This week, I’m going to walk you through how I add copyright information to my images in Adobe Lightroom, then export them for web with a watermark embedded.
Last week, based on a listener’s question, I showed you how you can do these things in Photoshop Elements, but honestly, as I spent way too long struggling with Elements, I realized that I simply had to follow up with an episode on how you do these simple tasks in Lightroom. I’ll go on to mention a new plugin that I’ve just started to using to optimize my images after I upload them to this WordPress based web site as well.
Adding Copyright Statement to Images
OK, so to quickly recap from last week, I mentioned that it’s possible to add the author’s (photographer’s) name and a copyright statement to images right there in the camera as you shoot them, by entering this data in the camera’s menus. At least this is possible with my Canon cameras, and I imagine it’s possible with pretty much every other camera on the market too.
I also mentioned that I can add this information more easily using Canon’s EOS Utilities application, that comes with the camera. Neither of these methods though supports adding the copyright symbol © to the text appended to images, so ultimately, I do this in Lightroom, and I’ll show you how in a moment.
Before that, I’d also like to reiterate my mantra that you save the most time in your digital workflow by doing everything that you need to do to your images as early as possible in your workflow. If you want to add or update the copyright information in your images, you can do it during import and then you never have to worry about this again for the life of your image.
Prepare Your Metadata Preset
Apply Metadata Preset During Import
What’s more, if we create a Metadata Preset that contains our copyright information, we can just select that and it will be automatically applied as we import our images until we change it, so let’s first look at how we create a preset.
In the import dialog in Lightroom, on the right there’s a section called Apply During Import. Under that, you’ll see a Metadata pulldown. Click that pulldown, and select New from the sub-menu. If you already have a Metadata preset that you use, but don’t have copyright information included, select Edit Presets.
In the dialog box that appears if it’s a new preset, give it a name, and if you are updating a preset, select if from the Preset pulldown. Then add your Copyright text, and Rights Usage Terms, and a URL to your copyright information page if you have one. When you are finished, hit the Create button if it’s a new preset, or select Update Preset “your preset name” from the Preset menu, then click the Done button.
Create or Update Metadata Preset
After you return to the import dialog, your new or updated preset should be selected under the Metadata pulldown, but if it isn’t select it from the list. Now, as you import your images, the copyright information we just created will be added to all images that you import or add to your library from that point on, until you deselect the preset or select a different one.
You’ll notice that I include the year in my copyright statement, so I just have to remember to change this at the start of each new year. If you think you might forget to do so, create a reminder in your calendar or perhaps just don’t include the year in the copyright text, although it’s generally better to include the year.
To apply this preset to images that are already in your Lightroom catalog, simply select all of the images that you want to tag in the Library module, then select the Metadata preset that you just created or updated from the Preset pulldown under the Metadata panel in the right sidebar. Alternatively you can just right click the selected images, and select the Preset from the Metadata Presets sub-menu.
The beauty of this as well is that only fields that are checked when you create the preset will be updated, so you won’t over-write or clear any other data, unless it was in the copyright related fields of course. Also note that I leave the Copyright status as Unknown because I use this as a flat to show me which images I have actually registered with the Library of Congress. After registering them, I change this to Registered in the Library module.
Create an Export Preset
OK, so now that we have our images copyright tagged, we’re ready to export them for Web. Again, we’re going to create a preset for this, so that we can export with a couple of clicks from this point on. Anything that you think you’ll do more than once, just create a preset for. It will always help to speed up your workflow.
Also note that you can export as many images as you want in Lightroom. You just need to select the images that you want to export in the Library module, then for the first time, click the Export button in the bottom of the left sidebar, and you’ll see a dialog box like this. If Export To is not set to Hard Drive, select that, and then work down each pain selecting the settings that we’ll cover now.
Lightroom Export Dialog
If you have a specific location that you know you’ll want to export your images to each time you use this preset, select Specific folder under the Export Location > Export To field, then Choose your location. For my Web sized images I selected “Choose folder later (useful for presets)” and then I simply navigate to a folder to put the images in each time I do an Export. Lightroom remembers this folder as well, so it stays in that folder until you change it. For the Existing Files pulldown I tell Lightroom to ask me if I want to overwrite or not, if the same file is already in the folder.
Under the File Naming section I generally leave the filenames as they are, because I rename all of my files on import. Remember, the earlier you do something, the more time you save later.
