A watermark is like a digital signature. It often appears in the corner of a photograph or a video. It typically is transparent or translucent, allowing for you to continue viewing the scene it is overlapping. It may be a logo or a set of initials, a signature, a domain name, or even a small graphic or animation. The watermark is a way of identifying your photo or video work as belonging to you and improving your brand recognition.
Why do you need a watermark?
The most commonly recognized benefit of having a watermark is that if your work is stolen and reposted somewhere else on the internet, it can be easier to prove your content belongs to you.
If someone steals your content to impersonate you on social media or dating apps or in advertisements, you can use your watermark to show that the content was yours originally.
Often just pointing out your watermark will often be solid evidence enough that this content belongs to you, especially if your watermark includes your website domain or social media handles. At other times it may be prudent to prove you have a copy of the unwatermarked version to website legal teams or legal authorities in order to show that you were the original creator.
Another benefit of the watermark is that if your content is stolen and becomes popular, some new potential fans will be interested in locating you to purchase from you directly and enjoy more of your content.
I regularly hear from customers who originally found me through re-shared or pirated work, and had the good sense to subsequently Google the name on my watermark.
Watermarking Adult Content Isn’t A Magic Solution
Unfortunately, watermarks are not fail proof. Very determined content thieves may crop your watermark out of your image, or even spend hours meticulously photoshopping it out of your image.
However, in most cases content thieves are not acting intentionally and maliciously but rather with thoughtlessness – clicking to save or screenshot and re-share without thinking about the impact to your success in the process. In this scenario, most of them will brazenly leave your watermark intact.
In the case that they crop out your watermark, too, you can very easily provide the uncropped version of the image to show this to anyone arbitrating a dispute.
I encourage you to continue to watermark your content, rather than give up entirely based on the possibility that someone might go through the painstaking and time consuming process of watermark removal. It can minimize frustrations and bring you more sales and brand recognition and can at least slow down thieves.
Examples of ways to watermark
When designing your watermark, I encourage you to start simple. If you use a single username or stage name across all platforms, that’s an easy way to start! I used to use a domain name as a watermark, but soon found that my stage name was more than enough to make an impression and then I didn’t have to change my watermark when using that content for multiple projects.
You could also consider using your personal web domain (ex: adultmodelmentors.com) – but keep in mind, some content distribution platforms (particularly the monetized ones such as fan sites and clip sites) do not allow external domain names on content you publish there, to avoid losing their internal traffic.
Make sure to review the Terms of Service for all platforms you use before you publish and feel free to ask their customer service team if you are allowed to include your domain name on your content.
Brands that are very focused on aesthetics may benefit from a beautiful graphic based watermark, tailored to fit their brand & image. Some fine art photographers and videographers stick with minimal watermarks, like a set of initials or a signature scrawled in a black frame surrounding the image.
If you are just starting out, though, or have an “amateur” style to your branding like I do, you may do well with something much simpler. Popping your image into an app like Snapchat and putting the translucent text bar across the image, exporting it and publishing it is a very accessible and mobile way to brand your images and lends a comfortable, casual style to your content.
Many adult content platforms also create their own watermark whenever you upload content. The platform I work for as staff model liaison, JustFor.Fans, gives you the option to use either your JFF username, your JFF URL and even to add an optional QR code. You can upload your content to your media center, and then download the watermarked option to use on your own page similar to how you can export out of Snapchat.
If you have a custom designed logo or graphic you decide to use as your watermark, you can add it using any editing software, such as Photoshop or Premier on the PC, or mobile apps such as Add Watermark Pro.
Have you been watermarking your content? I’d love to hear what works for you, and any creative watermarking techniques you would recommend for other creators! Leave a reply below, or reach out to us on social media – AdultMentors or AliceSkary on Twitter!