How to remove watermarks from images | Montreal photographer

Let’s face it, we all hate seeing images with giant watermarks.  There are two sides to the watermark debate…. those who believe that an image should be seen as a whole and a watermark removes from the beauty of the shot and thus don’t use watermarks.  The other, are those who feel that adding their watermark is a way to keep their credit on a photo that will be put on the web, as many people don’t bother with putting in the credit.

But what do you do when you find an image with a watermark that you want to use?  Sure, you can try and crop it out, but that sometimes breaks the image and cuts parts off that you want to keep or, as with the image above, the watermark is boldly placed OVER the actual image and makes the image unusable if cropped.


Say you are google imaging looking for a photo to use for an online article you are writing.  Or even an image to use for your own website decoration.  Google will often lead you to the image owner’s website:

  • find the contact information / form on the website
  • email owner of the image asking for permission / offering payment for usage of the image
  • wait for positive reply
  • use



But what if the image is not found on the owner’s website?  In the majority of cases, the watermark includes the photo rights owner’s information.. at the very least their website or their name.  Here are the steps to be followed:

  • copy photo owner’s information in google
  • search
  • email owner of the image asking for permission / offering payment for usage of the image
  • wait for positive reply
  • use


Ok…ok… you have tried to find the website.   You have tried to find and contact the image owner to ask to use the image, but you can not find them.  Their watermark is just a logo with no obvious googlable information to search for.  You can just use the image, correct?  Wrong!  It is illegal to use an image without approval, even if it is found on the web.  Just because it is on the internets does not mean that it is free.  Intellectual property is a big thing.

Whaaaaat?  But the owner put it there to be found.

Yes they did.  For many reasons…marketing, SEO,… but not for it to be used freely, unless specified of course.  And this goes for anywhere online, and any social media.  Theft is theft no matter where you find the image.

Best thing to do in this case?  Find another image… find the image owner… repeat steps above.

You can find a bunch of other useful tips on photography up on my blog!  From retouching ugly red light in shows, things to look for photographing EDM, the business of photography and so on right HERE