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    Protecting Your Images
    by Skip

    If you are concerned about protecting your images, here's a little trick that might help a little. Of course, there are some people that have no respect for property rights, intellectual or otherwise, but I think most infringements come from people who have never been told not to copy or scan photos. Hopefully, the following will help educate them, as well as add some value to your prints.

    First, open up your image in PhotoShop.

    Next, select the Crop tool. Clear the settings by pushing the clear button at the far right of the crop tool bar, then put in only your crop dimensions (leave the resolution blank). Then crop your image. In this example, I'm setting up a 5x7.

    On the main menu, select Image -> Canvas Size. In the canvas size dialog, put in dimensions for the next largest standard print. For a 5x7, put in 8x10; for a 4x6, put in 5x7; for an 8x10 or 8x12, put in 11x14. Then click ok.

    "Huh?!? What's the deal with all that white space?!?" Just keep reading...

    On your toolbar, select the Text tool and draw a text box under your image, going from one side of the image to the other and making it tall enough for 3-5 lines of text (depending on how verbose you want to be).

    Here's where you add value: put in a descriptive caption and the date the photo was taken! Then, slip in your copyright information and your "Do not duplicate" message. It depends on your customer as to how gentle or firm you want your language to be, as well as how much education you feel you need to give them.

    My default fine print includes the image filename, followed by "Copyright (c) Skip Rowland Photography, Inc. 20xx, All rights reserved. Print produced for personal use only. Duplication, distribution and/or commercial use strictly prohibited."

    Tip: Inside a text box, you can apply different properties to selected text! You can make some words bold, some phrases italic, as well as using different fonts and font sizes for different pieces of text.

    When you are done with your text, step back and view your final result. It may not stop everyone from slapping it on a copier or scanner, but it might help some. At the very least, you'll give them something to deal with. And, 50 years from now, they'll have a clue as to who is in the image...

    There's a few things to keep in mind. Unless your clients are into scrapbooking, they are going to frame the prints. This extra white space will fit nicely behind the matting. If not, they can trim it. Chances are, though, they won't. And yes, this is going to cost you a little more, but if you have your prints priced correctly, you'll never know the difference. Also, if your lab offers back-printing, by all means, use it! That could be all that keeps another photo-processor from making copies of your prints.

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