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In this tutorial we will show you how to Create a watermark in Photoshop CS5, how to add it to a image and then how to set your Photoshop up so that you can apply this watermark to numerous images in one action saving you time. This tutorial is in 3 steps.

In the first step we will show you how to create an effective watermark for your images in Photoshop CS5. Next we will show you how to add them to an image. And lastly we will show you how to make use of Photoshop CS5’s batch processing capabilities to add this watermark to multiple images in one action.

Please note: This tutorial has been updated and moved for Photoshop CS6. This tutorial can now be found at Photoshop CS6: Adding a Watermark to Multiple Images.

Photoshop CS5: creating an effective Watermark

First step in creating your watermark you need to decide for yourself do you wish to use text or an image such as your logo as the water. The process for converting this to a watermark is the same but you  still need to have your resources ready to go. What size is your watermark?

Open a new file in Photoshop with a canvas size to suit your needs but make sure the background is set to transparent. Add your text and logo images to this file how you want it set out.

Here is my example:Now make sure everything is selected and change it to grey ( I chose #666 as my color) and change the opactiy of everything to 50%.Now we need to add a bevel and emboss effect to your images. Again ensuring that all the visible layers are selected go effects in the layers palette adjust a bevel and emboss to suit what you are after then hit OK and change the blend mode to hard light.

One tip to remember is to make sure your watermark is not to big. You do not want it to be too tall or wide for the images you commonly watermark.

Once you are happy with the final result save the image as your watermark and we are ready to head onto the next stage. How to add a water to an image.

Photoshop CS5: Adding a Watermark to an Image

To drop a watermark onto an image open the image you wish to watermark. Open your watermark file. Click on the image when it is open and hit ctr-a to select the entire image. Ctr-c to copy the image to your clipboard and head over to the image you wish to watermark. Once in your image hit ctr-v to paste it into the image. Depending on the size of your image you may need to adjust or move the image around to suit the image. Once ready save your file but remember not to save over your original.

Now how do we apply a watermark to an entire folder worth of images in one hit.

Photoshop CS5: Batch Processing Watermarks on Multiple Images

To watermark multiple images we are going to record an action to watermark an image and then all we need to do is play it as a batch process.

Recording the action:

  1. Open an image to watermark. We must have this open before we start recording an action or else it will keep opening this image and watermarking it over and over again.
  2. In Photoshop go to Windows >> Actions
  3. At the bottom of the Actions Palette you will see a little folder icon, click on it and create a new folder to hold you action in.
  4. Once you have a folder to hold your action we need to hit the Create New Action button (next to the new folder Icon we just used.)
  5. Give our new action a name and set a function key (if required.)
  6. If the record button is not already depressed which it should be by default, hit it now to start recording our action. (located near the folder icon again but this time to the left)
  7. Now that our action is recording go to File >> Place
  8. When the dialog box comes up navigate to your previously created watermark file.
  9. Hit the Place button
  10. Position the watermark as you would normally have it (default is dead center) and hit enter.
  11. Go to File >> Save as,navigate to where you want your watermarked images to finish up and hit save. DO NOT CHANGE THE FILE NAME if you do when you play the batch it will name all the files it saves the same over-writing each other.
  12. Close the image we just watermarked.
  13. when a save dialog comes up do not save the image.
  14. On the Actions Palette hit stop recording.
  15. Our Action is now recorded.
  16. To process an entire folder of images we go to File >> Automate >> Batch
  17. Select the folder in which your images are currently
  18. Select the folder you wish to save the watermarked copies too.
  19. Hit OK
  20. Photoshop is now watermarking all the Images in the selected folder for you.

Hope you all enjoy and are able to make good use of this tutorial.

N.B: For those wishing to further protect their images there is now a tutorial on Adding Copyright MetaData to Images via Photoshops batch processing also available on this blog.

36 Responses to Photoshop CS5: Adding a Watermark to Multiple Images

  • Hi Stephen great post!

    ‘m having trouble achieving the desired effect as my images are of different sizes. is there a way to automate the placement of the watermark into the bottom left hand corner? Cheers,


  • When recording your action you will need to record a few extra steps. With your action still recording (after you have inserted your watermark) select the layer that contains your watermark, make sure you are in select mode, up top near show transform controls you will find a few buttons. One called align bottom edges and another called align left edges. Select both of those while you are recording your action. This will move your watermark to the bottom left corner.

  • Stephen,

    When I attempt to do this to align the water mark, it won’t let me click on those buttons. Any idea why?

    • most common reason for this is either the layer has been locked or you don’t have a layer selected

      • hi.. this problem also happened to me. the align left and bottom edges buttons are disabled even if the image is selected and unlocked… have any idea why is that so?

        also, looks like i cannot apply the automate to photos in my iphoto folder. for sure there’s a way, mid to share?

        and yeah, i agree, this tutorial is very helpful! cheers! :)

        • not too sure with mac systems, anybody else able to help her out

          • Hi,
            maybe helpfull, maybe not: If you want to align something make sure photoshop knows where to align it to… Simply said: If you want it to align to the whole picture, hit CTRL-A to select it all, then make sure you have the right layer selected and that you have the move tool active. If all is well, you should now be able to align it to the bottom left, top right or wherever you want it to align.

