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10 Tips On Watermarking a Photograph – Watermark is Art.

10 Tips On Watermarking a Photograph – Watermark is Art
by Darwin Zialcita

There has been an issue stirring about the photograph property rights lately within my photography group. In fact it has been a perennial dilemma since digital photography existed. I for example, have been a victim of plagiarism when random people claim that a photograph of mine belongs to them. That is why I decided to write about it.

First, let us admit it, once it is online — it’s going to become everybody’s property. Social media would spread the photo you upload like wildfire and there’s nothing you can do to stop it from being downloaded and used by others. That is why professional digital photographers watermark their images.

However a lot of photographers think that watermarking an image is just an easy task by batch processing it, a watermark should always be well thought of. Honestly, I really am not a fan of watermarks that are huge and bold. They are obtrusive and they ruin the beauty of the image. Who wants a grotesque image that looks like a stolen stock photo?

Let me share some tips on proper watermarking.

1. Minimalism – a very small font text at the corner of the image is the best looking watermark. This is very common and it is the most professional looking of all methods. You can write all the Exif info of the photograph or even just your nickname. This method is very clean and unobtrusive, however this method can be easily be cropped by any plagiarizer.

2. A watermark is a part of the photograph. – Yes, it is not just a text you randomly put over your image. Whenever you take a photo, consider where you will put your watermark in your post processing. The watermark should part of the composition when taking a photo. As a magazine photographer, I imagine where the writer will add his paragraphs, sometimes I put enough space for and overcast sky, a clean tarmac or a very blurred background with a smooth bokeh – a very nice place to put a watermark.

3. The watermark is still art, follow rule of thirds. – place it in a way that is pleasing to the eye, not just sticking it dead centre into the photo. See also number 2.

4. Imagine what a plagiarizer will do.Think like a criminal to catch a criminal. Imagine how a photo thief will crop your photo. Put your watermark in a way that when the person crops away your watermark, the image would be utterly useless. Put it also in a way where a clone stamp will be hard to use.

5. Typography!!! – A watermerk is usually made of a text, choose the right font. Observe proper kerning, font size, not too fancy, not too boring, very readable and never use comic sans. Typography is a whole new world in graphic design. Google “typography” and you will know what i mean.

6. Colourwhite is the safest colour for a watermark. But, you still have the freedom to choose your colour as long as it blends with the photo. Put your watermark over the part of the photo where it can be easily be visible. If it is white, put it over a smooth and dark area of the photo, like the vignette at the corner. I like using white watermarks even on bright photos, sometimes I use the burn tool to darken the area just to put my white watermark over it.

7. Be creative with the name – choose a nice name for your watermark that best describes you and your photograph. You can use your real name, your company’s name or just a nickname. Some photographers write the photo description with the whole EXIF data and some do put their URL or twitter account. If you are a fashion photographer, you can just put the name of the model. Nothing wrong with that. Depends on the purpose of the photo.

8. Use opacity – I usually forget this but this helps a lot if you want your watermark be inscopicuous.

9. Try to consider Creative Commons – it allows you to license your photographs. It is like copyrighting for the general public and artists. Try to research more about The Creative Commons if you are interested.

10. KEEP THE ORIGINALS! – Before adding watermark always have a copy of the ORIGINAL! Many fall into this dodgy trap. Batch automating 1000 photos with watermarks then realize you made a wrong spelling on your name. You are going to have a bad time. You can use automators like ACDSee Pro (very reliable), Picasa, Lightroom, and the very mighty Photoshop.

Hope you liked my short article. Watermark responsibly!

darwin zialcitamotogp photographer

darwin zialcita
motogp photographer

Darwin Zialcita is a professional MotoGP and racing photographer from the Philippines. Also fan of extreme sports, outdoor sports, contact sports and travel photography.

Wallpaper Calendar 2013

Wallpaper Calendar 2013

darwin zialcita motogp photographer valentino rossi sepang philippines malaysia ducati tags

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi on a Ducati, Sepang, Malaysia 2012.
Canon 7D, 300mm f4: IS USM, 1/400sec f/4 ISO 200

Calendario APR Calendario Mar FEB 2013

[Click image to enlarge and download]

1440×900 Wallpaper

Calendario Aug 2013 Calendario Jul 2013 Calendario Jun 2013 Calendario MAY Calendario SEPT 2013

Casey stoner, motogp, repsol, honda, sepang, darwin zialcita, motogp photoprapher

Casey stoner, motogp, repsol, honda, sepang, darwin zialcita, photoprapher

Marc Marquez Repsol honda Hand Guard canon 7d 300mm f4

Marc Marquez Repsol honda Hand Guard canon 7d 300mm f4

Happy Racing MotoGP Lorenzo yamaha

More fun in the Philippines set

The Department of  Tourism launched a new advertising campaign saying “it’s more fun in the Philippines”, they made it viral and encouraged Filipinos all over the internet to support the new slogan.

