September 01, 2011
Categories: Lightroom, Shoot and Edit Tags:
Shoot and Edit: Week 34 – Ocean/Pool/Lake/River…EDIT (Watermarking)
Welcome to the 34th week of Shoot and Edit: Part 2. Click HERE for all the details and upcoming prompts/themes (also including previous editing tutorials). This week’s theme or prompt was to show us one “Ocean/Pool/Lake/River” SOOC shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). Hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide a simple/basic or advanced Photoshop/Photoshop Elements or Lightroom tutorial. You can then try my tutorial on your own photos and link up here – linky will now open EARLY on Thursdays and be open THROUGH SUNDAY. If you’d prefer, can simply share your own edit and show us what you did to achieve the look.

We want this challenge to be a learning experience, so feel free to teach us something new too! Also, it does not matter what editing program you use. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements, Adobe Camera Raw and now Lightroom…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using.

This week, I wanted to do two things: 1) re-edit an old photo taken last year and 2) learn how to create watermarks in Lightroom. Here’s my SOOC again:
Bird by the Lake SOOC

SPDG 0410-211 blogI actually took this photo last April (2010). Since I did not have a previously unedited photo of the ocean, pool, lake or river…I decided to pull this one out again. At one point, I liked this shot enough that I printed it as a postcard. 

My original edit was done in Photoshop Elements 7…I believe I used the Coffeeshop Blog’s Sun Kissed action. I like it…but I was curious as to whether or not I would do anything different in Lightroom. Interestingly enough, I did not write down my steps (mostly because I knew that my steps were not the priority for this post). I really struggled with making the right adjustments without the use of layer masks. I’ll leave that discussion for another day. For now, I leave you with a before and after. 

Before and After
Rather than give you specific editing tips this week, I wanted to discuss the use of watermarks.

At the end of last week, Branson shared some lessons learned from a recent Togchat. One of the critiques she received was to lose her watermark. For whatever reason, this kinda fired me up. I’m not sure why…maybe I felt personally attacked because I use a watermark – clearly I have some insecurities to work out. She ultimately decided to lose her watermark and expanded on her perspective earlier this week: click HERE. Branson and I discussed watermarking a little bit via email, but I thought it might be helpful if I shared my thoughts here.

What is a watermark? A watermark is an image or pattern that appears on your image. It can vary in shade, opacity, size, shape and color.

Benefits to Watermarking:
  • Discourage the crazies (aka thieves). In my opinion, watermarking is one of the easiest and most effective ways (in addition to resizing your images to 72 dpi) to ensure your images are secure on the web. If you are posting images of your children, I strongly encourage watermarking your images to deter any crazies from stealing your photos. It makes it very difficult for anyone to take credit for your work when your name is watermarked across the image. I’ve read too many stories of parents who found their children’s photographs being used to advertise products overseas because they didn’t protect their images. Some people go so far as to right-click disable on their blogs.
  • Copyright. Although it is not necessary to watermark your images for them to be copyrighted, doing so will remind people who the photo belongs to. Rosie wrote a post recently on this very subject: Metadata and Copyright.
  • Free advertising and Branding. Not everyone who has a blog is a professional photographer, but I see way too many blog buttons floating around for me to believe that photography bloggers don’t want their work to be noticed. Granted, so many of you have a very distinct style that I can spot in a heartbeat with or without a watermark…but having a watermark (your information, symbol, etc) on your photos will bring people back to your website. Your watermark is an extension of your BRAND. Say you have an etsy shop…if someone likes you’re work, maybe they’d be interested in purchasing a print. Or maybe you’re trying to get your portrait business started…what better way to advertise your work than through a satisfied client posting their favorite shot on Facebook…with your watermark! I could go on and on…
  • Just Because. The internet makes it so easy to share, copy and save anything that inspires us. I mean, Pinterest was built on this principle. And I don’t know about you, but when I see one of my photo published on someone else’s site…I get a little warm and fuzzy…assuming they give me credit. Some people might think that by watermarking your images, you think you’re all that…but shouldn’t we be proud of our work?

