Here’s Why You Can’t See Your Watermark in Lightroom?

Watermarking your photos is a great way to claim them as your own. The marks make copying difficult without permission. They also let people know the source of the photos as they receive them through social media sites and other outlets. However, watermarks only work if they show up in your photos.

There are several reasons why your watermarks fail to show up in Adobe Lightroom. However, they mostly fall under two or three categories. The most common issue is incomplete metadata. The other ones are not selecting a watermark and incompatible font.

All three issues are easy to fix with a few basic steps. Therefore, by reading further, you will learn what these steps are and a few tips to properly implement them.

The Reasons You Can’t See Your Watermark in Lightroom

Adding a watermark to an image may sound like a waste of time as it does very little to deter image theft. Despite this, it can still be useful in many cases. For instance, you can use your watermark to promote your work and brand through websites, social media, and other media outlets.

However, watermarking can pose a challenge to novice photographers and designers, especially if you are not familiar with software tools such as Adobe Lightroom. While the tools seem simple on the surface, you can spend a lot of time and frustration trying to get them to work properly.

For instance, you could set up a watermark only for it to not show up when you import your photos. You could try the usual fixes such as getting all updates and patches, but still, end up with nothing because you overlooked something important. Luckily, these causes are simple to understand and remedy as they tend to fall under these three categories:

  1. The watermark was not configured properly
  2. There was no watermark type selected or the wrong one
  3. The watermark uses an incompatible font

1. Improperly Configured Watermark

Improper watermark configuration is the most common reason Lightroom will not display, save, or print a watermark. This issue often arises because Lightroom uses different configuration settings for each type of watermark. As a result, you could configure a watermark perfectly only to discover it was for the wrong type.

For instance, Lightroom draws the text for the “Simple Copyright Watermark” from the copyright field in your photo’s metadata. As such, if you leave this information blank, the watermark will remain blank as well.

Therefore, you can fix the issue just by modifying the metadata in your photo’s Library view. With the Library view open, you just go to the Metadata panel and browse for the Copyright entry. If you cannot see it, you can try to select “Default” from the dropdown menu to the left of the word “Metadata” on top of the panel. After entering your copyright info, you can save the setting and return it to the editor.

2. Wrong Watermark Type or None Selected

As a compliment for the above reason, choosing the wrong watermark type can also cause the watermark to show up. This could happen if you failed to select your desired type from the watermark preset list. Lightroom does not have a default watermark type, though you can set one during installation. As a result, you can have issues if you think you are using one type when you are using another.

You can find this list in the export panel under the watermark options. It will appear as a drop-down popup next to the watermark checkbox. You must go to this popup and select your desired watermark type before you do anything else as it will change which configuration settings you need.

3. An Incompatible Font

While not as common, using an incompatible font can also cause the watermark to not show up. While you can use any font you installed on your computer in Lightroom, not all of them are compatible with the application. Either Lightroom will fail to see the font, or the font will simply break when using it.

To fix this problem, you must either switch to a more compatible font or try to find a Lightroom plug that provides the support.

How to Add Watermarks in Lightroom

The above issues are the most common reason why Lightroom might not show your watermark, but they are not the only ones. No software is perfect. So, there could be bugs all over the place. Most of them have easy fixes if you know where to look. However, when asking around you might be asked to provide the steps you used to add your watermark.

Knowing the steps can show you places and settings you overlooked, misplaced, or otherwise skipped. As such, you can do much f the troubleshooting yourself just by retracing those steps.  

Text Watermarks

To add a text watermark to Lightroom, you must access the Watermark Editor by selecting “Edit Watermarks…” from the menu or Export window. Though, if you are using Export, you must first check the “Watermark” box.

Once in the editor:

  1. Select “Text” from the top-right drop-down box
  2. Enter the text on the left section
  3. Use the right side to format the text.  
  4. Move to “Watermark Effects” to select the opacity to make your mark semi-transparent
  5. Select your “Anchor” points to position the watermark before saving.
  6. To finish, give it a name in the popup and click “Create”

To use, select the watermark’s name in the presets list in the Export window

Copyright Watermarks

For copyright marks, you must add your text to the Copyright metadata entry as above. You then choose the “simple copyright watermark” in the top-right drop-down box in the Watermark Editor.

Graphical Watermarks

For graphical watermarks:

  1. Convert the image to a transparent PNG or GIF. For best results, choose a white background and lines
  2. Ensure your image is as least 250 pixels wide. If it is too small, it might come invisible once Lightroom exports it
  3. In Lightroom, open the Watermark Editor as above
  4. Select “Graphic” from the top-right drop-down box
  5. Select “Choose” under “Image Options” to load your watermark image. It should pop up on the preview to the left
  6. Move to “Watermark Effects” and then the “Anchor” sections to adjust them as above
  7. Save to add the watermark to your presets


Watermarks are a great way to market yourself while protecting the copyright of your photos. However, Lightroom may not always show your watermarks. Luckily, there are simple solutions that will fix the problem.