how to :: using graphical watermarks in lightroom

I decided to take a few minutes and share my tutorial on how to add a watermark in Lightroom. This tutorial will follow my personal workflow, so you may not do it exactly like I’m doing it, but this should get you started.

If you don’t have a watermark, read this first. Stop at step 5. Go on. I’ll wait. And maybe take a little nap while I’m waiting.


Okay, so you have your watermark … make double triple sure that it’s on a transparent background!! Now, change the color of the watermark to white [#ffffff] and save it as a .psd file.

Download LR/Mogrify 2 (follow instructions here, including the installation of ImageMagick if you use Windows)

Here’s the kicker … the program developers do require a donation to use full features, BUT it’s worth it. They only require €2, but that’s like $3.08 in US dollars, and they deserve it for making life this much easier.

Also, my husband is a developer, and I know how much work goes into the programs he designs … I’m always willing to give back to the people who do this for a living.

Open Lightroom and use the Plugin Manager to install LR/Mogrify 2 …



[I selected the wrong plugin, but you get it, right?]

Then, you go to File — Export and you will see this …


Make sure you have “graphical watermarks” selected [the “mogrify configuration” will automatically be selected when you do that] and then scroll down until you see where you upload your watermark. Then, you can play around with the horizontal and vertical insets until you figure out where you want the watermark to go.


Personal note: I set all of my exported images to 700px on the longest side. That’s how wide the images are on my blog, and that way, if someone does steal them to print, then they won’t look very good.

I also save all of the export steps (image resize, where it’s going to be saved, graphical watermark, etc.) as “User Presets” … that has also been a huge timesaver.

Basically, when I am exporting a picture of Lucy, I have a “lucy with watermark” preset that I apply – it automatically tells Lightroom to save it to my special lucy folder, resize it to 700px on the longest side, and add my watermark. All with one click.

I have one called “tilt shift” which tells LR to resize and send it to TiltShift.

lucy and katie

You can see another user preset up there called “christmas 2010” … it just resized and sent all of my Christmas pictures to my Christmas 2010 folder.

Anyway, by saving user presets, I don’t have to go through and change the settings every time I export an image or a group of images. Future tutorial? Yay or nay?

But back to this tutorial … the placement of your watermark via LR leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s a fun game to play around and see where it lands once you’ve exported it.

After rereading, I’m going to be honest … my tired and fuzzy momma brain just doesn’t work like it used to for writing tutorials, so if this didn’t make sense or I left something out or if you are sitting there scratching your head in bewilderment, PLEASE drop me a comment, and I’ll try to make it more clear.

creating and saving a photoshop brush watermark

I’ve never taken a class or read a book about Photoshop.

I do watch YouTube videos of PS tutorials and also read blogs and online tutorials.

But I’ve never upgraded past Photoshop Elements 5.0.

In other words, you don’t necessarily need professional quality programs to have a professional looking image.

But here’s my disclaimer: if you’re looking to become a professional photographer, a basic knowledge of GOOD editing programs is a must. And I firmly believe in hiring a professional to work up some branding & logos for you, unless you’re really good at that sort of thing.

ANYWAY … if you’re looking for a basic way to protect your images, then this is the tutorial for you.

Creating and Saving a Photoshop Brush Watermark

I discussed creating a watermark here, but I’m going to go ahead and go over that again with the addition of saving it to have everything in one neat and tidy tutorial.

Also, I have since changed my watermark, because I, personally, felt weird having the word “photography” included when I’m not a professional photographer. Just personal preference there.

Step 1: create new file (I started with 800px X 800px just to make sure I’d have a nice big file)

Step 2: type whatever you want (all brushes are created grayscale, so use black #000000)


Step 3: whenever you have the text or image or text & image combo that you want, do a fairly tight crop


Step 4: go to “select all” (or type CTRL-A), then go to “edit – define brush from selection”


Step 5: name your brush


At this very second, you can use it as a brush, but it’s currently hanging out in limbo in the brush category where you created it. If you want a special “watermark” folder for this brush, you need to go ahead and save it before you lose it.

