How to Add a Watermark to an Image in Photoshop

With the rise of digital photography, more and more of us are sharing our images on the internet. This is a great way to get advice, improve your technique, and meet likeminded people, but it does have a downside – copyright theft.
It’s becoming increasingly important to protect your images and prevent (or at least dissuade) unscrupulous people from using them without your permission. Adding a watermark to your photos is the ideal way to do this.
Applying a watermark in Photoshop is quick and easy. You can add a simple text watermark or one based around a logo or image; I’ll describe each in turn. For this tutorial I’ll be using the following image – feel free to download it and follow along.
The image we'll be watermarking
This is the image we’re going to be watermarking.

Creating a Text Watermark

A text watermark is the most straightforward type to create. It can consist of words (such as your name, website, or image title), and special symbols like the copyright symbol.

1. Create a New Layer

Start by opening your picture in Photoshop. Create a new layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer, name it “Watermark”, and click OK.
Adding a new layer to hold the watermark
Add a new layer to hold the watermark

2. Enter Your Text

With the new layer selected, choose the Text tool. Click anywhere on the image and type your copyright notice. Don’t worry about the font, size, position, or colour for now; we’ll change all of these in a minute.
Adding text to the watermark layer
Add your copyright notice to the image.
If you’d like to add any special characters (such as the copyright symbol), you can insert these using the Windows Character Map (Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map) or Mac OS X’s Character Pallette (Edit > Special Characters). As a shortcut, the copyright symbol (©) can be inserted in Windows by holding Alt and typing “0169” on the numeric keypad, and in Mac OS X by pressing Option+G.

3. Tweak the Font

Select the Text tool and highlight your copyright notice. Use the toolbar to change the font face and colour to suit your personal tastes. You can also play around with the font size, although we’ll be resizing the watermark in the next step anyway.
Choose a colour for your text. Plain, neutral colours look best, so I tend to choose either pure white or black depending on what stands out more. You might also like to try a 50% gray (RGB 128, 128, 128).
Adjusting the watermark's font
Adjust the font to something more suitable.

4. Position the Watermark

Next you need to choose where your watermark is going to go. I like to put mine on an area of roughly even colour where it isn’t obscuring the main subject of the shot, usually near a corner. You might like to make yours more prominent, so do whatever you prefer.
Choose a position for your watermark
Choose a position for your watermark.
If you want to resize or rotate your watermark, use the Free Transform tool (Ctrl+T in Windows, Cmd+T on Mac). When resizing, remember to hold down Shift to constrain the text’s proportions and stop it getting stretched out of shape.

5. Finishing Touches

The watermark is ok as it stands, but it’s not particularly subtle and really draws the eye. This can be quickly corrected by adjusting the layer’s opacity – somewhere between 30% and 50% tends to work well.
The final text watermark
Play around with opacity and effects to finish your watermark off.
You might want to jazz the text up a bit by adding some effects to it. The Bevel and Emboss effect can look good and is useful for separating the watermark from the background on some images. Don’t go overboard though – a simple watermark is easier to read and less distracting.