If you have an iPhone or an iPod touch, there is a good chance that you take at least some images with it and, if you blog, use Twitter or have a Facebook account, at least some of those images probably wind up on the Web. Best of all, through various apps available for all three, you can upload those images without them ever first crossing your computer.
However, if those images are copied one might never know where they came from. Though watermarking images is standard practice for many who blog, the iPhone has not had the ability to do that. This has forced photographers to either do without such marks or edit their photos on a computer first.
However, a new application, PhotoMarkr (iTunes URL), by Imangi Studios, changes that. PhotoMarkr adds a very simple and basic watermarking app to the iPhone. Images sent directly from the device can have the same kind of professional marks that one might get from a traditional photo editing application.
However, the app does seem to have its share of hiccups, but at a price point of 99 cents, they may well be forgivable.
How it Works
When you first open up PhotoMarkr, you are presented with a very short options screen that lets you turn the watermark text on or off, edit the text of the copyright notice (the app provides a dedicated button to create the “©” symbol since the iPhone keyboard does not have it) and enable the watermark image.
The result of this is that you can add any text or image you want to your photos as an overlay. For example, you could import your site’s logo onto the device and use that as your watermark or simply write a brief copyright statement. You could also add text to the image to indicate a Creative Commons license or simply point back to your site URL.
Once you’ve set your options, you then are given the choice of either taking a new photo or editing an existing one. Once you have your image, you can then edit the watermark.
There, using the touch controls, you can rotate, resize and reposition the watermark to your liking. You can also adjust the transparency or, if needed, go back to the options and change the text. However, the default placement, the lower left hand corner, seems to work well for most images.
Once that is done, Photomarkr saves the image to your regular camera roll, where you can email it, save it or use it with other apps.
Good and Bad
Overall, the watermarking system is surprisingly powerful and flexible. Despite the limitations of the iPhone, the system actually has more features than many desktop ones.
For the most part, Photomarkr is very intuitive to use and, though documentation is a bit thin (there doesn’t even appear to be an official page other than the blog post linked above), it is easy to figure out the ins and outs of the application. For the most part, it does one thing and does it rather well.
The biggest issue I had with the app was that the feature that lets you take a new photo did not seem to work consistently. Many times I took a photo using the application only to have it crash after I pressed the “Use Photo” button. However, those problems were intermittent and it is very hard to track down what caused those crashes.
That being said, the feature that lets you import an image from your photo roll worked like a charm every time and produced some impressive results. Even using image-based watermarks, the application resizes, rotates and adjusted the transparency very smoothly.
Though it would be much better if the “Take Picture” feature worked 100% of the time, as it is the ideal way to use the application because it would streamline the workflow, it’s not there yet.
Despite this, if one has any reason to want to watermark their iPhone images before putting them on the Web, this tool is still far and away the best answer and, at just 99 cents, is well worth the price.
Ideally, I think it would be better to see this functionality integrated into other apps. For example, if the Facebook application would watermark images before uploading to that service. This would keep the entire image editing process down to one application, rather than having to switch between Photomarkr and and whatever app you wish to use to upload the image.
Is Photomarkr an ideal solution? No. Is it a perfect application? No. But is it a good app and one that is well worth its 99 cents price point? Absolutely.
Though I am hoping it is either replaced or drastically improved quickly, Photomarkr has some very compelling features and it shows how useful the iPhone can be for this kind of image editing. Hopefully others, including the developers, can take this idea and expand upon it.