Greater Yellowlegs and Copyright Watermarks

Greater Yellowlegs in a tidal lagoonGreater Yellowlegs with large copyright watermark

Which copyright watermark should I use? The small one that doesn’t detract from the Greater Yellowlegs or the larger one that would make it harder for image thieves to use?

The larger copyright watermark works okay on this image but with a busier background it might not. It would be more difficult to crop or clone it out. The small one detracts less but it is easier to clone or crop out.

Decisions, decisions.

This Greater Yellowlegs was photographed in a tidal lagoon at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach in Florida in October of 2008. I was photographing the Yellowlegs while sitting in the warm waters of the lagoon. You can sure see why they were named “Yellowlegs”!



  1. Jeannie October 8, 2013 at 9:36 am

    When I post my images on line, I do so at 72dpi, no side bigger than 800mm, and a quality of 5. In that way, no one can steal them for printing, as they would pixilate. AS for watermarks, i think that any experienced hacker could get rid of one. I prefer the smaller watermark, as IMHO the larger ones can detract from the beauty of an image.

  2. M. Firpi October 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I definitely like the big watermark logo. I know it could detract from seeing the image as it is, but I think the way you show it here is subtle and it doesn’t bother me at all.

  3. Montanagirl October 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I like the larger one. It’s subtle, but still gets the job done. Beautiful photo.

  4. Elephant's Child October 4, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Late to the party, and forming an echo. Do whatever you need to do. And your images draw my eyes, not the watermark (big or small).

  5. Merrill Ann Gonzales October 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Is there some way you can use the large watermark for images that you put on the internet… but keep the original clean for your own use? I expect that you will have to use a very visible watermark and even then it may not keep others from using your images. As far as I’m concerned, I feel you should do whatever you must to protect your interests. I think anyone interested in your photography would not be put off by the large visible watermark… and if they have honorable intent and would like the use of an image they can contact you for permission.

  6. Wally October 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm


    As you’ve seen from the comments, those of us who follow your photography for reasons other than thievery will support whatever decision you make. It just isn’t possible to take your talent away from you! You do what you deem is in your best interest. We’ll all be here anticipating the beauty of your art.


  7. Dick Harlow October 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I really enjoy both you and Ron’s images and feel sad that you have to deal with this issue. My recommendation is to use the large one on all your images that you post!

  8. Utahbooklover October 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I don’t like watermarks that overlap images — such a shame to detract that much from your beautiful work! Maybe a larger version of your corner watermark would work as a compromise. Check out Alan’s work for an example. Go to for some splendid examples.

  9. eric c11 October 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    hi mia
    about watermark, it doesnt mater for me to have a big watermark, the pleasure to discover the species is still the same
    however, i use 2 watermarks on most of my pictures, one in a corner, an other more transparent on a part of the subject itself, as my picture today
    see you soon, eric

  10. Glen Fox October 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Your watermark is the nicest in the business; a real work of art in itself. As others have said, its a shame that you have to do this. Mr Google sure isn’t helping. Its something all of us who post images to the web have to think about. A large watermark seems to be the recommended way to protect images from thieves. That said, scum seems to find a way to float to the top.

    I will enjoy and appreciate your images, talent and conviction whatever your choice.

  11. Chris Rohrer October 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Personally, I like that you share your images and I don’t think the second one distracts from the central image at all….plus it would really make it difficult for pirates to try and rid the pic of the watermark without destroying the image. I know that’s a big thing to you and if you are selling your pics, I’d use option 2:) My two cents:) Have a good weekend! Chris

  12. M. Bruce October 4, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Greetings Mia – It’s sad indeed that you feel the need for such a drastic measure and there is no question that the larger watermark would almost completely destroy the delicate beauty of your work, and at the same time it still would not prevent a determined thief. I hope you can find a way to keep the smaller version which I’ve always admired, especially how you blend and place it in the most unobtrusive way. Good luck Mia, I hope you find a solution that will remove the angst you feel over this. You are without question one of the most consistently successful bird photographers I know of and a continual inspiration for those of us that struggle to produce images that never seem to quite measure up.

  13. Carolyn Bishop October 4, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Use the big one. It doesn’t seem to interfere with the picture too much and will make your photo less appealing to steal.

  14. Pierre Cenerelli October 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Mia, Given how strongly you feel about this issue (I have read many of your past postings on this issue), I would suggest that you should use the larger watermark. It is indeed sad that you have to do so, but since it is hard to imagine that the thieves will suddenly cease their activities, you have to strike back. And I agree with a previous commentator who said that all we care about is being able to admire you fabulous photos! Good luck, I hope this works.

  15. Robert Draper October 4, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Use the larger one. I’ll bet most of us just love birds and can see past the mark to your beautiful (and well earned) photos.

  16. Lynn Koch October 4, 2013 at 9:06 am

    What a beautiful photograph, Mia. And I agree it is sad that photographers have to do this to protect their art (intellectual property. I think I would use the larger watermark. Your photography is excellent and thought provoking, and I love your photo narratives!

  17. Len Boeder October 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hi Mia,
    I think that you should do what you feel is necessary. I delight in your images and if you feel you need more protection I say go ahead.
    The larger copyright image wouldn’t prevent me from enjoying your images,

  18. patty chadwick October 4, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Mia–How sad you even have to think about making such a choice. Does it really make a difference which one you choose? Won’t the scum bags steal what they want no matter which one you use? Since common decency and preventive measures don’t seem to be effective, maybe more severe, effective punishment for ALL l those who participate and enable such blatant plagiarism might help. The beauty and talent of your work shows through whichever one you choose.

Comments are closed.