Under the File Settings section I generally use JPEG for Web, and select sRGB for the Color Space, and I select 92 for the Quality. This tells Lightroom how much to compress the images. I’ve used 92 for many years now, as I read somewhere that it’s a good compression ratio to select if you want to reduce the file size by around a half, but have no risk of seeing any digital artifacts or crushed gradations in the image.
Now, you can often select a much heavier compression ratio, i.e. a smaller number here, but it requires that you manually continue to increase the compression while comparing your image to an uncompressed version to see if you can detect any difference. Then, once you detect some difference, increase the compression back to the previous amount and save your final copy. That is time consuming and so I’ve always just used 92. There are better ways to find the optimal compression settings automatically now though, so I’ll talk about that later.
The Image Sizing section is where we select how large or small we’re going to make our web sized images as we export them. As I mentioned last week, I use 1440 x 960 pixels. I feel this is a good size for people to still be able to enjoy the full quality of my images, but not quite big enough for people to be able to do much with. How big you make your images will depend on your comfort levels.
I must say though that I occasionally see people that are still resizing images at 640 or 480 pixels wide, and unless I have some kind of obligation to continue looking at those images, I generally just leave the site. I’d say that these days you need to have your images at least 80o pixels wide, and even then, it’s still better to include a larger image that the user can view by clicking on it if they’d like a better look at your work.
By selecting Width & Height from the pulldown, and typing in 1440 pixels wide and 960 pixels high, Lightroom will automatically make landscape orientation images 1440 pixels wide, and if they are 3:2 aspect ratio, they will also be 960 pixels wide. If it’s a panoramic image they will be 1440 pixels wide, but shorter in height.
If however, I export a portrait orientation image, it will still be exported at 960 pixels high, but the width will be 640 pixels. This is how I want it. I don’t want my portrait images to display too high, so this setting suits me fine. If you’d prefer that portrait images are exported the same hight as the width of your landscape orientation images, then select Long Edge from the pulldown, and just enter your required length. I also leave the resolution at 72 pixels per inch for now, as that’s still pretty much the standard for web use.
Under Output Sharpening, I turn on the Sharpen For checkbox, and select Screen and the amount Standard. Whenever you scale down your images they will become slightly softer after export, so it’s best to turn this option on to maintain the sharpness of your images.
Under Metadata I opt to include All Metadata. You can select just to include Copyright information, Copyright and Contact Info, or All Except Camera and Camera Raw Info. I just keep all Metadata. One important thing to keep in mind here is if you are exporting images that have been geotagged, you might want to strip that information off by turning on the Remove Location Info checkbox.
This is especially important if you have photos that you shot at home, such as with your iPhone, which automatically adds location information. If you leave that embedded in your photos, it could lead people to your home that you might not want a visit from, so keep this in mind when sharing images. It might even be better to create a second preset with this checkbox turned on, and add “Strip Location Info” or something like that in the preset name.
I also turn on the checkbox to Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy, but I’m not sure if this is necessary any more. My old web site used to omit keywords if I didn’t turn this on, but I haven’t used that site for a number of years now, and have never checked if this is still necessary, that’s all.
Add Your Watermark
Last week I talked about the pros and cons of adding a watermark, so we won’t go into that again, but if you want to add one to your images, the Watermarking section is where we set that up. Turn on the Watermark checkbox, then from the pulldown select Edit Watermarks.
You can add a text or graphic based watermark. First, let’s look at how to create a text based watermark. These are actually now quite powerful watermark settings in Lightroom. After selecting Text as the Watermark Style, go ahead and type in the text that you want to embed in your image, in the large field at the bottom of this window (below).
Lightroom Text Watermark
You can select any text font on your system, and change the style and alignment. If you chose a mid-gray for the color, your watermark will be visible on most background colors, except the same mid-grey, although that’s unlikely to happen in nature. If you use gray text, then an opacity of 50% is probably fine. If you use black text, 30% is perhaps better, to avoid it becoming too striking. Unless striking is what you want of course.
Personally I like to add my watermark to the bottom left of the image, and inset it just a little. You get a preview of how your watermark looks right there in the dialog box, so tweak away until you like what you see, then Save or update your watermark with the pulldown menu in the top left of the window. If you want, you can of course make multiple watermarks and select them according to your images when you export, and also create various export presets as necessary. Remember, once they are created they are only a couple of clicks away.
