I’m a huge advocate of Adobe Lightroom but it took me awhile to get there. As a designer, I’ve been working with Photoshop since version 2.5. This was back in the stone ages, when there were floppy disk drives attached to computers, the internet required a modem with a dial up connection and you still occasionally had to turn over your mouse to clean out the ball full of lint because it had stopped working properly. But, grudgingly, kicking and screaming, I entered the brave new world and became an avid Lightroom fan. Now I do about 95% of my post processing in Lightroom. There are plenty of tutorials out there on the awesomeness of Lightroom, but one thing I get asked about (and people don’t seem to know much about) is adding type on images. Everyone seems to think you need to use Photoshop or Illustrator or InDesign (or a freebie online program like PicMonkey) to add text to pictures but you can totally use Lightroom to add text to photos. After repeatedly telling people this, I decided a tutorial was in order.
First, select the image that you want to add type to. Make sure it’s selected and then go up to the top of the menu and go to File > Export… which should bring up a dialogue box to export the image images. If you’ve worked at all with Lightroom you should be familiar with this dialogue box as this is how you export all your images to make them web ready. Now the thing about this export box is that there are a few options lower in the box that most people don’t access or even know that are there. Just pull the scroll bar all the way down and you’ll see those options.
The one you want is called Watermarking – just click the triangle next to it so it points down. There you’ll see a few options. The default (because you’ve probably never used this option before) is to have no watermark. Click the button next to Watermarking and that will allow you to see a pulldown menu. Using the pulldown menu, select Edit Watermark… and you’ll see another dialogue box pop up called Watermark Editor where all the magic happens.
In the Watermark Editor box, on the left side, you’ll see a preview of the image that you selected. Below that will be a blank box. Type the words you want on the image in that text box. This could be your blog name, your URL or it could be the title of the image or subject matter. You can see by my example that I typed in the name of the dish that I photographed, Pumpkin Chess Pie Tart with the name of my blog under it. On the right side there are options for you to use to adjust the type. These include the font you want to use, the alignment, the color, what sort of drop shadow you want and the opacity (how transparent the type is). Most of this is self-explanatory and you can figure that out by yourself by just playing with the sliders and buttons.
Under the Watermark Effects section there are few options that might be confusing. Look first at the very bottom of the box and select the Anchor point of the text. If you want your text to be center top, than pick the center top button. If you want it dead middle, pick the middle button. Above that is the Inset slider. This allows you to slide the text away from wherever you select is the anchor point. Use these sliders to fine adjust where you want the text to go.
Now if you are batch-processing photos (exporting a lot of images at once) you may want to place a watermark on each of them at the same place use the fit or fill button above the Inset sliders. Fit will size the text across the width of the photo and Fill sizes the text to fill the height AND the width of the photo. Most of the time though, you’ll be adding type to individual images, so I’d suggest picking the Proportional button and use the slider to scale the text to the size you want.
But wait, there’s more! Look to the very top of right corner, above all the other text options. There’s choice for Watermark Style with two buttons, Text and Graphic. If you select the Graphic button you can insert and image (png or jpg) as your watermark! I have my blog logo as a PNG file with a transparent background, both in white and in dark brown. That way I can put it on an image regardless of how light or dark the photo is. And just like the text option you can use the Watermark Effect options to give the watermark opacity (the transparency of the logo or whatever image you are using) as well as figure out where you want to anchor the logo onto the image.
Now click save and you’ll be prompted to save the watermark. Call it whatever you want and export the file. And that’s it! Just remember to either change the watermark the next time you export photos or click the watermark button off in the export window option or else your next photos will have your last watermark on it! Lightroom isn’t the most sophisticated tool for adding text onto images. You can’t do funky designs or mix type on the image (well you can, but it requires you saving the image once, and then adding another watermark on top of the already saved image, but that’s just a pain in the butt). But for people who are looking to add simple titles or watermarks on your photos, Lightroom has you covered.