But then you start to think, "What if my work is out there but is no longer attached to my name? Is it then a free-for-all to copy it or claim ownership?" Well, I think one good solution to this little connundrum is just to watermark your images. I'm not saying you have to have a giant black "COPYRIGHT" across the middle of your photo. That would probably do the trick, but I know I would like something a little more subtle. You know, a little more emphasis placed on my work rather than the fact that I'm a paranoid crazy person. I think people would be a little more likely to share something that still looks nice while giving proper credit to the artist.
So here's a little tutorial about making a classy-looking, not-too-in-your-face watermark for your images in Photoshop.
1. Open a new document in Photoshop, at least 2000 ppi, at 300 resolution.
2. Use whatever tool you like to create your watermark image. I just use the type tool.
3. After typing your watermark in black or converting your logo to all black, Go to Select / Color Range, and select all that is black.
4. Add a new layer in the layer pallette. Then use the "paint bucket" tool to fill in all the selected areas with black on the new layer, right on top of the old layer. You must fill in each letter or each separate piece of the logo.
Now you have two layers, one with your font or logo and one with a selection of your font or logo.
5. Make sure the new layer with the selection is highlighted and at the top of the list in your layer pallette. Then go to Layer / Layer Style / Bevel and Emboss... Make any adjustments you want here.
Style: Inner Bevel
Technique : Smooth
Depth : 100%
Direction : Up
Size : 20 px
Angle : 120
Altitude : 30
Highlight : Screen
Opacity : 75%
Shadow Mode : Multiply
Opacity : 75%
I also added an Inner Shadow:
Blend Mode: Multiply
Angle : 120
Distance : 5 px
Choke : 0 px
Size : 5 px
6. Once you have all that figured out and all set like you want it, click the "Blending Options" settings on the upper left hand above the Style list.
Under "Advanced Blending," drop the "Fill Opacity" slider to 0, so that you only see the Bevel and Emboss, getting rid of the color and background. Click OK to close the dialog box.
7. Delete the background layer and the background text layer (not the layer you just styled.) Save as a .psd file to make editing easier later and to retain your transparent backround, and save a copy as a .jpg file.
And there you go, a lovely beveled and embossed watermark on a transparent background that you can drag and drop onto any photo you want to post online so that even if the title and file information disappear, your watermark will always be on your image.
Unless some A-hole crops it out. But that's a different story all together. Cheers!