Are your online images secure?


I hadn’t planned on doing 2 posts in a single day, but after reading and contributing to this thread on, I thought it would be something that you would be interested in.

If you pay attention to the news (or have read the PentaxForums thread if you don’t), you will periodically learn about people who have posted their pics to one of the many photosharing sites out there in cyberspace (i.e. Flickr, PicasaWeb, etc.), only to have them stolen by unscrupulous people who use them, oftentimes commercially for either innocent or not so innocent purposes. This is a classic case of where the lawmakers of the world are way behind the rapidly advancing technology in terms of updating laws that will help curb this issue for photographers like you and me.

Until the laws catch up with the technology, it is up to us as individual photographers to protect ourselves. I have three suggestions that should give you more peace of mind when it comes to sharing your images with the world:

  1. Reduce the resolution size of the  images you upload to your favorite photo sharing site; 600×480 pixels is sufficient to allow for easy viewing on your computer screen, but will prevent anybody from making prints of any decent size. If you would like to save your original-sized images for printing out, it is possible to keep those, but create duplicate copies for uploading. If you’d like to do this batch-style, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a more advanced program like Photoshop Lightroom, I highly recommend Irfanview, as this is one of it’s strengths. It’s also FREE, which is always a good thing. Another good option with a few more bells and whistles is FastStone Image Viewer, also FREE.
  2. Check and see if your favorite image editor will allow you to add a watermark with your copyright info when you export your pictures for uploading. Of course, Lightroom will do this, but FastStone offers this capability, as well. Here’s an example of a watermarked image that I uploaded to Flickr just earlier this evening:
  3. Check your favorite photo sharing website to see if they have a setting making it impossible for other people to download your pictures. Since Flickr is my main photo sharing site, I have discovered that it is an option there. I wrote out a set of instructions for doing this that I shared with the folks on PentaxForums and I’ll share them with you, as well:
  •  At the top of your Flickr page, click on the “You” tab to get the drop-down menu. 
  • Scroll down and click on “Your Account”. Click on the “Privacy and Permissions” tab.
  • Under “Global Settings”, look for “Who can download your stuff” (the first option). Click on “edit” on the right side of the screen.
  • You’ll see that Flickr’s default setting is “Anyone (Recommended)”, which is at the bottom of the list of options. If you don’t want anybody besides yourself to download your images, then click on the radio button next to “Only You”, or one of the other buttons, if you want only you and select groups of people to have downloading privileges.
  • Once you’re done, click on the blue SAVE button.

Since doing all of the above, my mind is now more at ease about being able to confidently share my images online in a more secure manner. I hope that this will help you as well.  🙂


About Heather

I am a hobbyist photographer who dabbled in photography on and off from the time I was a teen, but started getting more serious about it in the late summer of 2007 when I signed up for a photography class through the Community Education program at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida and really got to understand how cameras really work--the rest history. Being a spiritually-minded person, I'm always looking for ways to integrate that with the rest of my life, including photography.

One response »

  1. All people have to do to steal your images is do a screen capture. This works, no matter what settings you’ve selected to prevent it, even if you have a no right click script on your pages. All those Flickr settings do is make your image the background and place a clear gif over them, so the uninitiated theif will get the clear gif if they try to save the image. But experienced web users know this. You can easily choose to save the background, too. Or they can right click, view source and get the direct path to the image and save it from there and the webpage preventative measures will have no effect. Face it, if you put your images on the web, sooner or later, someone is going to steal them, it’s a fact of life.

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