The new Frozen Event watermark

One of the things that was rushed in getting Frozen Event up and running was the watermarks on the photos. While it was important to have something on the photos to prevent anyone from grabbing a photo and doing what they want with it, not much thought went in to how to do it.

The first version of the watermark was so unpopular with photographers that I very quickly made the call not only to change it, but to go back and change all the existing photos. So I don’t even have an example I can show you. What I can show you is the second version of the watermark, which looks like this:

(The first version was basically the same, but with twice the number of lines)

This did the job, but thats about all I can say for it.

I recently took at look at what Getty Images have done with the Getty Watermark, and was inspired (also check out this short video).

What I really like about their watermark is the thought that’s gone into the intent. They really know what they want their watermark to achieve. So I sat down, and worked out a list for what a Frozen Event watermark should do. I even worked out the ordering of my priorities:

  1. It should look “good”, in order to present a quality, professional feel
  2. It should help the photographer build a reputation (or personal brand)
  3. It should make sure viewers are aware they are supposed to pay for the photo
  4. It should make it easy to buy the photo
  5. It should identify the event the photo came from
  6. It should promote Frozen Event as a brand

Yes, I’m explicitly putting Frozen Event branding at the bottom of the list, and the photographer’s branding at the top (well, second). Frozen Event is all about helping photographer’s establish and build a name for themselves. That is the most important thing we do, so it goes as close to the top of the list as possible.

Making sure that viewers know they are supposed to buy a photo is a bit of an experiment. We don’t have many problems (at least right now) with image theft, and when we do, it tends to take the form of someone putting the photo (with the watermarks) as their Facebook profile picture. I don’t think anyone is going to do that if they know that the watermark is telling all their friends they stole the photo. I think this is a matter of education, rather than intent.

Identifying the event is tied in with another new feature I’m working on, which is grouping a collection of albums, potentially by different photographers. That’s in partial testing now, but not released yet.

So I sat down and started to work on a new design of watermark. One that would meet all of the criteria above. At the same time I decided to make the images a bit larger. If my assumption is that people are not intending to steal the photos, there is no harm it making them just a bit bigger than a postage stamp. This is what I came up with:

This then, is the new Frozen Event watermark. I expect it will change in small subtle ways over the coming months, but its launching today. Enjoy


A couple of photographers already contacted me concerned that the wording “legal copy” was too strong. I have since changed the wording to “To use this photo please buy a copy”

5 thoughts on “The new Frozen Event watermark”

  1. The last line, “Please buy a legal copy of this photo”, sounds tacky. The word “Please” sounds like you’re pleading for the sale and the word, “buy” should be changed since makes the client think about what they are going to spend. Something like, “Available copies can be obtained” or something like “Acquired your legal version here”

    1. Even with the watermark marked pictures are used on social media sites. How do to propose stopping this and what action is actually taken?

      1. There is no technical way to prevent photos being used on a social media site. The advantage of a big watermark like this is that is switches that from being a bad thing, to being free marketing. if someone does put a copy on a social networking site (with or without your permission) it simply points people back to the original source.

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