Learning how to watermark your images with a logo may seem like a daunting and time consuming task, but this tutorial will make the process a snap and is free so it will keep your money in your pocket!
Putting a Watermark on your images with your logo is important. The most important reason is that if someone were to share your photo without letting you know (like on social media or for any other reason), your watermark will give you the ability to credit your photo when others might not take the diligence to give you credit.
I also like to put a watermark on my photos because it adds an additional sense of professionalism to your images and can hinder others from plagiarizing your photos as their own.
What makes this tutorial 100% free is the use of Gimp. Gimp is a free image editor, it’s very powerful and is often compared to Adobe Photoshop.
I started using Gimp about 10 years ago. I’ve really grown to appreciate all the features that it offers and even after all this time, I’m sure I haven’t even gotten close to using it for all its potential. If you’re new to Gimp, there is a bit of a learning curve, but there’s a huge fan base, so it’s easy enough to find tutorials to do pretty much anything you can imagine.
My one piece of advice for starting out with Gimp, is use single window mode. I find this a lot easier to use, especially if you have multiple monitors, otherwise there will be many little windows all over the place, which can get a little frustrating. You can find this at Windows > Single Window Mode
Step 1: Install Gimp
(if you don’t already have it)
Get the latest version of Gimp here and install.
Step 2: Open the highest resolution image of your logo in Gimp
Navigation: File > Open
Step 3: Desaturate your logo
If your logo is in color, you need to desaturate it to make it black and white (and various shades in between)
Navigation: Colors > Desaturate
Step 4: Invert the colors
Watermarks over an image look better when the logos are primarily lighter vs darker.
Navigation: Colors > Invert
Step 5: Remove Background
Removing the background color leaves your logo with a transparent background that is needed to overlay on images.
Navigation: Select > By Color or in the toolbar as shown below.
Click on the background. Press delete on your keyboard.
Step 6: Lighten logo (optional)
I think it looks better when the logo is pretty much white, instead of gray, so I reselected the logo and applied the max brightness and the max contrast.
Since you were previously selecting the background, you need to select the entire logo first before lightening.
Navigation: Select > Invert (or Select > All)
Navigation: Colors > Brightness-Contrast…
Step 7: Save
Save with the default settings in a folder on your computer that is easy to find, since this file will be used going forward for all images that need to be watermarked.
Navigation: File > Save
Step 8: Open image to watermark in Gimp
Navigation: File > Open > Select Photo
Step 9: Open logo as layer
Open the logo you saved in step 7 as a layer of the image you want to watermark.
Navigation: File > Open as layers…
Step 10: Adjust Opacity
Adjust the opacity between 50 and 90, depending on your image. For this image I selected 90, since the area I was going to put it was very light
Navigation: Opacity adjustment is found at the top right corner
Alternatively, you can see where I used 50, since it was a darker photo
Step 11: Scale to desired size and move
Be sure to click the chain link symbol to preserve the ratios of your logo
Step 12: Export as…
Save the file as your desired image file type.
Navigation: File > Export as…
That’s it! Once you’ve created the lightened logo with a transparent background (steps 1 through 7), you just need to do steps 8 through 12 to watermark your images.
After getting over the learning curve by adding the watermark a couple times, now it takes me no more than 30 seconds to watermark each photo.
Just for giggles, here’s how that other photo turned out with the new watermark.