Starting work on my website : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've checked out the style and elegance of various websites like Paul Schilligers, and it's inspired me to start working on my website. I can see that this is going to be 'slow but steady' but it doesn't seem to be as scary as I thought. I don't have questions on the technical aspects of building a website(yet!), but I've got worries about the images.

Can you folks who have websites, share with me the security issues you had and how you dealt with them. I plan to embed 'watermarks' in the images, which are gonna be j-pegs/proj-pegs, if I'm reading this userguide right.

Has anybody had someone try to steal/copy/download/delete/vandalize your images on you website? Happy New Year Folks!

-- Jonathan Brewer (, January 01, 2002


Maybe not the answer you want ot hear, but if someone finds a use for a low-res jpeg and uses it without my permission there is not much I can do. I chalk it up to the cost of being on the web. I have had several people link directly to my pictures and use them in their website which sort of ticks me off because they are using both my picture and my server resources--in those cases I just change the name of the file and they stop.

I find it interesting that people worry so much more about unauthorized usage on the web than they do about publishing in print. Web images have such a limited use because of their size. A person can get a much better image by scanning a magazine ad or calendar, but people don't worry about that as much for some reason. Maybe it's because it takes almost no effort to copy an image from the web. As for vandals, I've never had a problem.

-- Mark Meyer (, January 02, 2002.

Hi Jonathan

I don't have my own site up yet, but I have helped design and set up other sites with photographic images. Watermarking is about the best you can do, either electronic or visual. Electronic watermarking means you have to pay someone to constantly monitor the web and see if your images are being used elsewhere - this costs money and is only effective if they're being used on the web.

Visual watermarking, to be effective, needs to be marked strongly on the image, enough so that it is visible. This can distract from the image and breakup the detail. I have some of my own images on a site in Switzerland and I visually watermarked some, others I didn't, but they are so low res that there's not much that you can do with them anyway.

I would recommend that you keep your images to around 450-600 pixels on the longest side, make sure they are 72dpi and optimised with Fireworks or Photoshop and put a copyright notice on each image.

I agree with Mark, and most people worry far too much about the problem. You would get a much better reproduction scanning a print than from downloading a 72dpi image from the net.

Some sites go to great lengths to get the viewer to read copyright notices and some even get you to sign agreements that you won't take their images, or email you passwords after you've filled out loads of personal information. I click off these sites quickly, as I find it too much of an effort to go through all that nonsense.

I'm sure some of my images have been "stolen" too, but what can you do, pay lots of money to greedy lawyers? Hire a PI to track down the culprits? I'd expect that you'd spend more time and money than it would be worth.

Of course if one of my images winds up in the Getty library without my permission, I might rethink that! ;-)

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, January 02, 2002.

The best thing to do, is to disable "right-clicking" - this keeps anyone from copying images from the site - See for an example of this function. they have all images protected in this way.

-- Matt O. (, January 02, 2002.

Disabling the ability to save an image is nice in theory but if somebody really wants a copy of it, there are ways to get around this protection scheme.

IMO, your best bet is to keep your images' file size fairly small -- this also facilitates fast-loading pages -- and cross your fingers.

-- Jeffrey Goggin (, January 02, 2002.

Two quick comments. One, "disabling right clicking" is routinely circumvented by simply taking a screen shot and cropping in Photoshop or any other image editor. Secondly, keeping image size small in pixels as mentioned makes the image only useable for screen viewing and therefore there is little risk of serious abuse of the picture because it is virtually unprintable. Lastly, the previously mentioned comment about "72dpi" is a misnomer. The only thing that counts for screen viewing is pixel size. The "72dpi" term is meaningless for this purpose. dpi numbers only refer or pertain to printing. Setting different dpi numbers on you scanner to get screen pictures only affects the size of the eventual pictures in pixels. People's screen's are set to many different sizes and therefore thinking in terms of "dpi" for screen viewable images has no meaning. This large format site helped me with this by referring me to a great web site:


-- Scott Jones (, January 02, 2002.

Somewhere on your site be sure to indicate all images on the site are copyright. This should afford you a measure of protection should someone steal an image of yours.

As others have mentioned, keep image size small, and adjust the JPEG compression to the point where the image looks like crap at anything larger than the size you originally put on your site.

Disabling right clicking will discourage many petty theives, but will not prevent theft.

I agree with the comment that web theft is not a problem relative to printed theft, where a good scan would be able to afford a high quality repro, where most web images are so small that any printed commercial reproduction from them is not likely.

Bottom line is that your site is an open door and if anyone wants to steal from you they can. You've just got to try and ensure that they can't steal too much of value.

-- Michael Mahoney (, January 02, 2002.

Hey Jonathan,

You could also go with the Phil Bard route. (http:// He uses Flash for his fade-in photo show. There is no way to extract any pictures from a Flash file. It is not that difficult to learn and then are many tutorials online so you never have to buy a book. Of course, he uses really small jpegs for the thumbnails. Just an idea!

-- Mark Wiens (, January 02, 2002.


Yes, Scott is correct in pointing out that dpi is not the important aspect of image size on screen, as long as you keep your pixel size for say a 240dpi image the same as for a 72dpi image, both files will be the same size.

The way I wrote the above could have been misleading. In this instance I wasn't referring to "scanning" dpi size but rather to working dpi size. By all means use 240dpi, 360dpi or whatever, but it is best to standardise the dpi size while working in PS - less chance of mistakes. I ALWAYS work in 72dpi for web work, my preference.

Disabling the right mouse button ONLY effects PC users. Many of us use Apple Macs.

With regard to using Flash - many web designers I know, myself included, do not use Flash very often and if they do, they offer an alternative "straight" HTML option. Many Flash sites are poorly done or are "overdone", take too much time to load, have bugs and do not work without the Flash plugin, which your viewers would need to download if they don't have it. For a first time site I'd steer clear of it for now.

The old KISS adage - "Keep It Simple Stupid" is the best advice for web site design.

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, January 02, 2002.

Thanks Peter, I will keep it simple. Mark...out of curiosity, the people who linked up to your website, what were they using your images for?

Also is there an advantage to using progressive j-pegs over j-pegs?

-- Jonathan Brewer (, January 02, 2002.


Progressive JPEGs allow the viewer to see an image appear gradually as it is downloaded instead of a blank space, until an "ordinary" JPEG fully downloads and then appears. My preference would be for a progressive JPEG in maybe two or three progessions, but I don't believe there would be any speed advantage to either the pro-JPEG or the JPEG.

Perhaps more important is to optimise your image and get your file size as small as possible. I have found Fireworks to do a very good job, but the Photoshop "save for the web" command is not too bad either. This way, the download times are reduced considerably.

Kind regards

Peter Brown

-- Peter L Brown (, January 02, 2002.

I also do not worry about stolen jpegs, I even do not add copyright notice since it is very easy to remove it with cropping. However I am awared of stealing. I know some newspapers which permanently print jpegs downloaded from internet without permission. You cannot avoid it just like musicians cannot stop copying and unauthorizied broadcasting their music. I simply do not care much even if I notice some of my photos in a newspaper, published without asking. There is usually so little money involved that I rather live happy and with as little worry as possible than have a stress for little things. I hope you got the point. Best regards! Janez Pelko

-- janez pelko (, January 03, 2002.

I wonder if you know that there are several programs out there that will copy flash files, streaming video, realaudio.

-- shannon (, January 06, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