Sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes they don’t have the time to make something, take a picture to show the public something. So they use other people’s photos to do that. Google something, (it’s free after all) and use that instead. We are BUSY! And as crafters, our minds run with 30,000 tabs open all at once! When it happened to me, at first I was PISSED. Then I started thinking it through and put myself in that person’s shoes to try to understand why they did it. Now I live my life like, “someone used my picture to get a point across and wanted to convey an idea so others can visual something.” I know that’s what they did. Wasn’t against me personally. Why do I feel this way? Because of meta data and SEO. Huh? Yes. I went back and googled something that I made and found a picture that was MINE on google and guess what? It was used by possibly 8 other people all trying to covey a thought visually. When I clicked on it, it went to 8-10 different places! Never back to me. There’s a catch with the Internet and it goes like this: once you put it out there for people to see, you can never take it back. So what do you do? You protect it. How?
What do you do if someone screenshot it? No, the right question is what did you NOT do? That’s where my love affair with watermarks started. I didn’t go back to the 8 people who were WAY more successful than myself with this picture, and say, “that is my photo TAKE IT DOWN, NOW!”. Nope I didn’t even say “give me credit, after all it IS my photo!” Why? Because I couldn’t prove it, with meta data, SEO or watermarks. Besides, they weren’t saying they made it, no, they were saying “this is beautiful and I want to make it” and I was cool with that. I don’t need credit for that. That’s where self-esteem comes in. Do we really NEED praise from everything we do? Some people do and that’s their problem. Don’t make it yours.
You need to have a thick skin with the Internet. People are pretty much anonymous. They can be states away or around the corner. What are you going to do? Drive over there and kick them in the shin? No, please don’t do that. Are you going to sue this person? Are they using this photo to sell something? No? Use common sense then. Take an experience and learn from it.
Another thing that is needed is EFFORT. Stop being LAZY about it. It WILL take time away from the time you need to create BUT there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Take an hour, come up with a watermark. It doesn’t have to be special. It can be just a your name or name of your business. All you would have to do is choose a font and go! After that, save it. Do you use your phone and Instagram to post what you’re working on currently? Get an App named SALT, it saves my watermarks, I can superimpose it on my photo in two seconds then post on Instagram. There are many apps out there for this purpose, use them. You can thank me later.
So let’s recap. What do you need to do to protect yourselves and your livelihood?
Guess what? What did I learn? I found that as a result of these steps I gained a lot more awesome new friends and less enemies. I’m WAY more happier and less stressed with worry, knowing that what I put out there on the net is protected.