Protecting Your Photos from Getting Stolen Online: How Should You Go About It?

by Emily on May 8, 2019

in Articles

Clicking photos today is as simple as pointing a smartphone camera towards a subject and pushing a virtual, on-screen button. Anyone can do it, and almost everyone does already.

However, that is not the kind of photography that earns money of course, and really good shots are only taken after repeated trials, extreme dedication and sometimes, by pure luck too. Whichever applies in your case, if you are a professional, or even an amateur who is serious about his/her photography, the last thing you would want is for your precious shots to be stolen and used by others. Thanks to the internet, that’s quite easy to do and happens all the time. However, here are a few proven ways to keep your uploaded photos from being stolen.


A very basic form of protection as it may be, but it accomplishes two things, which are as follows.

  • If someone uses your photo on their website, you get instant, free advertisement with the simple watermark
  • Casual thieves will not go through the hassle of having to erase a watermark

Make sure that the logo is unique, unobtrusively translucent and placed in a region which cannot be easily cropped out without affecting the subject and quality of the photo.

Metadata Editing

You can enter the copyright information by editing the metadata of your photo files with Lightroom or Photoshop. Unfortunately, it’s not that difficult to edit the copyright information for thieves as well.

Digital Certificates or Electronic Signatures

The only proven and effective way to protect your photos against theft is to add a digital signature to it. While watermarks are a good way to get started on protecting your photos from online threats, do keep in mind that they can be easily erased by serious thieves.

The electronic signature, or firma electronica, is a digital certificate aimed at keeping your digital products and ownership safe in an online environment. Try out the ChileFirmas Firma Electrónica service for 60-days first and then decide if the investment of adding digital certificates to your photos is one worth making. If for any reason, you decide against it, the 60-day period comes with a 100% moneyback guarantee.

In case you are a professional photographer with an active business, this is pretty much a must if you plan to use social media, blog sites and search engines to market and sell your photos. Every reputed photography business has digital signatures embedded in their photos which cannot be deleted or overwritten. If you need to claim ownership or prove it in case of a lawsuit, the digital signature on the photos will make it easy to trace its origin back to you.

Do remember that once you sell your photos to a party, or to an online stock photo website such as Pixabay, Burst or Pexels, you give up your ownership of those photos. They can then be freely used by the firm or person who bought it, or anyone else in case of stock photo sites, for commercial purposes. You may still be credited as the photographer though, which is good for your reputation as a professional.


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