I can talk about my kids all.day.long.  I take a lot of pictures and end up featuring many of them here on my blog for the world to see.  I don’t usually think much of it until I read an article that brings up the safety of our children online or other disgusting stories of stolen pictures.  And then it makes me wonder if I am doing enough to protect my boys.

One of the ways I protect my precious photos is by plastering a watermark across them.  This helps keep innocent (or not-so-innocent) people from taking and using my copyrighted photos on their own websites.  It may not deter everyone from taking a picture, but it certainly helps (and makes me feel better!).  And in the unlikely event that they end up on a pedophiles computer, at least the police will know who to contact.

Watermarking With Text Only

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Really, the easiest and quickest way to watermark your photos is using text.  Pretty much any photo editing software will let you add text effects to your image.  I happen to use Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I open and resize my image to how I want it.  I then simply “write” my website URL across the front of it.  I always use the same font that I have in my header so that it matches my site “branding,” but that’s completely up to you.  You can even adjust the Opacity (on the right) if you want to give it a transparent look.

Flatten your image and save (I would give it a new name if you don’t want your watermark on your original…but hopefully you already know that!).

Watermarking With an Image

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This takes an extra step the first time you do it but it’s nice, especially for a professional blogger, so your watermarks can match your website.  You really can use any image (header, website button or signature).  I created a new one for the purpose of this tutorial.

1.  Create your image on a transparent background and save it as a .PNG file.  Now, if you want to use something like your 125×125 website button, then you don’t necessarily need to have it on a transparent background.  But because I used text, transparent worked better.  It is a good idea to use your bloggy button or a recognizable image from your website for this to be most effective.  I used my website name and my crazy monkey.

2.  Most all of my images on my site are between 500 and 600 pixles wide, so I made my watermark 600 pixles wide.

3.  Be sure to open the image you want to watermark and have it resized/cropped and ready to go.

4.  Once you have your watermark image created, just save it in an easy to access spot.  You will need to open it every time you want to use it.

5.  With both images open (watermark and personal photo), “drag” the watermark onto your picture.  Because the watermark is transparent, it should just sit right on top of your photo.  You now have two photoshop layers.

6.  Adjust the size and placement of your watermark over your photo to your liking.  I generally put it right in the middle of my picture so it can not be easily cropped out by a thief.

7.  Adjust the opacity/transparency of your image to your personal liking.  Don’t make it too light or that will defeat the purpose!

8.  “Flatten” your image (combine all layers) and save your image.  It is now ready to use on your website.

Watermarking Using a Custom Brush

If you are familiar with using brushes in your photoshop program, then you can create your very own branded brush to save and use on your photos.  Trisha has a tutorial on how to make your own custom brush.  I don’t love this method only because the brush isn’t as pretty as an image and I like pretty.

In addition, a nice little feature that Photoshop has is the way to put your copyright, as well as your SEO Keywords right into the image file itself.  (ETA:  I personally would NOT SEO Keyword my pictures of my kids, I save that for locations and landscapes or events).  From your Photoshop menu, click File => File Info… and a box will open for you to type in the website copyright URL as well as image keywords.  This embeds the information right into the core files of your image and those can not be erased or cropped out.

So that is how I watermark my photos.  If you have any more tips for keeping our kids’ photos safe I would love to hear them!