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Tutorial Tuesday: Watermarking - Ramblings and Photos

August 28, 2012
Tutorial Tuesday: Watermarking
Tutorial Tuesday: Watermarking
Welcome to the final (official) week of Tutorial Tuesday! Sarah of Naptime Momtog and I have been bringing you a new challenge every week, to stretch your shooting and editing skills. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we are officially ending this meme because of a lack of inspiration and participation. However, there is a chance (can’t decide how strong of a chance just yet) that I’ll be revisiting some of my editing posts from the “Shoot and Edit” series I did with Jill Samter last year. Speaking of which, this week I thought I’d revisit a topic that is getting a lot of heat – WATERMARKING!

Before we get into how to watermark, let’s talk about why you should watermark your images. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I encourage you to read Shawntae’s post “My Son is on a T-shirt.”

My minister is convinced that only perverts hang out on Facebook – I’m sure he would extend that statement out to anyone on the web…and he may not be far from the truth. While I’d like to believe that most of us within this photography blogging community have good intentions, there are some people out there who aim to do harm in the way of stealing our images and using them to make a profit (see Shawntae’s post). Others use our images to create an imaginary life…pretending to be pregnant or have a family. Whatever the reason, it’s not cool to steal images.

With that said, we can either put ourselves at risk by posting un-watermarked images to our blogs, Facebook and Instagram…or we can protect our children by watermarking our images. I’ve been watermarking my images for some time, but after reading Shawntae’s post, I think I’m going to take a more aggressive approach.

Watermarked Shot

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 of Watermarking

1. Discourage the crazies (aka thieves, losers, hackers…you get the idea)
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. For example, in my image above, I created a new watermark (one I’ll likely be using moving forward) that is low in opacity. However, by placing it right on top of my daughter, I discourage anyone from stealing it. I mean, they could steal it, but they’d have to spend a little bit of time getting rid of the watermark. My old watermark (which I still love), was often placed in the corner of the image. These types of watermarks are incredibly easy to crop out.

2. 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. My blog friend, Rosie, wrote a post on this very subject: Metadata and Copyright.

3. Free Advertising and Branding
Not everyone who has a blog is a professional photographer. But, for those of us who make a living with our camera (part time or full time)…blogging is a great way to get noticed and get hired. I, personally, hope that my satisfied clients will post their favorite shot(s) on Facebook (I often provide watermarked/resized images for this very reason) or share my portrait preview posts with their friends in the hopes that it’ll generate business.

Granted, so many photographers 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. Other photography or mommy bloggers use their photos to enhance content on their blog which generates web traffic. My husband is in the Search Engine Optimization business, so I know all too well how important photos are to strengthening your web presence.

4. 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 photos published (ex. Mortal Muses) 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?

Jeremy holds his baby girl

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. MCP Actions also created a video tutorial – see below.

The thing I like about watermarking with brushes in Photoshop is that you can customize the location of the watermark depending on the image. If you are working in Lightroom, you can quickly export and watermark your image with the click of a button. I can quickly apply my watermark to 1 or 200 images at a time while also resizing and sharpening for the web. Here’s a quick video on watermarking in Lightroom:

There are many other ways to watermark your photos…just Google it. Whatever you do…watermark your photos or put yourself at risk of having your child’s face on a t-shirt, coffee mug or ad campaign in a foreign country. I guess I should add that this doesn’t just apply to photos you post on your blog or Facebook – it also applies to Instagram photos. I just downloaded an app called “iWatermark.” And with that, thanks so much for joining Sarah and me for Tutorial Tuesday. I’ll be back at some point with another series of tutorials…but for now, link up with me on Wednesday for “Wittle People Wednesday” or Sunday for “Scavenger Hunt Sunday.”

Ready to join in the fun? Here’s how to do it:

1. Read through today’s tutorial.
2. Choose your favorite shot (or more!) to share with us.
3. Don’t forget to grab the button for your post!
4. Link up between now and next Monday.

