Create a transparent watermark

Updated -

You've come to the right place to make your own custom watermark.

Don’t have time or energy to make your own? Try one of our Sample Watermarks.

Note: These screen shots are from PS CS2. If you have PS Elements, the steps are identical, though the screens look a bit different. The instructions are also the same for PC or Mac users. If you’d like further help or assistance, come and join in the discussions at Digital Grin’s Finishing School Forum.


Create Your Document

OK, Step 1 is to make a new transparent document, so go to the top menu bar and select File > New, and choose your dimensions. Any size is OK, so feel free to experiment. Here we chose 1600 pixels wide by 200 pixels high. We want it to be good for the largest size display copy that SmugMug uses. It'll also scale well for the smaller display sizes.

Be sure the Background Contents is set to Transparent.

Select OK.

On your screen you should now have a blank canvas.

Create Your Text

Choose the Type tool from your tools menu.

Open your type tool’s menu so you can select the font, font size, font color, and other properties. Here’s where you get to make it personal!

Again, you’ll want to experiment with different typefaces, sizes, and colors. Avoid dark colors, and try for fonts that are very readable.

PS Elements Users: Your type and style choices are across the top of your screen.

Take your cursor, which is now the type tool, and click in your canvas on the left-hand side. Begin typing the text of your watermark. Again, experiment, it can be anything you like! This example is just the business name, but it could easily be

© Andy Williams - //


© Andy Williams - Reproduction Prohibited

To edit your text layer, use the type tool (be sure it’s active by clicking on it in your tools palette). Click the beginning or end of your text, and drag left or right to highlight the area. You can also use Photoshop’s history state to simply “go back a step” and begin again.

Choose Opacity

How prominent do you want your watermark to be? In the Layers Palette, you can experiment with the opacity of your watermark.

Try reducing it to 50%. It'll look very light on screen because we're working in a transparent document. Below you’ll see examples at 100% and 50%. Make a few versions of your watermark, with different opacities, and see which one best suits you!


You’re done creating your watermark! Now save it on your computer by using the menu File > Save For Web.

Next you'll see the save for web screen. Select PNG-24 and Transparency, then click “Save” and give your file a name. Select where to save it on your computer.

Upload Your Watermark

Now you get to upload your watermark to a gallery on your SmugMug site. This is typically an Anyone with the Link (Unlisted) gallery where you keep your site files (like your header image). But if you don’t have one, just make a new private gallery and call it “Watermarks.”

Once it’s uploaded, go to your Account Settings > Business > Branding tab and select "Manage" in the Watermarks section to create a watermark from your image.

Give it a name (e.g., watermark1) and save.

Apply Your Watermark

To actually watermark a photo or an entire gallery, go to the gallery customization and choose your watermark. Then, back in your gallery, select Tools > Open in Editor > Watermark. Choose the photo or photos you want watermarked, or the whole gallery. Apply watermark, and you’re finished!


100% opacity.

50% opacity.

You'll want to experiment, and create either one watermark that'll work well for you on portrait- or landscape-oriented images, or use a separate one for each type. For a portrait image, try making a watermark that's vertically oriented, maybe 800x1200 or so.

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