On this video by photographer Anthony Morganti looks at two different ways of using embedded information on your images- one using conventional on image signature and the second using a service which imprint additional traceable information onto your images.
There are several ways of adding signatures to images and several reasons for doing that. When you are talking about a conventional signature/watermark the main reason of adding it is so that people will know that you are the creator of the image. Morganti gives an example of a magazine which contacted him following an image he published with his signature. So this can be a good way of getting new business.
The problem with a conventional signature is that this isn’t typically a very good way of preventing other people from stealing your images. After all with the power of image editing software these days you can remove almost any watermark – and even if you put it in a way which is hard to remove – good chances are that it will not look very nice.
So what can you really do to protect your images in a way that isn’t destructive to your images but actually work? well there are services which you can use to add information to your images which is invisible but includes all the image (so cropping or other changes are not going to effect it (as it happens at the pixel or file level). Morganti uses digimarc a company which developed a technology which helps photographers protect their images online by embedding invisible data into the entire image (at least in the past there was another company with the same idea called PicScout but it has been purchased by Getty Images and its current status as a service provider is unknown).
You can of course combine the two options so that people who want to approach you will be able to do so but you will also have a way of protecting your images if somebody tries to use them without your consent. The service does cost money ($50-$100 a year depending on the exact type of service – with or without automatic tracking, and at the end of the day actually suing people for stealing your images – especially if they are not from the same country where you live – could be very problematic and expensive).
You can more videos of Anthony Morganti here on Lensvid.