Watermarking images is very important for photographers, because it is a means to protect their intellectual property. Watermarking is not a foolproof method to avoid having your images stolen online, because someone could “Photoshop” your watermark out if they really, really wanted to. Nevertheless, watermarking your images is always good practice, but can be a painstaking process if you have to watermark each image individually.

By using Photoshop Actions, you can create a Watermark action that allows you to effortlessly apply your watermark to a batch of images. So let’s begin!

Step 1 – Creating your own watermark

You can create your watermark in any way you like, using image/s, text, different colours, etc. This is entirely up to you. My method is one that generally shows up well on 99,99% of my images. So I am going to explain step-by-step, how I created mine.

I created a new Photoshop file and used the following dimensions: 1896 x 648. (Yours may differ depending on the layout and design of your watermark, but this size works well when applying it to a full resolution image).

How to set the canvas size

I created all the different elements of the watermark in white, on a black background.

A watermark on a black background

Once you are happy with your watermark, hide the black layer to reveal the transparency behind it.

A watermark on a Transparent Background

You can either group all the different elements of your watermark together, or put them in a folder and apply a drop shadow effect to the folder. The reason for doing this is that if the watermark is applied to a white (or very bright) image, the white will get lost. By applying a drop shadow, the watermark will still be visible on bright images.

Here are my settings for the Drop Shadow:

Drop Shadow Settings

Great! Now your watermark is ready to be saved. Click on File > Save As or use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + S (Windows) / Cmd + Shift + S (Mac).

How to save your watermark

Be sure to select PNG as the format to maintain the transparency information.

Selecting PNG as the file format

NB! Save your watermark somewhere where it won’t be moved. The reason for this is that when you create your Photoshop Action, it will reference your watermark from wherever you save it. I would suggest placing it in either My Documents or My Pictures (on Windows) or the Documents or Pictures folder on Mac. This way, you can be sure it will not be moved.

Step 2 – Creating the Photoshop Action

To create the watermark action, you will need to record each step of the process by applying the watermark manually and Photoshop will take note of what you do.

So, to begin, you need to select a full resolution image from something you have shot before, and open that up in Photoshop. Open up your Actions window by clicking on the icon shown in the image. Alternatively, go to Window > Actions.

Open an image and open the actions window

Click on the Create New Action button.

Creating a new action

Give the action a name and click record.

Naming and recording an action

The action is in record mode and anything you do from now on, will be recorded and added to the action.

Your Action window should look like this:

How your action window should look

Next you want to bring your watermark into Photoshop. Remember where you saved the PNG version of your watermark earlier? That’s the one you want to select by choosing File > Place from the menu bar.

Placing your Watermark into the opened image

Your watermark should pop-up like this, and then press Enter (Return) to complete the Place command.

Press enter to complete the place command

You will notice that the Place command has been recorded into your action.

Place that has been recorder into your action

Select both layers.

Selecting both layers

Choose Layer > Align > Bottom Edges to send the watermark to the bottom of your image.

Aligning the bottom edges of your image to your watermark

And the watermark will move to the bottom, like this:

Watermark at the bottom of your image

Select the Watermark layer; hold down shift and use the left and up arrow keys to move the watermark just away from the very edge of the image.

The watermark that has been moved away from the bottom and right side edges

Once you have moved the watermark you want your action to recognize the movement, so you press stop on the action window. Notice how the “move current layer” step has been added to the list. Then press record again to continue.

Stop the action and re-record for Photoshop to recognise the last step

Next, right-click on one of the layers and select “Flatten Image”

Flatten your image

The final step in creating your action is to choose File > Save As and choose JPEG as the final file format.

Once you have saved, you can stop recording of the action. Your action is complete and ready to be added to your watermark to a batch of images.

Here is the final image:

The final watermarked image

Step 3 – Using the Action to process a batch of images

Choose File > Automate > Batch

Using the action to process a batch of images

Make sure you select the watermark action you created under the “Play” section. Under the “Source” section, you can select Opened Files, which will process all images currently open in Photoshop, or you can choose to select a folder on your hard drive. Under the Destination section you can choose where to save your watermarked images (it won’t overwrite your existing images). Make sure to check the box that says “Override Action Save As Commands.” What this box does is, it tells Photoshop to save your watermarked images in the location you selected under the “Destination” section. If you leave this box unchecked, your watermarked images will go to where you saved the file you used to create the action itself.

Click OK and watch Photoshop watermark all your images for you.

Automate > Batch dialog box

The power of Photoshop Actions is unbelievable and this simple use of Photoshop Actions can save you a whole lot of time, allowing you to spend more time shooting in the field, than post-processing your images on your computer.