WordPress is used by a lot of photographers and artists which want to showcase their portfolio. These sites usually contain original artwork and images. In order to protect their work, they need WordPress watermark plugin.
Other people may copy those images and use them without permission. If you are a Web designer, photographer, graphic designer or just like to take and use your own photos on your blog, you know how valuable these images are.
There’s nothing like having your image copied and used on another website or blog without your permission. Images play a major role on the site. If you have excellent images in your post content, then you will notice those posts gain more user’s attention.
People like images. Without images the article seems boring and useless. Many visitors to site like to read content which contains great looking images. To solve image theft problem, most website owners add their own branding or watermark to images.
Having watermark on an image can increase the branding of your website. If someone uses your image on his blog, then the watermark will display your brand.
Watermarking implements branded design on your images. It tells the world that the work is yours. This won’t impact your visitors’ enjoyment of the pictures, as the watermark is only visible when examined up close.
However, the watermark makes it considerably more difficult for others to pass your work off as their own.
How to Protect Images With WordPress Watermark Plugin?
Using watermark plugin for WordPress, you can automatically protect your images from unauthorized usage.
This is particularly useful for those who use images extensively on their websites and blogs. Watermarking images is the best thing you can do to protect them from unauthorized usage.
WordPress enables you to watermark your images so that no one can use them without your permission. I mean, they still can copy images. But at least others will know from where image came from.
So, if you are using WordPress on your website, then you can take advantage of free WordPress watermark plugins. These plugins will automatically watermark your images saving you time and hassle.
1. Easy Watermark
Install and activate the Easy Watermark plugin. Upon activation, you need to go to Settings » Easy Watermark section in your WordPress admin to configure the plugin configuration.
Easy watermark settings page has three tabs. On the General tab, the first option is to automatically add watermark to images uploaded to your site.
After this, you can choose which image sizes to add watermark to. If you want to add watermark to your featured images, then don’t forget to check the box next to post-thumbnail under image sizes.
Once you are done setting up the general options, you need to save your settings and move on to the Image tab.
If you want to add an image as a watermark to your other images, then this is the place where you will upload your watermark image. You can choose the opacity of watermark, positioning, and scaling on this tab.
If you don’t want to add an image, but would rather add a text as watermark, then you need to click on the Text tab. You can enter the text you want to be displayed as a watermark, choose the font, font size, opacity, and positioning of the watermark text.
–Adding watermark to existing WordPress images
To add watermark on existing images, you need to go to Media » Easy Watermark and click on Add watermark to all images button.
NOTE: Please note that this process is irreversible.
–Adding Watermark to Images Manually
In case you don’t want to add watermark automatically to all uploaded images, Easy Watermark gives you the manual option. Go to Settings » Easy Watermark and make sure that the checkbox next to Automatically add watermark to images is unchecked.
After that you can go to Media » Library and add watermark to individual images by clicking on the add watermark link next to them.
–Removing watermark after it was added
There is an option to “remove” watermark by restoring the original image. Backup feature is disabled by default, you can enable it by going to “Settings > Easy Watermark”.
NOTE: This will use more space on your server due to the fact that the images will be stored twice. Only the full size image is stored in backup, thumbnails are regenerated during the restoring process.
To restore the original image just go to the attachment edit page. In the “Easy Watermark” meta box you can find the “Restore original image” button.
–Restoring original images after the plugin was uninstalled
The plugin doesn’t restore your images on deactivation/removal. Install the plugin again and restore your images before uninstalling.
If you don’t have a possibility to do this, you can manually restore your images. Go to wp-content/ew_backup in your WordPress main directory.
You need to copy all the files from ew_backup to uploads dir (it will ask you if you want to override the existing files, click YES). This will restore only the full-size images, so you need to use some other plugin to generate the thumbnails again (try Force Regenerate Thumbnails).
–Adding text and image watermark at once
There is a possibility to add only image, only text or both.
2. Image Watermark
Image Watermark allows you to watermark automatically images uploaded to the WordPress media library. You can also bulk watermark previously uploaded images.
The General Settings provides options on how to enable and apply the watermark. There are two ways to use the watermark: Automatic and Manual.
Automatic applies the watermark when a new image is uploaded. This option is useful for implementing the watermark on many images at once. Manual requires the user to select images in the Media Library to use the watermark. This option is useful for existing images.
NOTE: Hitting Apply multiple times will result in images having repeated watermarks.
The watermark will be located in an image by selecting a square in the grid. The watermark has several sizes options available. Original, Custom, and Scaled.
Original leaves the watermark in its initial uploaded size. Scaled adjusts the watermark image in proportion to the image being watermarked. Scaling can be changed using the sliding scale bar.
Custom allows for a particular size setting. Custom can only be configured if the custom option is selected and sizes are entered in the X and Y fields below.
Images may be protected by selecting from the options, Right-Click, Drag-and-Drop, Logged-in-users.
Selecting Logged-in-users will apply image protection options against users that are logged into the site.
Watermark image is permanent and becomes part of the image. Removing watermark is possible with image regeneration plugin like Regenerate Thumbnails. The only condition is you have to keep original, full sized images intact. As recommended in the plugin.
Paid WordPress Watermark Plugin Options
There are some other plugins available for WordPress, paid and free, which primary purpose is not to add watermark to images in WordPress.
They have been made for another purpose but also have watermark feature available. These plugins might be useful if you intend to extend your work with images.
#1 WordPress Photo Seller Plugin – PAID
A primary purpose of this plugin is to sell photos through WordPress website or blog.
WP Photo Seller plugin is useful to graphics designers and visual artists. It is also perfect for event photographers who intend to showcase the photos from weddings, sports, parties, etc.
This plugin has many features and as I already wrote about it, I will not repeat myself here. You can check my post where I have compared Photo Seller Plugin with other plugins and options to sell images online.
