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Talk to a group of photographers and you'll get mixed opinions over watermarking photographs for posting on websites and social media and whether it’s necessary. The fact is that it’s a way to prevent your images being copied and redistributed without attribution. Although several photo-management programs such as Lightroom and Aperture have built-in watermarking, Photoshop doesn't and this guide shows how to quickly automate this process.

Step 1 – Choose your design / position
Open a photo typical of the size you plan on adding a watermark to the majority of the time.  Do a little bit of testing of the font, size, color, opacity and everything you want to include in the watermark.  It could just be ©Your Name or Copyright ©Your Name or even ©Your Name / Business.  To create the copyright symbol on a Mac type Option G, for PC use Alt 0169.  You can also decide where you think the watermark should be positioned in the frame.  You can always move it and change things once it’s on a photo.

Step 2 – Create a New Action
Open the “Actions” panel if not already visible.  It should be visible towards the right side of the screen – if not, click Window > Actions to show it.  Along the bottom of the panel are a series of icons – select the one that looks like a page with the top right corner folded over; the one to the left of the trash can.  When the New Action window opens, give it a name – Watermark or Copyright would be the best choice.  You can also create a keyboard shortcut if you desire.  Click Record to start recording the action.

Step 3 – Create and Format the Watermark
Select the Text tool from the Tools Palette.  Click inside the image and type in the text as you’d like it to appear based on your Step 1 design.  Format the text as you’ve tested if it has changed – font, size, bold, italic, color, opacity, etc.  When done, click another tool to finish editing the text layer.

Step 4 – Position the Watermark
Let’s assume that you want the watermark to appear in the lower right corner of the image.  To do this, take a look at the Layers palette and select both your photo layer and text layer (Ctrl-Click or Command-Click both layers to select them both).

Next, select Layer > Align > Right Edges, followed by Layer > Align > Bottom Edges. Your watermark should snap to the lower right-hand edge. You’ll need a little space around it so select only the text layer, then just nudge it several pixels left and up with the keyboard arrow keys.

If you want the watermark centered in the photo for putting on social media to help with any photo theft, instead of the above alignment, use Layer > Align > Vertical Centers, followed by Layer > Align > Horizontal Centers.

Step 4 – Stop Recording
Click the square button below your current Action to stop the recording process.  You should now be left with an Action that you can use over and over.  Open a new image, select the Action you created and hit the “Play” button.  If you’d like to automate the process for a folder of images, you can do so using File > Automate > Batch.

Batch Process
If the watermark is to be applied to a large selection of images, it can be added using a batch process in either Photoshop or Bridge. In Photoshop use File > Scripts > Image Processor or in Bridge use Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor. The saved Action will show up in the Preference section of both as the final window is the same for both programs.