itchban / Blog

Photography, filmmaking, social media, travel & technology by @itchban

How to Watermark your Instagram Photos


It's a very simple process. The first step to watermarking your Instagram photos is: don't

Apologies for the deceiving blog post title, but it was necessary to lure the watermarking offenders here in an effort to try and dissuade them. Watermarking images in general, in this day and age is a waste of time and effort. Photos are a dime a billion, and no amount of watermarking will save your photo from being stolen.

*This is an opinionated piece, with the intention not to offend, but to voice my personal opinion. I could be, and often am wrong so crying, whinging and/or abuse is prohibited. If you are easily offended, please stop here.

Check this link if you're still actually keen on watermarking your photos (Lightroom guide).

So you watermark your Instagram photos because you want to protect them from theft? Read on.

Reasons why Watermarking on Instagram is pointless:

Watermarking is generally frowned upon on Instagram - which is why 99% of people don't do it. You will discourage people from following you if you watermark your images.

The unspoken authentic feel and culture of Instagram is instantly destroyed at first site of a watermark. I know that Instagram is quite far from "authentic" these days with so many people turning to post editing to clean up their photos. There is still an unspoken culture of photos being a snapshot/glimpse of our "real" daily lives. Watermarks immediately break this illusion as it's obvious that you've taken the time to stamp your photos.

Feature accounts will most likely not feature your photo if you watermark it. Having your photo regrammed by feature accounts is one of the surest and fastest ways to grow your account. The usual practice is for them to tag you in the photo and the caption to give you photo credit.

Anyone with any level of remote Photoshop familiarity can easily remove your watermark. Even a lot of very powerful mobile photo apps can make your watermark magically dissapear. Your watermark isn't deterring anyone from stealing your images.

You're assuming that your photos are worth stealing, which is slightly self-important. The super popular and famous Instagrammers with 500k plus followers don't do it; why should you? If your photos are, in fact worth stealing, the last place you would want to put them, is on the Internet. Nothing is sacred on the Internet.

The image size for Instagram photos is 640px by 640px; hardly the ideal resolution for image theft. On top of that, the real estate you have to create a powerful image is small enough without you adding an unnecessary watermark on it - you're destroying the viewing experience.

The minimum size of your watermark or logo to be readable / useful is too large for the Instagram square. Going off the point above, there is already minimal screen real estate for your image let alone readable text.

It's another unnecessary step to your workflow. Editing can already be a drawn out process and there is no need to add watermarking to the list of steps before your photos are ready to be posted. Streamline your editing workflow to the absolute minimum amount of tasks necessary.

What you should be doing instead of Watermarking

Practice on your photography skills until your photos are actually worthy of being stolen. If anything, it is an indicator and small honour for someone else to actually want to steal your images. Take it as a compliment. Generally, they will tag you and mention you in the caption for photo credit, but if they don't kindly ask the perpetrator to remove the image. If that doesn't work, report it to Instagram.

Develop your own photographic skills & style to the point that it doesn't matter even if your images get stolen. There are many photographers out there who's style is undeniable and instantly recognisable without having a dirty watermark superimposed onto the photo. Often I don't even need to see the username of an image to know who it belongs to. This is what you should be aspiring to reach. For example, a Trashhand, Takubeats or Bobby.J photo, for me at least, is instantly recognisable.

Build your Photography / Instagram brand. No, I don't mean that you have to sell anything. What I mean is your reputation. If you produce amazing, quality work, your followers will appreciate it. There was a case on Instagram of Drake (@champagnepapi) regramming a photo of himself from his concert without permission or credit from Ta-Ku (@takubeats). Needless to say @takubeats loyal followers spammed Drakes comment section. Read more about it here. Your reputation will precede itself. 

Last of all, have fun and don't take it all too seriously. Thieves will be able to steal your photos but they'll never be able to create more of your work; only you can do that. Go out there and make a million more for them to admire (and steal).

Come follow me on Instagram @itchban


*The content and opinion of this article does not give you permission to steal my photos 😂.