How To Remove a Watermark From a Photo
Watermarking is a way of marking an image so you can appreciate its qualities while not being able to use it without paying the creator. The creator will usually provide a non-watermarked version once you pay them their due. This also happens when you’re trialing a free photo editing app, which is very annoying. That’s why this tutorial is going to show you how to remove a watermark from a photo.
If you’re sampling a creator’s work, paying to have the watermark removed is only fair. If you’re using free software or a free trial of software and the program watermarks the work, that’s not so fair. It is not our intention to show you how to circumvent copyright or to encourage you to break the law and not pay a creator for their work. Some images may not be free but knowledge should be. That’s why we are posting this tutorial. Use your own judgment when applying this knowledge and everyone should go away happy.
There are a few tools around that will remove a watermark from a photo. Some are downloads while others are online. Some work perfectly in some situations and not so well in others. If one option doesn’t remove the watermark, try another. Something here will work!
Crop the image
Depending on where the watermark is on an image, you may not need a specific tool at all. You may just be able to crop it to remove the signature or text from the main image. Any image editor will be able to do it. Open the image up, use the cropping selection tool to mark the area you want to keep while removing the part with the watermark and save it as a new image.
It won’t work for larger watermarks but those in corners should work fine.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a copy of Photoshop, you can use that to remove a watermark from an image. Open the image and use the Clone Stamp to overwrite where the watermark is. Clone an area next to the watermark, adjust its size to cover the mark and apply it over the mark. Continue applying until the watermark has disappeared.
You can also use the Content Aware Move Tool if present on your version of Photoshop. Open the image as a new layer, select the Content Aware Move Tool, change the remix to Move and Very Strict and select the watermark area. Press Delete or Fill and Content Aware. Apply the tool until the watermark disappears.
Pixlr is an online image editing tool that offers a bunch of tools for beautifying images or removing watermarks. All you need to do it upload your image, select the Clone Stamp Tool from the tool menu on the left, Ctrl + click the watermark to gradually remove it. You will need to do this multiple times to completely remove it but you’ll get there. Then save once done and download your image.
InPaint is another viable way to remove a watermark from an image. It’s another web app where you need to upload a photo but means you don’t have to install an image editor just for this task. Upload your image, highlight the watermark and select the Run tool to remove it. That’s it. The tool will intelligently overwrite the watermark with as close an approximation of the pixel below or next to it as possible. It works credibly well.
Paint.net is my favorite image editor for Windows. It’s powerful enough for most uses, is completely free, well supported and has most of the tools we need to work, including the ability to remove watermarks. It has a similar clone tool to Photoshop and works almost as well. Open the image in Paint.net, select the Clone Tool from the left menu, select an area next to the watermark and apply it over the watermark.
You’re going to have to work to cover the entire watermark the same as you would with any clone tool but it works well in almost every situation.
GIMP is my other favorite image editor. It’s free, powerful, well supported and does everything most of us would ever need from an image editor. You can remove a watermark with it too using similar tools to Paint.net and Photoshop. Use the lasso to select the area around the watermark, use Filters and Enhance and select Smart Remove Selection. Repeat this a couple of times and the majority of the watermark will be removed.
If that doesn’t work, select the clone stamp tool, copy an area and use it to overwrite the watermark. You can also use the Heal tool to tidy up if you need to. This requires patience but should give you a seamless image at the end.