3 Ways to Watermark Photography, and Why

Watermark examples from four different photosI remember deciding that I needed a watermark before I even put any thought into why. I just knew that all the pro’s had one and since I was going {4} pro… that meant I needed one too! The original watermark I created has changed, in fact it’s changed more times in the last few years then my camera’s been cleaned. Hmmm… That reminds me. Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the purpose of a watermark.

A watermark is placed on an image for 3 reasons:

1. To protect the image from being stolen and credited to someone else.

2. To deter clients from attempting to grab and print images pulled directly from your site.

3. (My favorite) So that if and when clients post your images elsewhere their friends will know how to find their way back to you!

Let’s recap, a watermark is placed to deter stealing and unauthorized printing and to help new fans find their way to your site. With those ideas in mind, I’ve been seeing a common mistake lately among photographers in that the watermark is of such that it will not get someone newly exposed to your work back to the source (i.e. your site).

Let’s take a look at 3 watermarks and breakdown what’s going on with each one.

1. The Icon. I’ve been seeing the icon become more and more popular as a watermark. For the example here, I’ve used the mum which is a part of all my branding for Leah Remillet Photography and is even included with my blog for photographers Go{4}Pro. The problem with using just the icon is that if this image showed up on someone’s Facebook wall for example and was not properly tagged, you would have no indication of how to find me and my work. watermark example for a photography Facebook page

2. The Distracting Watermark. Another popular trend is to place the full logo directly on each image. This distracts from the photography and instead brings attention to the logo design. Depending on how you look at it this could be good or bad. I remember watermarking an image several year ago and having a friend tell me (with the best intentions) that the image looked even better with the watermark, I agreed but couldn’t decide why that felt so unsettling. Years later I’ve decided that I’d rather my work speak volumes without needing the help of my watermark. Notice how your eye involuntarily keeps being lead back to the logo instead of the image. Distracting watermark on a photo

3. The Simple Watermark. This last watermark is actually my current watermark for Leah Remillet Photography. Its simple and understated and yet gives all the information necessary to bring new followers to my site and blog. By placing the watermark on top of the skin, I make it more difficult to crop out but because of the simplicity and color chosen for this image it’s doesn’t create a large distraction for the viewer. Place a watermark on top of a skin to avoid distraction

Need to revamp your watermark? You’re in luck because thanks to Jodi, MCP Actions has a free watermark brush set you can grab! And… If you happen to need a whole new logo and watermark, I just so happen to be a Brand Designer.


Thousands of Photographers boost business with my tips!


  1. Ryan Oakley says

    Sweet article Leah. Got some great information in there. I’m working on my watermark now and if I get too frustrated, I’ll give you a shout!  🙂

  2. SamanthaShort says

    I know how to make a text watermark with my name, but how do I get a graphic (for example, how you have your pretty flower logo) that I can use WITH my name watermark>

  3. masswatermark says

    There are automated and powerful tools like Mass Watermark that can do the job easily for you.It can watermark 100s of images with few clicks and within minutes.There are additional options like adding EXIF Info,Resizing,Optimizing and even direct upload of watermarked images directly to your Picasa/Flickr web albums quickly and easily.Its completely a professional tool check it out http://www.masswatermark.com

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