Tutorial: Creating Signature Watermark

That last thing I do before I “put a photo to bed” or mark it “complete”, is to put my signature on it. We’ve all seen those advertisements selling beautiful signatures, but there’s no way I was going to spend the money on something I could create myself!

This post is about how I created my watermark signature absolutely free!

There’s mixed feelings about the practice of watermarking photos. Some believe this stops people from passing off an image as their own — though this probably won’t stop the dedicated thief. Others think watermarks get in the way of a good photo.

To me, putting my signature on the photo means that I am finished editing. Done! No more post-processing! It is the act of signing as much as the signature itself that is important. I imagine myself a painter putting the last flourish on my signature and exclaiming fini!

I do take off the watermark when I print and when I submit to competitions or shows, but for general social media publishing, my watermark becomes part of the photo.

My signature watermark has evolved over the years and I get lots of positive comments on it. I created it using a couple of free online fonts and photoshop.

First I found a free font online that I liked – I actually found two – one for my name and the other for the name of my studio. I used fonts that I found on Font Meme but a web search for free signature or handwriting fonts will turn up others. I downloaded a few fonts from Font Meme, but first I could play with how they’d look using their Text Generator.

Photo Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 9.37.42 PM
A rejected signature from Font Meme text generator.


I spent many hours – (way too long!) – choosing the fonts that I liked.

2. I then downloaded the font and added it to Photoshop. I’ll send you here for instructions on how to do this part!

3. Start a new Photoshop file and make sure the background is transparent.

4. Once I’d entered my name in Photoshop and chose the font I wanted, I still had a few changes to make. I wasn’t wild about the top swoop of the J and removed it. Also, the lines were a bit too thin to have the weight I wanted when I added the signature to a photo and there wasn’t a bold option for the font. To fake the bold, I duplicated the text layer a few times and off-set each layer just a bit.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 8.09.22 PM
Original signature using downloaded font before Photoshop changes

I added my studio name in a complimentary font also from Font Meme.

  1. Finally, I added a White Invert Layer. LAYER – NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER – INVERT. This layer I can toggle on and off to move from a black to a white signature. My photos tend to be on the dark side so I needed the white signature option.
  2. I downloaded both the black signature (with the Inverted layer turned off) and a white signature (with the Inverted layer turned on) as png files. This retains the transparent background.
  3. I uploaded the signatures to Lightroom (referred to within the program as Watermarks) so they could be added when exporting a photo. Tutorials are already out there about this process. I made sure that I programmed in all the options that I might want (black/white; left/center/right).
Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 8.25.21 PM
Watermark list from my Lightroom.

If your signature changes, use the Edit Watermarks… option. These have to be re-saved with a different name. I always remove old watermarks from the watermark folder within the Lightroom folder. The next time I start Lightroom, the old watermarks disappear.


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