A photograph you take is copyrighted immediately upon creation. There is no need to register your copyright or even to display of your copyright notice in order for you to enjoy copyright privileges. When you display your photographs in a public setting, however, it's a good idea to add a copyright notice to the image to let others know the photograph is copyrighted and who the copyright belongs to. This can be done using a digital watermark.
Open any image editing software that has the ability to create a watermark. There are several image programs that do this (see Resources). A watermark is text or an image applied to a document that shows up at a lighter opacity than the document itself, meaning the watermark is partially see-through. Watermarks are typically used to protect an image or other document from being copied without purchase or permission.
Add a watermark by going to the "Insert" menu of an appropriate program and selecting the "Watermark" option. When the dialogue box opens, type in the text you want for your watermark. An example of a proper copyright notice is the letter "C" in a circle followed by "2010 John Doe."
Adjust the opacity of the watermark. This determines how visible the copyright notice will appear. The lower the opacity, the less visible the mark will be. The mark should be visible but not distracting from the image. Start with a 30 percent opacity. If this is too light, raise the opacity level a little at a time.
Save your watermarked image with a different file name so you don't overwrite your original.
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