Learn How to Create a Watermark in Photoshop: 4 Easy Methods

Watermarking an image provides multiple benefits, depending on your point of view. Some people don’t like to release their images into the world with any type of watermark added. While others will only release an image into the wider world once a watermark has been applied. With this in mind, you might be wondering how to create a watermark in Photoshop for use in your own images.

There are four simple methods to creating a watermark in Photoshop that we will outline below.

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What Exactly Is a Watermark?

If you’re not exactly sure what a watermark is, it is quite simply a manually added copyright hallmark. The watermark is basically saying to the world, ‘don’t steal my image,’ and acts as an advertisement for who created the image.

As today’s focus will be on how to add a watermark in Photoshop, the three main routes of watermarking your images are as follows:

  • Adding text as a watermark
  • Adding a graphic as a watermark
  • Using a combination of text and graphics

Adding text as a watermark is generally the preferred route, as it is more akin to an old painter signing off their work. Text watermarks can also look more discreet and elegant.

The Pros and Cons of a Watermark

An image that has been watermarked in Photoshop is there as a deterrent for anyone wanting to steal your image. An image can obviously be cropped or a watermark can be removed through editing, but at least there is something on each image to denote it is copyrighted.

When applied correctly, a watermark can add a level of professionalism whilst also promoting your business. Once a watermark has been created, it’s a very simple and quick process to add one to any image.

However, some people find watermarks, no matter how well placed, to be a distraction. And as previously mentioned, they are not a foolproof way to stop people stealing an image. If someone is so set on using your image, a watermark or any other copyright logo can be quickly edited away.

Watermarks can also be overused. Nobody wants to receive a wedding photo album with huge logos slapped on each image by the photographer. Therefore, their use should be applied only when needed.

How to Make a Watermark In Photoshop

As previously mentioned, watermarks are usually added in Photoshop as either text or graphics. Typical of Photoshop, there’s always more than one way to perform a process which also applies to adding a watermark. Some processes are more convoluted than others, so we will stick to the simplest and most straightforward methods.

Method 1: Adding a Text Watermark

Adding text to an image in Photoshop is as simple as creating a text layer. Text can be created manually for each image or the process more automated each time by using an action, creating a brush from your text, or even creating linked Smart objects. Which method you choose will be down to your own preferences and skill levels.

Step-by-Step Instructions

First, you’re going to want to open the image you want to add your watermark to in Photoshop. Once you’ve done that, you can create a new layer. This can be done in two ways:

  1. Click on the layer menu at the top of the screen.
  2. Select “New” then click “Layer”

Or you can use this method:

  1. Select the “Create New Layer” icon at the bottom of the layer panel.
  2. Rename your layer to “Watermark” by double-clicking the text that says “Layer 1” and typing in your own name.
layers in photoshop

Once you’ve added a new layer, you want to make sure it is selected and click the “text tool” from the toolbar on the left.

You’re then going to want to pick your favorite font to be used as your watermark text. Ideally, this should be an elegant, easy-to-read font. Quirky, fun fonts are not going to come across as professional.

Then, pick your text color. This will most likely depend on the color palette of your photo. Your watermark should be high-contrast compared to the area of the photo it is placed in. Black and white can be good places to start but you can adjust accordingly.

Finally, you’re going to want to consider the size of your text. This is ultimately up to you but we’d advise staying on the small yet still legible side of things.

When you’ve made your choices about what your watermark text should look like, type in your business name.


Once you’ve got your text watermark set up, you can automate this process for every photo that you open in Photoshop. You can do this by creating an action.

Actions are a very useful way to apply repeatable processes for every conceivable area in Photoshop. Actions simply record whatever edits you perform, then they are played back with a click of a button.

If your action panel isn’t open already, go to the top menu in Photoshop and click Window -> actions.

Click the ‘Create New Action’ button in the bottom right corner of the actions panel.

In the dialogue box that pops up, give your new action a descriptive name such as ‘Watermark’ then click the record button.

Now follow the steps as outlined above to create your text/watermark.

When you are finished, click the “Stop” button at the bottom of the actions panel.

Every time you want to add your watermark, simply select the watermark action in the Actions panel, then press the “Play” button. The text can now be fully edited each and every time.

view of action panel

Method 2: Creating Watermarks in Photoshop From Graphics

You may have spent time sculpting your own logo (or hired a professional to create one for you), which you want to apply to every image. The easiest way to incorporate this logo is by copying and pasting it into a new layer on your Photoshop document.

An important thing to note is that you should have a transparent background version of your logo. These are typically PNG’s and if you haven’t already saved a transparent version, it is an easy process to do.

Step-by-Step Instructions

If you’re all set and ready to go with a logo that has a transparent background, the steps are simple.

You want to first open your image and your logo in Photoshop.

Head to the tab that has your logo in it and press ctrl/cmd + A to select all of the watermark graphic. Now that you have the logo selected, hit ctrl/cmd + C to copy the logo.

You’re now going to want to switch over to the tab that contains your main image in Photoshop and paste in your watermark.

You can reposition, resize, and rotate your watermark logo to fit wherever is best in the image.

Just like the text watermark, you can create an action to easily apply the watermark to any image you open in Photoshop

image 1

Method 3: Create a Watermark in Photoshop Using the Brush Tool

If you’re not all that familiar with Photoshop, the title of this method may have caused a slight panic! Thankfully, we’re not saying you have to hand-draw your logo in Photoshop – quite the opposite!

Photoshop allows custom brushes to be created, and this can be the quickest way to add a watermark for both text and graphical elements. Once a custom brush is set up, it is simply a matter of clicking once on your image to apply the watermark.

Step-by-Step Instructions

First up, you’re going to want to make sure your watermark graphic is large enough to fit on any image and optimized for use as a brush.

Any graphical elements need to be outlines rather than block colors, and the graphic will also need to be on a white background.

Once you are happy with the graphic, go to the top menu in Photoshop and click Edit->Define Brush Preset, then give the brush a distinct name. Click ‘OK’ and your brush is then ready to use.

image 2

Your custom brush can be used like any other Photoshop brush by selecting the brush tool or clicking ‘B’ on your keyboard. The brush can be resized and the color changed in the same way you would with a standard brush. The brush will also be automatically saved in your brush palette for use on future images.

Method 4: Making Photoshop Watermarks with Linked Smart Objects

If you have Adobe Photoshop CC, this is a bonus method to create watermarks. A Smart Object allows you to make changes to one image which will then update in multiple images. Unfortunately, older models of Photoshop don’t support this feature.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Create your graphical watermark with a transparent background as we’ve discussed above.

Once you’ve done that, save it as a .psd file.

You can then close out the tab with your watermark in it.

To use your watermark as a Smart Object, go to File-> Place Linked. Then navigate to where you saved your watermark file on your computer drive.

Once opened, the watermark can be resized and repositioned as needed.

Many image files can be opened at once in Photoshop and the watermark graphic applied using the simple technique above.

Each image and watermark can be edited independently, with any changes made to the watermark updated in each image.

Adding a Watermark to Your Photos: Closing Thoughts

The methods above should give you a good start point for creating your own image watermarks. Which method you choose will be dependent on if you want to use pure text or a mixture with graphics. Once you have practiced the methods a few times and chosen your preferred way of working, adding your own watermark should be a simple and straightforward process.

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