Photography tips – watermarks

There has been some articles and blog talk recently about people stealing pictures and claiming them as their own.  The result is probably going to be me deleting my Tabblo account and turning my Flickr to Friends and Family only.  I will probably end up adding a watermark to my pictures, too, but I really don’t like to do that.  I guess I probably should, though.

Today’s tutorial is about how to create a watermark in Photoshop.  The easiest way to do this is to just make a brush that you can use to put on your pictures.   This allows you to decide if you want the color black, white, etc., and you can also adjust the opacity of the brush. Let’s begin shall we?

1.  Open a new canvas in Photoshop.  I chose the size to be 4×6 with 300 resolution.  Now, create your watermark.  The basics would be just your name and the copyright symbol (Alt 0169 (hold down the alt key and use the keypad numbers, not the numbers across the top)). 

Some other variations:

Property of (your website name)
Illegal to copy
Copyright 2007 – (your website name)
Do Not Copy
(Your website name).com ©

However, you can also use brushes to add circles, squares, squigglies, etc. to make it more fun.

2.  Make sure the background is transparent.  It will have the gray grid and not be plain white.  If you have a plain white background, delete that layer and merge your text layer if there are multiple layers.

3.  Once you have the the watermark the way you want it, go to Edit -> Define Brush and give it a name.  Click on “ok”.  I’m not at expert on making brushes or anything, but if you have the Basic Brushes menu selected, it will show up at the bottom of the brush list.  It generally saves it into the current brushes, so make sure you have the brushes that you want it saved in selected first.


4.  Here is what my brush looks like on a picture (remember, you can change the brush color, the brush size and the opacity of it to suit the look you want):


Let me know if you have any questions!


I post photography and Photoshop tips (nearly) every Saturday, so check back for more or browse my archives under Photography Tips.  I’m open to content suggestions, so if there is an area you are interested in, just leave a comment. 

10 Replies to “Photography tips – watermarks”

  1. Are you really going to start putting that on every picture? It’s such a shame isn’t it? Although your pictues are beautiful, who can resist.

  2. Just working on my assignment- If anyone else works with a Mac like me, it’s at the same time to get the copyright symbol. In some fonts it won’t appear or won’t appear correctly, so just change fonts. Thanks, teacher!

  3. Yeah, I know it is a shame to have to do that. I don’t really want to. I think my tabblo account is definitely going to be deleted since I get so many views on my pictures there by non-members. They do have right click disabled copying, so they can’t just save a picture, but they can still do the print screen option. I don’t get hardly any views on my pictures on Fickr, so I’m not as worried there. Then there are lots of lurkers on my website…so I just think I should.

  4. Thanks for posting that. I’m having a hard time with my ps right now (the computer it is on is running really slow, I think the hard drive is too full!) Anyway, do you really think it’s that big a problem? Do you think that there are that many people stealing photos? I heard about that whole thing on flickr where they’re stealing kids photos for their profile icons. But, as far as stealing to sell for profit, advertising, what not… prevalent is it? Do we need to send our photos into copyright to actually really have copyright, or is the rights that we indicate on Flickr enough?
    Thanks for posting tips, it is so helpful and really appreciated! : )

  5. If people are going to steal your pictures then they don’t really care about the rights on Flickr. Having a watermark will be better since then it will be more of a pain to take it. The big issue right now is with Orkut. I think if you see a lot of views to your photos on Flickr, then I woulld be a little worried. The stealers don’t care about the “all rights reserved” on Flickr.

  6. I’ve actually created a watermark, and this is the method I used 🙂

    The reason I never use it is because it just adds one more step, and one more file I need to save, because I’m already saving my original sooc shots, and then the edited shots, and then I’d need to save the edited-with-watermark shots, too. So many files, so little time and space. So, I’ve never done it. I suppose if someone were to steal my photos I’d change my mind, but I’ve never run into that, so…

  7. So I just read my second message up there and not sure what my fingers were doing but the message is freaky. It is supposed to read something else. I meant to say that for Mac users you need to hold alt and “g” to get the copyright symbol. I’ll blame the girls, they must have been distracting me.

  8. It’s such a shame we have to think about this…but it’s been on my mind, too. I haven’t had any issues yet, but I’d rather avoid it altogether. I’d hate to add it to ALL my pictures, and as Alissa pointed out that’s a lot of extra space required to save one more version of the photo. Ugh. I don’t know. But thanks for sharing your process! I’ve never worked with brushes before.

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