Gurushots tips – Watermarks

I’m back again with another Gurushots tip this time lets look at watermarks.

First of all, what is a watermark? They are text or graphics that are placed on top of a photograph in an attempt to protect the image from copyright violations. The text or graphic generally contains the name of the photographer. The creator of the work is then clearly visible and known and can, therefore, be contacted if anyone wants to use the photo commercially.  It is also thought that it is a good way to promote the photographer.

I have to admit I don’t use watermarks nowadays.

Sure, we all want to protect our photographs and I understand that and for many, that includes adding a watermark. I get it. But let’s think why we want to protect these photos. Usually, it’s because we’re proud of them, we don’t want anyone else to use them without our permission and they’re our property, so why shouldn’t we write our names on them?

The problem with watermarks is they detract from the photo. Having text, a logo or anything stuck on your photo draws the eye away from what you want to say in the photo and towards something else. Something outside of the photograph.


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If you want to use a watermark you’d better make sure it’s as good as your photograph. I’ve seen some really bad watermarks on Gurushots, there have been Gurushots players, with great photos, who have missed out on my Guru Picks simply because of a very bad watermark.

It’s worth remembering that watermarks are also often easy to crop or remove using Photoshop, so they don’t really offer that much protection.

A man carrying bricks on his head. A bad example of using watermarks



Basically, something that is well designed and discrete is the best way to go. I would avoid colour totally and stick to either black, grey or white. As for the content, I’d probably stick to just your name followed by either the word ‘photographer’ or ‘photography’. Remember, keep it simple.

This photo to the right is the first photo I uploaded to Facebook, I think you’ll agree that the watermarks (yes I added 2!) detract from the image. What I’m saying is don’t do what I did.


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Parts of this article are taken from The Gurus Secrets ebook 

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