Now that you know where I stand on watermarks, there are multiple ways to create a watermark. If you are working in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements – I love the use of brushes for watermarks. Rita wrote a great tutorial on creating your own watermark HERE. If you are working in Lightroom 3 (I’m not sure how different this is from previous versions), here’s a quick video on watermarking:

Whether you decide to use an graphic (I imported my everyday watermark into the Watermark Editor) or text…the watermark editor is a very user friendly. Furthermore, you can apply a watermark in nearly an LR module. The other day, I quickly applied my watermark to 70 images before resizing, sharpening and posting to Facebook.
I’m seriously considering changing my standard watermark to a simple web address – what do you think (I’ve got it displayed on my edit below)?

This next screenshot is the export to hard drive screen. There are a number of ways to export your images…they can go to your hard drive, Flickr, Facebook, etc. I personally prefer to export my images to my hard drive. I save 2 files: full size/high resolution (especially if it’s a client file) and resized for the web (72 dpi). For web usage, you can change the size of your image, apply your watermark and sharpen for the web.
With all of that said, here is my final Lightroom edit. Notice that I’ve kept my watermark small and positioned in the right-hand corner. The one thing I can say about watermarks is that some watermarks can distract from the image if they are too large, have too much color or if they are positioned directly on top of the subject. I would just encourage you to keep it classy.
SPDG 0410-211 RS-1
So, to recap our lesson, today we discussed watermarks. Here’s a final look at my SOOC shot, my Original Edit in Photoshop Elements and my Final Edit in Lightroom 3.
SPDG 0410-211 Compare
For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past 33 weeks as well as apply today’s lesson or share something you’ve learned recently. I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing your edits. Next week’s theme is “Back to School.” Have a great Thursday!
Good to WOW

By the way, don’t forget to add your edited photo to our good to WOW {EDIT} Flickr Group (for those of you that prefer to upload and visit that way). When adding your photos to the group pool, be sure to include the Week #, the Theme and EDIT in the description section. You may upload one photo per week. I also want to point out that we are all here to improve our editing skills. When offering constructive criticism (either on Flickr or within blog comment sections), be sure to point out at least one thing you really like about the edit before offering any advice for improvement.

    Awesome edit. I love the color. Very good points about watermarks. Positives and Negatives on both sides.

    Thanks for this! I have it bookmarked so I can really check it out later. Totally not critiquing but I had to laugh when I read that this is your 34rd week. That’s totally something I would do…just erase 33 and put 34 forgetting about the “rd”. You’re so easy going I knew you wouldn’t get mad at me for pointing it out. lol

    Just saying hello, and that I love your blog header! :) Your photos are always such an inspiration.

    Love all the color that was hiding in this photo.

    I’ve been thinking about changing mine back to my url too. If you do, I would drop the “www” and keep it simply

    Thanks for sharing! Great edit dear Ashley!
    Nice day, kisses:)

    Thanks for the little mention Ashley. I have mixed feelings about watermarking and have gone from url to just brand and back again time and again though mostly on my other blog. One day I’ll get around to having a .com or as it looks a lot better than a long blogspot url placed on the photo.

    As for your photo I really like the colours now of the water – lots of shimmering.

    Really love that last edit you did. Reminds me of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I am all for watermarking, so long as they aren’t big and huge (and ugly) and take away from the image. There are some days where I don’t remember or don’t have time, but for the most part, I add a WM to all of my photos. You never know who is looking and what they might use them for.

    This is great! I am toying with an idea of putting the watermark across the middle of the images. I am not paranoid, but there are horror stories out there!
    Love the edit, amazing what you are coming up with in Lightroom.

    I don’t watermark because no one comes to my blog except family and a few bloggy friends :) Thanks for the tutorial though, I learn something new from you every day!

    love your edit! and we have very similar thoughts on watermarking. i’ve made mine much more subtle recently, but i still like to have attribution somewhere on my photos. i think using your site name works well in case folks want to find more of your work. in your case, your name is your site name, and i have always been a fan of your original watermark.

