How to Add a Watermark to Photos

By: Marie Look  | 
Before and after example of AI watermark remover tool erasing watermarks from a photo of a beach
Here is the same photograph with and without watermarking. If you want to learn how to watermark images, you've come to the right place. Watermarking photos is an easy and important way to protect your work. MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

In today's digital age, protecting your photographs from unauthorized use is important, especially if you're a professional photographer or running a photography business. One effective way to safeguard your intellectual property is by adding watermarks to your images.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to add a watermark to photos, whether you're a seasoned photographer or just starting in the field.


Why Watermark Photos?

There are several reasons to watermark photos.

  • To establish ownership: Perhaps one of the most obvious is that with a watermarked photo, there's no question who owns the intellectual property or who has permission to use it.
  • To deter image theft: Watermarks are difficult to remove. If you own a photo that you want to protect from unauthorized use, adding a watermark can give you peace of mind.
  • To establish yourself as a professional: Consistently adding a watermark to all your photos helps establish your identity as a professional photographer.
  • To promote your brand: Watermarking images promotes brand recognition, ensuring that viewers associate your work with your name or photography business.

Fortunately, modern software makes it possible to easily watermark photos, and there are many watermark templates out there you can use to get started if you're completely new to the process. Next, let's review the necessary steps for creating your very own watermark.


1. Choose Your Watermark Type

There are various types of watermarks you can use to protect your images:

  • Text watermark: Incorporate your own text, such as your name or business name, into the image as a watermark.
  • Signature watermark: Digitize your own signature and apply it as a subtle watermark to your photos.
  • Logo watermark: Use your business logo as a watermark to promote brand recognition and establish your business identity.
  • Image watermark: Overlay an icon or symbol onto your photos to signify their ownership.


2. Select a Watermarking Tool

Today's software and online tools make it simple to add watermarks. For example, Adobe Photoshop, known for its user-friendly interface and professional capabilities, is a popular choice among photographers.

If you prefer a more accessible option, there are plenty of watermarking apps and desktop versions available that offer similar features. Look for tools that allow you to easily add text or image watermarks and then customize their appearance to suit your preferences.


3. Customize Your Watermark

Once you've chosen your watermarking tool, it's time to create a professional-looking watermark. You can adjust the font, size, opacity and position to achieve the right balance between visibility and subtlety.

Ensure that your watermark is prominent enough to deter unauthorized use but doesn't distract from the main focus of the image.


4. Add Your Watermark to the Photos

Using your selected tool, simply upload the photos you want to watermark. With most watermarking software, you can easily add text or image watermarks to multiple photos simultaneously, saving you time and effort.

If necessary, you can also remove backgrounds or edit your watermark to better suit each image.


5. Save Your Watermarked Photos

Once you've added the watermark to your photos, it's crucial to save them in a secure location. Be sure to use file formats that preserve the integrity of your images, such as JPEG or PNG. Additionally, consider keeping backups of your watermarked photos to prevent any loss of data.

We created this article in conjunction with AI technology, then made sure it was fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.


Watermarks FAQ

What is a watermark on a photo?
A watermark is a mark that's superimposed on an image or video file, usually as a method of identifying the image's creator and copyrighting their work.
What does watermarking mean?
In traditional printmaking, a watermark was a mark or design placed on the paper that was produced by a variation in the thickness of the paper. Watermarks were visible only when the paper was held up against a light and were used to identify the manufacturer or the grade of the paper.
How do I create a watermark?
Digital watermarks are now often simply a person or business' logo added to a photo in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, or in non-professional cases, Microsoft Word. Whatever you choose to use as your watermark should be in PNG form so that the background is transparent and not white or another color.
How can I add a watermark to my photos?
To add a watermark using Microsoft Word, follow the steps in this article. To add a text watermark in Adobe Photoshop, open your image in the software; create a new layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer; use the text tool to type; use the toolbar to change font, color, opacity, etc.; position it where you want; and export in whatever format you need. To add an graphic as a watermark in Adobe Photoshop, open your image in the software; open the logo in PNG format in the software and copy it the image you want to watermark; making sure you've selected the correct layer, drag it into position and resize it if you want; export in whatever format you need.