Friday, January 25, 2013


If you decide to post photos of your child, especially your child with a disability, on the internet, please watermark them!  

I've had several cases of photos being stolen recently, and I've been able to address the issue because all my photos, even on Facebook, have the web address of this site on them.  A number of other blogging moms have asked for how-tos, so this is my two cents.

While I'm no lawyer or photoshop expert, I can offer links that have helpful watermarking advice, and advice on how to search for your photos online.  This advice is for any parent who blogs about their child, although the Down syndrome community seems like a particular photo-stealing target.  Many well-meaning groups post very nice things about kids with Down syndrome, but they take the photos from the internet, without acknowledging watermarks, copyrights, or the fact that some of us just would rather be asked before you post our kid's face for hundreds of Facebook fans.

This post is inspired by a recent event in which I found that a photo of my child had dozens of shares, 700 "likes" on just one page, and I never knew anything about it.  The photo was taken via Google image search, and the page owner did remove the photo upon request, but it was a pain and I'd prefer for strangers not to take my pictures.  I know there are inherent risks when you post your child's photo, but here's what I've been doing to protect myself and my daughter.

How do I find my photographs online?

Here's the link for Google's instructions.

Here's my summary:
1. Click on the image you're looking for from your own blog.  It should pop up in a window all by itself.  Here's an example of the address for one of my images:

2. Copy that loooong link and paste into into google search.  Guess what?  Nothing will come up.

3. Then, click on "search by image."  You'll find your own blog.  In the case of the photo above, I also found it on Pinterest.  No biggie.  I've found other images of mine on random Facebook pages, etc, and have been able to ask the owners to remove them.


Now, watermarks.

Here's a tutorial from Lexi.

Here's a fancy way to do it in photoshop.

Or, something in between.  I picked a font to make a brush of my web address.  Now, I can apply my handy watermark in any size, quickly.  In the photo example above, I hadn't mastered the "big and bold" watermark yet, so theoretically, someone could crop my photo.

What photos do I check?  I have hundreds!

I'm glad you asked.  Most of my stolen photos have been photos that were popular searches.  Here's how I found them.

Go into your Blogger stats.  If you don't use blogger, I am not much help.  Look at your traffic sources. In the top row (with the direct links), you might find a link like that starts with ""  Click it.  It will take you to the Google image result that led someone to your page.  If you frequently find the same image as a search result, that's one I'd reverse search.

I've found my photos on a Brazilian website, and on Facebook fan pages for various Down syndrome groups.  The "reverse search" will also take you to Pinterest saves, but as long as they link back to my site, that's not a big deal to me.

I hope this answered your questions!  Happy photographing and blogging!
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  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing. My Ellie's pic has been stolen many times in the past, but it has gone down significantly since I started to watermark.

  2. It´s true an awfull comunity in Facebook Costa Rica calling " Apoyamos niños con Síndrome de Down" they are asking for money using her pictures and lot of DS childs pictures, please, water mark your childs pictures before used them on internet.


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