Thanks to the invention of Internet and social platforms, photographers don’t really need agents anymore to represent their work and they have the ability to share their work to millions of viewers and increase their reach exponentially.
However, it’s also very common that all the relevant information attached to the image, such as the author and copyright information, get lost during the process. (Which is also why I insist that we should all play our part and not support only curators, but also artists).
But fear not! Thanks to Lightroom, we have the ability to embed all our copyright information into our digital images during the import or export process. This embedded data is called the metadata.
What is a metadata?
Metadata is embedded information that “describes” the images you take. Some of the information, called the EXIF information, is generated automatically by the camera and embedded in the images by default. This includes data such as how the image was taken (focal length, aperture, ISO, flash, etc.), when (time and date), and with what (camera model, lens).
But the information about the photographer, as well as the description of the image, keywords, captions and copyright details are not generated by the camera. They need to be entered manually.
Luckily, Lightroom allows us to speed up our workflow, and save part of this data as a preset that we can apply on any image in one click.
How to create a metadata preset
Personally, I find that the easiest way to apply the preset is during the import process, when you are transferring your images from your memory card to Lightroom.
Here’s how to do it:
Insert your memory card in your card reader, open Lightroom and click the Import button in the Library module on the bottom left corner.
On the right-hand column, you will find the “Apply during Import” panel that contains the Metadata drop down.
Click on the Metadata dropdown and select “New” to create a new entry.
You will be presented with a new window containing an overwhelming amount of information.
But no worries! We don’t need to fill everything.
First, choose a name for your preset. I recommend something easy such as “© [Year] [YourName]”. Next, skip some of the panels and instead focus on the “IPTC Copyright” and “IPTC Creator” sections. The rest isn’t as important since it will change according to your image, location or project.
Here’s an example of how mine looks like:
It’s up to you if you want to add more relevant information such as your phone number, address, etc.. If you’re a photographer with a studio, you definitely want to add that info so that people can contact you. I recommend at least adding your email and website so you can be found.
Once the information is entered, click on “Create” and you’ll have a brand new preset to choose from every time you import your images.
Here’s for example how it appears if you upload it on Flickr:
Now here’s a bit of a “bad news”: Unfortunately, many social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram strip out the metadata from the images when uploaded. This is to save some space (even if it’s a ridiculous amount). But, I still recommend to make it a habit to always include your metadata so your copyright information and personal details are embedded in your images before being shared online.
You just never know.