Monday, August 27, 2012

@SocialSprite 's Social Networking @NWCreativeUnion

Protect your images online so you can use Pinterest worry free

Pinterest seems to be the social network made for visual artists. It’s all about the image. But some artists have been afraid to share their work there or allow anyone else to do so. This week I’ll list some ways that artists can protect their work online. Next week’s article will show some creative ways artists can use Pinterest to market their work.

Here is a list of things artists can do to protect their work and get it in front of as many people as possible.

Make it small. First any image of your work that you have online should be a low resolution file, no more than 72 dpi. This means it will be too small for anyone to replicate as a print.

Use watermarks. Put a watermark of your name and contact info, like your web address, on the image so people can’t use it and always know who to contact for permission and a higher quality file. Be careful to not obscure the image so much that people can’t view it well enough to know if they would buy it.

Be metadata smart. Metadata is data about data. Photo metadata is the data embedded in a photo file. The information stored in the file can include your name, copyright, contact information, etc. Learn more about this from You can learn how to use this effectively on the Metadata 101 page.

Don’t allow lifting. If you really don’t want to share your images you can disable the right-click function on your website. But if you do all of the above I don’t think you have worry. The more people that share your work the more your name gets out there.

Monitor your images online. Learn where your images are going and make sure that you are being credited. You can do this with a reverse image search. This search is done with image recognition technology and not with keywords, watermarks, or metadata. Go to Google Image search and click on the little camera icon in the search box. From there you can add the image URL or upload the image you want to search. If you use Google Chrome you can right-click on any image to do a search. You can also use TinEye, an innovator of this technology. TinEye also has plug-ins for all the popular browsers.

And if that wasn’t enough here’s more on copyright and some of what I mention above from Carolyn E. Wright, a/k/a the Photo Attorney® in her article:

Next week I’ll share some ideas on how artists can best utilize Pinterest to market their work.

For more information on what I do, please check out my New World Creative Union profile.


  1. Great tips here. Having Google Image search available has given visual artists an excellent tool to check for infringement. Out tattoo artists have used this effectively to locate instances of misrepresentation and out-right theft, and to have such sites shut down, and knock-off artists exposed.

  2. Thank you Steve! Good to hear that the tools are making a difference to artists.