How to Watermark Your Photos

How to add a watermark to your photos

What to Know

  • A watermark on a photo is a logo or word superimposed over an image to prevent others from using the photo without permission.
  • You can add a watermark to a photo using software like Photoshop or apps like Marksta.
  • You can add watermarks to photos in batches or as individual files.

If you're putting photos online and want to protect your rights to those images, the best way to protect digital photos is by watermarking them.

Choosing Watermarking Software

Watermarking photos is a straightforward process, provided you have the right software. Within a few minutes, you probably can complete watermarking on dozens of your photos. Here are some watermarking software options:

  • Adobe Photoshop. Adding a text watermark in Photoshop is easy. Just use the Type tool and place a text string over the photo in gray. Edit the text to make it look like you want.
  • Microsoft Paint 3D. Adding a text watermark in this program is similar to doing it in Photoshop. Select the Text tool, choose a color in text settings, draw the text box, type the word watermark and click or tap the screen to save the text on the picture. Drag it where you want.
  • iWatermark Pro for Windows. For about $30, you can download a Windows Pro version of the iWatermark watermarking software from PlumAmazing.com. The site also has Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android versions of the software.
  • EasyBatchPhoto. For about $20, this Mac app provides a way to resize and convert images all at once. The app also lets you place a watermark on the entire batch of images, with transparency and pixel-offset features built right in.

Watermark Apps

Several apps are available to manage watermarks with a smartphone. Consider these options.

  • A+ Signature Lite.  You can add a watermark, an annotation, or an artistic border to your photos using the A+ Signature app available through the App Store.
  • Marksta. You'll have a surprising number of options for customizing your watermark with the Marksta app available through the App Store.
  • iWatermark. More affordable than the desktop Pro version, iWatermark for Android devices is available at the Google Play store. Add a text or graphic watermark to any photo or art.

Creating a Watermark

Copyright symbol

You have several options for the actual watermark to use with your photos. Here are a few ideas.

  • Copyright. Place a copyright symbol in the watermark, and there's no question that others cannot copy the image without your permission. In word processing software, the copyright symbol usually is available using the Insert menu and the Symbol command.
  • Image. You can create an image that you then superimpose over the photo. For example, if you have a logo, use an image watermark.
  • Text. Use a text string as the watermark. For example, you can place your name, your business name, or a description of the image as the watermark.

Placing a Watermark on Your Images

Photographers name superimposed on photo

To place the watermark on your photos, follow these steps.

  1. Select the photos. You only need to watermark photos that appear in a public location on the internet, where others can easily download them. Additionally, you only need to watermark photos that you don't want others to take and use without your permission. So, don't feel like you have to watermark every image you ever shot. Instead, save yourself some time by only picking specific photos for watermarking.

  2. Make copies. You obviously don't want to place a watermark on the original and only copy of your photo. Make copies of the images you want to watermark, and then place the watermark on the copies, thereby protecting the original photos.

  3. Select the method. Select the type of watermarking software you want to use, and decide whether you want to watermark all your photos at one time or watermark the photos individually. If you watermark each photo individually, you can make sure each watermark is placed in the location on the photo you want and looks how you want it to look. However, that process is more time consuming than watermarking a group of images at one time.

  4. Select the type and size of the watermark. Choose the type of watermark you want to use. Additionally, you'll need to select the size of the watermark. A large watermark covers more of the photo, making it almost impossible for someone to crop the watermark out of the image.

  5. Apply the watermark. Using the software you picked earlier, apply the watermark to your photos. This step usually requires the least amount of time.

  6. Upload the photos. If you're sharing photos online, make sure you're uploading the correct copy of your image with the watermark. You may want to create a specific folder that contains only watermarked photos to avoid confusion.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately you have to decide whether the process is worth your time and expense. Few photographers need to place a watermark on every photo they upload to a social networking website. If it's a quick snapshot of your family or a picture from a recent vacation, the chances are high that no one will want to steal that photo for use elsewhere. However, if you've taken the time to set up a high-end photo, investing a little more time to watermark it may be a good idea.