PhotoMarks watermarking software

      Photo Review 8.2

      In summary

      PhotoMarks is potentially useful for some photographers who need to watermark batches of images.

      The batch watermarking process is reasonably fast and simple and includes options such as resizing and re-formatting of the image type to provides flexibility for designing the watermark.

      You can also use company logos as watermarks and save your designs for applying to future batches of images.

      We’d hesitate to use it as a raw file converter because it doesn’t provide any adjustment tools or camera and/or lens profiles.

      Full review

      PhotoMarks watermarking software grew out of a Mac-only application known as BatchPhoto, which was originally launched in 2005.  The current version dates back to June 2013 when PhotoMarks 1 for Win & Mac was released. Since then it has undergone five revisions, with the current desktop version, PhotoMarks 3.1 for Win & Mac, released in July 2018. We were provided with a license code for the Windows desktop version (we can’t comment on the iPhone app as we don’t use an iPhone) to enable us to conduct this review.

      The PhotoMarks software logo. (Source: Bits&Coffee SRL.)

      Unlike the original BatchPhoto software, which was available in boxed format, PhotoMarks appears to be only available online. The asking price for the ‘Lifetime’ licence of the full desktop version is US$29.95 (roughly AU$44.50 at time of publication).

      Who’s it For?
      The internet is awash with software for watermarking images and many image editors include this facility – although it’s not always easy to locate and use with any flexibility. PhotoMarks sets out to simplify the watermarking process.

      Why Watermark?
      Watermarking has two main objectives:

      1. To prevent unauthorised copying of images, and
      2. To make it easy to identify the creator of an image.

      With so many people posting image online, through social media, blogs and the like, being able to keep track of the pictures you post, preventing others from using them without your permission and letting viewers know you were the creator of one or more popular pictures can be important.

      Many photographers prefer to tag their images with invisible watermarks, largely because they want viewers to see the whole picture without interference, while at the same time ‘protecting’ the image via a watermark. Unfortunately, watermarks are not fail-safe. Today there are many ways to remove watermarks, ranging from simply cropping out the watermarked section of the picture to painstakingly cloning out the watermark. If someone wants your image these days, they will find a way to take it.

      Photographers setting out to make their names and or establish a business could probably find it useful to visibly watermark their images – and if you check the online galleries, you’ll find the overwhelming majority of images are marked. For a pro photographer, a watermark can be a useful marketing tool since it can help viewers to locate the photographer and find more of his/her work, especially when it gets shared via web links.

      Why PhotoMarks?
      Whereas BatchPhoto was essentially a batch processing facility, PhotoMarks specialises in fast and lossless watermarking for multiple photos. Both applications provide the ability to resize, crop and rotate images and include basic editing tools for adjusting colour and contrast through a set of pre-configured filters.

      Many of these filters are the same as those supplied in the original BatchPhoto software, although PhotoMarks lacks the Touch-Up and Apply Fx buttons. The Decorate button also provides fewer framing options.

      Changes can be saved separately via a rename function in the Names filter and users can also add Keywords to images to make them easier for search engines to locate and categorise. Collections of preset instructions can be saved as Profiles to make them easy to locate when you want to reuse these settings.

      The wizard-based software comes with pre-set profiles for auto rotating, separate profiles for resizing for auction sites, emails or uploading online, two levels of JPEG conversion (high and medium quality), conversion to TIFF and PNG formats, renaming to a different folder or date and sending via email.

      The User Interface
      Like BatchPhoto, PhotoMarks has a simple user interface that is straightforward to use. The program opens with the screen shown below, which contains a large ‘Photos’ area. You can either drag and drop image files into this area or click on the Add Photos tab to the right and browse for a folder to find the files you want to watermark.

      You can see from this screen grab that the files selected consist of a mixture of JPEG,  RAW and TIFF files.

      Above the Photos area are four buttons labelled Add Photos, Edit Photos, Setup and Process. Tabs down the right hand side of the area are labelled Add Photos, Add, Remove and View, while there is a Preview screen at the bottom of the column. The software also provides five dropdown menus at the top of the screen, labelled File, Edit, View, Wizard and Help.