#2 The Watermark extension for Sell Media – PAID
Allows you to protect your images with one click using a watermark image of your choice.
You can choose to protect all large images on your site, or just those that you plan on selling using the Sell Media plugin. Simply check the “Watermark All Images” checkbox on the Settings page.
The extension doesn’t watermark the original source file (which is already protected if you’re using the Sell Media plugin). For best results, it is recommended to use PNG and make sure your watermark is smaller than your image.
This Watermark extension does not overwrite, create new images, or harm existing images. Images must be hosted locally, not on a CDN.
NOTE: For this extension, you need to have Sell Media plugin.
Both are photo gallery plugins that also include a watermarking feature. So if you’re looking to add stylish photo galleries to your blog and want to protect your images, these are for you. They’re both pretty advanced with tons of impressive features.
#4 Envira Gallery Plugin Watermark Addon – PAID
Envira Gallery is WordPress gallery plugin. It allows you to create beautiful and mobile friendly image galleries in your WordPress website.
Envira comes with a watermarking addon that makes it easy to add watermark to your WordPress images. Use code: WPB25 to get 25% off on on purchase.
Upon activation, head over to Envira Gallery » Addons page. Scroll down or search to locate the Watermarking Addon, and then install and activate it.
You can now add your images into responsive galleries with watermark. You can also change position and margin of the watermark image.
Some Tips to Protect Your Images
Google Images, photo sharing sites like Flickr and social bookmarking sites like Pinterest have made it even easier (and socially acceptable) to use images. Most people think that if an image comes up in a Google Images search, it’s free to use.
If you make a living through selling digital images, you’ll want to make sure that people aren’t getting your work for free. While there is no way of completely stopping people from using your images, you can make it more difficult or inconvenient for them.
If you need quality images, I strongly recommend using one of many subscription-based websites that provides subscribers with unlimited downloads of stock graphics, stock images, icons, buttons, backgrounds, textures and much more.
I personally use Stock Unlimited. For one low monthly fee, you can download and use as much content as you wish in virtually any project. No complicated licenses. No daily limits. No expiring credits. No additional fees.
# Disable Right-Click
The easiest way to download images is by right-clicking on them and selecting “save image”. While disabling this option still leaves ways to download images in other ways, if you disable this, you’ll put off less web-savvy visitors and people who don’t want to bother with the hassle of looking at your HTML or searching the browser cache.
It only affects right-clicking on images, so if users right-click on a link to open it in a new tab, for example, this won’t be affected. You can also choose to display a copyright message or another image when an image is right-clicked.
To protect your images entirely, you’ll also need to turn off the default image linking that occurs when you insert an image in WordPress. To do this just choose “none” in the “link to” drop-down box when you’re uploading your image.
If you are using WP Security plugin under Miscellaneous, you can find feature which allows you to disable the ability to select and copy text from your front end. I didn’t check, but I presume it works for images also.
# Add A Copyright Notice
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to put a copyright notice on your website content to protect it. Copyright is automatically owned by the creator, and you only need to register a copyright if you’re worried about someone claiming your work as their own.
Putting a copyright notice on your website is not the same as registering a copyright. But it can cause people to stop and realize they’re not actually allowed to download your images.
Most WordPress themes come with an inbuilt copyright notice in the footer.
A footer copyright notice is not normally very noticeable. WordPress suggests putting the following text in your sidebar so it is visible at all times:
© [Full Name] and [Blog Name], [Current Year or Year Range]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Your Name] and [Your Blog Name] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Keep in mind that most people dont care about copyright notice and by that it is probably less efficient way to prevent content theft.
# Add A DMCA Badge To Website
The DMCA offers free protection for your website. It includes a takedown service if you find someone using your images or other content without permission.
The DMCA will threaten legal action on your behalf. That usually scares infringers into taking down your content right away.
Putting a DMCA badge on your site can help as a preventive measurement. They also offer a free image watermarking service.
There is also a DMCA plugin available for WordPress that inserts the badge on all your website pages automatically.
# Disable Hotlinking
Disabling hotlinking does not stop people from downloading your images. It prevents visitors from embedding images in their own site by linking out directly to your website.
You can prevent hotlinking by editing your .htaccess file or by using WordPress plugin. Plugins like Hotlink Protection stop external web servers from linking to your files, while plugin like ByREV WP-PICShield replaces the hotlinked image with a warning message or another image of your choice.
If you are using CloudFlare service, then you can enable hotlinking from your CloudFlare dashboard for the desired site.
# Do A Reverse Image Search
While it’s not always possible to prevent people from using your images, in some cases they may stop using them on their website if you ask them.
Most web users do not realize that it’s illegal or even bad manners to take images that they find online. If you ask them to remove images, they’ll mostly comply.
You can find other sites that are using your images by using a simple trick in Google Images.
Go to images.google.com and click the camera icon in the search box to search by image. You can either enter a URL from your website, or you can drag an image from your computer.
Google will come back with all images that are visually similar. If you find your exact image, you can click through to the site and contact the owner.
You’ll need to do this individually for each image, so it is not practical. But it’s worth checking in on from time to time.
WordPress Watermark Plugin Summary
Adding a textual or image copyright watermark on photos will discourage most downloaders. Watermarking your images in an unobtrusive way is a good compromise for most people. While some web users may crop it out, the majority won’t bother with it.
To be on the safe side, it is best to use a semi-transparent image to watermark over the whole photo. So, which is the best free WordPress watermark plugin?
From what I have see, if you only need watermark feature, Easy Watermark plugin is the right choice. This plugin will do the job nicely.
If you would rather use some tool, try LunaPic, Watermark, Photoshop or any other tool available. How do you watermark images in WordPress? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!