Creating Your Own Watermark To Use In Your SmugMug Galleries

There are plenty of posts out there discussing creating one’s own watermark.  I’m just adding to the choices.  And, not only will I show you how to create an easy watermark for your gallery photos, but (in the next post) I will show you (step-by-step)  how to apply it to photos in a SmugMug gallery (because that is where I keep all of my photos, so that’s what I know how to do).

I use Adobe Photoshop CS5, but (I am assuming), it will apply to older versions of Photoshop, and probably some versions of Photoshop Elements, too.  If you don’t use any of the Photoshop applications, I’m certain you can create your own watermarks in whatever editor package you use.

In CS5:  File-New

A little pop-up window appears allowing you to set up your page upon which you will type up your watermark.  I gave my watermark a name because that’s what CS5 will want to use in saving the image, and it helps me figure out, later on, which watermark I might want to use for a given situation.


The only changes I make are to the Width, Height, Resolution, and  Color Mode; everything else remains in default.  You may want to experiment a little with the size, but for my purposes,  I used the numbers you see in the Width and Height above for a horizontal watermark.  If you choose to create a vertical watermark (perhaps for portraits), you simply switch the Width and Height numbers.

Once you’ve made your choices, click OK

This is what you see now.  The checkered background means it is transparent and won’t be seen.  It’s an invisible “canvas” upon which you will “paint” your watermark.


For my watermark, I like to use the copyright symbol in front of my name, so I hop over to Microsoft Word for a moment and open up a blank page.

I click on the Insert tab

I then move my curser way over to the far right of the Word 2010 Ribbon to click on the Symbol image.

I select the copyright mark and click on Insert


It’s on my blank Word page now, so I simply highlight the symbol and copy (Ctrl-C on a PC) for later use over in CS5.

Now, back to CS5.  I select the Text Tool (that little “T” symbol)  from the toolbox on the far left of the screen.

I click on that “blank” canvas, do a Ctrl-V to paste the copyright symbol, then proceed to type whatever I want to see as my watermark.


You will need to play around with the text type and size.  And there is also the little matter of text color and opacity.  I like using a medium-dark shade of gray.  So, I click on that little colored box in the menu bar that shows up specifically for the Text Tool.

I get a pop-up box that allows me to choose a color (or create my own custom color).


Once I am happy with the color, I click OK

I can also play with opacity (transparency) of the text.  Because SmugMug’s watermarking tools allow me to change the opacity onsite, I generally leave the opacity settings in CS5 alone.  However, if you want to set your level of transparency here, rather than SmugMug, then click on the Layers icon in the tool bar over on the right side of the screen.  Double-click on the Opacity box and you can then change the percentage of opacity.


Once I am satisfied with the look of my watermark, I do a little cropping.  I don’t crop too closely to my watermark text, though, because it’s wise to leave some space above, below, and to the sides of the text; you won’t see the checkered background in your watermarked photos, but that little bit of extra “canvas” makes a sort of transparent buffer zone or border around the actual text.  Hard to explain, but you will see what I mean if/when you read my next post.


To save your watermark: File-Save for Web & Devices

I don’t change any of the default settings; I just click Save


My watermark is saved as a PNG file format and is ready to upload to my SmugMug site.

Next post:  How to insert your watermark into your SmugMug galleries.

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Filed under Copyright, Lessons, Photography, SmugMug, Watermark

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