How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark

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Sellers, we’ve got a problem going on in our crafting world: Image theft is on the rise. I’ve heard from so many Cutting for Business readers (20+ just this week) about stolen product images lately. Honestly, this is way more than it used to be. I’ve talked in the past about the Do’s and Don’ts of Watermarking, but I know that not everyone likes to watermark their photos. Some people say it detracts from the product photos; while some marketplaces advise against watermarks (especially Amazon Handmade).

Instead of overlaying text or an image on top of your products, consider including a branded item in your product picture. This could be as simple as putting your business card near the shirt you are photographing or creating a customized background with your business name and logo to take product pictures in front of.

Examples of Photos without using Watermarks

My (fake) company Mugs with Love specializes in making customized coffee mugs. To prevent image theft, I could make a mug with my name, logo, and website on it and set it near my mug for sale. I always be sure to note in the product listing that my logo mug is not included in the sale.

How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark - Great for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut small business owners - by cuttingforbusiness.com

For my (fake) company Signs by Mia, I could hang a permanent sign on the wall with my logo and website. When photographing products for sale, I hang them on the same wall.

How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark - Great for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut small business owners - by cuttingforbusiness.com

For my (fake) company Decals for You, I specialize in making decals.  I could place a branded bag (or other packaging) behind a sample product with one of my decals on them.

How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark - Great for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut small business owners - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Lastly, for my (fake) company Hibiscus Crafts, I could place a framed picture with my logo into the product picture.

How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark - Great for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut small business owners - by cuttingforbusiness.com

There you go, several ways to protect your product photo without using a watermark overlay.

How to Deter Cropping

The biggest thing to remember when using this technique is to place your “watermarked” product close to the product for sale so that it makes it difficult for someone to crop it out. Also, limit your product image sizes. This means to limit the size in pixels. For example, if you post a 500 pixel by 500 pixel image and someone crops it – what they are left with is too small for them to use to sell online.

Tomorrow, I’m sharing several graphics about stealing images so that we can get the word out that stealing (“borrowing”) another crafters photo is theft. The more people that we together can educate other crafters, the less it will happen.

In case you are wondering, many of the mockup examples shown above were made with a generator. Read more about it here.

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How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark - Great for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut small business owners - by cuttingforbusiness.com

16 thoughts on “How to Protect Your Product Photos without a Watermark”

  1. I have a question regarding the “stealing” of photos from other crafters and what exactly that constitutes. I had been under the impression that anything not watermarked or showing the designer name or otherwise stating that it is not copyrighted that it was ok to use photos as ideas for other crafters. For example, I see a photo on Facebook or Pinterest that I like and want to do for myself or my shop; am I allowed to save that photo image for reference later if it is not marked in some way?

  2. I greatly appreciate this article. I have struggled with this because I don’t like the distraction of watermarks but hate the idea of someone stealing my hard work. Thank you for a great solution!

  3. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot if people take Etsy images and then trace the custom designs in silhouette design. Anyway to get around that without a true watermark?

  4. Just discovered your website. You have lots of useful info. Thanks for sharing it all.
    I was wondering though if you had a writeup on how to keep not photos but actual digital downloads safe without ruining their look.
    In the last few days I’ve seen on groups where people take a screen shot and trace it in a software outside or even design space and use it without paying for it.
    What’s the best way to protect images like that?

  5. Hi! So I have a question about watermarks…I make mostly shirts BUT I also decorate for parties and make alot of the items (Centerpieces, etc) so how can I go about “watermarking” those photos?

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