How to protect your images online

Whether you want to stop your professional photographs being published in a magazine without your consent, or you are keen to prevent your images being used in an online catfishing scam, it is worth knowing how you can best protect your images from theft.

Read everything

When sharing images on social networking sites, it is only too easy to skim past the terms and conditions and to go ahead and click accept. However, you could be giving the site the right to share and use your images in any way they see fit. Users do have more rights these days after there was a public backlash against some sites insisting on retaining full rights of any images uploaded to their sites, but it is wise to check before you place your images on a site.

Review your settings

Do you want the world to see you out partying with your friends at 3am, or would you prefer people like your boss didn’t have such a graphic insight into your social life? Firstly, be wary of what you post on line, and secondly, be careful about your online settings. If you would rather friends didn’t tag you in photos, make it so they can’t by clicking the appropriate setting. When you only want certain people to see specific images via your social network, again, review your settings and make sure they are precisely what you want them to be.

Sharing permissions

If you are sharing your images in a professional capacity on a site such as Flickr, make sure you have set the sharing permissions to a setting you are comfortable with. You can state that the image is not to be used in any capacity, can be used as is without any alteration with credit to you, or can be downloaded and edited by the user on the condition that credit is given to you.

Store them safely

If photography is your career, or you require a huge amount of storage, chances are you will be using a photo hosting site. When choosing the right photo hosting site for your needs, always ensure they are reputable and secure. The site you select may depend on how much storage space you require, and other vital factors, so it is worth exploring your options via a site such as that has a feature all about the Best Image Hosting Sites.


When sending samples of your work you could simply place a watermark on your image. There are some that dislike this old-fashioned method of protection as it draws attention away from the actual image. However when designed well, the right watermark can enhance an image while ensuring viewers know it belongs to you.

Taking steps to protect your images when they are stored, and when they are shared, can save you an incredible amount of frustration in the long term. Use these tips to ensure your images don’t appear anywhere you don’t want them to.