As I mentioned, you can also create a Graphic based watermark based using your logo or other image file. I’m not going to go into detail on how I made my logo, but for the watermark, placed it onto a new Photoshop file for which I’d set the Background Contents as Transparent. Then when you have added text or your logo file, if you save it as a PNG file, you will be able to maintain the transparency, so that you will be able to see your image through the gaps in your logo. I made it a mid-gray, and added a light colored drop shadow in Photoshop as well, which helps it to stand out against a gray background, because the shadow is lighter than the text.
Lightroom Graphic Watermark
Because my logo was quite light and because I didn’t want the shadow to become too weak, for my graphic watermark I set the Opacity to 66%, as you see in the screenshot (above). Again, once you’ve tweaked the settings, save your new watermark from the pulldown in the top left, and then click the Done button, and you’ll be sent back to the Export dialog.
The last thing to select is what you’d like Lightroom to do after it’s finished processing your image in the Post-Processing section. I generally select Show in Finder for this option, because then I get a visual clue that Lightroom has completed the export, and I also have the exported images right there in an open Finder window for me to start using. You can also select Do Nothing, or open the exported image in another application.
Once you have finished entering all of your settings, it’s time to click the Add button in the bottom left corner of the Export window, and give your preset a name that means something to you. I call my Web export “1440px to Chosen Folder”.
From that point on, whenever I want to export an image for the Web, all I have to do is right click the image or multiple selected images, then go to the Export section of the right-click menu, and select the preset from the sub-menu. Because I have selected to choose a folder on export, I do have to tell Lightroom where to put the images, but then when I click OK, my images are resized and watermarked and dropped into my selected folder for me to upload to my web site, or Facebook, Google Plus, or anywhere else I share my images.
I should mention that some sites like Flickr and 500px do provide plugins for Lightroom that can make it easier to upload images directly to online services, but I don’t use any of these, so I’m not the best person to explain them to you. Plus, they are mostly just as easy as adding images to a collection, so they are pretty self-explanatory.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a few other ways to optimize the size of your images rather than just selecting 92 from the Quality slider in the Export window. One option that I was very close to buying, and maybe still will, is JPEGmini. You can actually optimize a JPEG image size as a test or download trial versions of this at jpegmini.com and it works really well. I hear from the developers that it basically tries increasing more aggressive compression until it sees degradation in the image, then dials it back a bit and saves a copy. This is very time consuming if you try to do it yourself, but JPEGmini does this all in a fraction of a second, so it’s worth considering. It basically just plugs right into the Export dialog that we’ve been looking at today, so it would be an add-on to this process, rather than replacing it.
So, you are probably wondering why I didn’t buy it? Well, the problem is that if I took my optimized images and upload them to WordPress, WordPress would by default automatically make a range of different sized images for various uses, and as it saves all of those new image files, it will apply a compression of 82%, and actually increase the size of the copies. This means that the only benefit from the optimization that people would see on my site would be when they click on images to view the full web sized image.
I saw some people online showing a line of code that you can add to WordPress to stop it from compressing images, but that’s misleading and doesn’t work. What it is actually doing is telling WordPress to compress images at 100%, so the images end up even larger than when they are compressed at 82%, which is the default compression. You could of course use the same line of code to increase the compression to a more aggressive percentage, but that could result in crunchy gradations and reduced quality in some images, so it’s too hit and miss.
JPEGmini Product Lineup
I’ve not totally ruled out buying JPEGmini though, as I would like to use it to optimize the size of the full sized JPEG files that I export to add to Apple Photos, and then sync around all of my devices. It does look like a great way to do this, especially as it simply slots right into the Lightroom export dialog.
WP Smush Pro!
After further research, I actually decided to subscribe to WP Smush Pro which is part of the WPMU DEV team’s suite of WordPress plugins that you can find at wpmudev.org. It carries a monthly subscription fee which is currently $49 per month, although I’m currently optimizing every image on my site during their 14 day trial period. The suite contains a whole range of more than 100 other useful plugins though, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick around after my trial expires.
I did some tests though, and from what I saw, Smush Pro actually gets my files slightly smaller than JPEGmini, and because it works on my web server, it automatically optimizes every new image file as I upload it, including all of the new images that WordPress creates, and as I say, you can have Smush Pro go through your existing image library and optimize all of the images that you’ve already uploaded to WordPress as well.
