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In this article, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to watermark your images using Lightroom.
With photography, it’s the simple things which often become the most important. Simple moments like the sun shining through that perfect wisp of cloud and plain objects shot with elementary techniques. Perhaps one of the simplest, and yet at the same time most important, additions you can make to your work is helping to protect it from unwanted uses while at the same time making sure people know who made your wonderful image.
Watermarks and logos (we’ll just use the term “watermark” for this article) help to keep your images from being used without your permission. Of course, nothing is bulletproof in the digital age but adding a watermark to your photos is one of the easiest ways you can impart a little security to your images before you send them out into the world.
Watermarks can be added to your images during the exportation process, but the watermarks you make and store in Lightroom are available anytime.
To access the watermark creation section dialog at any time in Lightroom, from your top menu bar go to Edit > Edit Watermarks (note: on Mac you need to go to Lightroom > Edit Watermarks).
Once in the watermark creation dialog, you have quite a few options for constructing your watermarks. The two main choices will be whether to create a text watermark or to import a graphic from somewhere else on our computer.
I’ll begin by showing you how to make a simple text watermark (which I use) and then move onto importing a graphic.
Making a text-based watermark right in Lightroom is extraordinarily easy. Essentially, all you need to do is type in the box provided and place the watermark where you want it to appear on your image.
For our example, let’s type in a simple watermark. Make sure the “Text” option is selected as the Watermark Style at the top right of the window.
Next, choose what font, color, style, and orientation you would like to use for the text. The orientation is less of an issue because you will be moving the watermark yourself later.
To shadow or not to shadow? This is just a drop-shadow to make the text appear more three-dimensional and I usually leave this option unchecked. If you choose to add a shadow, there will be some basic positioning and opacity options for you to adjust to suit your tastes.
Now you will need to decide what size to make the watermark relative to your photo. Generally, keeping the watermark sized proportionately is best but you can also choose to “Fit” or “Fill” the text to the photo. Usually, the “Fill” option will be seldom used as it obnoxiously enlarges the watermark.
The “Inset” sliders control how far inside the frame the watermark will be positioned. I’ve found this is best left until the end so we’ll adjust this later.
The final set of options in the watermark dialog is the anchor point selection.
Picture that center dot as being the middle of your photo. You can choose whichever location you prefer but I like to position my watermarks in the bottom right corner and also vertically orient them. Use the arrows to rotate your watermark.
Before you save your new watermark, I want you to adjust the inset just a tad vertically to move it back from the edge of the image. This is where those inset sliders from earlier come into play.
Now is the time to make some final tweaks to the size and opacity of the watermark once it is fully positioned.
To save this for use later (more on this shortly) simply click “Save” and give your freshly-minted watermark a name.
You might not believe it, but using your own graphical watermark is just as easy as making its textual counterpart. To start, simply select the “Graphic” option at the top of the watermark dialog box.
Next, click “Choose…” and find the graphic you want to use on your computer. Keep in mind it will need to be either in a JPG or PNG file format.
For this tutorial, I made a quick 3D watermark in Photoshop. Once you’ve selected the file you want to use, Lightroom will do the rest. This is my graphic before it was nested into the image.
And here it is after it has been placed and positioned. The text left in the box will have no effect since the Graphic Watermark option is selected.
From here you have many of the same options for opacity, positioning, and sizing as you did for the text watermark. Saving the graphic watermark is done exactly the same way as you saved the text watermark as well.
Now that you know how to create and save your watermarks in Lightroom, it’s time to stick them onto your images during export which is also super easy.
Open the Export dialog box by choosing File > Export. Near the very bottom of the dialog box in the right-hand box, you’ll see the Watermarking drop-down menu.
Select the watermark you would like to apply. In this case, add the graphical watermark you saved earlier.
Click export and your image will be exported with your watermark lovingly placed!
Watermarks are a great way to sign and protect your photographs. While there are no real rules for applying your watermarks, I would urge you to adhere to the “less is more” mentality. Do not plaster your watermark obtrusively over your images like most of the samples in this tutorial, which were done for demonstration purposes only.
Make your photo the center of attention with your watermark as more of an afterthought. That being said, feel free to experiment with your own creative watermarks. As you’ve just seen, they are incredibly easy to apply in Lightroom.