How to Add a Graphic Watermark in GIMP

Protect your photos with a semi-transparent watermark

Derelict car on the site of the old Route 66 in the Petrified Forest National Park Arizona USA

Martyn Goddard / Getty Images

Adding graphic watermarks to digital images doesn't guarantee that they won't be stolen, but the time required to remove a semi-transparent watermark discourages most would-be image thieves. It's possible to make a watermark in GIMP without the need for any extra plugins or extensions.

Instructions in this article apply to GIMP version 2.10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to Add a Graphic Watermark to an Image in GIMP

To overlay a semi-transparent watermark on an image in GIMP:

  1. Open the image in GIMP and go to File > Open as Layers.

    An image open in GIMP with the
  2. Choose the graphic you want to use as a watermark, then select Open.

    Opening an image as a layer in GIMP with the Open button highlighted
  3. Select Convert if prompted to convert the image to RBG.

    Dialogue window to convert image to RGB in GIMP with the Convert button highlighted
  4. Select the Move tool, then position the graphic in the desired location.

    An image open in GIMP with the Move tool highlighted
  5. Go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers to open the Layers palette (if it isn't visible).

    GIMP with the Layers command highlighted under the Window menu
  6. Select the layer with your watermark graphic, then drag the Opacity slider to the left to make the image semi-transparent.

    A layer in GIMP with the opacity slider highlighted
  7. Depending on the photo being watermarked, change the color of the graphic. For example, to apply a black graphic as a watermark on a dark image, change the graphic to white to make it more obvious. In the Tools palette, select Foreground Color to open the Change Foreground Color dialog box, choose a color, then select OK.

    Selecting a new foreground color in GIMP. The color picker and OK button are highlighted
  8. Go to Edit > Fill With FG Color to change the color of the graphic.

    An image open in GIMP with the
  9. Go to the Layers palette, select the graphic layer, then select the paintbrush icon. Click the empty space under the paintbrush to ensure that transparent pixels remain transparent if you edit the layer.

    The paintbrush icon for a layer in GIMP

It's easier to add text-based watermarks to images using GIMP, but using a graphic that's consistent with other marketing materials can help you establish a recognizable brand.