A blog that focuses on the photography of Dean J. Birinyi, an interior and architectural photographer based in San Francisco, CA.

Tricks of the Trade: Watermarking Photographs

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Earlier this week Windows and Beyond held a seminar on “What they didn’t teach you at design school." I spoke briefly about the importance of watermarking images that are used in social media: Facebook, Houzz, Pinterest, etc.

I always watermark my images whenever they are to be sent out through email or posted to the web. I do this to ensure I get credit for creating the photograph. I include my website address and telephone number so that people who are interested can see more of my work and call me if they want to talk about a commissioning me for a project.

I was asked how to do this. My software does this semi-automatically as an export option, but it’s not hard to do if you have any version of Photoshop, or other image editing program. If you ask your photographer to send you a set of images for social media with a watermark that includes your studio name, web address and telephone number they’ll be happy to help you. If you want or need  to do this yourself  there’s a host of tutorials available on the web, I’m sure you can find one soecifically for your software in short order if you do a Google search.

Here’s how to do it in photoshop.

  • Open the image you want watermarked in photoshop
  • Select the Text tool denoted in the tool bar as “T”
  • Be sure your text color is a strong contrast to the image
    • I use white with a drop shadow to stand out again both light and dark colors
  • Select a bold sans serif font such as Ariel, Helvetica or Lucida (san serif is easier to read and is less likely to get messy when resized)
    • Many people want to use an ornamental text or logo, I recommend against this. The purpose of the watermark is to make it easy for people to find you. If they can’t quickly and easily read the information they’ll blow it off.
  • Click in the lower left hand corner of the image
    • I suggest the lower left because houzz adds their own watermark to the lower right
  • Type your studio name, website address, and telephone number in two lines, using a font size that covers at least two thirds of the width of a vertical image
    • Don’t be shy this is your advertising to get your name out there you have to get your name out there
  • Don’t make your watermark semi transparent, remember you want it to be easy for people to read
Now wherever that images goes your name, website and phone number will go with it and that's what we call advertising, without the watermark it's an anonymous donation to whomever chooses to use your work for their gain.