      The dropdown menus above the Photos area.

      Mousing over the thumbnails calls up a box (shown in the first screen grab above) that provides the file name, type and size, the pixel dimensions, the date and time the shot was taken and the camera used. The next step is to click on the Edit Photos tab, which opens access to five panels containing adjustments and graphic filters that can be applied to the images in the Photos area.

      The screen grab above shows a raw file from the recently-announced Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera (an Initial Production unit we evaluated) which was opened successfully in PhotoMarks.

      The Edit Names settings.

      The Edit Names area in the lower left corner (shown above) lets you retain the original file name or change it to the folder’s name or date. The original file name is shown in the bottom box in this area. To create a watermark you click on the Add Filter tab and select the appropriate filter (Text, Logo or Mask from the pop-up screen, shown below.

      The Filters screen.

      If you choose the Text option, the screen that pops up allows you to enter the text you want for your watermark, set its position on the screen and select the font style, size and colour.

      Creating a watermark.

      The resulting watermarked image.

      Like BatchPhoto, PhotoMarks doesn’t display thumbnail images for raw files; only icons. But you can click on any icon and it will open in the same way as a JPEG in the Edit Photos work space. We tried opening raw files from a number of cameras we’ve reviewed recently and successfully opened DNG files from the Sigma fp (but, interestingly, not DNG.RAW files from the Leica Q2), ARW files from the Sony α6100, NEF files from the Nikon D3500, ORF files from the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and E-M5 Mark III cameras and RW2 files from the Panasonic DC-S1H.

      Fujifilm RAF.RAW files from the GFX-100 medium format camera caused the program to crash (probably because of their size) but files from lower-resolution X-T30 couldn’t be opened so there appears to be a problem there. CR2.RAW files from the Canon EOS 1500D opened with a strong magenta filter over them, making them unusable but CR3.RAW files from more recent Canon cameras (the EOS 90D and PowerShot G7X Mark III) couldn’t be opened at all.

      The Setup page

      Clicking on the Setup button allows you to manage where the images you’ve watermarked will be sent and how you want them to be output. The screen grab below shows the file formats you can choose to output the files.

      Once you’ve made your setup choices, clicking on the Process button initiates the processing of the files, applying watermarks to them and making any other adjustments (such as sizing) you have selected. The screen grab below shows the results of processing a batch of 76 mixed files, which involved adding a watermark and resizing the images from the original 5240 x 3912 pixel size to 2000 x 1500 pixels. Processing was completed in two minutes and 25.7 seconds.


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      Hardware: Pentium or compatible processor running at 1 GHz
      Systems compatibility: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016 and MacOS 10.7/8/9/10/11/12.
      Display support: Not specified
      Disk space requirement: 50MB
      Minimum RAM:  512 MB
      Supported image formats: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, JP2, BMP, TGA, PICT, PSD/PDD, WBMP
      Raw formats supported: 3FR – Hasselblad; ARW, SR2, SRF – Sony; BAY – Casio; CAP – Phase One; CR2, CRW – Canon; DCR, DCS, DRF, K25, KDC – Kodak; DNG – Generic; ERF – Epson; FFF – Imacon; IIQ – Phase One; MRW – Minolta; MEF – Mamiya; MOS – Leaf; NEF – Nikon; ORF – Olympus; PEF, PTX – Pentax / Samsung; PXN – Logitech; RAF – Fujifilm;  RW2 – Panasonic; RAW – Generic; RWL – Leica
      Computer interface: Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation and access to online services
      Batch processing: Yes
      Export to social media: Yes; direct upload to Flickr plus upload to FTP or send via email
      Mobile device support: iPhone app available through Apple AppStore

      Distributor: Bits&Coffee



      RRP: US$29.95 for fully-functional desktop version; US$4.95 for mobile app

      • Features: 8.0
      • Ease of Use: 8.9