Are you watermarking your photos? If not, you should be. If you’re posting your children’s photos on Facebook, Instagram, a personal or professional website, then this post is for you.
I recently entered a sweepstakes and was thrilled to do so. Our entry garnered a lot of attention and interest and when reading the fine print I lowered my shoulders and sighed as I saw, “entries cannot be professionally watermarked.” I love creating whether it is digitally with art, video content, photography, my blog, or more hands on with crafts and DIYs. But when it comes to posting my child, I’m always a bit concerned and I am meticulous about what I share or post. Reality is, it’s a scary and sick world and beyond that, I never want my child to grow up being embarrassed about content I’ve shared.
I have always been very apprehensive of posting my child online. So much so that I ask family members not to post her and have gone so far as asking them to remove pictures because I want to know where exactly these photos are, and in what light they are portrayed. Side note, you always make the rules for your child, never be apologetic for making a sound decision that is to their benefit. For the parents brave enough, or perhaps uninformed or relaxed enough to post hundreds of pictures of their children untagged for mass consumption and brand deals, good for you; but as of right now, that just isn’t me. We’ve been approached for branded work before and it’s always very exciting. But if I even begin to second guess or be concerned over the associated rules, guess what? My child being a child and only under my guidance and caution trumps these deals or posts.
I’ve seen so many cautionary tales of children’s photos being stolen and entire families and story-lines fabricated around them. I’ve even seen companies use photos of children commercially(and for their sole benefit) without the approval of their parents. For a long time I rarely shared my daughter on Instagram and I tend to go watermark heavy through the middle of her face when I do. All it takes is a click and your own personal photos can be stolen by anyone. As a mother or father think about the images you post online. What or whom are the majority of your photos focused on? Exactly.
I wanted to create a common place to view life’s special moments thus the family vlogging(click here) but when I tell you it’s a catch-22, it truly is. I even struggle with the desire to stop vlogging now and again knowing just how scary the internet can be. If I ever caught wind of any perceived threat we would delete everything immediately and without hesitation.
So how do you protect your children?
There is really no way to do so other than to refrain from positing any photos of your children but for many of us this may not be a feasible option. Many families who live far use the web to share special moments in their lives. Some families even have business created around, you guessed it, their family. And others like myself are documenting some of life’s special moments to be able to look back and reflect in one common place. The lives of our children are all over the web.
While watermarking your photos cannot stop others from seeing or even taking your photos, it does make it a little more clear that they are indeed stealing your property. It also makes claiming the theft (legally speaking) that much easier. People are far less likely to steal watermarked photos because it’s like shouting, “HEY THIS IS MINE!”
Being a blogger and having various sites throughout the years, I’ve noticed the majority of bloggers(whether “little” or big”) don’t watermark their pictures. Doing a simple online search you can literally find thousands of pictures of infants and children. There are even stolen photos of adults we hear about all the time, catfish, they’re not just swimming in the lake. People can, will, and do steal images all they want and the reality is no-one will ever know. Even with watermarks you may not know, but it’s just a layer of added protection. No one knows if you lock the door to your home but most of us use that added layer of protection and don’t leave things to chance. Someone could still get in if they really wanted to, but adding a layer of protection to your home, to your online footprint, to your children, is worth that effort.
Put in that extra effort. Take that little extra time. Use caution. Be smarter.