Every so often, Cucumbertown gets flooded with a stream of photographs with watermarks on it. Something similar to this.

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This isn’t something new. We have all seen this all over the internet. Here, there, and here.

I like to take the time out and talk to the creator – of the dish, and the picture. Mostly to understand why they prefer to watermark, and then to persuade them into understanding why images without watermarks are so much better. Most often the response is to prevent copying of images and in some cases I realized people follow the herd. Others do it, so do I. In some case, people feel it sends out the brand message.

A friend of mine has done a good job explaining the magic of copying and sharing images on the internet in this video. A must-watch and explains my sentiments exactly.

Kalyan Varma is a good friend of mine and I’ve had the privilege of knowing him for nearly a decade. The first time I met him, he was a software engineer an aspiring wildlife photographer who came to our college for a security talk. Kalyan’s photographs were incredibly beautiful and breathtakingly stunning. And during one of our coffee sessions, I asked him if he could give me one of the pictures as a souvenir. A low resolution perhaps.

Kalyan just copied over his entire hard drive folder and gave it to me. The raw formats and the JPEG’s. I was stunned and bewildered. How can a person give away his lifetime of work.? His answer was very similar to the video above. “Copy away” he said, “And share” he quipped. “Some day the karma will come back”.

When you choose to watermark an image you lose the element of SERENDIPITY. After all, copying is the sincerest form of flattery. 9999 people will copy your photograph if it’s good. Embed it in their blog and try to pass it as their own, use it as a wallpaper, or even sell it to a magazine. But if you are really good, one among them will find you and help you change your destiny. By choosing to watermark, you are making that possibility impossible. Wonder what would have happened if Kalyan had watermarked those gorgeous images. Nadundima is another example in serendipity. At Cucumbertown we took some of her images for an upcoming project. And she’s glad we did it :-)

And even if you aren’t looking for worldwide fame, don’t you think your pictures look better without text across all the beautiful details in the frame?