I started blogging over four years ago because I wanted to learn the art of tablescaping. I had been posting photos of my home and decor at HGTV's Rate My Space and really had gotten tired of the mean and nasty comments people would routinely leave, not just for me but for others as well. Blogging seemed to be such an encouraging and positive community. And it has been.
When I started my blog, I never watermarked my photos. First, I thought no one would possibly ever "steal" my photos, and not doing facebook, etc., I honestly was not concerned about it.
Once I started my facebook page and pinterest came about, I noticed my photos (particularly these I have posted here) being posted over and over again on pages that were growing by leaps and bounds and hundreds of thousands of followers, while I could post the same photo, which belonged to me, and literally lose followers. Not only did I not get credit, when comments were posted asking for the source, they would be deleted and comments banned directing them to me, or other blog/photo owners. I had already started adding my blog name to new photos, but at that point went back and watermarked older photos as well with a really obnoxious watermark. However, it did not make a difference since so many were already being circulated.
The last straw for me was when I discovered entire posts had been stolen and used for profit on other websites. It's one thing to share without giving credit, but to make a profit on someone else's work is stealing. I even found my photos stolen with the watermarks sloppily removed on large company websites. I was honestly really angry, but there wasn't much I could do about it.
I finally settled on this watermark below, which clearly identifies the photo as mine and includes the URL for someone who sees it on facebook, pinterest, etc.
As you can see, it's not fully opaque and small, but clearly marks me as the owner. Although, there are people who will just crop that out. I see it All. The. Time.
So, while I have barely held my ground not only here on the blog, but also on facebook and pinterest, my photos have been shared and shared and pinned without anyone ever knowing where they came from.
I have worked hard--especially the last year trying not only to grow my blog and page, but to give people an alternative to spending a lot of money decorating a home. Having recently had a beautiful 3,800 sf house and money to decorate it, I know firsthand how possible it is to make 1,500 sf into a warm and welcoming home with virtually no budget, and limitations that would drive most people insane. I want to share that.
I also have enjoyed this being such a positive and encouraging community. Since the beginning, I have moderated comments mostly to avoid spam, which I get lots of, but also to keep track if someone asks a question or comments on an older post. I honestly did not get a negative comment until last week, and it was about my watermark being distracting, but became hurtful when I chose not to publish the comment, at which point more comments were submitted, which I ultimately chose to delete. I had planned to address the comment in a post on watermarking, but had not gotten to it.
That said, it's my prerogative to publish comments or not. If a comment does not add to the post, or attacks me in some way, I don't have to publish it. There seems to be nothing but negative out there in the world, and I want people to visit here and have a little escape from anything discouraging.
I try really hard to not do or say anything that will offend or hurt anyone...ever. However, I can't ultimately control how people perceive me or how they take what I write here. All I can do is hope that at least one person is encouraged or uplifted in some way and has a better day because of it.
So...to sum things up -- I watermark the way I do for a reason. I'm sorry if anyone is offended or distracted by the watermarks, but they are there for a reason and they are my photos.
Also, I have an email address listed under the "contact"page that can be used for communication that might be personal in nature.
Ultimately, I hope people come by here and see something they don't see anywhere else and are encouraged to use what they already have to make their own homes better. It's pretty simple really.
I appreciate and value each and every one of you who stop by and leave comments, and I hope you will continue to visit:-)