Here’s the original ad:

And I have decided to join the party too. :)


News Moto Magazine | 1st Issue Preview

News Moto, a new motorcycle racing magazine in the Philippines, did some lay-outing and put my photography in it.


MotoGP Photography, Project 85, Darwin Zialcita


News Moto, MotoGP Photography, Project 85, Darwin Zialcita


News Moto, MotoGP Photography, Project 85, Darwin Zialcita

New 2012 Project 85 calendar is out! Racing for a cause.

A beautifully crafted 6 page 8″ x 5.5″ glossy calendar for your desk. Hand made and well designed in-house.

For PH friends, you can order one for only Php150.00 + shipping.

For the rest of the world, it’s only US$10.00 + shipping.

For orders, email me at for inquiry or leave a comment on or facebook page:

All proceeds will go the the Racing Ministry, supporting out of school youngsters at the grassroot level of motorcycle racing.

Project85 faithfully supports Philippine racing sport and racing talents. Such as Mokoy Ancheta, J.E. and many more (only moral support for now LOL),

Our dream is to bring PH talents to international level and be a Christ-like example to the aspiring youth. Get a calendar and help a talent!

My Canon 40D has gone 57,023 clicks and counting!

A status message by a friend of mine says that he is selling his Canon 50D and one of the specs shows that it has gone 4,000 snaps in its lifetime; it made me reckon how much I have gone with my Canon EOS 40D. I wanted to know my camera’s actuation, but I did not really know how to. Canon has no way of displaying its shutter count, unlike Nikon which displays the shutter count on the EXIF file of every photograph.

Actuation, or shutter count is the number of shots taken by the camera in its whole lifetime – it is basically the mileage of your camera. Most manufacturers rate their DSLR’s at a limit of 100,000 actuations; some models are rated at 150,000.  This does not mean that your camera will die when it reaches the 100K mark, it just means that your camera has a certain lifespan. It also means that your SLR is just more likely to be prone to failure or mechanical malfunction.

A DSLR’s mechanism is made of tiny precision moving parts such as mirrors, shutters and sensors, the forceful snaps and vigorous flips of the mechanisms, like any mechanical device will eventually get stuck or fail. But it does not mean that your camera will die at 100,000.

I do know one way to check a Canon’s actuation, it is a simple effortless app called EOSinfo by it is free to download, but they do accept donations. However it is for Windows only at the moment, Mac users will have to use an older version, the 40D Shutter Count from the same creator of the former. It still works well though.

I downloaded this file, connected my Canon EOS 40D to my laptop and a bunch useful info appeared in the window:  the serial number, firmware and the shutter count. Lo and behold, what I was expecting to be less than 10,000 appeared to be a colossal amount of 57,023! I know it’s not that huge for some photographers and I know many who reached 100,000+ and have their cameras give up on them, I still hope that my camera would not give up on me soon!

That is 3.5 years of photography, 6 countries, 4 MotoGP races, 100+ local races, sports events, 20+ surf competitions, scuba diving and trekking. Those are all outdoor activities, in which treacherous conditions apply with a touch of  formidable enemies such as seawater, sun block, ultraviolet light, dirt, sand and rain.

Camera care is very essential to prolong a camera’s life. First of all it is important that you read the manual. I have to stress so much on reading that piece of Japanese documentation because it remover your fear on touching those weird buttons. The first thing I did upon purchasing my 40D is read the manual cover to cover twice while waiting for my plane in the airport, studied all buttons, functions and usage.

I know some people pay no attention to the manual and overlook its essential and cool functions because it is actually boring and technically painstaking to read all that jargon. But I tell you, your $1,000 camera can do far more greater things that you can imagine if only you read the manual.


