Protecting Your Pictures

So for some reason I decided to google my blog name under Google Images.

Probably not a good idea, unless you want to totally freak yourself out.

A bunch of pictures from my blog showed up on Google Images. Now, I've never been overly concerned with this before, but it concerned me that pictures of my baby also showed up on Google.

So, being the obsessive rational person that I am, I decided to do what I can to protect my pictures.

Now, for me, this does not mean that I'm no longer going to post photos on here. I like posting photos - I think they make the blog more interesting, and part of the reason I blog is for my own documentation, which includes pictures.

There are a few things I've decided to do though. . .

1. Watermark my pictures. 

I use Photoshop Elements to watermark my pictures, using a custom watermark brush that I created using this tutorial.  

If you want to adjust the opacity of your watermark while editing in Photoshop, just click SHIFT-CNTRL-N (or SHIFT-CMMD-N on a Mac) to create a new layer, and then apply the brush to that layer.  Then you can adjust the opacity using the slider, or select a different style from the dropdown menu (I like to use "Overlay").

If you don't have Photoshop, is a great (free) photo editing site, and you can add a watermark using the text tool.

I used to transfer the images to Photobucket and copy the html code to put them in my posts. I liked using Photobucket, because you can make the pictures whatever size you want in your posts, and you don't have the data storage limits that Blogger has.

Then I started using Windows Live Writer (and later MarsEdit when I switched to a Mac), and I love it - these programs make it very easy to adjust the size of your pictures and move them around in your post, and then you can upload them all in one batch.  Though it uploads to Picasa, which may be a problem if I ever run out of photo storage, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Sidenote: If you are not familiar with html, and you compose your posts with the "compose" tab in Blogger, I highly recommend that you start practicing using the html tab. You can do so much with html once you figure it out, and the only way to do that is to practice! If you have any questions, please e-mail me, and I'll do my best to help (though I'm not an expert)!

2. Set all my albums in Photobucket and Picasa to private. 

 I just feel safer this way, and it shouldn't affect the pictures from showing up in your posts (though use caution, because I had trouble switching the privacy settings on one album and had to re-add all my photos to my posts after I had set it to private in order for it to work- yuck). By the way, Photobucket allows others to copy your photos to their albums unless you adjust your privacy settings so they can't.

3. Disable right click on the blog. 

 I read a post on Kelly's Korner, and she gave a link to disable right-click.  Can people still save my images to their computer if they want to? Yes, but I feel like it helps discourage that. Plus my pictures have the watermark, so people would still know they are mine.

Here is the link to the code for disabling right click - but don't go edit the html for your whole blog like the site says. Not only is it scary if you don't know html code that well (you could mess up your whole blog!), but it doesn't work that way - I tried it.  Just add a gadget under "Design->Page Elements" in Blogger, select an html gadget, and add the code into that and save. It'll do the same thing.

4. Disable left-click on my pictures. 

 I never realized it before, but Blogger and Photobucket add a link to your pictures when you upload them so that people can click on them and open them in a different window or see your Photobucket album when they click. I hate that.

To remove the part of the image code that makes it a link, you have to delete a section of the code. It's not as complicated as it sounds. I found a great tutorial on how to disable left-click on pictures in Blogger - check it out. You can always preview your post to make sure you did it right.

I so wish I had known that you can do this when I first started blogging, because of all the time involved in de-linking every picture on the blog. So if you're just starting out, I'd suggest doing this now if you're concerned with protecting your pictures.

5. Finally, you can edit your robot.txt file to tell Google not to file your images.  

This is easier than it sounds.  Take the following bit of code . . .

User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow: /

And then go to "Settings" on your Dashboard:

Then "Search Preferences":

Then click the "edit" button next to the words Custom robot.txt, select "Enable", and then paste the code into the box.  Don't forget to save your changes!

And wolla!  Your images won't show up in Google searches anymore (though a couple might sneak through here and there).  I decided to go this route because while I love sharing pictures of my family on my blog, I don't love it when my family pictures show up in image searches.  Now they won't!  You can read more about how to block specific images from searches here.

And that's what I've got! Any other things you all do to protect your pictures?

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Unknown said...

Great ideas there Callie, thanks!

Kara @ Just1Step said...

Very good info, Callie! Thank you for sharing. I've been wanting to disable right-click for a while so people can't copy my images. Maybe I'll disable the left-click on pictures, too. :)

Amie said...

I think watermarks are the best. Honestly, the print screen button can ALWAYS be used to save pictures but with watermarks? Well, I've tried to edit them out (from high school pictures of mine that said "proof" all over them) and even with my decent editing skills, I couldn't do it.
I hate when people disable right click, just because I use it all the time to open new links, new tabs (like if I read a post and it suggests another for me but I'm reading something else, I right-click and open it in a new tab). But that's just me!

Lauren said...

Very informative post...I'll definitely be trying to implement some of these things!

Amanda said...

this scares me....and i feel a little overwhelmed by it all. i guess i just need to start somewhere. thanks for sharing this callie! :)

Kayla Rae said...

I'm glad you posted this! Oddly enough, when I searched my blog name, none of my pictures from the blog popped up (I think because I have it completely disabled to search for me) but a lot of the pictures I have posted on popped up! I won't be posting on there anymore...

Natalie said...

wow, thanks for the info! i used to watermark my pics but got sick of it. but that is really creepy. i didn't have as many pictures show up, but still enough to be concerned! i always wonderred about left clicking-i hate how you can make it bigger when you do that and some blogs you can't click on, so I will DEFINITELY set that up!! Thanks!!

Sarah Louise said...

WOW! Thanks for all the info!!! I actually didn't find too many of my pictures when I googled my blog, however, I did find a website that posted one of my blog posts- word for word and added a picture. Scary! I just e-mailed the website asking them why they never asked for my permission...we'll see what happens.

Julie S. said...

I really need to do more of this- thanks for posting this!

Unknown said...

man, i really need to do this! Thanks for the info! I really need to disable because a TON of my pics come up on google search! I just haven't known how to do so yet. I really appreciate this!

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