Digital Watermarks: Surprising Ways the 2 Types of Watermarking Improve Your Photography

What can digital watermarks do for you?

Digital watermarks became increasingly popular when sharing information on the world wide web became a usual activity. When sharing files like images online, there’s no way for you to know if someone uses them without your permission. To avoid unauthorized use of your files, you can post in the worst quality or not publish anything valuable at all. It isn’t really an excellent way to solve the problem of an unauthorized use, is it? Hence, it would be best if you were on the lookout for more effective ways to protect your copyright, such as digital watermarks (like what these realtors are doing.)


Digital watermarks refer to a pattern of bits embedded into a digital file – audio, image, or video. These messages usually have the copyright information of the file.

Digital watermarking is named after the watermarking of money or paper. But the key difference between them is that digital watermarks are intended to be invisible, or at least not to change the perception of the main file, not like paper watermarks, which are designed to be quite visible.

Types of Digital Watermarks and Their Uses

Digital watermarks help photographers to secure their photographs in today’s digital world. There are many different ways to watermark an image digitally, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a look at every form of digital watermark used in today’s images.

Types of Digital Watermarks

Digital watermarks can be divided into two specific categories: visible watermarks and invisible watermarks. As the descriptions suggest, visible watermarks can be clearly seen, and invisible watermarks are hidden. Visible watermarks are also known as transparent watermarks, and invisible watermarks are often referred to as hidden or covert watermarks.


Visible Watermarks

Visible watermarks typically take the form of a semi-transparent image overlaid on the initial image. The image typically includes the company or name of the photographer holding the copyright for the image. Still, it may consist of additional information, such as the year or the copyright mark. Because the image is semi-transparent, it is visible, but it still lets the viewer see the original image.

Digital watermarks can also promote your work.

When superimposing a logo or image as a visible watermark, it’s vital to ensure the superimposed image can’t be easily cropped from the photo. The semi-transparent logo or image that’s superimposed should cover most of the photo or an important part of it, such as wildlife in a nature shot or a person’s face in a portrait.

Invisible Watermarks

Invisible watermarks are embedded in the image and are meant to remain invisible under regular viewing. They are only accessible through specialized applications. There are different types of invisible watermarks:

  • superimposing a logo or image but keeping it really transparent so that it is not recognizable.
  • flipping the lowest-order bit of specific pixels, which would only work if the photo is not modified and, even then, is usually too basic to be useful
  • Spatial watermarking, which uses a watermark to a specific color band so that the watermark is only visible when the colors are separated, like for printing.
  • Frequency watermarking uses a watermark to a particular frequency, so it is visible only when that frequency is separated.

Among these on the list, frequency and spatial watermarking are the most frequently-used invisible watermarks.

When doing frequency watermarking, the digital watermark is best placed on either a low frequency or a frequency critical to the photograph. High frequencies are usually lost in scaling and compression, and the digital watermark would likewise be lost if the frequency it was applied to is lost.

The Uses of Visible Watermarks

The strength and effectivity of visible watermarks lie in their instant claim of ownership. The ideal visible watermarks clearly tag the image with the copyright holder’s name and, thus, destroy any commercial value for people who would use the image illegally. Because the watermarks state the copyright owner’s name, they could also be used for marketing and promotional purposes.

The Uses of Invisible Watermarks

Invisible watermarks are used to prove the validity of the image and recognize the copyright owner’s rightful ownership. Since they are more challenging to locate and erase than visible watermarks, invisible watermarks are notably useful when searching for and prosecuting unauthorized image use. They can serve as proof that an individual has violated copyright claims, which will make it easier to pursue copyright litigation and obtain royalties.

Invisible watermarks may also be used to track an image and identify the source of each publishing. The copyright holder, distributor, and user name of the photographer can all be embedded in the invisible watermark of the image. 

What are the Characteristics of Digital Watermarking? 

Digital watermarking will usually have the following key features:

It Can Be Proven

Digital watermarking should be able to provide accurate and credible proof of ownership of protected information items. The digital watermark can recognize the embedded relevant information (such as a number of registered customers, product branding or significant text, etc.) of the owners and, where possible, extract the information. Digital watermarking can differentiate between the security of objects and the ability to track the transmission of protected data, the authority and the control of unauthorized copies. This is the primary driving force behind the creation of digital watermark technology.

Not Easily Removed

The digital watermarking on the images should not be easily removed by any means or software.


Permanence is a critical aspect of digital watermarks. Digital watermarking should still be identifiable and still provide enough evidence of copyright even after several various geometric and physical distortion, including intentional or unintentional (such as image compression, copying and scanning, changes in size, and so on).

Photographers always needed to take steps to safeguard their work. In today’s digital age, digital watermarking, even free watermarking using Watermarquee, gives protection for photographers. It gives them a lot of ways to identify, prevent, and prosecute the unauthorized use of their images.

Start watermarking today to protect your online images from being used without your permission.