Tutorial Tuesday


    Sad to see TT disappear as I have learnt so much, this last tutorial is invaluable. Wish you both all the best. Cheers

    Ashley, I really like your new watermark because it is clear. How did you get it clear? I have been trying to figure out how to make a watermark that I can place closer to the face without obstructing it. My gray one was too intrusive. Thanks for this post!

    Great post Ashley. I am a fan of watermarks since I saw a picture of my son on an Italian blog without my permission. I even took it a step further and on my site you can’t right click to copy any of my pictures. (well I’m sure if you really try to can copy them). Thank you for all the tips and I’m off to go make a better watermark!

    Oh and can I saw Felicity is so cute.

    Great tips. I’ve been watermarking my images for a while now and keep reading more and more about it. I use Picasa, Photobucket and even pimonkey. Depending on what I do!!!

    I’ve recently discovered that my blog has been scraped. I was horrified at the top referring web site on my stats. After reading about this happening to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, (http://betweennapsontheporch.net/stop-scrapers-from-stealing-your-content/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BetweenNapsOnThePorch+%28BETWEEN+NAPS+ON+THE+PORCH%29)
    I started watermarking my photos. I wrote about it here – http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com/2012/08/stop-scrapers.html

    I am in the process of texting my name across pictures from old posts. Some of them I see, some I don’t. My access to my pictures is via Picasa and have edited them using their tools. I do not have Photoshop, and in any event, I probably would not know how to use it.

    I only have a little blog, but to know that someone is stalking out there in cyber space, just to steal pictures and content is very discouraging . Yet I enjoy blogging so I am trying to use whatever things I am able, to discourage pirating of any kind. Sorry this is so long. I actually came here with another question.

    As you know- this topic is very near to my heart. It is so important to protect our images as much as we can since not everyone subscribes to the notion that if it doesn’t belong to you- then you should not touch it. I feel sad when I think of the direction we are headed when people think that if they want it- they should just take it.

    Now to my real question :-) A couple of years ago, I read on your blog a post on how to stretch and spin a photo. This was my original post –


    I gave reference to your blog on how to do this, but when I went back, it is no longer there. Do you still have this tutorial?? I tried to access your tutorials but it says this tutorial is not available. Can you please tell me where to find the info on how to do this again?? If I remember., you referred to another blogger in your orginial post. Thanks! It was an awesome project to do. I’m not a photographer, but I like taking pictures, and this was such an exceptional idea. Thanks!

    Great tutorial Ashley! I am seeing a lot of posts about this. It’s definitely an important topic. I’ve been watermarking for awhile now too, but now I am watermarking right over my subject. Although, I feel like watermarking really only solves the issue of credit being stolen. It doesn’t stop the crazies out there that are just looking for attractive subjects (no matter how old they are)! I’m disgusted just even writing that last sentence. But it’s true. On a different note, lovin’ your new bloggy design!

    Great post- it is sooo important we protect our little ones. I saw a similar story over at “A Sorta fairytale” – someone stole her sons picture and then used the pictures as her own saying that was her son – That is just SICK! After reading that, I posted a similar post to pass the word on. It seems like this stealing of photos is becoming more popular. I too just downloaded iwatermark – for instagram – I guess nothing is sacred anymore. :(

    Thanks for this message, Ashley. I never watermark my photos on my blog because I always think to myself, who would want my photos? But, I think from now on, I will take the time to watermark them. I do NOT want my kids’ faces on a t-shirt…that’s scary!!

    Thank you so much for the tutorial, I’ve been hearing scary stories and have been meaning to do this for a long time! Your daughter is growing!! She is so beautiful…just like her mama.

    Thank you for doing this tutorial. I’ve been meaning to figure out how to watermark my photos for some time now, but never got around to it. I’ve been really wanting to since I share lots of photos of my kids and my work!

    Thanks for posting this tutorial Ashley!! I’ve been watermarking my images also, but I do it individually for each photo. It will be so nice to have a brush to use now and cut down on my time!

    Thanks for the Tutorial its good.But using lighroom can hghlu slow down the speed of your workflow.Im a professional photographer,had been watermarking like this,lost lot of time.Now i use MassWatermark to watermark and share my Images.