Watermark Images in WordPress

Want to know how to watermark images in WordPress? Then read on, as today’s short tutorial shows you how…

If original images, photographs, and artwork are a focal point of your WordPress website, you’d better find a way to protect them.

Online piracy is rife these days, and if you don’t take the appropriate steps to protect your images, someone could come along and steal them. This is especially concerning for photographers and artists who make a living from the quality of their portfolios.

Fortunately, the solution is simple: watermark images in WordPress – your images.

Watermarking overlays a faint, branded design onto your images, which tells the world that the work is yours. This won’t impact your visitors’ enjoyment of the pictures, as the watermark is only visible when examined up close. However, the watermark makes it considerably more difficult for others to pass your work off as their own.

You can see a watermark in action on the image below:

Ideal Watermark

Today, I’ll be showing you how easy it is for WordPress users to add watermarks automatically to any images. All you need is the Easy Watermark plugin – available for free on the official plugin directory.

Watermark images in WordPress using Easy Watermark plugin

Let’s start by installing the plugin. Log in to the WordPress dashboard, then navigate to Plugins / Add New. In the top-right, type “Easy Watermark” into the search bar, then hit enter.

Install Easy Watermark Plugin

Easy Watermark should be the first plugin returned – it’s the one by Wojtek Szałkiewicz. Proceed to install the plugin by clicking Install Now, and then Activate Plugin.

With the plugin activated, we need to configure it by navigating to Settings / Easy Watermark. The settings screen includes three tabs: General, Image, and Text. Let’s go through each in turn, starting with General.

Configuring Easy Watermark Plugin

At the top of the General tab, the first field gives you the opportunity to watermark images in WordPress automatically when uploading any new image. If you require this feature, make sure the checkbox is ticked.

You can also select which image types should be watermarked – choose from JPEG, PNGs, and GIFs. Further down the screen, there is an extra setting for JPEG quality, which I recommend setting at around 80 – this ensures the images are high quality, without adding too much file size.

Next, we have the Backup setting. Selecting this option results in the plugin creating two versions of each image: one, the original version, sans watermark; the other, a duplicate, with the watermark applied.

Scrolling further down the screen, there are several other settings to configure, including:

  • Which size images to watermark – do you want to watermark full-size images, or large, medium, or thumbnails, too? Be cautious when watermarking full-size images, and be certain you have a copy of the original backed up on your hard drive.
  • Which users can apply watermarks – select which WordPress user roles have the authority to watermark images.
  • The type of watermark displayed – image, text, or both? (More on this coming up.)

When you’re done, save changes. Now comes the exciting part, as you get to design your watermark, starting on the Image tab.

However, this step is remarkably straightforward – you simply select an image to act as your watermark graphic. I recommend choosing a watermark that’s distinctively yours, such as a logo or any other heavily branded image.

If you don’t want to use an image as a watermark, you can use plain text instead. To configure watermark text, move on to the Text tab:

Easy Watermark Text

At the top of this screen, type your watermark text – again, choose something instantly recognizable as you. As you scroll down, you’ll be given the chance to customize your text fully, with fields for:

  • Text alignment
  • Font
  • Text color
  • Text size
  • Text angle
  • Opacity

The final field, specifying your watermark’s opacity level, is arguably the most critical field of all. After all, choosing the wrong opacity level can ruin your image or make the watermark practically redundant. I’ll demonstrate some watermarking best practices below.

Watermark too opaque (around 70% opacity and upwards).

Opaque Watermark

Watermark too transparent (around 15% opacity and below).

Too Transparent 2

Personally, I think the plugin’s default setting of 60% is too opaque. For me, the sweet spot appears to be around 40%, as demonstrated below.

Ideal Watermark

Remember to Save Changes again before finishing, then it’s off to the WordPress text editor to check the watermarks are working – simply upload an image to confirm the watermark is being stamped on correctly.

Adding watermarks to existing images

But what if you want to watermark images in WordPress when working with existing images? Not a problem; Easy Watermark handles this too.

To start, navigate to Media / Easy Watermark. Now, all you need to do is click the blue Start button to apply your watermark in bulk to your entire media library:

Easy Watermark Bulk

Removing watermarks

If you’ve changed your mind about watermarks – and you forgot to create backups of your original images – you needn’t worry. Easy Watermark also comes with an option to remove all traces of watermarks and restore your images to their original form.

Removing watermarks is as simple as navigating to Media / Easy Watermark, then hitting the Restore button. Easy peasy:

Easy Watermark Remove Watermarks

Adding watermarks manually

Perhaps you don’t want to apply a watermark to every image on your website. Fortunately, you can use the Easy Watermark plugin to apply watermarks manually, to one image at a time.

First access the media library, then click the image you want to watermark. On the right-side of the screen, press the Edit more details link.

On the next screen, look for the Easy Watermark Meta box, then click the Add Watermark button:

Easy Watermark Meta box

You can also remove watermarks manually this way – just click the Restore original image button from the Easy Watermark Meta box (visible above).

Final thoughts

If you want to protect your WordPress website’s images by applying watermarks, the Easy Watermark plugin is the best free option available. Today’s tutorial demonstrates just how easy the plugin is to setup and use, plus it has plenty of useful features such as automatic watermarks, bulk watermarks, and the ability to remove watermarks.

How do you watermark images in WordPress? Care to recommend an alternative to Easy Watermark? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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