I've become a bit of a Pinterest addict again after not having used it for several months. It is a wonderful source for inspiration of all kinds, and you can find some interesting stuff there. Very interesting, indeed. A few days ago, I looked through someone's board of wintery images when suddenly I saw a photo that looked somehow familiar. It was one of those "uploaded by user" ones with no link or reference whatsoever. I could see a little watermark on it, though, so I clicked on it to view it in a bigger size, curious why it looked so familiar. Well, when I saw the watermark, I knew why it had looked so familiar - it was my own photo!
I had taken this photo and uploaded it to Flickr about 2 years ago. I haven't used Flickr in quite a while now, and never renewed my Pro account after it expired over a year ago. Apparently, the photo was uploaded to Pinterest about 3 weeks ago. Where that user got the photo from, I don't know. Is it still visible in some Flickr group pool, even though in my own photostream, only the latest 200 of my 1500+ photos are visible? And how did they manage to download it in the first place, considering that I disenabled downloading from Flickr? I really have no idea.
Up- and downloading photos and sharing them on sites like Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. is ever so easy these days. Unfortunately, relevant information such as references to owners and creators, credits and links back to the original website get forgotten and lost even easier.
For some time now I have become more careful about how and what I repin on Pinterest. I try to follow back every photo I like to see if it links to the original website with all the relevant information provided. If it only links to back to one Tumblr site after another, I don't repin it, even if, as in some cases, the artist is mentioned. Unfortunately, there are so many rather 'careless' pinners, and I can only imagine that these people are neither painters, photographers or otherwise active creatives - or they would be much more aware of how much time and effort goes into creating a painting, art journal page, photograph etc. and how one would like to be given the credit for ones work. And there are also many people who would actually like to know who the artist of a certain photograph, artwork etc. was, but with no information whatsoever, it is simply impossible to find out.
This is why I've started, soon after I got my first DSLR, joined Flickr, and started learning about photo editing, to add a watermark to my photos. I know that there are a lot of people who are not very fond of watermarks, but then there are also a whole lot of people out there who don't care where a photo comes from, so it is up to you to make sure that you put the information right on it and to get the credit for it that you deserve.
And it's really no big deal to add a watermark. And you can even be creative with that too. I use a PNG file I created in Photoshop Elements to slide over any photo in no time. You can even use one those free and easy to use photo editing sites like PicMonkey to add text.Personally, I think the best waterwark is your blog/website address, but unfortunately when I created my blog, I chose a rather long and inconvenient name, so I just use my "name" instead and hope that if someone googles it, it will lead back to the right source. It's easy to create a watermark in f.ex. Photoshop, and you can find numerous tutorials for them.Whatever you use, just make sure it has your name on it.