November 3, 2014

Free, Easy Resizing and Watermarking Images

If you are new to digital photography, you may not know that your camera produces photos that are very large, both in dimensions measured by pixels and in file size measured in megabytes (MB). These pictures are suitable for making large prints, but they are too big to share via email or on social media sites like Facebook, Flicker and Google+.

Resized and watermark added with PicMarkr.com
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Beginner-level photo editing software like Picasa, iPhoto and Adobe Photoshop Elements usually include an easy way to scale down your original multi-megapixel image to a smaller version for sharing. But often there is no simple way to add a copyright label (or watermark) on your picture to deter people from using the photo without your permission.

If you are comfortable surfing the web, then you can quickly and easily resize and label your photos with your name for free without having to know how to use any picture editing program.

Most web resizing and watermarking sites perform one task or the other, so this requires a two-stage process. First, resize your image and save it to your computer. Then add the watermark before sharing online.

Resize Only
I recommend two sites for resizing your images: ShrinkPictures.com and ResizeMyPicture.com. Both sites follow a few simple steps for you to scale down a copy of your original photo to one suitable for electronic sharing.
  1. Browse your computer to find the picture you want to reduce.
  2. Select an appropriate size. Both sites offer choices including a custom size. I recommend 800 pixels or less on the longest edge.
  3. Choose a quality setting. Because your photo will have so few pixels compared to the original, you can use best quality or something between 90%-100% quality.
  4. Save the resized picture back to your computer. I suggest downloading these to a folder on your desktop where you can easily find them for the watermarking step.
Both ShrinkPictures and ResizeMyPicture provide options for reducing multiple pictures, not just one. This is helpful if you want to upload an album of photos to Facebook, for example. The sites support JPEG files only, not raw files.

Watermark Only
umarkonline.com provides a free watermarking service for one picture at a time. Since it does not have a resizing option, you should first shrink your photo to appropriate dimensions using one of the sites mentioned in the previous section. UMarkOnline makes it easy to position your text watermark on the photo and adjust the font, size, transparency, color, and style using its live preview. (Note the color designation is in hexadecimal code...not very friendly!) When you are satisfied with the result, your watermarked photo is saved in PNG format. This is readable both in email and on photo sharing sites. If you need to watermark or resize multiple images at a time, you can download a more complete version of the software.

Watermarked added using UMarkOnline.com

TIP: To create the copyright symbol (the "c" inside a circle), do this:
  • Mac: Hold down the Option key and press the letter G.
  • Windows: Hold down the Alt key and on the numeric keypad type 0169. When you release the Alt key, the symbol appears. (This will not work with the regular number keys at the top of the keyboard.)
Resize & Watermark
PicMarkr.com is a one-stop shop for image resizing and watermarking. It includes the ability to resize one to five photos at a time and provides a variety of text styles for creating your watermark. You can even use an image or graphic design instead of simple text. And PicMarkr lets you save the resized and labeled photo directly to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa or your computer.

Resized with default watermark style from PicMarkr.com

With access to these free picture resizing and watermarking sites, you can easily prepare your favorite photos for email or social media.