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Adding a Watermark to Your Images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

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One way to help limit unauthorized use of your images is to put a visible watermark on them. Beyond protecting your images, many photographers are using a visible watermark as branding and marketing for their studio. Here’s how to set yours up.
From the book

If your images are going on the Web, there’s not much to keep folks from taking your images and using them in their own projects (sadly, it happens every day). One way to help limit unauthorized use of your images is to put a visible watermark on them. That way, if someone rips them off, it’ll be pretty obvious to everyone that they’ve stolen someone else’s work. Also, beyond protecting your images, many photographers are using a visible watermark as branding and marketing for their studio. Here’s how to set yours up:

Step One:

To create your watermark, press Command-Shift-E (PC: Ctrl-Shift-E) to bring up the Export dialog, then scroll down to the Watermarking section, turn on the Watermark checkbox, and choose Edit Watermarks from the pop-up menu (as shown here). Note: I’m covering watermarking here in the Export chapter, because you can add your watermark when you’re exporting your images as JPEGs, TIFFs, etc., but you can also add these watermarks when you print an image (in the Print module), or put it in a Web gallery (in the Web module).

Step Two:

This brings up the Watermark Editor (seen here), and this is where you either (a) create a simple text watermark, or (b) import a graphic to use as your watermark (maybe your studio’s logo, or some custom watermark layout you’ve created in Photoshop). You choose either Text or Graphic up in the top-right corner (shown circled here in red). By default, it displays the name from your user profile on your computer, so that’s why it shows my copyright down in the text field at the bottom of the dialog. The text is also positioned right up against the bottom and left borders of your image, but luckily you can have it offset from the corners (I’ll show you how in Step Four). We’ll start by customizing our text.

Step Three:

Type in the name of your studio in the text field at the bottom left, then choose your font in the Text Options section on the right side of the dialog. In this case, I chose Futura Book. (By the way, the little line that separates SCOTT KELBY from PHOTO is a text character called a “pipe,” and you create one by pressing Shift-Backslash.) Also, to put some space between the letters, I just pressed the Spacebar after each one. You also can choose the text alignment (left justified, centered, or right justified) here, and you can click on the Color swatch to choose a font color. To change the size of your type, scroll down to the Watermark Effects section, where you’ll find a Size slider (seen in the inset) and radio buttons to Fit your watermark to the full width of your image, or Fill it at full size. You can also move your cursor over the type on the image preview and little corner handles appear—click-and-drag outward to scale the text up, and inward to shrink it down. Here, I moved it to the bottom-right corner, and I’ll show you how to do that next.

Step Four:

You get to choose the position of your watermark in the Watermark Effects section. At the bottom of the section, you’ll see an Anchor grid, which shows where you can position your watermark. To move it to the upper-left corner, click the upper-left Anchor point (as shown here). To move it to the center of your image, click the center anchor point, and so on. To the right of that are two Rotate buttons if you want to switch to a vertical watermark. Also, back in Step Two I mentioned there’s a way to offset your text from being tucked right up against the sides of your image—just drag the Horizontal and Vertical Inset sliders (right above the Anchor grid). When you move them, little positioning guides will appear in the preview window, so you can easily see where your text will be positioned. Lastly, the Opacity slider at the top of the section controls how see-through your watermark will be.

Step Five:

If your watermark is going over a lighter background, you can add a drop shadow using the Shadow controls in the Text Options section. The Opacity slider controls how dark the shadow will be. The Offset is how far from the text your shadow will appear (the farther you drag to the right, the farther away the shadow will be). The Radius is Adobe’s secret code name for softness, so the higher you set the Radius, the softer your shadow will become. The Angle slider is for choosing where the shadow appears, so the default setting of −90 puts the shadow down and to the right. A setting of 145 puts it up and to the left, and so on. Just drag it, and you’ll instantly see how it affects the position of your shadow. The best way to see if the shadow really looks better or not is to toggle the Shadow checkbox on/off a couple of times.

Step Six:

Now let’s work with a graphic watermark, like your studio’s logo. The Watermark Editor supports graphic images in either JPEG or PNG format, so make sure your logo is in one of those two formats. Scroll back up to the Image Options section, and where it says Please Choose a PNG or JPEG Image, click the Choose button, find your logo graphic, then click Choose, and your graphic appears (unfortunately, the white background behind the logo is visible, but we’ll deal with that in the next step). It pretty much uses the same controls as when using text—go to the Watermark Effects section and drag the Opacity slider to the left to make your graphic see-through, and use the Size slider to change the size of your logo. The Inset sliders let you move your logo off the edges, and the Anchor grid lets you position the graphic in different locations on your image. The Text Options and Shadow controls are grayed out, since you’re working with a graphic.

Step Seven:

To make that white background transparent, you have to open the layered file of your logo in Adobe Photoshop and do two things: (1) Delete the Background layer by dragging it onto the Trash icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, leaving just your text and graphics on their own transparent layers (as shown here at the bottom). Then, (2) save the Photoshop document in PNG format. This saves a separate file, and the file appears flattened, but the background behind your logo but will be transparent.

Step Eight:

Now choose this new PNG logo file (in the Image Options section of the Watermark Editor), and when you import it, it appears over your image without the white background (as seen here). Now you can resize, reposition, and change the opacity of your logo graphic in the Watermark Effects section. Once you get it set up the way you want it, you should save it as a watermark preset (so you can use it again, and you can apply it from the Print and Web modules). You do that by clicking the Save button in the bottom right or choosing Save Current Settings as New Preset from the pop-up menu in the top-left corner of the dialog. Now your watermark is always just one click away.

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