Photoshop Tutorial: Subtle Embossed Watermark

If there’s one thing that annoys me when looking at other’s photographs is a large, obnoxious watermark that completely distracts from the photo itself. So how do you create a subtle watermark that still gives credit to the photo’s owner, while still remaining tasteful.
So, I’ve made a tutorial to give a step-by-step guide on how to create a transparent, embossed watermark.


Before beginning this tutorial, make sure the logo you are using is saved as a file on your computer.

It will be much easier to do if the image if two-toned with a solid background.

1. Open Photoshop

2. Open logo:

File > Open > (Find logo image) > Open

3. Create transparent canvas:

File > New > (Set Dimensions to approximately 3×3 in [feel free to change this if your desired logo size is different]  with no more than 300 px and transparent background content)

Now you have both your logo and transparent canvas open.

 4.  If your image is not already desaturated, go ahead and do so

Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Shortcut = Win: Shift  + Ctrl + U Mac: Shift + Command + U)

5. Now we’re going to select just the logo without the background to paste onto the transparent canvas.

(There are many ways to do this and, depending upon your logo, there may be a better way to do it than the way I have used.)

  •  For this logo, I went to Select > Color Range…
    & selected the solid background of your logo with the color dropper
    (I selected the background first,  but if your image has less dimension to it, you can probably skip a step, select the black, and be okay.)
  • Then press OK.

6.  Inverse the selection

Select > Inverse

7.  Paste logo on transparent canvas

  • Copy Selection of the logo (Ctrl + C (Win) or Command + C (Mac))
  • Click on transparent canvas > Paste (Ctrl + V (win) or Command + V (Mac))

8. (Optional) If after you paste, your image is too big for your canvas, resize appropriately to fit the canvas

  • Select ‘All’ (Ctrl + A or Cmd + A)
  • Transform Selection (Ctrl + T or Cmd + T)
  • Resize appropriately to fit canvas
  • Press the checkmark when finished

9. Emboss logo

Filter > Emboss > (I used the settings: Angle-135, Height- 9 px, Amount – 105%, but change them to best suite your image) > OK

It should look like this

10. Flatten the Image

Layer > flatten image ( or Cmd + Shift + E)

11. Save the image for later use as .psd file

12. Copy the watermark logo > (Ctrl+A or Cmd+A) > (Ctrl+C or Cmd+C)

13. Next, open whatever image(s) you wish to add the watermark to

14.  Paste the watermark on your photo (Ctrl+V or Cmd+V)

15. If the watermark is bigger than you would like, resize accordingly

16. Move the watermark where ever on the image you want it to be permanently. I like the bottom right corner.

Press the move tool (or hold down cmd while you move the layer with your mouse or press the ‘V’ key before you move the logo)

17. Next, while working on your watermark layer, change the blending mode to ‘Hard Light’

Your image should look like this:

Merge all layers, save, and finish!
There you have it: A subtle, embossed watermark for your photos!

If you have any questions or want to see more posts like this, feel free to comment.
Hope it was helpful!


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