I got a call yesterday from a buddy who was asking if I knew of a way to protect jpeg images on a disc so that they couldn’t be printed. I knew where he was going with this. He wanted to deliver proofs to a client but didn’t want to give the client the ability to just use the images to make their own prints or even copy them without compensation.
The truth is, I really didn’t know of any method except to make an auto-playing slideshow. My other suggestion was to put a transparent watermark on the images before handing them off to the client. The transparent watermark is not so obtrusive that it gets in the way of viewing the image, but it does supply enough of a deterrent that you wouldn’t want to make prints from the image. To make things even better, a simple action can be made to create the watermark and then turned into a droplet. The droplet can be placed on the desktop and all you have to do is drag and drop a folder onto it and it will automatically run the action on all of the images in the folder. You could also use the droplet in Lightroom as part of your export process (check out this video from my friend Julianne Kost to see how to use droplets in Lightroom).
Here’s a quick video that will run you through the process. This isn’t the only way to do this, it’s just the way that I found works best for me. If you have a different method, please share it in the comment section.
By the way, this video looks even better when played full screen.
Here’s what the final image looks like after the watermark is applied. Make sure you click on it to see a larger version.