Lightroom-copyright-metadata-presetI recommend adding copyright and contact information to your photos’ and videos’ metadata so that when you share these photos with the outside world, the data automatically tags along with them and people can get in touch with you if they come across your photos and want to use them. In Lightroom Classic and in Lightroom 6 (and earlier versions) you can set up a “metadata preset” to automatically add this information as you import photos and videos. If you forget during import you can also add this afterwards in the Library module. Note that this won’t display your copyright on your images – that functionality is called “watermarking” and it’s optionally done when you export copies of your images or when you create output with the Print, Slideshow or Web modules. Click here for a tutorial on watermarking.

The U.S. Copyright Office states that your copyright should take the form of “© YYYY Your Name” (e.g. © 2020 Laura Shoe), so create a metadata preset or update your existing one at the beginning of each year. Even if you’re in a different country that doesn’t require this, I think it is good information to have in your photos’ metadata. U.S. photographers: you should also register your photos with the U.S. Copyright Office – having added your copyright information to the photo metadata might not be sufficient to pursue a claim against someone who has stolen your photo.

This article is not for the cloud-based LightroomThis content is for Lightroom Classic (AKA Lightroom Classic CC), CC 2015, Lightroom 6 and earlier versions of this Lightroom program that have "Library Develop Map Book Slideshow Print Web" modules listed across the top. It is not for the newer simplified cloud-based Lightroom (AKA Lightroom CC).

Are you using the cloud-based Lightroom? If so, instead read my article on adding your copyright in that application.

In the video tutorial below I show you how to:

  • Create and update a copyright and contact information “metadata preset”
  • Apply your preset to photos as you import them
  • View copyright and contact information for your photos using the Metadata panel in the Library module
  • Apply your preset to any selected photos in the Library module after import.

This video tutorial was created back in 2014 with Lightroom 5, but it’s applicable to newer (and older) versions of Lightroom as well. It is not applicable to the new cloud-based Lightroom CC application – see instead my cloud-based Lightroom copyright article.

(For highest resolution viewing, after hitting Play, click on the sprocket wheel (Youtube Sprocket Wheel) in the bottom right and choose 720/HD.)

For those of you who prefer written instructions rather than watching a video, here’s an article from a few years ago explaining how to create and apply a copyright metadata preset.

Exporting Copyright and Contact Information: If you want your copyright and contact information to tag along with your photos when you export copies, then in the Metadata section of the Export dialog towards the bottom be sure to choose Copyright and Contact Info (or All Metadata). This information will then tag along with your photos in the file properties data — it will not be written across your photos. To write information onto your photos themselves, use the Watermarking functionality in the Export dialog.

Viewing the Information: In the video above I show you how to view the information you have added using the Metadata panel in Lightroom Classic. People can also view this information using Adobe Bridge. On Mac, it can also be viewed in Preview: Open the photo in Preview, go to Tools>Show Inspector, click on the information tab (i), and then the IPTC tab. In Windows Explorer, right-click on your file, choose Properties and go to the Details tab – this will show the copyright, but not the contact information.

Happy New Year, everyone – I hope you have a happy, healthy and photographically-inspired 2020!