How to Watermark Your Images Using Lightroom and Photoshop CC

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Watermarks, love them or hate them, are a way of protecting your images. Although, just because you have one on your image doesn’t mean it won’t be stolen. If you are like me, I do it as a deterrent.

There are many ways to watermark your images. In this article I’m going to show you how to add a watermark to your images using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC.

Lightroom (6) CC

Lightroom makes watermarking your images very easy, there are a couple of ways of doing it. Once you have processed your images and are ready to export them, then it is also time to watermark them.

Exporting Your Images

Select the images you want to export and watermark. You need to make sure you are in the Library module, then click on Export.

The Export Window will come up. We aren’t going to go through how to export your images, there are other tutorials that will show you how to do that. For this purpose we are concerned with the section down near the bottom, so scroll down until you see Watermarking. Take a look at the following image.

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If it hasn’t been ticked, then check the box for Watermark. Next to that is a drop down menu click on that.

Simple Watermark

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If you’ve never watermarked anything before, then you could simply click on Simple Copyright Watermark and it will just put your name on the photos. Though you must be registered in order for Lightroom to know your name.

Another option under that drop down menu is Edit Watermarks, so let’s go through that option.

Edit Watermarks

In this section you can edit the text for the water, or what you want it to look like.

Before you can change the simple watermark you will have to make sure that at the top where it says Watermark Style, you have selected Text. In the image below you can see the window for the Watermark Editor and in the top right corner you can see Watermark Style.

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In the box underneath the image you can see the simple watermark, you can now select that and delete it, and write anything you like. The most common thing to do is put the copyright symbol, ©, with your name or business name after it. To make the copyright character on Windows simply press the Alt key and type the number 0169, on a Mac press Option+G.

There are various sliders in the Watermark editor as well, one allows you to change the opacity of the watermark. How opaque you make it is up to you. I like to make mine so that you can barely see it. A lot of people looking at images can find watermarks distracting, so it is something you should keep in mind when you are adding them to your images.

There are different things you can do to adjust the watermark, for example changing its position. There is also a size slider to make it bigger or smaller.

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Add a Logo or Unique Watermark

If you have a logo or a special watermark you can use this in Lightroom too.

In the same window that we have been using, go back to the top and select graphic. Directly underneath you will see Image Options where you can load your file. You can make the same changes in regards to size, opacity and location as you did with the text watermark.

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Saving the Watermark Preset

Once you have worked it all out, you don’t have to do all that every time you want to export images. You can save what you have done as a watermark preset, and give it a name (pull down the menu top left where is says “Custom” to find Save Current Settings as New Preset – select that to see the pop-up box below) . The next time you want to watermark an image, just look in the same drop down menu that you used earlier to edit the watermark, and you will find your saved preset there.

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Here you can see that I have called one of my presets: watermark-3.

Photoshop CC

There are also some simple ways of watermarking in Photoshop CC as well. It is a little different, but not harder.

Prepare your image as usual, then get it ready for its designated use and how you want to add a watermark to protect it. I resize every image I put online, that is my choice, it is up to you whether you decide to or not.

Easy Watermark

Once you are ready to save your image, read for use, one of the easiest ways of watermarking it is to simply use the text tool, located in the tool bar on the left of your workspace. The image below shows where it is located.

Click on the image where you want to put the watermark, and start typing. Remember you can also add the copyright symbol the same as you did using Lightroom.

You can change the size and colour of the text at the top, in the tool options bar below the main menu (or choose Window>Character to show the text adjustment panel). Select the text to change it. You can also move it around when it is highlighted as well. The opacity slider is above the layers panel on the right, you can change it to suit your preference.

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Making Your Own Logo or Watermark

You always have the option of making a custom watermark, which can be saved and used any time you need it, and can also be used in Lightroom.

To start, go to File in the main menu and click New (File>New). I usually make the size of the new image match my final image size, so the longest side is 1000 pixels. Make the width that size for this example. For the height, it doesn’t have to be that big, it just depends on what you are going to do. For this one it was 300 pixels. You will also need to make sure the Background Contents setting is set to transparent, see below.