    Lots to think about today.
    I created my watermark for what I hope will one day be a business, but put it into place because of picture hijackers from Facebook. (Easy access tends to make people feel entitled it seems.)
    Now on to your edit…LOVE it!!
    I think you chose that yellow to draw my attention to his creepy eyes, didn’t you. hee hee.
    I love how a simple black bird and a bit of wavy water can be so beautiful in the hands of someone willing to look and see…
    Thanks for looking, and seeing, and sharing.

    First of all, I like both edits of this photo. Love the color in the new one and the contrast between the lighter background and the dark bird in the first.

    I’ve sometimes felt a little silly for watermarking my photos since the very few people who look at them aren’t going to steal them and if they were they could find way better pictures out there than mine! I’ve also thought someone could easily Photoshop the watermark out most of the time. Still, I think it is fun and that watermarks are fine if they are subtle and not too distracting.

    BTW – I like both watermarks, but your old one is more unique and would be harder to copy.

    I am not a professional photographer -still far away from that :))), but I add my name to my photos, I post quite few shots of my kids or craft tutorials so this way if someone copies my photo and not credit it back to me, they will have to crop and edit it again to have this few little words removed :)

    I did click on to see the before and after of that Childs photo, and wow a very big deference with all the human imperfections almost removed. With almost everything being air brushed in some way its almost sad that we don’t see ourselves the way we really look. Which is why i really admire some movie stars for example that go out and let themselves be photographed with-out make-up. Richard

    I love your old watermark ~ it’s cleverly unique and because its swirly it’d be more difficult to clone out. I’d stick with it iywy. It’s not at all distracting either.
    Great edit btw ~ not the easiest of shots to work on :)

    I’m with you on watermarking….100%! There are so many people who don’t feel a need to give proper credit when they use another person’s photo and like you mentioned, some people will profit from stealing photos! {Grrr} I personally see it as branding. Nike wouldn’t dare advertise a product of theirs without their logo, so why should I? My Etsy shop is different, though. For many very different reasons I no longer watermark my images on there, but they are also significantly smaller in size so I’m not too worried about theft.

    And I absolutely love your swirly watermark! It’s not intrusive and just your name still lets people find your blog.

    I think watermarks are fine, but if a thief wants your photo, he’ll get rid of the watermark. I’ll admit it — I’ve downloaded photos from stock websites just to erase the watermark — good practice in cloning. I always delete the photo after that and don’t use it for anything. Don’t worry, your pictures are still safe by me. :-D I’m just saying that a little watermark won’t stop someone who knows what they’re doing…

    Fantastic edit! I love seeing people take a very dark photo and fix it up. So cool.

    I love the LR edit.

    Sorry to say but really people??? What in the world is wrong with watermarks? Now we have to get rid of them because some don’t like them and we should make them less offensive to them? Or we should not desire to have some protection of “our” photo.

    And cloning out the watermark is STEALING!

    What about honor and integrity?
    What about doing onto others as you would have done to you?

    If none of us watermark our photos then we might as well ONLY post the bottom of the barrel level of photo on line and such a small size that if anyone tried to use it anywhere it would look like junk. And guess what?
    I don’t want my watermark on junk anyway!

    Seriously, this is the downfall of all the editing programs.

    Sorry, THUMP that is me getting off my soapbox.

    Hugs and truly you bless me!

    Nice post on watermarks. I use them myself and actually have several variations with the difference being which corner I put the watermark in. Usually it goes in the bottom left corner for me but sometimes there is an important element of the photo there so I move it to another corner.

    Really nice post and edit!!

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the advice!


    This is such an awesome edit! I am in love! And so glad you shared your thoughts on watermarks.

    Love your new edit, it brings out more color in the water, great job!

    Beautiful photo and tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Such a beautiful edit… Thanks for sharing your thoughts on watermarks. and i love your swirly watermark..

