tags and information, Stipple gives you the opportunity to see where and how your photos are being shared.

5. When in doubt, use Google Images. Unlike the other steps, this is more reactive than proactive but it still works. You simply go to Google Images, click on the camera icon in the search bar and upload your photo. Google will then search the web to see if that uploaded photo has been used elsewhere. Tumblrs, sites, Pinboards, if your photo has been used, you will know it. However, the next step would be to email those websites and ask them to take down your photo. Tedious, yes but doable.

6. Draft a Terms of Use and post it clearly on your blog. This Terms of Use won't guarantee that your photos aren't being used but it is a smart proactive way to show users that your photographs are protected and unapproved uses of them will be dealt with. For examples on how to draft a TOU, be sure to read this previous IFB post.


Unfortunately, these 6 steps aren't 100% foolproof but doing something is better than standing by and watching your photos being used. When in doubt, you can go back to the tried-and-true route of emailing the website that is using your photo and asking them to take it down.

Have you ever seen your photos used on another publication or site? What did you do to take care of that issue? Or did you just let it be?

Image credit: Ranway Group by Shutterstock

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16 Responses

  1. Pearl Westwood

    Ive had this very problem a lot, whilst most will add links or take the photos down at request its a pain having to get it sorted out. What I would like info on is how to stop scraper site which steal content too. Some dont even have email addresses and when you contact the provider they say you need to take legal action – I cant afford a lawyer! Here is a site which is also stealing IFB content have you seen it? – http://trendoracle.com/ they do have a link to all our sites but they lift every single post from myself and many other bloggers. Any advise?

  2. Anna

    Thanks for this. I’ve tried to put watermarks and logos to protect them, mostly because I sometimes take pictures of other people and I want to protect them.
    I’ll try to apply your advise on my future pics.

    Thanks again

  3. Natasha aka SNOWBLACKBLOG

    Thanks for sharing stiple with us. I have a question though. Does it prevent people from dragging pics to their desktop? Also, can’t people just take a screen shot of your picture? Anyway, it’s good to know these things.

  4. Karen Ussene

    Thanks for the tips, I don’t think I ever saw my pics in other websites unless it was a case that I entered on a competition and I had to submit a photo. But then again I never searched that much. I should take a day and do that Google thing and see what happens.
    There is actually a Blog in Portugal that is basically doing something like the “Fashion Police” on channel E!, but for Portuguese Fashion Bloggers. Of course the Bloggers are not happy not only because of the things that are said, but also because of the use of the pictures with no authorization.
    The “victim” Blogger demands them to take those pictures down, but they refuse and say that there is nothing that people can do about it.
    And other people comment saying “If someone is willing to put their photos on the internet whether Blogger/Tumblr/Wordpress, they have to subjected to these type of things”….
    That’s not cool :S

  5. Robert Lowdon

    I don’t think watermarks are really a solution for one big reason, your name is on it. Here’s why: web photos are low res they print terribly, there is always a strong possibility your photo can end up on a questionable website you want absolutely no association with, and watermarks really take away from the strength of the image.

    Don’t get me wrong, if I catch someone using one of my images without permission I will send a cease and desist notice immediately. I try to keep them friendly and it usually does the trick.

  6. Caribbelle

    I’ve been wary about this problem, but putting in the metadata with your copyright does help. I prefer to do it in Adobe Bridge because I can add the information for an entire album at once. You can also put in the copyright metadata in Google Picasa as another option and its free. I also put a watermark, and play with opacity depending on the photo.
    Thanks for mentioning stipple, I’ll definitely check it out.

  7. Vanessa

    Have to agree with Caribbelle – also use mostly A. Bridge for copyrights or watermarks – and a label on the pictures.

    It always depends a little bit on the picture – same situation happens with pictures on Instagram, as most of us also use Instagram to keep in contact with the followers and if you have real great shots, you do not want to see them posted again and again on instagram, so you have to edit or label them first before publishing on Instagram.

    I decide how to label, how to add watermark or copyright on the picture, depending on the quality of the picture or on the location of the picture.

    If I write about special events, I will make sure that the label is on the pic, also a copyright – but I always see it from both aspects, if the picture is labeled, it also a bit of promotion for your blog (as long as they do not steel every picture). I got a lot of emails “I found your picture on a google page and didn’t know about your blog – but saw the address on the pic…” and now they follow the main page…

    I think we have to accept the situation that pictures got stolen or postings copied, but it depends for me – where they might be used…

    Wishing all of you “happy blogging” and a great weekend…!

  8. Ashli Michelle

    I saw my pictures on Denverblog.com. I flipped out. They also plagiarized my article. Growl. He took it down. I then checked every article on his site and contacted the real writers by copy/pasting on google. It was well worth the time.

  9. Caribbelle

    Thanks Vanessa! You’re absolutely right about the watermark and copyright acting as a banner almost. I find that if you can place it in a corner like most editorial descriptions it doesn’t detract from the image quality as much. Really hope this helps 🙂

  10. rhonda hurwitz

    For protecting copyright, the plugin tool from icopyright.com* has a tracking and monitoring feature called “discovery”, which offers a series of actions as recourse if you find someone has scraped your blog text. Not sure what it does with images.

    * this company is a client … still, the plug in works as noted.