FAQ :: Watermarks

The FAQ post today is all about watermarks and protecting your images. Ashley sent us an email asking us to go through the steps of creating a watermark, and explaining how to apply it to your images. *Side note: Ashley has started a blog called Penny Pinching Mom. I’m not even a mom, but I definitely love reading her posts. She’s like that genius woman I saw on the Today Show that got $200.00 worth of groceries for $1.67. If you have a minute … be sure to check her out!* Okay, back to watermarks. 

First of all, your watermark can do a bit of advertising for you. If you’ve ever uploaded an image to Flickr or Facebook, you should assume that they (or anyone) can take your photo and use it however they would like. If you have a clear watermark with your name and/or web address, it’s easier to trace the image back to you. We watermark all of our images with our web address … This ensures that when we load photos of a recent wedding we shot, everyone that looks at them will know where to find more photos. This is free advertising … and we like free. We encourage our clients to make the images their profile photos. Their friends/family want to see photos from the big day, and it helps us get wonderful referrals!

The biggest reason that someone decides to use a watermark is to protect their images. As an artist, you’ve created an image … Therefore, you have the right to establish ‘rules’ for its reproduction. In our case, we watermark our images that we post online. These images have been optimized for the web … meaning, low resolution… meaning, crappy print quality. If our images weren’t watermarked, clients might do the ol’ right-click, save… then head to Walmart and print the photo. Please don’t do this … It makes your photographer cry! With a watermark, the client is less likely to print your image. We offer a DVD of high-res, un-watermarked images for purchase with every session for this very reason. We want our clients to show off our work, but we want them to show off our best work. Not show cropped, low-res images. 

Okay, so there are several more reasons to have a watermark, but I think you get the point. This tutorial uses Photoshop CS4. You can use any Photoshop version, it just may look a little different. Also, you can download a 30-day trial of PS from adobe dot com. 

For this lesson, I’m using a photo that we took recently when we were out exploring the amazing alleys in Broad Ripple. I love old buildings!


First you want to open the image, and open your actions pallet. It is worth mentioning that I have already sized my image for the web (1024 x 680 72 dpi). You can find the actions pallet by clicking Window > Actions in the menu bar.

Next, be sure the actions pallet is not in button mode. This can be done by clicking the pallet menu icon (circled in pink). 


Next, you’ll want to start recording your action. Click the record button (circled in blue) to begin. *Everything you do from this point out will be recorded). Name your action ‘Watermark’ or something to that effect. Create a new layer (circled in green). You’ll want this action on a new layer in case you decide you need to move your watermark around on the next image. Select the type tool, and the settings of typeface that you want. You can type your name, ‘do not copy’, your website, etc. Once you have the type you want, you can change the opacity over in the layers pallet. This gives the effect of the watermark. Once you’re done, click the stop button (circled in blue). You now have your action. Go back up to the action pallet menu (circled in pink) and choose button mode. Now, you should see a button that says “Watermark”. If you open a new photo and click the button, your watermark should show up in the exact same place as the last image. Remember, you kept it in a separate layer … This means by hitting control - T, you can move the watermark wherever you’d like it to be on your image. 


That was easy, right? We actually use a different/more custom-method for watermarking our images. Since we have a logo that was created in Illustrator, we created a layered PSD file (web size) with our logo in each corner (each on its own layer). We copy and paste our web sized image onto the PSD file and simply shut off the 3 layers/corners that we don’t want to logo to appear. 

As always … We love to hear your comments and questions. If you would like to see something in a future FAQ post, let us know! 

- Ravyn - 

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