Protecting your work via a copyright watermark is essential to maintaining the ownership rights of your creative material. Without a copyright watermark, other people could freely use your work in other venues, claiming they took the photos. Though you do not need a watermark to keep your copyright, a visual reminder helps advertise your ownership to others.
Download a full or trial version of a professional photo editing program of your choice, if you do not own one already. Examples of editing software include Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and Corel Draw. Many companies permit you to obtain a free version with slightly limited capabilities.
Navigate to the file menu and select "New." The "New Document" box will appear. Specify the width and height you would like for your watermark. For example, if your pictures are 1200-by-800 pixels, input those values in the appropriate boxes.
Press the "T" key on your keyboard to bring up the type tool. In text box that appears, type your company name and copyright year. The copyright symbol is created by pressing "Option" and "G" at the same time on Macs, or by holding down the "Alt" key and pressing "0169" on Windows machines.
Press "Command" and "T" for Macs, or "Ctrl" and "T" for Windows to bring up the "Free Transform" handles for your copyright text. Rotate the text slightly to improve the readability in the final product.
Navigate to the "Image" menu option and scroll down to "Trim." In the "Trim" selection box, select "Transparent Pixels." By turning the pixels transparent around the text, you will avoid showing the white space around the text. Press "OK."
Select "Edit" in the top menu, then navigate to "Define Pattern." Type a name for your pattern in the pop-up box. The pattern option will ensure that your copyright watermark appears all over the photo. If you do not want the watermark to appear more than once on the photo, skip this step.
Create a new layer by navigating to "New" in the menu bar and scrolling down to "Layer." Fill the layer with the copyright pattern by navigating to the "Edit" menu and selecting "Fill." In the "Fill" box, select your copyright pattern in the "Use" drop-down menu. Press "OK."
Change the opacity of your copyright layer by navigating to the layer panel. Lower the opacity until you think it is visible without being obtrusive.
Save the file so you can use it for other photos.
Aaron Marquis is a University of Texas graduate with experience writing commercials and press releases for national advertising agencies as well as comedy television treatments/stories for FOX Studios and HBO. Marquis has been writing for over six years.