Because it actually sends the images to the WPMU DEV web site for optimization, it’s a relatively slow process, but I started to optimize all 5,962 images on my Web site about five hours ago, and it’s already completed 1,300 of them, and saved me 760 megabytes of disk space by reducing image size by approximately 33%. I imagine at this rate, by the time the process has completed, it will have saved me around 3.5 GB of disk space.
[UPDATE: Just to let you know that the process finished fine, saving me 3GB of disk space by shrinking my images on average by 32%.]
This of course also means that the images will download faster for visitors for my site, and give me better SEO scores, because search engines like Google detect if images have been optimized or not, and rank sites higher if they have, so, it’s a great deal all round. Needless to say, I also did some pretty thorough tests to check that the images really were maintaining their quality, and so far, I’ve not been able to detect any visible degradation, so I’m pretty happy with my decision at this point. I’ll add a note right below this if that changes as the process completes.
By the way, just in case you also look into using Smush Pro, here is a screenshot of the settings I chose before I started the bulk smush operation.
WP Smush Pro Settings
OK, so that’s about it for today. I hope you found that useful. I’m actually about to start recording a video version of my popular Pixels 2 Pigment optimized digital workflow workshop that I have presented around the world as well as to small group here in my Tokyo studio, so if you might be interested in that, sign up for our newsletters and be among the first to hear when it becomes available.
WPMU DEV Package, with WP Smush Pro: https://premium.wpmudev.org/
Music by Martin Bailey
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I’m dedicating this week’s episode to answering a listener question about adding copyright information, resizing images for the Web and adding watermarks etc. to your images using Photoshop Elements.
Listener Michelle D Salati sent me a voicemail via the widget on our site, about resizing images. I would normally just play you the message, but Michelle left the TV on as she recorded, and I’m not sure she meant for me to insert the audio, so I’ll just read out the gist of her message myself. Michelle said…
Hi Martin, I think your web site’s fantastic, your photographs are amazing. You’re inspirational. I’ve also read Tim Ferris’ book and you reinforce that help, so it’s not only about you, it’s about everybody, and I love that.
One question I have to ask is what is the best way to resize my photos so they are sharp and crisp (I’ve got Photoshop Elements) and the best way to add my name and copyright? Should I put a frame around them and add a watermark to the images?
So firstly, thanks for the kind words Michelle. I really appreciate it. I’ll go on to explain a little bit about resizing and exporting for Web, and we’ll cover adding your copyright information to the file and the dilemma of whether or not to add a frame or watermark. I don’t own Photoshop Elements so I’ve downloaded the trial version to help me explain this. Next week I’ll go on to explain how I export my images with one click, including a watermark, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Before I talk about resizing and exporting, let’s look at the part about adding your name and copyright to your images. I want to talk about this first, because with pretty much everything in the digital workflow, the earlier you do things, the more time you will save. If you add your name and copyright information only as you export your images for web, you have to do this every single time you export an image. There are a number of ways to get this information into your images early in your workflow, but the absolute earliest is to save your details into your camera, so it’s added to your photographs in camera as you make them.
For example, on my Canon camera, there is an item in the menu called Copyright information, and under that menu I have options to Display copyright info, Enter author’s name and Enter copyright details. You can go ahead and enter your details right there in the camera, and it will be appended to the EXIF data of every image you shoot from that point on. I usually enter my name, and then under the Copyright information, I add my name along with the words “All rights reserved”.
This can be a pain to enter via the in-camera menus though, so I install Canon’s EOS Utilities application, that comes with my camera, and then connect the camera to a computer using the USB cable provided, and then in EOS Utilities I click Camera Settings, which then gives me an option to edit the Owner’s name/Author/Copyright information, as you can see in this screenshot (below).
Canon EOS Utilities – Copyright Information
If you do this, all images you shoot will be tagged, but you cannot add a copyright symbol © to this information, either in camera, or via the EOS Utilities, and I like to add a more complete copyright statement, so I actually apply a metadata preset to my images as I import them in Lightroom, which I’ll show you next week. Also, unlike Photoshop Elements, once I’ve set up Lightroom to apply my preset, it just keeps doing it for every import until I change the settings again, so I don’t have to do this every time I import images.
