digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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How To Watermark Photos With Photoshop

In the previous article “Is watermarking photos a good idea?” I had a discussion with a panel of photographers about whether it is a good idea to add watermarks to your photos and what some other options are for protecting your images online.

If you've decided that you do indeed want to add one but aren't sure how to watermark your photos, this tutorial will give you some tips including:

  • the subtle way to watermark images
  • how to add a text watermark in Photoshop
  • how to add a logo watermark in Photoshop
  • how to alter your logo or text to be transparent (so the image shows through)
  • how to add a watermark in Lightroom
  • using your new transparent logo in Lightroom

Is this the best way to watermark your photos? That depends on you and the purpose.

How to watermark your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop

Examples of finished watermarks

Here's a few examples from the images I ran through the export process in Lightroom. Notice the logo on the bottom corners how subtle it is and doesn't detract from the actual image itself.

Would this protect me from image theft? Likely not. But, honestly I'm not that worried about it. The people that are determined to steal your images will get them anyway. They can crop out a watermark or use content aware fill to get rid of them anyway. Even digital watermarks can be stripped from the metadata of your files by someone technically savvy. So if they really want them, they'll get them anyway. I prefer to focus on education and deal with people that do want to purchase things on the up and up.

Drumheller-Sept-2012-0119_20_21_22_23-web Drumheller-Sept-2012-0128_29_30_31_32-web Drumheller-Sept-2012-0299-web

How Do I Watermark Photos If I Don't Have a Logo?

You can use this same technique on the text we make in the very first example. Just do the same process so all you're left with is ©YourName as the drop shadow and outline.

Crop it down to just the text. Hide all other layers and save as a PNG.

Then your name will become an image just like the logo and you can drop it on anywhere using Photoshop or Lightroom.

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 4.42.07 PM

Transparent PNG image ready to use

So now you are on your way to beautiful stylish watermarks like this!



You are here: Photoshop Tutorials » How To Watermark Photos With Photoshop

  • Geoff

    Hi Darlene, Thanks for the great tutorial! I am only an amateur photographer who used to use Lightroom on my old PC until I moved to Mac. I now use Aperture and am confused as to which of these software are better. I haven’t purchased Photoshop yet and would appreciate any advice as to which way I should be going.

    Kind regards


    • Hi Geoff

      Tough one to answer, but I’ll try and give you something to start with anyway.

      My experience with Aperture has solely been with students of mine that were using it and asked for my help. Even together we couldn’t figure certain things out, and having used Lightroom for years you’d think they’d be fairly similar and intuitive, but it wasn’t at all for me. I find it “hides” your images inside a secret file and it’s very hard to find your originals, which is exactly how iPhoto behaves and it was banished from my computer eons ago. There is not nearly as much training and support for Aperture as there is for Lightroom. Most pros and educators that I know use Lightroom – that has to say something. Adobe is the industry imaging standard for most things – all others are copies.

      As for Photoshop – I do most of my editing inside Lightroom and very little in Photoshop. If you want to get into doing things with layers like compositing images (one image for foreground one for background, etc), head swaps, or complex edits like adding a texture screen or painting filters – then get Photoshop. If you just want to shoot raw files, do basic editing on them to correct for: white balance, contrast, sharpness, exposure and some simple enhancements like b/w or partially colored images – all that can be done with just Lightroom.

      Does that help?

      • Geoff

        Hi Darlene,

        Thanks so much for your reply. Looks like that wasn’t the smartest decision to move over to Aperture after all. It took me forever to move my photo’s across and I lost all the edits in the process. Not the software’s problem, just me not being up with it all. I will definitely consider moving back to Lightroom but will need to work out how to make the move more efficiently this time. Photoshop will need to be added sometime in the future.

        Thanks again from Tasmania, Australia, your advice is very much appreciated!

        Kind regards


        • Tasmania! Awesome! I have friends from Queensland and over in NZ!

          When you “moved” the images from LR to Aperture, how did you do that? Did you “export” them from Lightroom and then reimport into Aperture? Do you still have a Lightroom catalogue?

          If you do, I suggest just putting the images back where they were if you just moved the originals – and Lightroom should see them again and all your edits you did before. Lightroom works as a database, it saves the “recipes” for each image as you work on them. The only time it applies them is when you export. So if you just moved them then that’s why none of your edits went along.

          try googling or looking on the LR support site for how to move your files or relink ones that have broken links (you’d see little “?”s on the ones that are missing).

          I do think LR is the better of the two programs. Just because Aperture is for Mac doesn’t mean you need to use it on a Mac. I like to think of it this way. You buy the products made by the experts in that field.

