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.