Brought to you by the photographers at SmugMug

How to Avoid Crippling Photo Theft

You’re a photographer who makes money from sales, so you’re in control of how your images can and should be used. We put the tools in your hands so you know exactly where your photos are going... and where they’re not.

SmugMug’s watermarking functionality gives him the range of options he needs. “In the digital age, the biggest challenge is a catch-22,” he says. “If you don’t put your photos online, they can’t purchase. If you do, people will use screen capture, upload them to Facebook and steal them. Lehner, who spearheaded an industry effort to prevent theft, emphasizes the importance of features like right-click protection and watermarking. “SmugMug has done all it possibly can short of engineering a way for me to reach through the screen. Hoofclix

Remember that with SmugMug, you can tweak every setting listed below (except for #8, Pricelists) in your gallery settings and save them as a Quick Setting. Total time-saver.

Control What They See

1. Set your largest viewing size.

Every gallery on your site gives you the option to disable Originals (a MUST) and limit how big your fans can see your photos. We suggest that you allow at least the ‘Large’ display size to create big impact and allow your potential buyers to see all the glorious detail in your photos. Used in concert with other image protection features below, they'll still be safe and sound.

2. Gallery privacy.

Protect your galleries with a  viewing password, or keep them unlisted to be sure only the right clients with the right credentials are browsing your photos.

Control How They Share

3. Share vs Owner Share.

The Share button is on by default so fans can spread the word about you. If you'd rather be the one sharing, turn this off in your Gallery Settings. You'll still be able to post and share -- the button will instead say "Owner Share" and be visible to you.

4. Right-Click Protection.

With this enabled, we’ll display a message whenever someone right-clicks on your images in your gallery. Keep in mind that snapping a screen grab is a basic function on any computer and is not prevented with Right-Click Protection, so we recommend using this feature together with custom watermarking. The result? Your name stays associated with the image... no matter what.

Untitled photo

Sign Your Work

5. Watermarking.

Put your name, URL or logo on every photo you shoot. At SmugMug, watermarks are completely non-destructive, meaning that they're applied to display copies only. Any print, gift or digital download purchased from your site will be clean and clear.

Bonus tip: 

Let them loose! When fans share photos watermarked with your logo, they're doing free advertising for you. So be generous and attract new customers all at once. Win-win.

6. Backprinting

The easiest way to add your brand to the back of every print purchased from your site. You can customize this with your name, URL, email address or even the image caption so clients know which print is which.

7. Printmarking.

Stamp your prints with your brand. Like watermarks for your purchased items, Printmarks are most often used to put your logo or signature on the corner of each print and digital download. It's fixed to a percentage of the area of your print, so don't worry about it taking up valuable real estate.

Untitled photo

Charge For The Privilege

8. Set pricing.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to set up pro pricing on your galleries so you make money on every sale. Start by visiting your Pricelists Manager and adding in the goods.

9. Turn off printing.

Not ready to sell? Don't forget to set Printing to "No" in your gallery settings. This way your clients can browse to their hearts' content, but won't see a Buy button to add things to the shopping cart.