How to Protect Your Online Photos

If you are part of social media–and who isn’t these days –you will see photos of soap, candles and bath and body products. Chances are, you have posted photos of your own. Have you ever thought about  protecting them?

I am not speaking here of others copying your work. It stands to reason that if you are posting photos on a Facebook group of your gorgeous soap with piped daffodils on top, you should expect someone to copy your design. It is the nature of groups. If you want to keep your designs to yourself, do not post them on social media, especially not on a makers’ group.

I am speaking instead of something more nefarious.  As surprising as it sounds, some will copy your photos and post them as their own. They may even be taking orders for your product!

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It makes no sense to take credit for something you did not create, particularly when attempting to sell that item. It is next to impossible to replicate it, so what will the seller send to the customer? Still, it  has happened.

Of course, this leads us to look for ways to protect our work from those with questionable scruples.

Watermarking photos may be helpful because the person has to take the time and needs the proper software to remove the watermark. It is not foolproof, but may deter those looking for easy marks, and will keep your name intact for the impulsive person who shares your photo. You can find several programs to help you insert a watermark, such as PicMonkey. Another way to check to see if others are using your photos is to do a reverse image search. An easy tutorial is found here.

Another method for preventing image theft is to disable the right click “Save Image As.” Read about it here.

As you can see, no easy, sure-fire way exists to prevent your photos from being used, and ensuring they are not in use by others takes a bit of work. Only you can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.

As for the netiquette involved in sharing photos, it is always in good taste to contact the photo’s owner and ask if you may share the photo. Be sure to give credit to the creator, as well as the photographer.

Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, for Making  Soap, Cosmetics & Candles