Add text to pictures using Lightroom!

by Irvin on November 6, 2013 · 24 comments

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Add-Text-To-Pictures-Using-Lightroom

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.

Select an image to add text to in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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 Export Box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

Scroll down to see more options in the export box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

Click the triangle next to "Watermark" to see the options in the export box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

Click the triangle next to "Watermark" to see the options in the export box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

Check the box next to the "Watermark" in the export box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

The Watermark Editor box in Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

How to anchor your text to the image. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

The inset options in the Watermark Editor of Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

Size options in the Watermark Editor of Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

Use the Graphic button in the Watermark Editor of Lightroom to add a logo or image to your photo. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

You can change the opacity, size and placement of your graphic logo in the Watermark Editor of Lightroom. Tutorial by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. | www.eatthelove.com

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.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole November 6, 2013 at 7:18 am

Thanks so much for this! I do use Lightroom for 99% of my post-processing but I’ve never tried adding text to my photos and just assumed I’d have to use a different program if I ever wanted to learn how. I’ll definitely be playing with this later today when I should be working on a NaBloPoMo post! ;-)

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Sean November 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

OMG. Mouse lint. I almost forgot.

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Ruthy @ Omeletta November 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

I had tried to do this before but got frustrated when I couldn’t find the right font or mess with the text easily– you’re right, it’s not as simple as other text-adding options, but it’s an option nonetheless! And since I’ve been getting a little sick f picmonkey lately, it may be my next step :)

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Irvin November 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

It’s a fairly rudimentary tool, meant to add watermarks and not full blown text. But it has enough capabilities that for most people (who aren’t designers) it will work!

The font issues is a big one though. Fonts come in a number of different flavors (truetype, postscript, opentype) and Lightroom doesn’t play well with all of them. In theory, any font you have installed on your computer should work in Lightroom, but there are known issues with opentype fonts and LR, which is why they don’t show up. If you have a lot of opentype fonts (the font file ends with .otf) that’s an issue. I know Adobe is aware of this issue and is working on a solution. That said, I haven’t upgraded LR5 yet so I don’ t if it’s been fixed there or not.

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Emily @ Jelly Toast November 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Thank you so much for this, Irvin! I feel like I’ve just been scratching the surface of Lightroom, so I love learning something new about it. And I totally remember the old days of Photoshop…ugh. I remember in college using negative scanners to get our images on the computer. Makes me feel old!

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Wendy Read November 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Thank you Irvin!!! You are a doll :) I need lots of remedial help with lightroom…this is a great tutorial and I have bookmarked this for later. XX

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Joan Nova November 7, 2013 at 4:40 am

Genius! I just attend a Scott Kelby workshop on LR 5 and I don’t think they thought of this b/c my impression was text was not an option. Thank you for posting this. I tweeted it to them. :)

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Irvin November 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

Yep! Text it definitely an option. Most professional photographers would opt for a watermark logo or graphic because it looks more professional. The ideal is that your watermark enhances the photo (or at the very minimum is unobtrusive) AS WELL as protects your intellectual property. But I know a lot of food bloggers who could use this tool to put titles on their photos and such. So I wrote this tutorial! I doubt a lot of professional photographers use it in this manner though.

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Shanna@ pineapple and coconut November 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

I was messing with this yesterday and I have my own watermark I made and I couldn’t get it centered in the middle of the bottom of the image even with anchoring it in the middle, it wanted to have it about 1/3 of the way up and I couldn’t bring it down any lower. I was getting very frustrated.

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Irvin November 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

Did you try anchoring your text using the center button or the middle bottom button? Use the middle bottom button to anchor your text then use the inset slider bars to bring it up or down.

If you can’t get it higher than you want, go to your text box and put the cursor at the front of the text and hit return, bringing the text down in the text box (and inexplicably bringing the text UP in the image). Keep hitting return until the text is roughly where you want it to be and then use the inset slider to fine tune it.



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Shanna@ pineapple and coconut November 7, 2013 at 10:50 am

Thanks Irvin. Yeah I was using the middle bottom anchor. I could barely see my watermark, is there a way to make the image bigger while working on it? I have been using pic monkey to add watermarks but I know everytime I move a photo around and save it over and over it looses image quality so the less moving around the better. I am thrilled you made this tutorial. I will play with it some more and let you know. I am doing a very basic watermark, nothing fancy, no curved letters, crazy font or squiggles. Just my blog name but I have one font I like so I made it as a transparency and it should work. Thanks again!

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Irvin November 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

Is it a graphic? It might depend on how much blank space you have around the graphic. If you have a large amount of blanks space, than LR will read it as a large graphic and place it accordingly. You might want to crop it in, or conversely, add more blank space under or above it to make it place where you want.

Good luck!

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Susan November 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I rarely use the watermark function because I don’t always like the look of it on my photos but sometimes I want to fill up empty space with text. This is so much easier than having to upload it into pic monkey. Thank you Irvin for such an informative post!

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Chelsea November 9, 2013 at 8:03 am

Irvin, this is great, thanks! I’ll definitely be bookmarking and using this in the future – I’m still pretty new to Lightroom (one year in) and had no idea this was one of its features! Also, I read the bit about the mouse lint and choked on my tea laughing.

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amanda November 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

great tutorial, irvin! i use lightroom but mostly just for organization and a small amount of post processing. always great to learn more functions. gracias!

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Cynthia Rosario February 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Your amazing! Thank you so much for your tutorial. I’m a beginner blogger with tons of ideas and vision for what I want to do. I was about to give up on lightroom and you totally changed that for me. Thank you. I have been searching for ways (even braved the pdf tutorial)…. So, I’m putting to practice your tutorial tonight! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. :0)

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Christine N April 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for this! I’m going to give it a try this weekend. I do a lot of scrapbooking and manage and process all my photos in Lightroom. I’ve been taking photos into PS to add text and date on top, but if this process in LR fits my needs, I won’t need to do that to every single photo that I want to print and scrapbook! Thanks.

Christine

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Irvin April 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I love photoshop but the ability to do a lot of things in LR means I don’t have to flip back and forth between the programs! It might not give you ALL the flexibility of Photoshop with the type but it might keep you from opening and taking all the photos into PS so hopefully that will be helpful! Good luck.

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Jolene April 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

Irvin,
I am familiar with this option of adding text and am grateful you have put together a tutorial for others! It adds even MORE value to LR. I, unfortunately, do not own PS. My question is do you know if the quality of the text is well and good for printing on a large scale? I have only utilized this option for digital purposes, but have been searching for an option when it comes to putting text on an image that will be printed.
Thank you in advance!

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Irvin April 26, 2014 at 3:11 am

Hi Jolene. I’ve never actually printed something with a text this way (as a designer I use PS as well as Illustrator to do my text) but in theory, yes, as long as you set the appropriate output for print quality, the text should render fine when printed. Under the “Print Job” section make sure your file resolution is 300 ppi, the print sharpening is on low and set your JPEG quality to 100% at the file dimensions you want to print at. That said, I would do a test run first though to make sure it looks OK (ie. Send one sample print to your printer to see how it looks, instead a bunch). Good luck and tell me how it turns out!

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m April 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

Thanks – I never would have figured this out!

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Renate Flynn May 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

Thank you so much for this! I wanted to pay tribute to Maya Angelou, on this the day of her death by overlaying one of her quotes onto one of my photos but did not know how to do it. These detailed, easy-to-follow instructions were just what I needed, when I needed them (and I’m definitely drawing inspiration from your blog layout)! Thank you, again.

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Presley June 5, 2014 at 6:00 am

Thanks so much! This helped a ton!!

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Marcie Braden June 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Thank you!!!

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