How to Watermark Photos: The Ultimate Guide

Watermarks are useful images you can add to photos and artwork as an overlay; they can disincentive theft, promote your brand, and more. Learn more about what watermarks are and how to start adding them to your photos.

What is a watermark?

Watermarks are semi-opaque, semi-transparent images that are superimposed on artwork, photos, and other graphic designs. Watermarks can be one large image splayed over the majority of the photo, multiple copies of the same image arranged along a grid formation across the image, or even a simple corner watermark that indicates authorship but doesn't impair usage.

Most watermarks take the form of a personalized or unique image that conveys ownership of the image. For example, stock photo companies might overlay protected images with a watermark so visitors can browse for a useful image but must pay for the license to have the unwatermarked version. Independent artists and photographers can also use watermarks to protect their work.

While watermarks are primarily designed to disincentivize potential viewers from taking the image and using it without paying for the rights, they can also be used to track stolen images. Using a unique watermark image also allows artists and companies to convey their brand and increase their market's familiarity with their logo.

If you allow viewers to share your artwork without a license, this branding is still useful. Reshares, downloads and shares, and other forms of permitted use let wider audiences track the image back to you as the source.

By using a watermark to protect your images, you can display them on a wider variety of platforms, including social media and platforms with virtually universal access, with fewer concerns about theft and copyright violations.

Some general tips for designing and including a watermark are:

  • Choose the right balance between opacity and transparency. You want to protect your image rights, but it's also important that potential buyers be able to see the image without undue interruption or aggravation.
  • Create a logo or watermark that suits your brand. This can be an actual graphical image, your company name if you have a company, or simply your personal name. However, it's important to stay consistent so you can grow brand recognition over time.
  • If you're placing a single watermark so the image can be used or enjoyed, place it in a bottom corner that doesn't interrupt the image. Also, make this sort of image your name and/or your content details so interested audiences can find and follow you.

How to add a watermark to a photo

Adding a watermark to a photo is an easy process, and it gets easier over time.

First, design your watermark (or watermarks) and save them as separate PNG files. Even text-based watermarks should be carefully designed so the font is easy to read on different images as semi-transparent text. Saving it as a PNG allows you to overlay it across photos later.

Next, open your photo you want watermarked. Insert the watermark image rather than simply paste it for higher image quality.

After that, export or save the image as a single layer, rather than a series of overlays, so someone can't simply remove the watermark.

If you plan on adding a watermark to several images, create a style guide to help you standardize the process. This can include pointers about the margins you want around the watermark, your size preferences, and other factors. Our Corel PHOTO-PAINT photo editing program makes it easier than ever to add watermarking to your standard photo editing and finishing processes.

Easily add watermarks to your images by using CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite software is a premium set of graphic design and photo editing tools you can use to create and protect your creations. Download a copy today to get started.

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