Step 6: go to the brush drop-down menu and click on the >> and then select “preset manager”


Step 7: select the brush that you want to save (if you have more than one brush that you would like to use as a watermark [like I do], then select all of those brushes and click “save set”)


Step 8: name the set whatever you want – I super creatively named mine “watermarks.abr”


note: the folder will be located under C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 5.0\Presets\Brushes (or whatever program you have)

Step 9: click on “done”


Step 10: use your new brush / watermark!


Now, a couple of things to mention …

• Even though you created your watermark using black #000000, you can change it to whatever color you would like once you are finished. After you select the brush you want to use, just set the foreground color to whatever you would like before you “brush” it onto the image.

• You can change the size and opacity of the brush to suit your needs, but you need to do that before you “brush” the watermark onto the image. Once you “brush” it, you can’t change anything. You may have to “undo” a couple of times to get it right, but I usually aim for opacity around 20-30% depending on the image.

• The fonts I used in this brush are the ever popular Fonts for Peas found at Kevin and Amanda Fonts – the text is “Pea Frankie” and the heart is “Pea Bethany’s Doodles.” Please follow the rules when it comes to using free fonts you find online.

how to :: create a watermark using photoshop brushes

So I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses here and on Flickr about my new watermark.


I use watermarks solely to protect my images since I’ve found them on other blogs and websites before. If I ever do decide to become a professional photographer, I’ll probably have a professional logo worked up by a professional, but for now, this one does the trick.

blue watermark

The first thing I did was try to think about something I like … and dandelions came to mind. Okay, I hate that we have 748 of these weeds in our yard rather than beautiful green grass, but I love photographing them, and Emma loves picking and blowing them. And I really do think they’re pretty.

So I decided to find a Photoshop dandelion brush. Brush? What’s that?

Brushes are just that – a sort of digital paintbrush that you can use to create different effects. You can use a paint splatter brush to “brush” a paint splatter on an image using your Photoshop brush tool.


I don’t really know if that explains it very well, but if you keep reading the tutorial, I think it will make sense by the end.

Anyway, a quick Google search was all it took to find a great dandelion brush. I just downloaded the brush set and then installed it into Photoshop Elements 5.0 (I know, it’s ancient, but it works for my needs) using these instructions.

How to Install Custom Brushes


Windows: Place the *.abr files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements X\Presets\Brushes where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop Elements.

Mac: Place the *.abr files into:
Applications/Adobe Photoshop Elements 6/Presets/Brushes

Brushes created in Photoshop 7 or later will not work in Photoshop Elements 2 and earlier. Any Photoshop brushes should work in Photoshop Elements 3 and later.

I had to restart Photoshop once they were installed.

Now, I could have created a transparent image that I can just drag onto each photo I want to watermark to make things about eight thousand times easier, but for the sake of this tutorial, I’m just going to show you how to put the watermark directly onto your photo.

Step 1: Open image in Photoshop

Step 2: Select the brush tool


It may look different in the various versions of Photoshop, but it should look like a paintbrush.

Step 3: Select the brush set that holds the brush you want to use – in my case, the set is called “flower brushes”


Step 4: Select the brush you want to use – in my case, it’s “17” or the dandelion brush


Step 5: Change brush size to suit your needs. You can also change the opacity of the brush if you need to. I left this step out because my dandelion brush is very light already, but if you’re using a heavier brush image, then you might want to make the opacity lighter so it doesn’t take away from your photo.


Step 6: Move brush to wherever you want to stamp it and then click your mouse just once. You won’t be able to “move” it once you stamp it, so make sure you put it in just the right spot the first time (or you can undo and redo it, of course).


Step 7: Once you have it brushed in just the right spot, then you can add your text around it.


Step 8: Change opacity of text, if necessary.


And you’re done!


The great thing about Photoshop brushes is that you can use them for LOTS of things. I used 2 cute little bee brushes to create my header image, and then I used a bee brush and a bird brush to create my RSS feed and Twitter buttons.

rss twitter

If you use brushes that you’ve found online, please use good etiquette in giving credit. (I put the link to the website where I got my blog header and button brushes in my footer.) Most brush creators don’t require you to give credit, but it’s always nice, IMO.