          Adobe – imaging experts
          Mac – computer experts
          Mercedes – car experts.

          So if Mercedes made a computer would you automatically buy it? Probably not. That help?

          • Geoff

            Thanks again Darlene,

            I moved or copied my photo’s around August 2011 when I purchased my MacBook. I honestly can’t remember how I went about it but still have all photo’s up to that point on my old notebook computer in Lightroom. I have since done a lot of re editing so probably not worth trying to retrieve from my old Lightroom as I have also changed my filing system and I imagine it would be a nightmare to try and match them up now.

            I have taken a lot of photo’s since then and now all of these including the pre August 2011 are saved in Aperture. Guess what I really need to do now is purchase Lightroom for Mac and work out how to transfer across. Will take your advice and check out Lightroom support and Google.

            Thanks again for all your help.

            Kind regards


        • Couple other things Geoff

          It’s really easy to set up a good archiving system inside LR which is why I like it so much. There are lots of Lightroom classes available online and I’m working on creating a “Virtual lightroom class” very soon. One that will be online and interactive. So if you can hang on that might help you.

          OR – I also offer virtual tutoring where we use either Skype, a Google hangout or another method where we can talk and you can share your screen or I can share mine and I could help you sort out some of it that way. Let me know if that sounds like something you want to do. If it does just fill in the Contact form and I’ll get back to you.

          • Geoff

            Hi Darlene,

            The Virtual Lightroom class sounds great so I will keep an eye out for that for sure. The virtual tutoring sounds great also so I’ll fill in the contact form shortly.

            You have been extremely helpful and I appreciate your time very much!

            Kind regards


  • John Minser

    after months of seek and hope to find, the best answer I have seen as re: photoshop vs lightroom but I am still lost as to where elements comes in? I have been using picasa only because it does a really good job of basics and I can not seem to figure out how to take the next step toward more complex software. Evey online course I have found so far is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to advanced for my old brain to wrap around.

    thanks for any help you can offer.


    • Hi John

      I find that Elements is a light version of full photoshop buts its still pretty complex and can be a bit confusing for a newbie. I find Lightroom more user friendly, more intuitive, and easier to start off with.

      I’d suggest to my students if what you want to do is adjust the exposure, contrast, and color or your images then Lightroom may be all you need. If you want to get into more complex thing like removing things from the photo, combining two or more images into one or advanced facial retouching – then add in photoshop.

      Does that help?

  • Loved this post! I’m a newbie and can easily follow it!

    I recently added a little watermark to my photo and it looks sad compared to this other method.

    • He he, thanks Dee! I’m thinking of doing a “photoshop for bloggers” virtual class later this year. Special deal for Fizzlers and even better for Wiz’s!

  • Hi Darlene,

    Do you have a seminar or class in regards to sunsets in relation to processing? I see wonderful, spectacular sunsets with the foreground and sky perfectly exposed. I’ve also noticed that the majority of those involve sunsets with water on the horizon. That particular subject matter assists greatly since the reflection on the water will assist with the foreground being exposed. However, I am very far from a body of water, unless I include the Rio Grande and it’s really low right now with the drought. I love the sunset shots with the Big Bend area mountains and landscape in the foreground but I get bored with the foreground as simply a silhouette. Any suggestions? Is Photoshop absolutely necessary for processing this in order to have both fore and back grounds exposed? I have LR and I just love it but I can only adjust so much with sunset shots before it begins to look weird. If you have a class online or any suggestions that would help greatly. Thank you for your time. You provide a wonderful and valuable service.


    • Hi Charleton

      I don’t have a course but I did write an article on it here

      Sunsets are really tricky and without some extra work you can’t keep detail in both land and sky. HDR is one way. Layer blending is another.

      If you use Lightroom you can get the Photomatix plugin at (use my code for 15% off: HerViewPhoto). That’s what I use for HDR. I am hoping to have an ebook or course on HDR later this year.

  • confused person

    I find your video confusing I am new at this i have a 30day trail and i find it all a bit full on and confused i have been trying to get watermarks on my photos with great difficulty i have set up the watermark but it is not transferring on to my photos i have been use picasa

  • Confused – sorry which part is confusing you? You have a trial version of Lightroom or Photoshop, I’m not clear on your question because you mention Picasa as well.

    Have you been exporting the images OUT of Lightroom? that is the only time it will get applied.

  • Chaudhry Ali

    Darlene Hildebrandt your tutorials is really awesome. You tell the various ways for watermark. I made copy rights water signs with opacity approach and drop it on a picture.

    • That’s great but why would you want to do that? It really doesn’t make the image look good.

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