For now though, if you are using Photoshop Elements as Michelle is, here’s what you’d need to do. When you import media from a camera or memory card, click on the Advanced Dialog button at the button of the Photo Downloader screen, and you’ll see something like this screenshot (below).
Photoshop Elements Import – Advanced Dialog
You’ll notice that I added my name as the Creator and in the Copyright field I entered “Copyright © 2016 – All Rights Reserved”. You might want to add your name to this as well, although it will usually be displayed with the creator name. By the way, to enter the copyright symbol on a Mac, hold down the alt/option key and type a “g” on the keyboard. On Windows, hold down the alt key and type the number 0168.
The beauty of adding this information to your images as you import them, is that now, from this point on, they are all tagged with your copyright information, so you don’t have to add this each time you export them.
Note that I was not able to find a way to do this when importing from a folder, so if you already have your images on your hard disk, you’d need to import your images into the Organizer first and use to the method I’ll cover shortly to apply this information to images after that.
Adding Copyright Information to Individual Images
Adding copyright information on import is going to save you the most time, but if you haven’t been doing this so far, it is best to add this information to your original image files. That way the information will stay with the image in all future exports.
In Photoshop Elements, you can do this by opening the File Info dialog from the Edit menu. You’ll see a dialog like this (below) into which you can enter your details. If you have a web page that explains your copyright policy, you can enter the URL to that page at the bottom of the dialog as well.
Photoshop Elements – File Information Dialog
We obviously don’t want to have to type this in for all images though, so before you click OK, select Export from the Template button at the bottom of this dialog. Because I added the year to my Copyright statement, I called my template Martin Bailey Copyright 2016. I will need to update this at the start of 2017. If you think you’ll forget to do that, leave the year out of the copyright statement, or a much better option would be to leave the year in and set a reminder in your calendar.
Update Copyright Info for Multiple Images
Using this template, you could then import the same settings to other images in the future. The problem with this method though, is that you have to do it for every image individually, and that’s too time consuming.
Alternatively, you can go to the Adobe Elements Organizer, and select all of your images by pressing COMMAND or CTRL and the A key on your keyboard, then right click your selected files and select Show File Info, or hit the Keyword/Info button in the bottom right corner of the screen, then click the “Information” label at the top right. After that, click the Edit IPTC Information button in the middle of the right sidebar. You can then enter your details into the Author and Copyright fields in this dialog and apply them to all of the selected photos, as you can see in this screenshot (below).
Photoshop Elements – Edit File Information
Notice how I chose to Overwrite the IPTC Contact, Author information. This is to stop the field being populate with “Martin Bailey; Martin Bailey” or similar, as it would be if I simply Appended the new information.
Resizing and Adding a Watermark in Photoshop Elements
Michelle also asked about resizing images for the Web and adding a watermark in Photoshop Elements, so let’s walk through this. Shortly we’ll use an option to process multiple files, both resizing and adding a watermark at the same time, but to do that, we need to either open all of these files, or copy them to a new folder. If you only have a few files to export, then just opening them and then proceeding to the next step is fine. If you have more than a handful of files to export though, it’s best to make a copy of them first.
Select all of the files that you want to resize and watermark in Elements Organizer. Then from the File menu select Export as New Files. Select Use Original Format as the File Type, then Under Location click the Browse button and create a folder called Temp or something like that on your Desktop, then click the Export button.
Photoshop Elements – Export Originals
Then in Photoshop Elements Editor, not the Organizer, select Process Multiple Files from the Edit menu. You’ll then see a dialog box like this one (below) into which you can enter the size of the images you want to export, and add a watermark at the same time. Under the “Process Files From” pull-down you can select Folder, Import or Open files. If you already have the files that you want to export open in Elements, that will work. Otherwise, click the Browse button next to the Source field, and navigate to the Temp folder that you just exported your Original Files to, as you can see here (below).
Photoshop Elements – Resize and Watermark
For the Destination folder, click Browse again and create a folder called Web on your Desktop. Under the Image Size section, turn on the Resize Images checkbox. For the size, you need to decide how big you want your images to be. If you make your images too small, people won’t be able to appreciate them, but if you make them too big, it would be easier for people to use them for their own purposes without your permission.
