How to add a watermark to any photo – 5 easy steps

When we need to publish or send a photo and protect it from unauthorized copying, we use a watermark. In this post, we will show how easy it is to add a watermark to any photo.

  1. Open the photo for watermarking. 
  2. Create a text Watermark and apply it.
  3. Prepare the logo watermark file. 
  4. Apply logo watermark 
  5. Export the image with a watermark.


Open the photo for watermarking

As a first step, we will open the image itself, to which we want to apply a watermark in Photoshop. It can be of any format or size. We can open, for example, RAW photo. In that case, however, we must not forget that we will need a watermark in a higher resolution. Of course, Watermark can also be applied to a photo in JPEG format.

Create a text Watermark and apply it

Let’s create a simple watermark using text first. Select the Horizontal Type Tool. Click anywhere on the image. The default text will appear, which we can directly overwrite with the text we selected. When we’re done, press Enter. Now choose the Move tool

How to add a watermark - Move Tool

We will move the text to the destination. So we can place it in the middle. The simple way to place an object in the center of the image is as follows. Click on the background layer, and then while holding down the Shift key, we click on the layer that contains our text. 

How to add a watermark - select both layers

This will ensure that you have selected both layers. When the Move tool is selected, we can find small icons in the top toolbar, so we can choose Align Vertical centers and Align horizontal centers.

Watermark - Align center

Now that we have the text placed in the middle, we will make a few more edits. With Move Tool selected, press Ctrl + T (Cmd + T on Mac). The Transformation dialog box opens.

Click on one of the bounding box’s corner points, and while holding down the Alt key (Option on Mac), drag and increase or decrease the text as needed. You can also rotate the text at the same time.

If you press the Shift key while doing so, the text will rotate precisely by 15 degrees increments. Finally, to better integrate our text with the background, we can choose Overlay Blending Mode for the layer on which we have a text.

Overlay Blending Mode

The very last point is the reduction of Opacity. Here it is necessary to choose differently for each image. Usually, the values ​​move between 25% and 45%. But as I say, it depends very much on the background and at the same time how significant the watermark should be.

Prepare the logo watermark file

Now we will prepare a file that should serve as a watermark. It can be a logo or text. We can have this file ready, or we can create it. A one-color graphic image will work best. It is ideal if we have a ready logo in PNG format. This can be easily created by a basic Photoshop editing process.

Watermark file

So let’s open the file with our logo in Photoshop. Now we need to move it to our photo. Click on the layer with the graphic logo and drag it to the file with the picture. As soon as you are in the photo file release the mouse button.

Now we can decide whether we want one Watermark, which will be in the middle of the photo or possibly in one of the corners. Here we will proceed similarly as we showed in the case of the text. So we place it in the middle or in the desired corner, we enlarge or reduce it. Finally, we reduce the opacity.

But we can also choose another approach. Let’s say we want to have several watermarks evenly spaced across the photo.
First, we choose a grid to deploy a watermark. Go to View-> New Guide Layout. A dialog box will appear. Here we select the density of our grid. For simplicity, I chose a grid with 4 rows and 4 columns.

Watermark Grid 1

Of course, you can also select a denser grid, or you can define different numbers of rows and columns if it is, for example, a landscape photo with varying dimensions of height and width.

Click, OK, and the required Grid will be created. Now we will move our logo – watermark from the open file to the top of our photo. Drag and drop the graphic watermark layer. We will reduce it as needed by the already known method.

Apply logo watermark

While on the watermark layer, choose Move Tool and press Ctrl + T (Cmd + T on Mac). Using the Bounding Box, we reduce and possibly rotate our watermark to a suitable size.

With the move tool selected, we click and move the watermark to the center of one of the grid intersections. Press Enter to confirm the position and size of the first one.

Watermark Grid position 1

And now, all you have to do is copy the first watermark to other intersections.

To do this, click on the first Watermark with the Alt key pressed (Option on Mac) and drag a copy of the watermark to the next intersection of the grid. In this way, we will gradually cover all intersections of the grid with copies of the first watermark. The built-in guides in Photoshop help us position watermarks so that they are aligned with each other.

Watermark - grid positioning guides

Notice that as we copied the watermarks and moved them to individual intersections, we created new layers with each individual watermark.

Now our task is to reduce the Opacity of the watermark grid. 

So that we don’t have to do this one by one, we will create a group of layers. Click on the first layer of the watermark, and with the Ctrl key pressed (Cmd on Mac), click on the last layer.

Watermark - group of layers

This will select all the necessary layers. Press Ctrl G (Cmd G on Mac) to create a group of layers. In this group, we use Opacity to reduce the opacity of all watermarks at once.

Export a new image with a watermark

Once we have our watermark applied, there is nothing left but to export the finished image to the appropriate format. I use Shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + S

This will bring up a dialog box for export where we choose the size in pixels as well as the format of the output file. I will use JPEG. The advantage of this Export method is that you will see the image size in KB or MB before you save it. 

So you can fine-tune the dimensions in pixels or a percentage of Quality until you reach the final image size, for example, for social networks.

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