Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
Do you want to add a watermark logo to your photos? Creating a custom watermark featuring your logo is one of the best ways to protect your images from being copied when you put them online. With Lightroom and Photoshop, this is easy. To create a signature watermark, you only need a few simple things:
- A piece of paper and a marker or pen
- A camera – even a cellphone camera will work
If you want to create a logo or text watermark, all you need is Lightroom! If you don’t have them yet, you can get both Photoshop and Lightroom here from Adobe’s site.
Watermarks are a great way to add a professional touch to your images. These small visual changes to a photo can help viewers identify who shot the image, as well as help protect your copyright. If the watermark features your name, website address, business name, or other identifying details, it can help viewers find more of your images. Also, these watermarks can help protect your copyright by making it more difficult to reproduce your image for an unauthorized purpose. The person reproducing your image will either have to crop or clone out the mark, therefore making your image less usable for their purposes.
Watermarks can be based on a logo, simple text, or stylized to look like your signature. Any of these will work to protect your copyright and help build your brand. If you are simply showing that the photos are copyrighted, such as for use as a sample, a plain text watermark will work fine. If you’re publishing a fine art image on your website, consider using a signature or logo watermark for that additional custom feel.
Regardless of which watermark style you use, Lightroom makes it very easy to maintain a library of different watermarks, as well as apply them to any number of images at once. The best part is that because of how exporting from Lightroom works, you never have to worry about overwriting your original image with the watermarked copy.
For a photo watermark featuring your signature, first you’ll need to digitize your signature. If you already have a logo or just want to use text, skip ahead to step 4.
1) Create the Signature
First, get a piece of white paper. Using white will make selecting the signature easier, once it is in Photoshop.
With a dark color, preferably black, sign the page. A signature larger than the back panel of a credit card should work well. You can even try a couple different styles, which will give you options to choose from later.
If you have multiple signatures on the page, make sure they are separated by some space. Lastly, try different combinations, like a heavily textured linen page with a soft pencil for an artistic touch, or a fountain pen for a decorative flourish.
Make sure your paper remains flat and wrinkle-free, since the cleaner the paper is, the less work it will be in Photoshop.
2) Digitize the Paper
If you have a scanner, this next step is easy, since you can just scan the signed paper. If you don’t have easy access to a scanner, any camera works great.
When using a camera, make sure to have bright, even light across the page. Depending on the camera, you may want to use macro or close focus mode (often indicated by a plant icon). If your camera allows for aperture control, stop down to F8 or F11 to maximize depth of field.
Shoot a picture with the paper aligned squarely in the viewfinder, since any tilt to the page will distort your signature.
If your signature is large and sharp when reviewing the picture, that frame should work great. Transfer that image to your computer.
3) Creating the Digital Signature
Open the image, either from your scanner or camera, in Photoshop.
Use the Magic Wand tool (W) and click once on the white area of the page. Next, invert the selection, via Select> Inverse.
Now, the signature should be selected. Duplicate the signature to a new layer, by selecting Layer> New> Layer via Copy.
You can now delete background layer, by dragging the background layer down to the trashcan icon.
This will leave a new layer with your signature surrounded by a transparency. If your signature has enclosed areas, like in the letter O, use the magic wand tool to select these white areas and delete them. If there are any additional marks on this layer, you can delete them with the eraser tool.
Once you’re happy with the contents of the finished, transparent signature layer, it is time to save it as a PNG.
Depending on your version of Photoshop, you’ll need to select either File> Save for Web or File> Export> Save for Web.
Once the Save for Web interface loads, use the preset dropdown to select PNG-8, and make sure the transparency box is checked. Add a descriptive title, then save this image to your desktop.
If you want a light colored alternate version, for use on dark images, now is the time to make a second copy. Go to Image> Adjustments> Invert, which will invert the black signature to white. Repeat the steps to save, making sure to use a different filename.
4) Adding Your Watermark in Lightroom
Opening the Watermark Menu:
Once you’ve created a finished PNG file, open Lightroom CC.
Lightroom allows you to add a watermark logo in many different modules, but the easiest way to use this watermark logo is during export.
For practice, select an image from your library, then go to File> Export. In the export dialog, scroll to the bottom, and under the Watermarking header, use the dropdown to select edit watermarks.
Once you’ve opened the watermark menu, continue to the instructions for each specific type of watermark.
For a signature watermark:
In the watermark editor, select the Graphic radio button, next to watermark style. In the file interface, navigate to your desktop and select the file you saved from Photoshop.
With the image now loaded, you can reposition it with the different options under watermark effects.
Lastly, save the watermark preset with a descriptive name.
Now, you can add a signature watermark logo to any image you export from Lightroom, just by selecting the watermark in the export menu.
For a text watermark
In the watermark editor, select the Text radio button, next to watermark style.
With the text radio button selected, you can now type any text into the text box in the bottom left of the watermark editor window. If you want to create the copyright symbol, hold the ALT key and type 0169, or copy it from here: ©
To change the font, use the text options available on the right side of the watermark editor window. From here, you can select colors, alignment, fonts, and change the location of the watermark. One important setting is opacity. This controls how “see through” the watermark is, with a setting of 100 being completely opaque.
When you’ve gotten a text watermark setup that you are happy with, you can use the dropdown in the top left to save it as a preset. This means you can easily apply the same design in the future, just by selecting that watermark from the export menu in Lightroom.
For a logo watermark
To use your logo as a watermark, your logo needs to be saved as a PNG on a transparency.
In the watermark editor, select the Graphic radio button, next to watermark style. In the file interface, navigate to your desktop and select the file that contains your logo.
With your logo now loaded, you can use the options along the right side of the watermark editor window to customize its appearance. You can reposition it, rotate it, or anchor it to one area of the image.
Once you’ve gotten your logo positioned how you want it, save the watermark with a descriptive name. Go to the top left, and use the dropdown to “save current settings as new preset”. This means that you can easily apply your logo watermark to any picture you want, when exporting from Lightroom.
Reusing the Watermark for Future Images
Once you’ve created your watermark and saved it as a preset, Lightroom makes it very easy to apply to any image you want.
To apply the watermark, select the images you’d like to apply it to, and export the images. In the export images menu, the watermarking menu is second from the bottom. This menu lets you select any preset watermark to be applied to the images you’re exporting.
By following these steps from the tutorial above, it is easy to create a custom watermark right from your signature. Watermarks can help protect your images from being copied, as well as adding a custom touch to any finished image.
Check out this guide if you want to add watermarks to your images in WordPress.