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So you can see what you are doing, you could add a new layer. Do that from the new layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel, or go to the main menu at the top and select Layer>New>Layer and click OK. Once that is in place use the Paint Bucket Tool which is in your tool bar, it is under the Gradient Tool icon. We are going to make the layer black, so make sure the foreground colour is black. The foreground and background colour selection is also in the tool bar, down near the bottom. There are two squares, one black and one white (click D on your keyboard which defaults the colors to black in the foreground, white in the background). Click on your new layer and it should be filled with all black.

Select the text tool (T) and make sure that white is now the foreground colour (click X on your keyboard to switch the foreground/background colors so white is now on top). Click on your image and start typing. Like you did for the Easy Watermark you can highlight it, then change the size. Once you’ve done that, you can crop it further so just the text appears.

Double click on text layer, towards the right side, and you should get the following window, Layer Style.

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You can see I have checked Bevel Emboss, and the Contour option underneath. You can play around with the sliders, but just ticking those did enough for this purpose. Then the black layer is deleted. You can do that by dragging it to the rubbish bin (trash can) in the bottom right corner. You can also right click on the layer and find delete. The easiest way is to highlight the layer by clicking on it, and pressing delete on the keyboard.

It is very important when you save this file that you do so as a .png or a .psd, otherwise the transparent part of the layer will be made white and you will no longer have the watermark that you desired.

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That is an easy way of doing a watermark that you can save so you can use again, but you could make a logo or something similar as well. One thing that quite a few people do is add a signature, like below.

signature-watermark

There are a couple of ways of doing this, but the most common is using a tablet with a pen, I use a Wacom Intuos Pro. Do everything the same as you did for the last one, but instead of using the text tool, get your brush, make it small enough using the left square bracket key, then write your name.

If you find the surface too slippery, try putting a piece of paper over the top, it will help add some resistance. You can also try doing it with a mouse or touch pad. Again, save it the same way.

Easy Way of Adding Watermarks

One of the easiest ways to use the watermark you have just created is to open it, then select all (Ctrl+A on a PC and Command+A on a Mac), then copy it, (Control+C on a PC and Command+C on a Mac). Go over to your image and press Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste it; the watermark should now be in the middle of your image.

You can use the move tool (V), which is the first one in your tool panel, and move it to where you want, like you did with the Easy Watermark.

Hiding Your Watermark in the Image

With a simple watermark you can also put it into the image and sort of hide it. This is the method I use for many of my fine art images. I try to place it where it isn’t obvious, and where it could be more difficult to remove.

Once your image is ready, copy and paste your watermark onto your image. Now you need Transform it; Edit>Transform in the main menu, or by pressing Ctrl+T/Command+T. You will notice a framework around your image, as shown below.

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By clicking and dragging on the corners, or in the middle of the lines, you can change the size. Click and drag to make it bigger or smaller (hold Shift down to keep the proportions the same, otherwise it will stretch out of shape). If you want to rotate it, hover around just outside a corner and a small curve arrow will appear, then you can turn it around. You can also move it by clicking in the middle and moving it where you want. As I said, find somewhere to hide your watermark in the image, hopefully somewhere not too noticeable, as demonstrated in the image below.

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To apply the Transform Tool you can double click inside the box, press Enter or click it with the move tool. Then the opacity of the watermark layer is changed to help it blend, see below.

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Once you get good using Transform, you can experiment with what else the tool does.

Using a Brush to Watermark Your Images

watermarking-14There is a very easy way of doing your watermark, but it takes a bit to set it up. Getting the watermark ready pretty much works the same as before, only this time you want a white background, and you need to use black to create it. Take a look at the image on the right.

Note: create your new file 2500 pixels wide as that is the maximum size for a brush. You can always make the brush smaller when you apply it to your image, but making it the largest size now will give you the best quality.

I created the signature with my Wacom Tablet, but you could also use a pen or black marker on a piece of paper and scan it, that will work just as well.

Once you have your signature, you can now make your custom brush. Go to the Edit menu and choose Define Brush Preset, and click on it.

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watermarking-16Next, you will see another window pop up window ,asking you to give your brush a name. You can name it what you like, perhaps something that will remind you what it is later; I called mine Brush Signature Watermark.