Cleaning the camera is also very important, especially after it has gone through harmful elements such as sea water, sun block, dirt and mud. Although modern SLRs are weather proof / dust sealed and made of plastic/magnesium alloy to prevent corrosion; camera care is still very important to protect it from button malfunction, sensor damage and other aesthetic blemishes. A lighter fluid is harmless or a semi damp microfiber cloth would be OK for external parts. There is also an array of lens cleaners for the internal parts, but you have to be careful on the mirrors and sensors as they are very sensitive.

I am guilty of negligence too, there are some circumstances where I had no choice but to storm through the weather just to take once in a lifetime photographs, but I always made sure that I had to clean it right after. In these moments, a camera bag is important to protect it from shock, dirt and moist. It is also a good way to keep your SLR body and lenses organized when not in use.

I noticed that my camera has never experienced fungi, an airtight cabinet is ideal for camera storage like the ones you see in camera shops, however those beautiful cupboards are quite expensive for a hobbyist. Stowing your camera in a camera bag will suffice and put in small packets of silica gel into its compartments. Silica gel absorbs moisture that causes organisms such as fungi. You can find silica gel from medicine bottles and in your Nike shoe boxes. Aside from silica gel, you can also use activated carbon, it absorbs odour and moisture too, just like the thing NASA uses for their breathing apparatus, and one can get these from Ace hardware in the water filters section. These things never fail me.


I also dropped my camera twice giving it a weathered look with some scratches and occasional power malfunctions. My battery is still very healthy though (1500+ shots without flash). The flash still works, though I seldom use it, the sensor gets occasionally cleaned by a blower and somehow it is still working perfectly. I have upgraded my firmware to 1.1.1 and somehow it has solved the power issue.

I normally use my camera for outdoor sports, racing, night shots, female models, product photography, portrait and travel. It usually mounts on 50mm f1.8, 70-200mm f4, 300mm f4, and 18-55mm.  If I am not mistaken, I remember purchasing the 40D body for about Php49,000 ($1,200) in early 2008, never made real money  directly from taking photographs but I reckon I got every penny back because of the subjects and memories it has taken photos of. 2008 also marks my first time in photography, I always wanted to be a MotoGP photographer, I did so 2 weeks after buying the camera and taking a crash course in YouTube.

The new cameras are out and I would really like to go into indie film making once i get my hands on these new DSLRs which are capable of shooting HD videos and heavily customizable. I am considering the 60D or the 7D, they are both prosumer, they have good feedbacks and would probably last as long as my 40D, or maybe outlive it, and of course, it is a Canon. Along with my GoPro motorsport waterproof and bombproof camera, these new HD capable cameras will make a new awesome action film. I think it is time for me to upgrade. Sponsors are welcome! :)

Darwin Zialcita

Sports Photographer.

MotoGP, motorsports, watersports, product, model and travel.

Trolling for Boxing Fans. :p

Nov 13, 2011 +8GMT

Manila, Philippines.

It is heartbreaking to watch fellow Filipinos booing Manny Pacquiao for his win today vs. Marquez in their 3rd fight against each other. It was like rapid fire in Twitter, Facebook and TV.

Apparently Juan Manuel Marquez did really fight better than Pacman tonight. In fact he fought brilliantly on the last 3 rounds, but Pac won the fight by quantity. Manny earned these points in the earlier rounds. Is this a game of numbers, yes? Still, Manny won.


Pic 1: Be greatful that Manny won again!

Pic 2: “All you are full of BS. I won, yet you guys still complain?!”



MotoGP Photography | Sepang Malaysia | OCT 2011

MotoGP Photography. Project 85 visits MotoGP races every year since 2007 and take photographs. Sepang, Malaysia is our favourite destination for now.

More MotoGP Sepang photos on our Facebook page:

Rest of the gallery in my FB page…

Also a tribute to Marco Simoncelli on this page

Ciao, Marco Simoncelli 1987-2011 | 58 photos of Marco 58

Ciao Marco Simoncelli.

It was tragic when the we found out about Marco, we were the first ones to know and we could not stop crying. Marco was such a character in MotoGP. When these things happen, nothing else matter. It sad when the reason i love this sport is also why it sucks sometimes. He will be missed. Sepang Malaysia 2011 was very memorable.

This is a MotoGP Photography set. 58 Photos of Marco Simoncelli

Repsol Road Race Finals, SM Sucat | 16 October 2011

Final leg for Repsol Road Race for scooter and underbone racing.

visit the rest of the gallery at our Project 85 page