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February 27, 2017

How To Copyright Your Photos in Lightroom For Photographers

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. If you took the photo, it is your photo! You already own the copyrights to it! This means that someone can’t just steal a photo that you took and claim it as their own, or do anything to it that you haven’t allowed them to do.

Every photographer goes about delivering their final product to the client differently! I have chosen to give my clients a limited copyright, which means that they are able to print, download, and share the photos on social media. I don’t allow editing of any kind, or selling / distributing the photos. All of this stuff should be in your contract, so there’s no confusion between you or your clients!

But this post is mostly about how to get your copyright into your photos metadata. If you already own the copyright, why is this helpful? I’ll give you two great reason! If someone tries to steal your photo, your metadata information will be attached to it, and it can be traced back to being your original photo! It’s also great for when clients are printing photos. This isn’t a problem for me, because I don’t do in person sales, so any photos my clients have they are free to print! But I have occasionally had Walmart and CVS call me because clients were trying to print photos, and they saw my metadata information. They just wanted to make sure my clients had the right to print photos! Again, my clients do have those rights, but it’s very nice of them to check anyway ;)

So here’s how to get your information attached to the metadata! First of all, open up Lightroom and import some photos. If you don’t have any new ones to import, just grab a random photo to import and you can delete it from the catalog later :)


Check out the panel on the right. There’s lots of cool stuff over there, but for now we’re just going to be looking at the ‘Apply During Import’ section. I have a preset for noise reduction that is set to apply during import, but yours might say ‘None’. This box isn’t important to what we’re doing, but the next one is! If you don’t have your metadata information set up (which if you do, why are you reading this post?? jk, love you), it probably says ‘None’ here too.


Go ahead and click that, and select ‘New’!


Lots of things will pop up, but all you need to do right now is scroll down to the ‘IPTC Copyright’ and ‘IPTC Creator’ sections! Fill it out with your information (under Rights Usage Terms I have written “Not allowed to use pictures without written permission of the Photographer”). Create a preset name (this option is back at the very top), and hit ‘Done’!

Hooray! If it still says ‘None’ under Metadata, just click it and select your brand new preset. Now import those photos!

While in your Library, if you click on the right hand panel and scroll down to Metadata, your new preset information should pop up! Super simple, and it’s just one extra step you can take to make sure those precious images of yours are safe <3

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