Before we talk about how to let’s talk about why. You should watermark your photos to position your brand, protect your photos, and preserve your print revenue.
Okay, there are at least three good reasons but what exactly should you do? Here’s our guide to photo watermark design.
Location, location, location isn’t just a real estate adage. The placement of your watermark determines its effectiveness and subtlety.
Many photographers choose bottom right, but corners work in general. If your primary concern is preventing theft, put it in the center. Avoid adding a border that infringers can easily crop. And skip individual placement (vs. batch or automated) for all but your most important or vulnerable photos.
Any font you choose should be visible on photographs. Match the font style with your existing branding on your website, cards, or marketing materials. Consider the photography you do. A wedding photographer may pick a font altogether different from someone who specializes in landscape shots.
Here are some common styles:
- Decorative/Display: Fonts are attention-grabbing. Choose these for pictures on homepages, logos, posters, or anything that must stand out. Font Examples: Bebas Neue, Betty Noir, New Rocker, Pinewood
- Serif: Fonts have small brushstrokes or feet at the top and bottom of the letters. They’re conservative and work well on the printed page. Many newspapers use these fonts. Font Examples: Cambria, Georgia, Palatino, Times New Roman
- Slab Serif: Just like serif feature feet at the top and bottom of the letters, but they add rectangular “shoes” to the feet. The style is contradictory and bold. The feel crosses between modern and vintage or rural and urban. Font Examples: Archer, Clarendon, Courier, Lubalin Graph, Rockwell
- Sans Serif: Fonts are the opposite of serifs and don’t have feet. They’re often used on websites because of their easy readability. Font Examples: Arial, Corbel, Franklin Gothic, Helvetica, Impact, Lucida Grande, Montserrat, Tahoma, Verdana.
- Script/Handwriting: Fonts mimic cursive or handwriting. Choose these for a historical or homespun feel. Font Examples: Edwardian Script, Lavanderia, Learning Curve Pro, Yellowtail
If you will use your logo, then you should factor in the color, quality, and consistency. The color should not take away from the photo. Choosing a monochromatic version or picking black or white can make this simple. Too much color can take away from the shot.
Sometimes using your signature or first and last name might be a better choice if you don’t yet have a high-quality logo. Self-designed logos often look cheap. You might want to hire a designer.
Upload high pixel quality logos so it can scale when you adjust the size. You’ll also want to make sure it’s consistent with your current branding. You want to make sure the design will work on most your photos.
Lower opacity is optimal. Somewhere below 33% will be best for most photos. You must strike a balance with being subtle enough to not detract from the picture but also overt enough to be read and deter thieves.
Some photographers will say that your watermark shouldn’t be over 1/16 of the photo. Others will say your personality is the best barometer arguing that a big personality should have a big watermark. The best rule of thumb is big enough to be read and deter theft while small enough not to detract. Smaller is often better. But if infringers are your primary concern, then go big as possible while maintaining the shot.
There’s no need to put a watermark on if it can’t be read. But you may think about a vertical watermark instead of a horizontal one. Horizontal ones can make reading the words the first thing that catches the eye. Avoid picking fonts that are so stylistic that they become unreadable. An illegible watermark is as useless as a billboard in brail.
What It Says About You and Your Brand
Watermarks say you’re a professional. They communicate you care to protect your work and simultaneously let people know they’re free to share your photos. Check out five ways a photo watermark promotes your business.
Start Designing Your Watermark Today
Designing your watermark is like riding a bike. You can read a book about it, but the best way to learn is to hop on and start pedaling.
Try our quick and easy free watermark software, SnapSentry, and start protecting and promoting your photos today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a watermark?
A watermark is a superimposed, transparent message on a picture or image (usually a signature, stamp, or logo).
What’s the best opacity a watermark?
Lower opacity is optimal. Somewhere below 33% will be best for most photos. You must strike a balance with being transparent enough to not detract from the picture but also opaque enough to be read and deter thieves.
What is the best size for a watermark?
Some photographers will say that your watermark shouldn’t be over 1/16 of the photo. Others will say your personality is the best barometer arguing that a big personality should have a big watermark. The best rule of thumb is big enough to be read and deter theft while small enough not to detract.
How to put a watermark on a photo without photoshop
You can try free watermark software SnapSentry. Simply upload your image to get started.