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.

📚 Table of contents:

Watermarking 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.

Easy Watermark plugin in the WordPress directory

Easy Watermark should be the first plugin returned – it’s the one by BracketSpace. 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 Tools / Easy Watermark. From there you want to make sure you’re on the Watermarks tab and click the Add New Watermark button.

Next, you’ll need to choose whether or not you want to use an image for your watermark or use text for your watermark. If you choose image, then you’ll be prompted to upload your image.

Note that if you plan on using the opacity function – which is responsible for how translucent your watermark will appear – then you must upload your watermark as either a JPEG or a GIF. You will then be able to adjust its opacity.

Adjust opacity of watermark in Easy Watermark

If you upload a different image file type, such as a PNG, then you will get a message telling you that opacity is unavailable.

Cannot adust opacity of watermark on PNG files

If you choose to use text for your watermark, then you will be prompted to type in what you want the text to be. You will also be able to choose some stylistic details like the font, font size, color, and opacity.

Regardless of whether you choose to use an image or text for your watermark, you’ll be given some additional options down below. These include where you want the watermark to be positioned (alignment), whether or not you want to add an offset, and whether or not you want to scale your watermark.

The alignment is fairly straightforward. If you want your watermark to be placed dead center, then leave the highlighted square in the center of the grid. If you want it bottom right, then click the bottom right square on the grid, and so on and so forth. Nothing too complicated.

The offset and scaling features can be a bit trickier to customize right off the bat and are best left alone initially. Note that scaling is only available if your watermark is an image. You won’t see this feature if you select text as your watermark. It might come in handy if you find yourself uploading images with drastically different dimensions and want a consistent look, but you can experiment with that after you get everything else set up.

The subsequent section below that is Applying Rules.

At the top, you can choose which size images to watermark:

  • Thumbnails
  • Medium
  • Intermediate
  • Large
  • 1536 x 1536
  • 2048 x 2048
  • Full Size

The next 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.

If this feature is turned on, then it’s also best practice to ensure that automatic backups are turned on as well. They are on by default, but it never hurts to double check. You can do that by going back to the Easy Watermark main menu (via Tools on the WordPress dashboard) and clicking on Settings (the third tab over from the left).

Look down to where it says Backup, and make sure that it’s toggled on. This will ensure that your original images will be restorable in case your watermarking doesn’t go as planned, or you simply change your mind about it.

Moving further down on the Applying Rules menu, you can also select which image types should be watermarked – choose from JPEG, PNGs, and GIFs.

Selection which image types should be automatically watermarked - JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Below that, we have the Post Types section, which allows you to choose whether you want your images to be automatically watermarked if you add them to a page or a post – or both. You can also choose to add watermarks to images that weren’t uploaded to a page or post directly, but to your media library first.

Finally, at the bottom of the screen, you can decide whether or not you want watermarks automatically applied, regardless of the user role of the person uploading any given image.

When you’re done, save on the top right.

Some tips for setting the opacity of your watermark

Although you have quite a lot of customization options to make regarding your watermark, specifying your watermark’s opacity level is arguably the most critical decision 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 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 editor to confirm that the watermarks are working – simply upload an image to validate that the watermark is being applied 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, first you need to have an existing watermark saved in your library, which is what we covered above. Assuming everything went smoothly with that, all you need to do is go back to the main settings screen inside the plugin, and select Tools (the second tab from the left).

Bulk apply watermarks to existing images using the Easy Watermark plugin.

Then use the dropdown menu to choose from your saved watermarks, and hit the Start button. The Easy Watermark plugin will work its magic and apply that specific watermark to all of the images in your WordPress media library.

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 back to that same Tools tab, then hitting the Restore button. Easy peasy:

Bulk remove watermarks using the "restore backup" feature in the Easy Watermark plugin.

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.

Click "edit more details" in the WordPress Media Library to begin the process of manually adding a watermark to a specific image.

On the next screen, look for the Easy Watermark Meta box. Then find the watermark you want to add (if you have more than one saved) and click the Apply button:

Manually apply watermark to a specific image in the WordPress media library

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

Manually remove watermark from a specific image in the WordPress media library

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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Mike Devis
August 16, 2018 8:21 am

Its fine but please tell me how to watermark the images of WooCommerce products like this plugin do https://codecanyon.net/item/woocommerce-product-image-watermark-plugin/20846672

Jean-Charles Da Rocha
August 27, 2018 9:39 am
Reply to  Mike Devis

Hi Mike, you are telling that you tried this plugin and it does not work on woocommerce product images ? bad ://
in general settings, at the bottom, i can see on their website “post types” did you check if you can find product post type ?

David Solsona
May 4, 2018 6:19 pm

This plugin has not been updated since year 2015. Do you think is a good idea use it?

Robin Barton
January 24, 2018 1:09 am

As of 1/23/18, the Easy Watermark plugin is not applying the watermark to all the sizes of my image, even though I checked every single size box. It will not apply the watermark to large/full (I used a test page and inserted every size it made). Therefore, I don’t actually SEE that the watermark has been applied on the actual image editing screen. I have to assume that it worked, back out to the library, and even back out of the media library and then come back in to see the watermark on the thumbnail. So at least it will work for now on our product pages, but this is not what I was hoping for. I am running WordPress 4.9.2 running Shopper theme. Perhaps it’s an issue with the latest release of WP; I read about another watermarking plugin not working after the update as well.

Usama Abdullah Qureshi
April 2, 2018 6:52 pm
Reply to  Robin Barton

Same thing with me.. no solutions yet..

Ireen APPLY it Yourself
September 20, 2017 4:29 pm

Great little tutorial! Thank you.

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