Love them or hate them, applying watermarks to your photographs is one of the best methods to prevent people from sharing your photographs online without due credit. A watermark may not be the ideal solution, and some people — including us — might argue they’re not all that beneficial, but there are still reasons you may want to use one.
Below you will find a few of the different methods for adding a watermark to an image, ranging from simple to sophisticated, that you can use to make sure your photos are at least somewhat protected from taking on a life of their own without people knowing they’re yours.
The fast and easy way
The easiest way to add some form of copyright to your image is to use the text tool in any photo-editing program (heck, even Microsoft Paint will do the job) and tag your name on it. You can do it discreetly by writing it in a corner, in small font size, or you can plaster it over the entire photo. Draw a box around it, color it, use a funky font — it’s entirely up to you. This method might not be attractive, but it’s the fastest and easiest way to add a watermark. If you’re sending out a set of proofs for a client to select which images they want printed, something like this might be sufficient. For a cleaner approach, read on.
Online watermark tools
Another easy way to watermark a photo is to use an online tool like PicMarkr. Upload up to five photos, or pull them from Flickr or Facebook, then pick from three watermarking options (text, image, or tiled). Whereas a text watermark is similar to the one previously outlined, an image watermark places another image (such as a logo) on top of the original (you need to resize it beforehand). The issue with using PicMarkr to create an image watermark is that it doesn’t let you choose the opacity of the secondary image, so you can’t blend with the original photo. The third option, a tiled watermark, simply layers a text or image all over the picture.
This method is fast and easy, but it’s not necessarily pretty. Another online watermarking tool, PicMark (yes, it’s a very similar name), takes a cleaner approach by creating a frame around an image. Sadly, while leaving your photo untouched looks nice, someone can still easily cut your image out of the frame. And, you can’t choose the size of the watermarked image.
Watermark.ws, on the other hand, offers more flexibility in that it lets you drag a text or image watermark anywhere on the photo. The software also lets you adjust the font, color, and image opacity, letting you make it as obvious or as unobtrusive as you like. Of the three mentioned, Watermark.ws can give you the most professional-looking results.
Watermarkphotos.net is yet another option for watermarking your photos from within your browser. What sets this site apart is that all of the work is done locally, meaning none of your content is transferred to their servers to be watermarked, which adds an extra layer of privacy.
Desktop watermark software
There is watermarking software you can download, which essentially does the same things as the aforementioned online tools. However, because you don’t need an internet connection, you will find the process faster and you keep your photos on your local drive. There is plenty of software, both free and paid, that does the same thing, although each comes with a different set of extras. On MacOS, PhotoBulk is a great option that lets you easily add custom watermarks in bulk, as well as edit EXIF data and resize images. It costs $10 to download, but it’s one of the better-looking options out there and it’s half-off if you’ve purchased a previous version. Alternatives include TSR Watermark and uMark, the latter of which is a premium app that lets you apply graphics and perform batch watermarking. Thankfully, uMark also has a free version with limited functionality.
Before you download new software, however, you may already have something installed on your computer that can create watermarks. IrfanView, a popular image viewer for Windows, has a built-in watermarking feature. Photoshop Elements offers an easy way to create watermarks, too. Regardless, quickly check the image-editing software you are currently using to see if a watermarking feature is available.