What is one of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make when designing her logo?
Realizing it doesn’t work where she needs it most.
So you’ve designed a logo and it looks great… on your website. You envision it on your business cards, note cards and bags and it will look great there too.
But now, as you are sitting down ready to blog a recent photo shoot, you contemplate, "should I add my logo as a watermark to my photos?"
You test it out… YIKES!
It looks distracting and actually takes away from the beauty of the image.
You decide to leave your image naked… watermark free.
Your rationale? "Well thieves will remove watermarks from images anyway - so why bother."
Here are few reasons why you should bother
Watermarking your images with your logo is free advertising. And who doesn’t have time for free advertising and marketing? Holla!
(Now before I go any further, I should mention that I too did not consider all of these items initially… it's been a live and learn experience. And one of my logos still suffers from this problem. But more on that and possible workarounds later in this article).
Consider the following:
Stealing: not everyone who will use your image(s) is trying to steal it or claim it as their own. For example, a very successful photographer friend of mine found one of her images displayed on a website accompanied by a short paragraph listing the site's favourite photographers. She was one of their favourites. They used an image from her website that was not watermarked. In a mad scramble, my photog friend contacted the site’s owner and sent her a watermarked version of the image. Capitalizing on the free exposure! (*Although people should always ask before using your work, the reality is they don’t always do this).
Branding: Why do people purchase bags covered with the brand’s logo? - think Louis Vuitton. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Christa Meola and handful of other talented photographers last summer. Christa did us the honour of taking our photos. As she was telling us about when she would get us our photos, one lady asked if she could have hers with the Meola logo on it. Why? Because it means something to her. Just as the LV logo means something to the woman carrying the monogramed Louis Vuitton purse. Make your logo mean something!
(See Christa's awesome logo on my Pinterest board below).
- Searches by Google Images: these days clients are searching for photographers on google images. Naturally, when shopping for a photographer you want to see their photos right? Make it easy for them! For example, if a client does an image search and a few photos in the results appeal to her -- help her see that those photos are all by the same photographer (you) because they all share the same logo. This will instantly help narrow down her search... to you!
- Pinterest: ahhh gotta love Pinterest. Style boards, wedding, boards, headshot boards, boudoir boards, glamour boards. If one of your images ends up here, you want people to be able to find you. "But Pinterest will link back to my website - right?" Not all the time. For example, if someone pins your image via Google images, it will not link back to your site. And with no logo on your image, there is probably no tracing it back to you. (Unless of course, you are a well known photographer with a very distinctive style, such as, Sue Bryce, Craig Lamere or Annie Liebovitz).
Painters: I thought I’d throw this in… traditionally artists have put their signatures on their work. Think paintings and prints.
But I already have a logo and it doesn’t look good on my photos
Trust me you are not alone.
I have two brands 1. Delmore Photography and 2. Couture Portrait. I wrestle with this problem with my Delmore Photography brand. The logo has a symbol with text below it. It’s too chunky to put on any image... without ruining it. Don’t get me wrong, I like it on its own… just not on my photos. To make things worse, this is the brand I use mainly for weddings… and the thought of putting that logo on every image in a long wedding blog post makes me cringe.
I did better, with my second and newer logo for Couture Portrait. I’d throw that logo on anything ;-) And will be updating my redesigned website soon.
These are some workarounds if you already have a logo but it’s too distracting to put on your images. Use these tips alone or in combination. And be creative there is no right and wrong.
URL: add your URL in a visually appealing and non-distracting way on your photos
Creative URL: do something creative with your url - see ribbon example on my Pinterest board below.
Font: Have a specific font in your logo? Use that font and write your URL on your photos.
Distinctive: Is there a distinctive aspect of your logo that you could use, that would instantly identify it as part of your brand?
Photoshop layer opacities: Set Photoshop's layer opacity to "multiply" to help blend the logo into the image.
Need visuals of these workarounds in action?
Although filenames and meta data can help link an image back to you, the general public may not know how to look for these things. Or it may simply be too time consuming.
Also disabling the right click option on your website will not always prevent the Pinterest "Pin it" button from pinning your images.
Keep everything simple, easy and straightforward for a path of least resistance.
Let social media spread the word about your images - so be sure to have your name on them!
Leave a comment below, I'd love to start a conversation on the topic!
With love and gratitude. And wishing you all the success in photography business,