HDR genius Trey Ratcliff over at Stuck in Customs wrote a great article today titled Why I Don't Use Watermarks. I'm happy to see someone so prominent with this opinion. It's true that in many ways Trey Ratcliff is too big to need to care, and it's entirely possible that I am too insignificant to need to care, but at the end of the day, his points are valid. Not the least of which is that "watermarks get in the way of art."
I've not been a fan of watermarks for my work, which doesn't mean I don't respect it in others' work. Not being a territorial photographer means that I don't have to be obsessed with the fear that Trey Ratcliff describes in his post. The kind of fear that makes the internet a constant thief and a time-consuming rival. Trey is absolutely right; (most) watermarks are ugly, real businesses don't steal your images and a completely safe internet is an illusion.
I don't have lawyers or employees scoping the web to find intellectual property thieves on my behalf, but I have the peace of mind that I have produced a good image that can be admired unobstructed. And I like that.
My reasons for not watermarking are that:
1) I don't like the work of maintaining identical images, one with and one without a watermark.
2) They interfere with the photography. When I frame a shot, I never want to think of where I'm going to squeeze in that watermark.
3) My images are copyrighted.
4) I honestly don't want to be that anal. Not a lot of time in post-processing, not a lot of time marking my territory.
The only downside I see is that as a shot is shared and shared and shared, I may not get the credit as my name is lost in the sharing and as a lesser known photographer, maybe that should concern me. Maybe that is bad business. But it doesn't keep me up at night.
It's just nice to hear one of the big boys say it. Thanks, Trey!