How Can Photographers Keep Their Work Safe Against Online Theft?

Posted By: Sophia Andrew

Posted On: July 1, 2023


The internet is a helpful tool for photographers to show their work and gain fans. But there’s a problem: some people take photos without permission. It’s hard to catch them because the internet is so big. So, how can photographers keep their photos safe?

Use the power of watermarks

For a long time, artists have used watermarks to protect their work. They would sign their paintings to show it’s theirs and prevent others from stealing it. As technology advanced, watermarks became popular in photography and digital art too. They’re a simple and fast way for artists to protect their creations.

Watermarks are like a stamp that shows who owns the work. They make it harder for people to use the art without permission. Sometimes, the watermarks have a logo or website address, which can help promote the artist’s brand.

Removing a watermark from an image takes time and skill. It’s not easy for most people to do. So, having a watermark can discourage others from trying to steal the art.

Include copyright notices to deter misuse

Copyright notices are important for photographers to claim ownership of their images and protect their rights. Adding a copyright notice can also discourage others from using the images without permission. Usually, the copyright notice is placed below the image on a website. Here’s an example:

© 2023 John Doe Photography. All Rights Reserved.

You can also choose to include contact information, like an email address or phone number. This can be helpful if you’re okay with people using your photos with prior permission.

Another option is to embed copyright and contact information into the image’s metadata. This helps people identify you as the owner and makes it easier for them to contact you for licensing or permission requests.

Encrypt your image files

If you want others to respect your stuff, you need to show that you respect it too. One way to protect your images is by encrypting them. Encryption keeps your information safe and prevents unauthorized people from getting access to it.

To keep your files secure, it’s a good idea to use a storage solution that offers encryption. This means your data is protected both when it’s saved and when it’s being transferred.

For extra security, you can use special software that encrypts your image files on your own computer before you upload them to the cloud storage. This way, only you have the special code to unlock and see the files. It keeps your images private and safe.

Disable right-clicking and image dragging

If you mainly show your work on your website, it’s a good idea to stop people from right-clicking on your images. This makes it harder for visitors to save your images to their own computers. Disabling right-clicking and image dragging is not too difficult. You can do it on your website using JavaScript or HTML code, even if you’re not familiar with coding.

However, it’s important to know that some clever visitors might still find a way to get your images. That’s why it’s smart to use other protective measures too, like watermarks and notices. The more precautions you take, the better you can keep your images safe.

Register your work

Registering your work means officially sending your images to the copyright office to get copyright protection. The process involves filling out a form, paying a fee, and giving copies of your photos to the copyright office.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but registering is the best way to protect your images. So, It creates a record that shows you own the photos. It proves that you made them and have the right to control how they’re used. If you ever have a legal issue about copyright, this record will be very helpful.

Since registering takes some extra work, it’s a good idea to talk to a copyright lawyer or an expert in intellectual property. They can explain the benefits and legal things you should know about registering your work.

How to detect unauthorized usage?

It’s not enough to just prevent misuse of your images; you also need to know how to find out if someone is using them without permission. One way to do this is by using reverse image search tools. These tools help you look for your images online and see if they’re being used without your consent. There are several free services available online that can help you track down instances of image theft. By regularly searching for your images, you can identify any unauthorized usage and take the necessary steps to address it.


Photographers can make their valuable creations safer by using a combination of these measures. Simple steps like adding watermarks and stopping right-clicking on your website can work well. But for the strongest protection and evidence in case of misuse, registering your work is the best choice. By doing these things together, photographers can greatly enhance the safety of their valuable creations.

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