It’s easy to program your camera to add copyright information to all your images, and it takes less than a minute. Here’s how it’s done.

If you publish your images online, or send them to others for some reason, it’s a good idea to append copyright information to them.

While copyright itself is granted as soon as you capture an image, it can be difficult to know who owns the copyright to an image once it has made its way out into the wider world. For that reason, it’s good practice to make sure your name is embedded within the information attached to the file.

Thankfully, the process of doing this is very simple. You just need to set it up once on your camera and you can (largely) forget about it after this point.

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This information will attach itself to the metadata of the image. This is information that’s bundled with the image, which usually tells you things like when the image was taken, what the camera settings were, and what camera was used to capture it. 

It’s attached to both Raw and JPEG files too, so even if you process your Raw files on more than one occasion, you should retain this information whether you use JPEGs straight out of the camera or images from any Raw files you process.

How to attach copyright details to your photos

The way to attach this information varies between cameras, but this is usually done through an option found within the tools, setup or settings menu. Some cameras mark this menu by a wrench or cog icon. 

Many modern Nikon cameras, for example, have this option within the Setup Menu (above), with separate fields for the artist and copyright details. Similarly, Canon users will usually find this option in the Tools menu (identified by a wrench), with the same author’s name and copyright details options as offered by Nikon.

What should you include here?

This means that you can add your website and the current year if you want this to appear in metadata, rather than just your name. Some photographers even add their phone numbers, which gives clients or prospective clients an easy way to contact them.

Should you also add copyright details to your image captions?

Up until now, we’ve been discussing how to add copyright to the metadata of your images, which is only visible if someone chooses to look at this in the file itself. This is different from a caption, which you can include alongside your images wherever they’re displayed. So do you need to add it to both?

It’s certainly a good idea to do so, if only to discourage people from taking your trying to take your images and using them without your permission. While the most effective approach is to combine it with additional security settings such as right-click and drag-and-drop protection, our research shows that making it clear that an image is subject to copyright restrictions is often enough to deter potential thieves.

Forgot to do this before you uploaded your images to SmartFrame?

Fear not – you can add captions and copyright information to any of your SmartFrames, wherever they appear online, very quickly.

To add or edit details for individual images, log into your SmartFrame account and find the image in Images, before clicking on the three dots to the right of it and selecting Update metadata. Fill in the relevant details and, once you’re done, click Save for your changes to take effect. 

To change information for all the images within a specific Theme, find your chosen Theme in Themes and click on the small pencil next to its name. Now select Continue, before selecting Caption from the left-hand-side menu and click the Add a Caption control. The caption you enter here will be added to all your SmartFrames within that Theme.

Top tips

• If you choose to include the year in your camera’s copyright information, make sure to change it at the start of the new one. Consider setting yourself a reminder to do this on January 1st.

• Make sure to delete this information when it comes to selling your camera. It may be erased upon a reset of the camera’s settings, although some cameras retain this information even after you’ve done this, so it’s worth double-checking this has been removed.

• It sounds obvious, but make sure that copyright information is set to ‘on’ once you’ve entered this information. Many cameras do not automatically set this to be enabled when you update these details.


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