Apr 12, 2012

The Best Ways to Work With A Watermark

Lightroom vs. Photoshop

See how to add a watermark to your images using Lightroom and which preferences are best for using it on the Web. I didn’t use Photoshop for this because I wasn’t able to create an Action that would determine the Size of my image and place it accordingly, if you know a solution tell me! Lightroom will also apply that same watermark to many images simply by setting a preference, which makes it much more convenient.

Why I Don’t Use Watermarks

Often times I feel like a watermark over a photo is obtrusive and takes away from the image. However, if its done subtly enough and has a design that looks professional I MIGHT change my mind. Do you use one on your photos? Post it below!

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    Kyle Miller

    I made my logo a brush and just use that to watermark. easy to grab while editing, adjust size and opacity with ease.  

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    smugmug is a great site to watermark your images after they are online. I can bath edit every images I have on my blog and add water marks to them in one fell swoop. I have to change the URL by one number, but its still easier then reupping everything. 

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    Scott Mains

    In PS, I have a preset watermark action. All my images are set at 1200px wide and the watermark template matches so there is no scaling issue. This is typically for when I am doing event and nightlife photography and all the imagery works in one orientation. It is mainly a free promotion tool for myself, as it all goes on FB anyways I’m not to bothered, the client pays me and I grant them use for that. This is my way of getting a little extra credit and the potential for some further bookings. It contains my logo, my name and the venue or performance that was going down. 

    As for my main imagery, usually, a small transparency layer with a smooth Adobe font set to 25% opacity and drop shadow. Barely visible. I’m phasing out the use of watermarks on some of my images, and started meta-dataing the hell out of it with all my details and copyright status. 

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      Scott Mains

      That being said. I’ll agree with Daniel. Theft is gonna happen. I believe Aaron spoke about it a while back (around xmas time). In one way it’ll strengthen your credibility as a photographer and weaken those that rip off other peoples photography. 

      I believe that putting in all the right metas are just as effective, if not better, than placing a visible watermark. 

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    Daniel Thom

    I do a lot of trade shoots and will generally watermark all of my images from these shoots.  This way if models post these images, they’re advertising my work, even if they forget to otherwise credit me.  Anytime I’m asked I will also provide unwatermarked photos as well.  For paying clients I don’t watermark unless they specifically ask me to, which has never happened.

    All that said, I find the watermarking process, even with Lightroom, to be a little tedious as I have to be careful to put the watermark somewhere on the image that doesn’t distract too much.  So when exporting I’ll generally batch up the exports from a set so that I put it in the lower right where possible and then in the lower left if that’s not possible.

    To prevent theft?  Forget it.  I’ve had images stolen complete with watermark.  It’s just advertising in my opinion if  you try to make it anything more you have to really destroy the beauty of the image…

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    Rubén Chase

    I really don’t like watermarks, at least those ones that are really obvious like a logo in the corner. I like to sign my pictures, but hiding my logo, or making it part of the composite. In the picture I attached, I put it in the corner of the right speaker, like being a crystal mark or something

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    I hardly ever use watermarks in my photos because I haven’t manage to decide how it should look like, -also regarding the topic of obtrusiveness.

    here is what I did today (before clicking this episode).. -rather not sure of my watermark..

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    Tampa Band Photos

    I have about 20 presets defined in Lightroom to watermark my images.  Some are vertical and some are horizontal, set to different opacities to accommodate various background lightness values, and they’re all scaled to fit the output JPG size for uniformity’s sake.  My contract stipulates that all client images will bear my watermark, so the bands & musicians I shoot are fully aware of the terms prior to working with me.  However, I have gotten things to the point where my watermark is hardly noticeable unless you’re specifically looking for it, so it’s a non-issue. 

    Here’s a recent example of a composite I did for a jazz guitarist:

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      At first I thought this was a bit “overdone”… But the more I looked at it the more I came to love it. Your editing effects almost look “painterly” (without the brush strokes). Pretty cool man. mm

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        Tampa Band Photos

        Thanks, dude…much appreciated. As I’m sure everyone here will attest, retouching is something that’s always a “work in progress”, and my style has definitely changed a bit since this image was created. However, my watermarking scheme hasn’t really changed at all… just “works” (at least for me). Thanks again for the kind words.

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    J Latif Emma Reid here uses a very large watermark but she’s managed to make it a part of her style almost without the watermarks seeming intrusive (at least to me) simply with use of opacity from what I can tell. No way to crop it out and usually it’s not even noticeable unless you’re looking. Not for everyone though.

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    I have the ultimate problem with this. I shoot action shots of kids in sports all the time. I supply information to parents on purchasing if they want. The kids however dont care about watermarks and screen shot everything and post them on their facebook and instagram pages. Yeah I get my information out there. Bad thing is the only ones that ever see it are other kids. I now have to make the watermarks so dark and all over the image so the kids dont want to use the pictures on thier postings. Kids have no idea how much it cost and what is involved to make and take great pictures. That’s why they snap a thousand pictures of themselves with their smart phones and post them all over the place. All I know is before I became a pro-photograper I would have killed for a professional when my kids were little to get outstanding action shots of them. Everyone with a smart phone thinks they take great pictures. To bad people are forgetting what great pictures really look like. I’m not sure why they are called samrt phones either. The seem to be leading everyone in the other direction.

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    Late to the conversation – again…

    (In response to your request Aaron) much as I LOVE Lightroom it’s watermarking feature s***s.

    Really. Why? Because it affects ALL IMAGES in a group you are working with precisely the same. (Bad thing; why most folk “hate” watermarks.)

    However, in PS – by creating a custom brush – one is able to “stamp” each image individually; then (if one creates an Action or a ‘droplet’) you can batch A TON of fotos really quick!!! When you’re done simply review the results, move the “ID stamp” (watermark) to a different place in the picture if you’d like, amend Opacity, Fill and Sharpening (YES, Sharpening) of the watermark, DONE! I could go on but this is your show…

    I have two video screencasts to share with you and your fans HERE:

    and Part 2 is HERE:

    I also have another screencast that speaks to using one’s artist-specific website URL vs using one’s proper name as a “©” or watermark/”ID stamp” for work intended for publication on the Net; but again, this is YOUR SHOW. Have a look and perhaps you might do something off of what you see there. Your perspective on most things PS-related is quite righteous (imo). You’re a great guy for sharing your knowledge-by-experimentation (you Self-Starter you).

    (Oh, PS: To see how this actually works in practice I set up a small online gallery at this next address. As you move through the series you (first) will notice that you can hardly see the watermark [THAT’s the idea. You DON’T want an obnoxious watermark interfering with your viewers’ “enjoyment” of your artwork] and you will note that the watermark moves around to different places in each foto. I could explain the “why” behind this BUT, again, YOU’ll know just by looking.) Cheers, mm