Watermarking is something that many people use to protect their images online. It is basically placing a mark such as a logo, U.R.L or simply your name, over a part of the photo. This discourages people who intend to steal your images (to a certain extent) and also gives you the chance of getting credit even if the image is moved out of your control.
Now we know what watermarking is, and why we might want to do it, let’s look at how to do it. Methods include making a custom brush, using a document as a frame for all of your images, or simply typing your watermark onto the image. I use the latter in my post processing because I watermark with my U.R.L and also text boxes can be easily moved and scaled without affecting quality, before I flatten the image for export.
You might think this is the slowest method, but by using a feature of Photoshop called actions, we can speed up the process. Actions are sets of recorded instructions that can be run at any time with one click. This means we can type a watermark once and in future, simply run the action to apply it. The actions palette is normally grouped with the history panel but if you cannot see it go to Window>Actions in your Photoshop menus and click to show the actions panel.
Before we begin to make our action, open an image in Photoshop and resize it to the size you use for the majority of your work. For me this is Flickr size a.k.a 900 pixels longest edge. This will reduce the work you have to do after running the action.
Next we begin recording the action, by clicking the icon on the actions panel that looks like a turning page (1 from the right on the bottom). This will being up a “New Action” Dialogue where you can name it (“watermark” for example).
Next we begin the recording of the action. Click the circle icon on the actions palette (one from the left on the bottom). Now select the type tool, the “T” icon on the left hand toolbar, or press “T” on your keyboard. Click anywhere in the image to begin typing and type in your text, in my case, my U.R.L.
It is important to now set the properties of the text. You can find these settings at the top of the window, and they are show below. If a property is already set to your liking you can leave it be, and Photoshop will use that setting. For example I chose Helvetica, Regular, 7pt, sharp, left aligned and the colour white.
To finish your text layer select another tool such as the lasso or brush and Photoshop will finalize the text layer. Now at this point you could set all sorts of other things such as opacity and layer styles but for now I will follow the simple route and finish the action here. To stop recording the action click the square on the bottom left of the actions panel.
Now your action is complete! Whenever you want to re-do your watermark simply click on the action, and then click the play button two from the left on the bottom of the panel (it looks like an arrow pointing right). Your watermark will be applied auto-magically. Note however that you will need to reposition the text using the move tool, and sometimes resize it slightly. Though this is certainly nowhere near the work you would have to do without the action and so I think it gives a good balance between automation and customization.
Some other examples of actions I use are resizing to common percentages (e.g. 25%,50%), resizing to fixed sizes (e.g. 900 pixels long) and some standard sharpening techniques. Above all, remember that actions can record pretty much anything you can do in Photoshop and excel at reducing tedious tasks to one click.