Have you ever looked at photos and noticed an annoying, kinda faded image or text on it? That's what's known as a "watermark." Trust me, it's not there for the purpose of annoying you--it's to protect the ownership and intellectual property of the photo's creator.
I'm sure you all know that folks do crazy things like steal other people's images from the Internet to pass off as their own or (even worse) manipulate the pictures. Because of such bad intentions, the use of watermarks has become very commonplace in the modeling industry, especially on the photographer side of things.
So how does this subject apply to models? Well, for one thing, freelance models in particular should care that they are taking the proper steps to make sure their photos are safe and difficult for someone else to rip off or misuse. Unlike represented models, there is no agency acting as the middleman, shopping around a model's images to clients in a safe way. Freelance models have to submit their own photos directly to potential clients, which does come with some risk.
Unfortunately, a small handful of "clients" that look for freelance models are guilty of ripping off images from models that submit to their castings. In most of these cases, they obviously were never offering a real gig in the first place--the post merely served as a way for them to receive modeling pictures that they can then take advantage of.
Watermarking, however, serves as a barrier to prevent the chances of something like that from happening. There are a few different ways to use watermarks on modeling photos and it's up to personal preference as to how models end up using it on their own pictures.
Below are a few samples of watermarks and how they can appear on photos:
In addition to discouraging abuse of images online, having a watermark is also an opportunity for photographers to advertise their company name, website, etc. to people looking at the picture. So it has a double purpose that is a win-win for the owner of the photo.
My best piece of advice for models interested in placing watermarks on their pictures is to use the name of the photographer, his/her website or logo (if the photographer has one). Any of these versions works well as a watermark.
Wondering just how to put a watermark on your pictures or have other questions about them? I've got another post right after this one that will answer all those questions and concerns.