    I always want to add a watermark to my images, but am self-conscious about it for the reasons you listed. I don’t want people stealing my images, and if people do use them, I’d like to know that I am getting the credit, but I am also a beginner and don’t want people to think I think I’m hot stuff haha. Well, I’ve always loved your watermark! Oh, and since I use flickr people can’t right click and steal them so I hadn’t worried about that much.

    Okay- first- I love the final Lightroom edit. The colors are fantastic!

    As far as the watermark issue goes- I agree with Jill. Why would one not want their name on what they created? Selling it or not- it has nothing to do with thinking we are better than we really are- to me it’s the finishing touch on the image. It gives it that little extra spark & an inside look at who the photographer is as a person. I’m not sure who would take offense to it- except those that think that they are a bit superior & are trying to tear the rest of us down.

    I can’t decide which one I like more- the old one seems like it’s more you but the other is so clean & stream lined. But I agree with Jess- if you go with the second, I would drop the www.

    Oh yummy!!!!!! I love this last edit the best. The way the yellow and pink pop out of the water is the shizzz….ha! But really.

    That is CR-AZY!!!! Love the tonal shift! I love purple midtones in my edits and sometimes shift things that way too. Can’t believe the bird pops so much in your edit. I was excited to see what you were going to do with this. Seriously…should I get LR or what?! You’re rocking it!!! (still a bit jealous)

    You can be jealous of my phone and i’ll be jealous of LR ;-)

    I am considering getting Lightroom. I read such wonderful things about it. But I have just gotten really comfortable with ACR. It will probably be like everything else I was hesitant about doing (shooting in manual, shooting RAW, photography in general). I will end up loving it. I am going to have to search your site fior past tips when I do, though.

    Your edit is amazing, love, love it! I go back and forth on watermarking…sometimes I do…sometimes I am lazy. I love your swirly WM.

    Love this edit…it really brought out the beautiful background.

    The colors in the new edit are beautiful! I like having your web address as a watermark, it’s smart for branding too.

    Another incredible edit

    The edits are great. I love the rich colors in the LR edit. I’ve been thinking that I would like to try LR.

    huge fan of watermarking! :) and your mouseover thing worked, I just have more of a delay in my java script than yours does, but it worked – thanks!

    Wowzers…what a difference!

    Those colors are so pretty!

    Watermarks. I was doing it for a bit, but I decided not to for now. Sometimes I want to put watermarks again. Er… you could see I’m all over the place on this issue. Can’t make up my mind.

    I flip flopped on watermarking in the beginning but I love all your reasons stated here for doing so. Love the edit, too!

    watermarks stresses me out. I mean, I want to mark my stuff, but I can´t get them to look cool and pro at the same time. It all turns out cheesy. so I just write my name… hehe

    Yep. You were right. Just thought you’d like to hear that this morning. :)

    While I like the colors in your original edit, I don’t really like it as a whole. But the re edit in LR is awesome! :)

    I’ve never really had qualms about watermarking my photos… That was a given if I was posting them online…. It was just finding a wm that I liked and worked for me. And as you saw, I’m now the proud owner of a new watermark that I love…. Totally me. I am not a pro, and dont have intentions in becoming one soon, but I am not interested in making it easy for someone to steal my photos or posts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this… Total AMEN from my pew! Xoxo

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your light room edit!! The color of the water is so neat and dreamy like!!
    As for watermarks…if I post it on my blog MY name will most defintly go on the photo. As for FACEBOOK and other social networking websites it depends on the photo. If I took the time to do whatever kind of editing then yes I will put my name on it. I don’t want someone taking credit or getting any kind of income from what I made. All in all MINE IS MINE. Yes you can tell an artist by ther work. Some folks out there have very distinct style and there is no coping that!!!
    I do also understand those that choose not to add a watermark to there work. Yes it is all up to the person.
    Great post!!

    Love the new edit, really made the colors pop! As for the watermark I agree with you. I prefer to watermark all my photos, however I really like your old watermark alot!