Let’s look at how to protect your photos with a watermark. I will show you how to watermark photos, to stop them from being used without your permission.
Why watermark photos
There are 2 main reasons you would want to protect your photos with a watermark. You have shared a photo on social media or on a website, and you want to protect your photos online.
The other reason is, if you are a photo editor like me, and you send photo retouch samples to a client for revision.
If you do not watermark the photos, some unscrupulous clients may not pay for your services. This has unfortunately happened to me. With new clients, I always watermark photos when sending them for approval.
Once I feel I have developed a good relationship with my client, I no longer feel the need to watermark photos. After retouching various photos for a particular client, I decided to send them the last batch without any watermarks.
To my dismay they downloaded the photos and vanished without paying. Fortunately this has not happened to me very often.
How to protect your photos with a watermark
There are numerous ways to watermark photos, one of the easiest ways to do this, is by using a free online service, such as Watermarkly. You can watermark photos right in your browser.
Another way to watermark photos really quickly is with Adobe Lightroom. To do this, you select the photos and click export. In the export photos tab, you have an option to watermark the photo.
You can use a default Lightroom watermark. Or if you want to protect your photos with a watermark you have created yourself, click edit watermarks and navigate to the watermarked image you have created. Select it and export.
Create a custom watermark
To create a custom watermark you can use Photoshop or any design application. I feel a text watermark is the easiest way to protect your image. You can also add a special symbol like the copyright logo © to your text.
You start by opening your picture in Photoshop. Create a new layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer, and click OK. With the new layer selected, click on the Text tool. Click anywhere in the image and type a copyright notice, for example “photos by J Smith”.
If you’d like to add the copyright symbol. In Windows hold Alt and type “0169”. In Mac OS X by pressing Option+G. Alternatively search for the symbol online and copy and paste it as text into your copyright notice, you will end up with: “© photos by J Smith”.
The next step would be to adjust your copyright notice. You can change the font, the size and colour. For the colour I suggest using white, black or a 50% grey (RGB 128, 128, 128).
If you want to resize or rotate your watermark, use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl+T in Windows, Cmd+T on Mac). lastly I would suggest adjusting the layer’s opacity – somewhere between 30% and 50% looks great for a watermark.
The last method is probably the most time consuming way to watermark photos. The main benefit of doing it this way is you have the most control of how your watermark will turn out. Fortunately photoshop has a built in process to record and then replicate this process.
This is called a Photoshop action. If you learn how to use it, you can watermark your photos in a very short space of time. I have already created a post about how to create a Photoshop action. You can read more about how to use photoshop actions here.
I hope my post on how to watermark photos was of a help to you. Feel free to get in touch if you have any suggestions or queries.