How to easily watermark any photos on Mac

6 min read

There are few things more frustrating than taking a brilliant photo, sharing it on social media, and seeing it get lots of traction, only for other people to post it without crediting you. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time and there’s very little most of us can do about it once the image is out there.

The solution is to identify the photo as yours in a way that can’t easily be altered, in other words, add watermarks.

What is a watermark?

Traditionally a watermark is an image or text that’s added to paper either for decoration or to identify the document as being legitimate. With the advent of digital images, however, it’s taken on a new meaning. It’s a mark made on a photograph, translucent enough that it doesn’t obscure or detract from the image, but visible to the naked eye, used as a means of identifying the original owner. 

Once you put a watermark on your image, with say your name, logo, or website URL, it’s very difficult for anyone to remove it without changing the image. It’s a very effective way of stopping unscrupulous social media users from claiming credit for your image. Which brings us to the main question of today’s post — how do you watermark photos?

How to watermark images on Mac in a few ways

If you want to know how to watermark images on Mac, you probably want to know a few ways to do it, so that you've got options. Luckily, there are a number of ways to add watermarks, some easy, others not so easy. If you want to batch watermark photos in Photoshop, for example, you’ll need to create an Action and run it. Thankfully, there are easier ways to watermark multiple photos. Our recommended method is to use PhotoBulk — a photo editing tool that’s designed for batch processing images and adding watermarks.

Before we show you how easy it is to watermark multiple photos in PhotoBulk, let’s look at how it’s done in Photoshop.

Watermark photos in butch with PhotoBulk app

Watermarking images in batches is much easier in PhotoBulk than in Photoshop. Here’s the workflow for that.

  1. Launch PhotoBulk.
  2. Drag the photos you want to watermark onto PhotoBulk’s main window. You’ll see thumbnails appear along the bottom. Prepare to watermark images
  3. Check the box next to Watermark at the top of the sidebar.
  4. Choose whether you want a text, image, or date stamp for you watermark.
  5. If you chose text, you can now type or paste the text in the box and format it. If you chose image, click Browse to navigate to the image you want to use and select it.
  6. Drag the box with the watermark into position and resize it. Watermarking batches of photos
  7. Press Start, choose a folder to save the watermarked images and click Save.

That’s it! No scripts or Actions necessary. PhotoBulk will watermark each image in turn. You can add multiple watermarks to images, too. Once you’ve created and placed the first one, go back to step 4 and this time, press the plus icon at the top of the Watermark box and choose the type you want.

One of the best things about using Photobulk to batch watermark photos is that you don’t have the problem with scaling and positioning the watermark in relation to the size and shape of the photo. PhotoBulk handles all of that automatically.

You can also use PhotoBulk to resize, convert, optimize, and rename images in batches.

Add a text watermark to your photos on macOS using Preview

If you really don’t want to use any third-party tool, you can add a watermark to your photo on Mac using Preview. The process is a bit roundabout though, so let’s walk through it.

You can change opacity of any drawn lines or shapes in Preview, so we’ve added a watermark to our text image as follows:

  1. Open the image with Preview and click the Markup button at the top right of the image (it looks like the tip of a pen) to open the editing menu.
  2. Select Sketch button in the editing menu (third from the left).
  3. Select your desired color by clicking the Fill Color button in the editing menu (third from the right).
  4. Draw your watermark (you can just sign your name).
  5. Open the Fill Color menu again and adjust Opacity to the minimum level that can be visible in your image. Save your watermarked image (note that changes are saved on top of your existing file, so make sure to make the edits in a copied file, not the original).
Add a text watermark to your photos

Another way of watermarking (sort-of) your image in Preview is adding text to your image with the Text tool, but since there’s no Opacity adjustment option there (at least not in our version for macOS Monterey 12.1), your options are limited to picking a color that blends with your image the most.

If you are wondering how to add a logo to a photo on Mac, your options with Preview are to open the file with your logo in Preview, select all by pressing Command + A on your keyboard, and copy (Command + C) and then paste it onto your image (Command + V) in Preview.

Batch watermark photos in Photoshop

The best way to add a copyright watermark to an image in Photoshop is:

  1. Create your watermark by opening up a document in Photoshop and typing the text or adding the logo you want to use for the watermark.
  2. Adjust the size and remember to reduce the opacity so you can see the image through it. Save the image and close it.
    Create your watermark
  3. Open the first image you want to put watermark on. Go to the Window menu, select Actions, and click the New Action button at the bottom of the panel — it’s an icon of a document with a corner folded down. 
    Select Actions
  4. Give the Action a name that makes it obvious what it’s for — Watermark will do — and press Return. Photoshop will now start recording every step you take.
    New Action settings
  5. Go to the File menu, choose Place, navigate to the file containing your watermark, and click Place at the bottom of the window. Resize your watermark and put it in the position you want. When you’re done, hit Return. Press the Stop button at the bottom of the Actions palette to stop recording.
    Choose the Place
  6. Close the image without saving it.
  7. Go to the File menu and choose Script, then Image Processor. 
    Go to Image Processor
  8. Click Select Folder and navigate to the folder where your images are saved and click Open. Then, just below, do the same again, but this time navigate to the folder where you want to save the watermarked images.
    Image Processor
  9. At the bottom of the window, click Run Action, and in the right-hand menu select the Action you created earlier.
    Run action
  10. Click Run at the top of the window. Photoshop will now open all the images in the folder, one at a time, and watermark them then save them in the folder you specified.

  11. Watermark images

Does that seem complicated? Well, consider this. The steps above work perfectly if all the images in your folder are the same size and shape. If they’re not, you have to add several steps to the process to make sure the watermark is displayed correctly in every image. Then it gets really complicated. That’s why there are apps that do it better now. Here’s how you achieve the same thing in PhotoBulk.

As you can see, watermarking multiple images can be difficult or it can be easy. Creating a Photoshop Action will get the job done, but it’s by no means straightforward if you have images of different shapes and sizes.

How to add a watermark on iOS

On iOS, you can adjust opacity in the Photos app.

Here’s how to put a watermark on a photo on your phone:

  1. Open your image in Photos and tap Edit.Next, tap Markup icon in the top right corner of your screen.
  2. Find the + button at the bottom right of your screen and tap it.
  3. Select Text and type in your watermark text there.
  4. Then, adjust the color of your watermark and tap the color wheel icon to the left of the + button at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Find Opacity and move the toggle to adjust it.

Close the color editing menu, adjust your text’s location on the image, and tap Done when you are finished. Make any additional changes you want to

Note that just like in Preview on your Mac, Photos app saves the edits on top of your existing file, so you have to edit a copy in order to keep your unedited and unwatermarked original.

By contrast, watermarking images in PhotoBulk involves little more than dragging and dropping images, and creating your watermark. And it allows you to perform other batch operations, too. You can actually go ahead and try out PhotoBulk free from Setapp, along with over 150 other great apps for your Mac. Now, no one will steal your images, ever.

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