My favorite place to find free Photoshop brushes is Brusheezy, but you can usually find any brush your heart desires by doing a quick Google search.

Well, I’ve got an allergy-ridden sick kiddo today, so I’m going to be offline for a while. Let me know via comment or email if you have any questions about using brushes, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

how exclusion blending mode works

I got a few comments about the PSE part of the last tutorial, so I’m happy to go over that in a little more detail.

I noticed you like using Fill layers (like the navy here & grey in another post or pic I saw you do…at least I think it was you, heehee!). Anyway, how do you determine what color to use? And if you’re using it in Exclusion mode…does that mean you’re excluding the navy blue color from the picture or what?

Okay, I’ll be honest with you – I learned about navy blue exclusion on accident one day, and simply put, it brings an automatic vintage tone to the image.

After researching, I found out how it works. It is rather confusing, but I’ll try to explain it anyway.

Exclusion blending mode inverts lower layers according to the brightness values in the active layer. White inverts the composite pixels absolutely, black inverts them not at all, and the other brightness values invert them to some degree in between.

First, let’s talk about inverting colors – basically, that just means that white would turn black. And all other colors would turn into the invert [opposite] color.

Let’s use this rainbow as an example.


Now, using the definition above, we want to see the absolute invert of each color, so I’ll add a new fill layer in white and put it into exclusion blending mode to see what happens.

This will also explain how I add fill layers & change the blending modes.

step 1: add new solid color fill layer


step 2: click on “ok”


step 3: choose color (for our example of how exclusion blending works, I’m choosing white)


step 4: put the white fill layer into exclusion blending mode


And this is what happens to the rainbow!


As you can see, each color is totally inverted. I may research and see what the invert of each color is … you know, in all of my spare time. *wink wink*

Now, if we did a black fill layer, nothing would change.


And if we do a navy blue fill color and put it into exclusion blending mode, you can see that the colors are just barely inverted. They kind of look desaturated, but you can see that the white is already starting to get a little darker.


So, when you are choosing your fill layers for exclusion blending mode, you want to stay as dark as possible – if you choose a light yellow or lavendar or something like that, your colors are going to become more and more inverted.

As for how I decide which colors to use and which blending mode to use, it’s a total guessing game. I almost always use the navy blue in exclusion blending mode, because I love the tone it puts on my images. After that, I just play around with colors. Once you start using fill layers, you’ll figure out what looks good and what doesn’t.

I hope that helps explain a little more about how fill layers work on your images. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

And subscribe to my feed or receive emails with each new post to be the first to know about new tutorials!

start to finish // twinkly brownie


I know this post is WAY overdue, but I had most of it written out last night when I went to bed, and then my computer updated and rebooted while I was sleeping.

Note to self: always save drafts.

straight out of the camera (sooc)


First thing I did was apply one of my own Lightroom presets called “vintage purple”


My presets aren’t really for sale or give-a-way (maybe one day) but this basically boosted the exposure, added some clarity & vibrance, took away a bit of saturation, and then I used split tones in tan (highlights) & purple (shadows).

Clearly, that made it too bright, so I wanted to work on that a little bit.

I took down the exposure all the way back down to 0 and increased the blacks to 16.

I also jacked up the highlight recovery to do away with the crazy overexposure around the top right corner of the camera.

My shadow saturation (the purple) was actually a little too purple’y, so I took it down quite a bit to make it more of a lavender.

Then, I bumped up the contrast even more.

And cropped it.


Imported that image into Photoshop Elements 5.0 so I could fix it up a little more and add a fun texture.

I immediately added a fill layer of navy blue #0f0f3d and put it into exclusion mode and changed opacity to 80%.

Added another fill layer of pure white #ffffff and changed the opacity to 5%.

Added this texture in overlay mode and changed opacity to 70% and then erased it over the camera (eraser set at 35% opacity).

Then, I copied the background (control-J) and moved that to the top of the layers and set it to soft light blending mode at 80% opacity.


Flattened the layers and TA-DA!


If you have any questions about this tutorial, please post them in the comments and I will reply there. I hope you enjoyed it!

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