For a number of years now, I’ve resized my images to 1440 pixels wide, and 960 pixels high for portrait oriented images, which is a good size for the Web. Not quite big enough for people to do much with, but plenty big enough to appreciate the photographs. Whatever you chose, select Pixels from the pull-down, and enter that number into the Width field. Also, change the Resolution to 72, which is still pretty much the standard resolution for Web use.
Unfortunately, there is no way that I could find to handle exporting vertical orientation images at a smaller height when selecting 1440 pixels as the width. From Lightroom, I can automatically resized horizontal orientation images at 1440 pixels, and vertical orientation images at 960 pixels high. In Elements if I select 1440 pixels wide then portrait orientation images are exported at 2160 pixels wide, which I obviously don’t want. To overcome this, you’d need to batch process your horizontal images separately from your vertical images, and enter 640 pixel width for your vertical images, which would make them 960 pixels high.
When you’ve done that, under File Type, turn on the “Convert Files to” checkbox, and select JPEG High Quality, and under the Quick Fix box turn on Sharpen. This will ensure that your images are sharpened a little during the export. Even if your images are sharp full size, you need to turn this on, or they will look soft after they have been resized.
Then under the Labels section, select Watermark, then under Custom Text type what you’d like to add as a watermark, and select the position, font and font size. You also need to select a color for the text. If you just leave this as black, then it won’t show up against a dark photograph, so it’s perhaps best to select a mid-gray or even a brighter color if you really want it to stand out, and then make the Opacity between 30 and 50 percent.
Once you have done all that, click the OK button and wait for your images to be resized, sharpened, watermarked and exported all in one go.
Before we move on, I’ve got to tell you that at this point in time, May, 2016, this process actually doesn’t work for me. It should, but I can only assume that there is a bug in Photoshop Elements that is preventing the watermarks from being applied during this process. I spent a couple of hours troubleshooting it today, but I’m out of time, and frankly I’ll never actually buy Photoshop Elements, so I’m going to give up on this for now.
Exporting for Web – Photoshop Elements
If you are not going to watermark your images, you can also simply use the Save for Web option in Photoshop Elements, after you have opened your file for editing, by selecting Save for Web from the File menu. Select JPEG High from the Preset pull-down, then type in 92 for the Quality. This will approximately halve the size of the image file, but show absolutely no digital artifacts in the image. Ensure that Embed Color Profile is checked too, and then click Save to save a resized copy of your file.
Photoshop Elements – Save for Web
Want More Control?
If you want to export with a watermark, but you want more control over process, or maybe want to place it manually over your image, there’s a relatively easy way to do this too. First, let’s create your watermark and save it as a brush. Click create a New Blank File from the File menu, and let’s use a size of around 7 x 1 centimeters, and a resolution of 72. Select RGB Color for the Color Mode and Transparent for the Background Contents, as you see here (below).
Photoshop Elements – New File for Watermark
Then, select the Type Tool in Photoshop Elements, and type in the text that you want to use as your watermark. Make the color of your text black as you will be able to change it with the color palette each time you use it. You can also add a logo or other graphic by selecting Place from the File menu if you want to. If necessary, use the Crop tool to crop down the image so that it only leaves a little bit of space around your new watermark text or logo, then select Define Brush from the Edit menu, and press OK.
Photoshop Elements – Create Watermark Brush
Save your brush in PSD format to a location that you’ll remember, so that you can reload it to the brushes list later if you have to reinstall Elements, or to load on a different computer.
Photoshop Elements – Image Size
Then, open the file that you want to save for Web with your watermark, and let’s resize it right now, because we also need to change the bit depth to 8 bits, and it’s probably better resize your image while you still have more image information.
Select Resize > Image Size from the Image menu, then turn on the Resample Image checkbox, and type in 72 under the Resolution and type the new width that you want under Pixel Dimensions. I’ll use 1440 pixels wide again. Select Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction) from the pull-down at the bottom of the dialog box, and click OK.
The Bicubic sharpening there is plenty to cover the softness introduced during resizing, so you won’t need to do this again when you save the image later.
Before we can apply the watermark as a brush, the image has to be converted to 8 Bits/Channel, so select this option from the Image > Mode menu. Then select the Brush tool from the Photoshop Elements toolbar or by pressing COMMAND/CTRL + B, and you should now be able to select your watermark from the bottom of the Brush pulldown at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see an outline of the brush as you place your mouse over your image, and you can make it bigger or smaller with the Size slider or the square bracket keys [ ] on your keyboard.