  • Thanks so much for this tutorial. It took me a few tries to get the desired affect, but you have literally saved me many hours of tedious work! Thanks

  • Hey,
    i enjoyed very much your tutorial excellent job.
    the problem is i only have ver7 and was trying to follow you with ver 7,is that also possible? or must be cs5?
    i wasn’t able to create the proper effect,

  • Hello,

    This is so awesome! Thank u….The only problem I am having is that it stops and asks me each time to save it because I can not figure out how to default my pictures to save as a JPEG so each time I have to hit it to save it…which the record button obviously picked up on! Once I know how to set it to default I am sure I can re-record and all will be fine!..I so appreciate u taking the time! Thank u and Merry Christmas :)

  • Fantastic tutorial! Your Batch Processing instructions really helped me out. Thanks so much!

  • LEAH – While recording your action, when you have applied the watermark to your image and pressed enter (step number 10), press CTRL + SHIFT + E to merge down all layers into one (youll see only one icon in the layers tab at the bottom right when you have done this). This will be recorded into your action, and you can finish the action as shown above from then on.

    Hope this helps. Great tutorial btw pal!

  • Thank you very much!

    This site helped me a lot! Continue to help a lot of Photoshop Beginners. ^.^ Way to go!

  • Thanks a bunch for this great tutorial Stephen. Really useful indeed!

  • The number of images are 3000. And all images vary in sizes and aspect ratio from 100×100 to 650*650. Not all are square, some are even like 650 x 100. I want my watermark to be present on whole image. How to automate batch process for these images with different sizes.????

    • When recording you will need to add a few steps in your recording. Once you have put your watermark in while still recording you will need to select the watermark level. While you have it selected if you go up the top of your screen near where it says show transform controls you will find the align buttons and next to that are a few more similar buttons. You need to select distribute top edge and probably distribute left edge. Then continue to record the rest of the sequence as normal.

      Be careful though as matching the watermark to size of the image in both directions could look rather messy.

      • I’m having the same problem trying to keep the size of the watermark consistent on different size files. Using a Mac with Lion and PS 5.5, I’m unable to access the “distribute” buttons. Any advice?

        Otherwise, this discussion has been enormously helpful, thanks!

  • hey great tutorial, saved me countless hours doin each pic manually!!!

    i am having one problem though with my portrait orientated photos. i know i have to create a new action first, so i have done this and the photo i used to create the action is exactly how i want it: 1 logo bottom right, 1 logo bottom left. however when i execute the automated action for the rest of my vertical photos the logos end up in the wrong places. where am i going wrong???

  • Great help! Saved me a lot of time marking my photos. The only thing was that it screwed up a bit when I was doing portrait oriented photos vs. landscape oriented. Of course, all that’s needed is to repeat your tutorial for portrait orientation. Thanks!

  • Great job, cracked the positioning in bottom left and saving as a jpeg too. Thanks for your help

  • Your style is unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.

  • Wow, this is great! Thank you very much!

  • great stuff here man, it all worked great the first time around on both PS7 and CS5. you’ve saved me hours and hours of monotony, thank you sir!

  • Thank you soooo much for this post!!!! You have saved me so much time trying to watermark everything. :) Fantastic!

  • I am trying to place a transparent logo but saved as jpeg, eps or psd they all seem to place white background to image even if I deleted background or created invisible background. Should these files be saved differently?


    • For your logo image to work it needs to have transparency. JPEG does not support transparency, so try PNG or GIF. I recomend PNG

  • Thank you so much for this tutorial it will save me hours.

    For those wanting to save their final images to jpeg, once you have placed your watermark, you will need to click
    Layer > Merge Layers
    Then when you carry on with the saving process it will select jpeg (if that was your images format previously).

  • I figured out how to align the watermark to the bottom right side on all images, no matter what their orientation is (on a mac).

    After you place the watermark, leave it in the center of the image.
    Select both the image layer and the watermark layer.
    Go to layer > Align > (select your options)
    Proceed with the rest of the tutorial!

  • Maaaan, this helped me a lot. this was the only tutorial that actually explained how to batch watermark with photoshop in understandable words!! =)))

  • Thank you putting this together. the batch processing to add watermark was very helpful for me, saved me a lot of time. :)
    Best wishes

  • Thank you!! It took a few hours for me to get my watermark looking how i wanted, and it still needs some work, but you made the action steps and alignments a breeze. Thank you!! :)



  • THANK YOU! this is going to save me a ton of time.

  • You saved my lot of times and the tutorial is clear to understand too. Keep it up.

  • Thank you! It was exactly what I needed and was looking for!

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