Protect Your Photos

How to stop others from stealing your photographs

It is disconcerting to open a stranger’s web page and come face to face with your own photographs. It is even worse to see your work being sold by someone else. There is no foolproof way to prevent a determined thief from copying your photographs from the web. However, if you are a grandparent who wants to share the grand kids’ pictures with friends and relatives, without spending a fortune, there are a few things you can do to prevent others from selling your work.

First, make your pictures unattractive to thieves.

At SketchPad, we use Photoshop, but any photo-editing software can do similar things. When you look at your image size, you will see it described in 3 ways:

Pixels. Tells you how many pixels wide and high your photo will appear on the screen. The higher the numbers the bigger the photo will appear. For this example, I will be working with a photo that we used on Facebook a short time ago. We set the pixels to be 640 pixels wide. The original photo was 4288 pixels wide—way too large for Internet use! The wall pane in Facebook is 520 px, so my photo will display a little larger than that. Here’s the photo at 640 pixels.

Image 1

Next is the image size. You will see the width and height in inches (or other units of physical measure that you may have set). This tells you how wide the photograph will be when printed. You can print a photograph about 25% larger than this size. Larger than that, quality goes down and looks terrible. You can use this to your advantage in protecting your images. The picture above is 8.889 inches wide when printed. No one would ever need this photo larger than this. Compare the screen quality with this one.

Image 2

Can you tell that his one is only 2.133 inches when you print it? Enlarging it to 3 inches looks too jagged to use.

The third setting is for resolution. Actually you should set this one first for best results. Resolution is a measure of how many dots you can shove together in a single line. For image 1 above that is only 72 dots per inch. That resolution is too low for high quality printing but is fine for screen. In fact, you can reduce resolution way down to say 10 dpi. It still looks okay, but if you check the print size, it’s over 64 inches wide! I don’t believe anyone wants to mess with that.

Image 3

The best dpi for printing is around 300 dpi. It gives sharp details and crisp colors. That is the dpi of photo 2. Yes, the little 2 inch photo. In other words, any of these photos will be unattractive to anyone looking to print or sell your photographs.

Here’s another surprise. The original file size as the photo came off the camera was 3.08 megabytes. That would take forever to load and display on a website! That’s why I haven’t shown you that one! The others file sizes are exactly the same—only 136 kb.

Which is the best method for sizing your Internet images?

Take your pick. All of these setting will make your photographs useless for printing. If a photograph doesn’t print well, it can’t sold which affords some protection from theft. Remember to check your camera’s resolution. Use low res for the web and high res for printing work. Never upload your photos straight into your web or social media site.

Tip:

If you didn’t get all this, make sure your web designer knows how to take care of it for you. It’s part of the job.

For more information on this topic, subscribe to our site, or check back often for more methods to keep your photos safe.