Now your watermark will work just like a brush, you can make it smaller or larger (remember if you made it 2500 pixels it will hold quality up to that size with out pixelating), you can also change the colour. It works exactly the same way as the normal brush does; use the square bracket keys to make it bigger or smaller. If you want to change the colour, click on the foreground colour and the Color Picker window will appear.

I would suggest adding your watermark to a new transparent layer, so you can also change the opacity as needed.

To find your new brush, go to your brush presets, they are over on the side of your layers panel, and click on the icon that looks like small lines at the top where a drop down menu should appear.

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Go down to Preset Manager and click. A new window will appear with all your brushes. Now you can click, and drag the brush you just created to a spot where it will be easier to find, like up to the top.

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You are now ready to use your new watermark brush any time you want.

As I said, you can change the size of it using the square bracket keys [ ] on your keyboard. You can change its colour by clicking on the foreground colour in the tool panel and selecting a new one. You can also add layer effects like a drop shadow, emboss, etc., you can even make the text itself transparent and only leave behind the shadow.

layer-effects

To make text “invisible” change the Fill Opacity Under Blending Options, in the Advanced Blending section to 0%.

It will look something like this and will blend into any area:

layer-effects-transparent

Here is one I played with:

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There are so many different ways to do a watermark and it is really up to you to work out which one will work best for you. Do you have any other tips for watermarks or methods  you use to make them? Please share in the comments below.

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Leanne Cole is a fine art photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves Melbourne and photographing it, along with other parts of the state. She likes doing architectural and environmental photography. You can find her on her website or on Instagram.

  • James

    Thanks for the tutorial guys! We wrote up some pros and cons regarding watermarks on our blog. What do you think? http://blog.cameralends.com/2015/03/20/should-you-watermark-your-photos/

  • Another really useful tutorial Leanne – Thanks!

  • Susan Laskowska

    Thanks! Many wonderful tips. 🙂

  • Leanne Cole

    You’re welcome and thank you Susan.

  • Leanne Cole

    Thanks Chris, hopefully give you lots of ideas and options.

  • Joanne
  • Leanne Cole

    You’re welcome. It is an ongoing argument, whether you should or shouldn’t watermark.

  • JSummar

    These are all great tips! I had read about making your signature into a brush in an article once. But since I don’t have one of those fancy tablets, I came up with another idea that worked for me. I have a Photoshop app on my smartphone and I created a new file in the app. I used a stylus to sign my initials, then saved as a .jpg. Came over to my PS on my laptop where I do most of my photo editing, imported the file and created the custom brush from that file. It worked pretty well for me. I’ve only just started with Lightroom, so your tutorial on how to do it in LR was very helpful. Thanks!

  • Leanne Cole

    That is another way of doing it as well, pretty, good, I’m sure I mentioned in the tutorial that you could also do it on paper and scan it, which is pretty good too. I’m glad you find it useful which is always great. Good luck with learning Lightroom, lots of fun.

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  • Evan Christie

    Thanks Leanne that’s great information. I like the idea of a brush. I also like your imagery on your various sites. So I had to click follow. Thanks.

  • Leanne Cole

    You’re welcome Evan, the brush is a great way. Thank you, that is nice of you.

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  • Chilly

    I just created one following your lead above but find I can’t use it. It’s there on top of the list, but when selected, I see it, can move it around, but it does not add to the image when I click on it. I created my signature via paper/ink/scan. It’s transparent. Came out fairly good, but after creating the brush and selecting it in PS CC 2015 I can’t use it. When I select brush, click on it, it doesn’t do anything. What did I miss?

  • Chilly

    I just checked my brush settings! Flow was set pretty low as well as opacity. I’m now good to go. Jeez. Should have done that to start.

  • Leanne Cole

    Oh good, I’m glad you got it worked and it is all working now. Take Care.

  • Chaudhry Ali

    Dear Leanne Cole you create inspirable brush watermarks with the lightroom. It’s really wonderful thanks.
    I do to many watermarks on a picture with opacity technique. http://www.photoshophelps.com/2015/09/11/photoshop-tutorials-compose-too-many-copyright-text-on-a-picture/

  • Thank you so much.

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