Over the next few Tuesdays, we’re going to undertake a project, one in which we take steps to protect our art. If you’re not adding copyright information to your images, you are leaving yourself wide open to having your intellectual property drained away! You need to think seriously about a plan to label, identify and register your images, so that the benefits of your hard work are coming to you.
Today, we will take the first steps, in identifying ways to add copyright information to your images. If you aren’t already doing this, read on! If you are, I encourage you to read on anyway, as we will be looking at ways to speed up your workflow and automate things, so you can work harder on your image and not so hard on the maintenance! We’ll start out with Adobe Lightroom, but in future installments we’ll look at automation features in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge as well/
In Lightroom, when you are in Library view (press ‘G’ for the grid view of the Library module), you can inspect the metadata of any image by looking at the right side panel in the ‘Metadata’ section. Make sure the drop-down next the the Metadata header is set to “Default,” and you’ll see not only the filename and location, but other information such as title and caption, Copyright Information, Ratings, Labels, and Camera EXIF data. This is a good place to start.
Let’s take a closer look at this panel. Notice that you can enter values in most of the fields, and in this case I have a few fields to note: The “Copyright Status” is set to “Copyrighted,” The “Copyright” field is set to “©2010 Michael J. Hoffman,” and the “Creator” is set to “Michael J. Hoffman.”
Now, click the dropdown next to the header “Metadata” and choose the setting “IPTC.” This will show additional metadata which is in the file, and if we scroll all the way down, we see not only the previously mentioned copyright information,but we also see “Rights Usage Terms” set to “All Rights Reserved” and also a URL giving the location of my copyright terms (click to see a larger image):
Of course, all these fields can be manually entered within the Metadata Panel, right here in the Library module in Lightroom. Now, if you know me, you know I’m not going to type in all this stuff on all the images I publish, let alone all the images in my library. I’m WAY too lazy for that! Yet, this data is firmly attached to all my images, and I’ll show you here how to automatically add it to yours.
Working in Lightroom, we choose Metadata > Edit Metadata Presets… and we see the following dialog box:
Note that there may be some data filled in, depending on which photo was selected (if any) in the Library grid. Not to worry, you can delete them or leave them – we’ll work with it.
Let’s begin by adding the appropriate fields in the IPTC Copyright and IPTC Creator fields. Notice that as each field is modified, a checkbox appears next to that field. This indicates that we will be modifying that field. Additionally, notice the section checkboxes next to “IPTC Copyright” and “IPTC Creator.” An empty box means no modification, a box filled with blue color indicates “some” fields are being affected, and a checkmark means every field in that section is to be modified.
Make sure that only the checkmarks for the two sections we’ve modified are active, uncheck any other sections. Now, go to the top of the dialog next to the label “Preset:” and pull down the dropdown list. Select “Save current settings as new preset…”
In the “New Preset” dialog box, give your preset a name, and click Create:
With this action, now all the items in which we placed checkboxes are saved as a metadata preset, to be used later. We can apply this preset to an image or group of images, simply select them in the Library module, go to the Metadata panel, and in the “Preset” box, pull down the list and choose the preset you just created (in this example, I chose the one called “MJH 2010”):
Now, even this is too much work for me. I don’t want to have to go through my library adding this to images. Fortunately, it happens that in Lightroom’s Import module, there is an easy way to add your metadata preset during the import process. Simply choose it from the right hand side of the Import module, in the section labeled “Apply During Import.” When you select your p
re-configured metadata preset this way, ALL your images are tagged with the metadata on import, and if you leave this selected, you need never worry about remembering it in the future. It stays selected for you. (Just remember to create a new one for 2011 when the new year hits!)
Next week, we’ll look at a parallel workflow for creating metadata templates for use in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. See you then!
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