Using Picnik to Watermark Photos

After my blog privacy boundaries post, there were a bunch of questions about watermarking. I’m going to show you how to watermark using Picnik. There are a ton of different ways to watermark your photos, you can read more about other options in this watermarking article, but Picnik is what I use. I have no affiliation with this program. I’ve been using it for about a year, and like how easy it is to use. It is completely online, with nothing to download. I did go for the “upgrade,” but everything I’m going to show you is part of the free-to-use side of Picnik.


Before I get into how to watermark a photo, I’ll explain why you might want to watermark.

The most obvious reason to watermark a photo is to protect it from being “borrowed” by someone else. I’ve come across two blogs in the last week that have directly stolen content (including photos) from other blogs. Watermarking can’t actually stop someone from snagging your pics, but if someone does take them without your permission, it will be painfully clear to all who visit their blog.

Watermarking can also discourage people from using your photos in other ways – such as in print or online advertisements. If your photo is watermarked, the thief has to do a lot of work to remove the watermark, so they’re more likely to move on to another photo without a watermark. Similar to locking the doors to your car – it won’t prevent your car from being stolen, but hopefully it will encourage a would-be thief to move on to an easier target.

Adding a watermark can also make your photos look more professional (if done correctly). When I see a picture with a nice branded logo, I always think it bumps-up the “classy” factor.


Now that you’re completely convinced you should watermark your photos, I’ll show you how.

The first thing I do is re-size the image. The picture I’m using for this demo was actually taken with a cell-phone camera, so it is pretty small. For pictures taken with any other camera, I reduce the longest side down to 600 dpi. Making the image smaller makes it less attractive for people who want to snag it to print it somewhere (they need higher resolutions to print vs. publish online). Plus, it makes the file size smaller, so it takes up less room on my hard drive, and it uploads faster. Lots of up-sides to decreasing the image size.

Resize the image


Once I’ve decreased the size, I go to the “Create” tab. In this tab I select “text” to add my watermark.

Adding and re-sizing text

I pick my font, then type my blog name (which is what I usually use to watermark) into the box in the top left. The words appear huge on my screen. I click on the words and use the corners to shrink down the text to the size I want.


Fading the Watermark

For pictures with faces, I move the watermark over the face, usually over the eyes. Although I want the watermark to show, I don’t want it to distract too much from the overall image. When I created the text, a small pop-up box came up. I move the slider on the “fade” bar towards the right until it is light enough, but still visible.

When I’ve got the watermark the way I want it, click on the “Save and Share” tab, and save the file. That easy – all done.


Papercrafters might show a scrapbook layout. The pictures in the layouts are a picture-of-a-picture, so they are going to be lower resolution, and less likely to be targeted. But if you want to protect your images on a scrapbook layout here are a couple ways.

Here, on my sample layout, I used a simple scroll work image. This image, and many more, can be found in Picnik under the “Create” tab as “Stickers.” I put one over each picture.

Here, I used the same scroll work image large across the entire layout, and I put my blog name across the bottom so that if someone does use the image, it is easily tracked back to me as the owner.

A last couple notes on watermarking:

  • You’ll probably want to keep your watermarks fairly consistent throughout your site. Pick a font/image that goes with your overall blog theme/layout and stick with it.
  • Make sure that the watermark doesn’t interfere with the people being able to enjoy the photo. If you feel like you have to watermark the photo to the point that the purpose of the photo is getting lost, then maybe you shouldn’t be posting the photo.
  • You can go back and watermark photos you’ve already posted, and re-post the photos. It won’t work retroactively, but this will protect them for the future.
  • If you choose to watermark, you don’t have to watermark every single photo. I watermark pictures with faces in them, and pictures of completed projects, but not every step-by-step photo in a tutorial. How many or few photos you choose to watermark is up to you.
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