This is now a topic of debate in the blogging world. I’ve been very surprised at how many bloggers put up images with no branding and no copyright notices. So I started to research it. There are two schools of thought. Do not brand your images so that your images can be shared on news and aggregate sites as they will properly link back to you. Then other folks feel like I do about keeping your brand on your images. If you put your images online they will be shared, downloaded, re-posted, pinned, facebooked (I’m making that a verb), tweeted, google plus’ed, stumbled, tumbled, emailed and possibly just stolen. Not much you can do about the stealing part. Trust me – I catch people using my images as their own or without permission all the time.
What Is Branding?
I work in advertising so anything “branded” would be a product showing the brand name. For us bloggers this can be done in a few ways with our photos. You can just simply put your copyright notice discretely in the photo. You can use photoshop to do this or there are several online editors that will enable you to upload a photo and then put any text on the image you want. Here’s a few that are free: Pic Monkey, Pixlr, and Lunapic. There are many more, just google, “free online photo editors”.
I used Pic Monkey here and I am not kidding when I say I did this in about 3 minutes. I already had my image sized the way I wanted it – 600 px wide. Here are the steps:
- went to www.picmonkey.com
- clicked on the edit button on the home page
- it asked me to upload a photo so I navigated to that and uploaded it
- I clicked on the “T t” button on the left side for the text tool
- I clicked on the font I wanted
- I then clicked on the box, “Add Text” above the font list
- A box appeared on my image so I moved it to the bottom left
- The text editor detail box was already open on the right side so I clicked on the color bar and an eye dropper appeared
- I put the eye dropper on the blackberries to make that my text color
- I changed the text size to a small 14pts
- I clicked in the box to type my copyright info
- I then clicked the “Save” button top middle
- It asked me to pick a “quality” or file size so I picked the highest quality size and saved it to my desktop – I didn’t even have to log in and make an account
Some bloggers take this a step further and put a title onto their photo describing the recipe. I personally love this and it will look great when shared anywhere else. Even if the actual recipe doesn’t get shared with it the title of the image is telling you what this is. Here is a great example by my good friend and blogger Erika Penzer Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen. Erika used Pic Monkey to put the title and the website address onto her photo.
To Brand or Not to Brand Your Photos
For all the ways your images will be used, I think every image without branding is a lost opportunity. We want folks to share our stuff, right? So if your image doesn’t at least have a copyright notice on it how are the folks to know who you are if the person sharing didn’t link back to you? Their intention was good, yet now your image is lost in the labyrinth of the web.
It will be interesting to see as time goes on what bloggers choose to do. Right now I see about half the bloggers brand and the other half have nothing on their images.
What are you thoughts on this? Some bloggers feel that when they have branded images they were not used as much by reputable news and aggregate sites. I’m very curious about your thoughts. Please comment below.
Side Note: Please know that upon the moment of creation of your photos you own the copyright of your images – even if you don’t make it formal by registering them with the copyright office. (Please note – the copyright process, as any government system is torturously long, confusing and arduous) So you do have some protection about the image being yours but if someone wants to steal it, they will until they get caught. If you do catch someone using your photo without permission you first have to tell them to cease and desist. Then after three months should they not comply you can take more serious action. If you have not registered your copyright it is more difficult to prove the image is yours and going after them for any financial losses is more challenging, but not impossible.
I would love to know your opinion on this or if you have experienced anything – good or bad with branding your photos on your blog.
I am not being paid by Pic Monkey nor do I make anything should you chose to use Pic Monkey or any other online editors mentioned here.