Photoshop Elements: How to watermark an entire folder of photos :: Digital Photo Secrets

Photoshop Elements: How to watermark an entire folder of photos

by David Peterson 10 comments

If you’re keen on advertising your photography a little better on the web, you might want to start watermarking your photos. A watermark is a little logo or badge of text you place in the bottom right corner of a photo, telling your viewers who you are. It’s also a common deterrent to people who might take and use your images without giving you credit. When your images have a watermark, it makes life that much more difficult for them. Most photo thieves will just move onto the next image.

But why watermark just one photo? The way I see it, once you’ve opened up your photo editing software, you’re already there. You might as well watermark an entire folder. It’s not that much more work. I’ll show you how.

Before we get started, I suggest you purchase a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements. Most of the Photoshop tutorials I do use Photoshop Elements, so you won’t just use it once. You’ll use it for almost every photo editing task you do.

Plus there’s an added bonus. Mass watermarking is built right into Adobe Photoshop Elements as one of its core features. You won’t have to learn any fancy Photoshop programming techniques (you would have in previous version of the software). You can do everything straight out of the box.

Getting Started Watermarking

So where do we get started? Open up Photoshop Elements and go to the file menu. Then pick “process multiple files.” Just like the image in the right. In other versions of Photoshop software, this would have been named “batch processing” or something of the like. When you click on it, you get the following dialog box.

It looks pretty complicated at first, but don’t worry. We’re just going to focus on the right side. Have a look at the labels section, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That’s where we’re going to place the watermark.

You can enter whatever name you want in the custom text box, and you can also pick a font or a different position if you want your watermark somewhere other than the bottom left. Opacity controls how translucent the text is. If you set it to 100, you won’t be able to see through the watermark (making it more like ordinary text). At 0, your watermark will be completely invisible.

For the time being, I’m not going to change anything. I’ll leave it right there.

We aren’t done yet. Now we’ve got to tell Photoshop which files we want to watermark. You can find all of this in the upper left section where it says “process files from folder.”

Here we’ll pick a source folder and a destination folder. If your source folder matches your destination folder, beware. You may end up overwriting your original photos. Generally speaking, you’ll want to have a separate file folder for your watermarked photos. Once you’ve overwritten them, you can’t go back, and I want you to have that option.

Renaming your watermarked photos

I also suggest renaming your watermarked photos. The next section allows you to do that. I like to add the suffix “WM” to my watermarked photos so I can tell the difference. You can pick whatever suits you.

I didn’t change the first field at all, but I did change the second one. I simply changed it to “WM” and didn’t add anything else.

At this point, you can click okay and be done with it. Photoshop will process the files and add watermarks to them. Once Photoshop is done, it’s a good idea to go back through your photos and make sure the watermark was applied properly. In my case, Photoshop didn’t do such a good job this time around, and I decided to change the watermark to white.

White probably would have been better.

Either way, it’s nice to have the ability to do this. It takes time to add watermarks, and this is pretty much automatic.

Get this. Without even trying, I’ve introduced you to the world of batch processing. While you were looking around, you probably noticed that you can do quite a few others things en masse. Resizing is there. So is sharpening, color correction, contrast, and levels. There aren’t any custom mass actions like those found in Adobe Photoshop CS, but most people won’t need them anyway. If you’re going to do something highly specific, chances are it will only apply to one photo.

Stay tuned when we compare batch processing fixes to manual fixes. Can you tell the difference?

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  1. Pam says:

    Hi David

    If you add a watermark and provide the pics electronically to your "customer", will they be able to open them up in PhotoShop Elements and delete it? Is there a way in Elements to prevent a pic from being editable in Elements again?


    • David Peterson says:

      Hi Pam,

      It depends on how you save the image. If you save and share as a 'psd' file, then yes the layer with your watermark will be able to be removed. However, if you save in the 'jpg' format, all layers are merged together and can't easily be removed.

      Note I said 'easily' removed. And it depends on where any how large your watermark is.

      Good luck!


  2. Peter beal says:

    Ive whanted to know how to do this for some time now ive always used thumbs to load up on the internet with my logo on them but i found a pain in the backside as it take forever to do 1 by 1

  3. Kat Montgomery says:

    Hi, I'm new to using photoshop elements and am struggling with batch processing as my watermark ends up being really tiny and I can't make it any bigger. Am already on 72 font size
    Please help

    • David Peterson says:

      Hi Kat,

      With the large megapixels of images these days, 72 points of font size isn't enough for a good watermark.

      One alternative is to create an image with a larger font and use that image to watermark all the other images.

      However, I find it easier to reduce the size of your images as part of the batch process. Check the 'resize image' option where you select the watermark, and choose, say, 50% reduction in size. Normally, you don't want to share a full sized image with your watermark anyway, so making it smaller won't hurt.

      I hope that helps.


  4. Veronica Black says:

    Ive spent hours and hours on this today. My issue is when its adding the watermark, sometimes its small in the corner, on other images its really across the bottom. Cab you shed any light as to why this is happening and more so, how to rectify it?
    Im using elements 7, thank you so much.

    • David Peterson says:

      HI Veronica,

      It depends on how large your photos are in relation to your watermark.

      Once you've pasted your watermark, you can resize it using the Image -> Transform menu option. Make sure "Constrain Proportions" is checked (this makes sure the watermark isn't too high or wide), then use the holders on the corner of your watermark to resize it.

      I hope that helps.


  5. JonnyMimn says:

    Very useful, except how do I open a batch of images to watermark in the first place? I use Elements & it won't let me have more than one image open at a time, and "process multiple files" does not seem to be a working option, presumably because I only have 1 image open?

    • David Peterson says:

      Newer versions of Elements have three modes: Quick, Guided and Expert. Switch to the Expert mode and you'll be able to have more than one image open at the same time, and you'll be able to choose "Process Multiple Files".

      I hope that helps.


  6. Pam says:

    Thanks, I'm new to blogging and really needed this tip. Elements and I are just really getting acquainted!!!!

  7. Marlene Sharpe says:

    Thanks so much for this tip. I've been trying to watermark some of my pics, but hated doing it one by one. Glad to know this about Photoshop

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