How to Protect Online Photos: Tips & Tricks

Hello Everyone,

Hope you enjoy our guest Author Maria Rainier’s article.  Please feel free to comment…we love comments and it’s a great way to let other’s know how you protect your images online.  Or just say Hello!  We like that too 🙂

How to Protect Online Photos: Tips & Tricks

With new technologies developed every day, it’s exciting to think about the new ways of protecting online images that will become available in the future. But as we’ve already found with current ways of circumventing image snatchers, new deterrents engender new hacker solutions within a matter of hours. The best way to keep your images from being stolen is to refrain from putting them online, but many photographers generate a lot of business through their websites. Fortunately, there are some fairly effective ways to keep your images from being stolen, but an experienced hacker can get through to any content with enough determination and time. For this reason, it’s best to keep your best photos offline and to use multiple deterrents on each image you post on your website. To find out how to protect your photos, check out the following tips on five different types of deterrents.


This type of protection means a lot of work even for a determined image snatcher – the thief must have a good knowledge of PhotoShop or similar software and be able to cut out the watermark without damaging the photo. Even the smallest change looks enormous when printed at a reasonable size, so using watermarks is a good safeguard to start with. You may not like displaying watermarked photos, but if you’re serious about protecting your work, it takes more effort to remove a watermark than it does to disable JavaScript. You can even create your own watermarks for free using Picmarkr or WaterMark.

Invisible Watermark

Creating an invisible watermark will take a bit of an investment, but it embeds identifying information into your photos so that they can be found if they’re copied from your website. This means that you’ll be able to prove beyond any doubt that a stolen image is from your website, enabling you to take legal action as needed. You can create invisible watermarks with services like Digimarc or Eikonamark.

Shrink Wrap

This is a clever idea, but taking a screen shot is an easy way to beat it – so make sure you disable PrtScn if you use this as your primary protection. The idea is that you use a clear overlay for all your photos so that when someone copies your image, the only thing that winds up on their clipboard is your overlay (or shrink wrap). However, because the overlay allows visitors to view the unaltered image beneath it, a simple screen shot will capture the entire page – from there, it’s just a few minutes in Paint from being cropped down to your image. Use shrink wrap over a watermarked image for an especially effective combination of deterrents.

Disable Right Click/PrtScn

You’ll need to have knowledge of JavaScript or CSS if you’re going to use this option – or you can hire someone who has that knowledge and can put it to work for you. Disabling right click and the Print Screen key prevents people from copying your images – in theory. However, be aware that there are hackers who can turn off JavaScript, use unconventional screen shot methods, and use uncommon browsers that might enable them to steal your photos more easily.

Low-Res Images

This is probably both the easiest and the most effective way to keep your online photos safe. Simply use PhotoShop or similar software to reduce the size and quality of your images so that if they’re copied, they’ll be blurry and grainy if enlarged or printed. It’s pretty tough to get around this type of photo protection, and you’ll still be able to display your images without distorting them – they’ll just have to be small low-res photos. Customers will still be able to see what they’ll be getting from you and hackers will generally turn to less well-protected sources for their images.

Public Domain Example:



Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various kinesiology degree programs and blogging about student life issues. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


4 Comments on “How to Protect Online Photos: Tips & Tricks”

  1. This is a great handful of tips! I’ve learned some new stuff, too. I mostly just reduce my photos to max 600px on the longest side and add a very small watermark in the corner, so I hope that’s enough!
    Thanks for this great post!

    • Sounds good Kai….also make your photo 72dpi so people can’t print them. In the middle of January I’m going to post some information on how I protect my images 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  2. ML says:

    Hello Janice,

    I learned some new ones but in the end the absolute best way without any doubt is to copyright them. It isn’t expensive as well. I just thought I would add one to be of help.


    • Thank you so much for the comment!! Yes, I agree with you. This way if there is any problems with someone stealing your photograph you have the law behind you with documentation. Please feel free to comment anytime. 🙂

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