Give it a try by stamping somewhere on your photo, and adjust the opacity and color as well if necessary. Here you can see I went a bit crazy trying this out, but this screenshot will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Open up your browser window and click on the image to see it larger.
Photoshop Elements – Applying Watermark with Brush
As we’ve already resized this image, and it’s been sharpened as we reduced the size, all you need to do now is save a copy for the Web. Make sure you don’t accidentally over-write your original image, especially if it was a JPEG, as you need to keep your full sized master copy. If you select Save As from the File menu, you can then select JPEG as the format, and ensure that you turn on the check box to Embed the Color Profile, which should be sRGB, then a string of letters and numbers. This helps browsers to accurately display your image.
Photoshop Elements – Save As JPEG
Once you click Save, you’ll see another dialog to select the compression for your image. I’d recommend between 8 and 10 for the compression, although you can try smaller if you need the image to download quickly from the web. Just check for artifacts in gradations etc. as you increase the compression.
OK, to that’s given you a number of different ways to resize and watermark your images, so I hope that was useful.
A Word on Watermarks
Before we start to wrap up this episode, I did want to quickly discuss watermarking images in general. If you want to watermark your images, and you want people to still enjoy your images, it is best not to plaster your watermark all over them. Some people hate watermarks, and will leave your site or page the moment they see one. Even though I watermark my images, when I look at a photo that has a huge copyright symbol and the photographers name or logo all across the image, I generally stop looking too.
Sure, a huge watermark will stop someone from stealing your photo, but you are not likely to win any fans of your work in the process, so keep it discrete and tasteful. I use a small graphic file logo that I add as I export images from Lightroom, and like I said, we’ll cover that process in a follow-up episode next week. Does it stop people from stealing my images? Not in the least, but I’d rather people enjoy my images.
Ichinuma in the Mist (Panorama #2)
In fact, although I’m concerned about image theft, and do chase it up when necessary, I actually watermark my images more for the marketing value. When someone sees my images on line, either on my own site, or where someone has stolen the image, if the watermark is still in tact, they see my name, and the more times people see your name, the more likely they are to remember you.
Play with the Frames
Michelle had also asked about adding frames, and there is a Frames option in under the Quick screen in Photoshop Elements, and there are a couple, like the black border or white border which might be useful, so have a play with these if you are interested, just don’t attach them to your master copy of your images and save them. I think it’s best to keep frames as an artistic option added for specific purposes, and not to your original files.
For the Web, I actually really don’t recommend adding a frame directly to your images at all. There are lots of ways of adding frames on the fly with CSS and other tools, and that makes it much easier to change the look later if you change your site theme, but this is not within the scope of this episode, so we won’t get into that today.
Anyway, I hope that has been useful, and thanks to Michelle for the great question. We’ll follow up next week with how I deal with these things in Adobe Lightroom, and believe me, it’s a lot easier!
Have a Question?
If you have a photography related question that you’d like me to answer in a future episode, you can either record an audio message using the voicemail app in the sidebar for each blog post and at mbp.ac/voicemail or drop me a line using our contact form.
Ask a question yourself at: https://mbp.ac/voicemail
Music by Martin Bailey
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It’s pretty much common knowledge that the copyright of a photograph comes into being the moment you release the shutter and the image is saved to your memory card. It’s fine to put a copyright notice on your images when you post them to the Web, and you have the right to try to litigate against anyone that uses your images without licensing the image or receiving permission from you.
You’ve probably also heard through various Podcasts though, that although you have the right to try to get some sort of retribution for unlawful use of your images, without registering the copyright of your images, you would probably not even find a lawyer that would take on your case, unless you shot something very special, and there was a chance of a very big pay check for your lawyer on winning the case.
Before I go on, I will just clarify that I’m not a lawyer and I have no training in this area at all. I’m just a photographer with a task to do in registering my images, and I imagine that most of you reading or listening to this will be in exactly the same boat. So today I’m just going to walk you through the process of registering your images with the United States Copyright Office, which is a section of the Library of Congress. I put this off for years, because it seems like such a daunting task, but really, it’s very easy, and I wish I’d done it sooner.
Some of you will probably also be wondering why someone living in Japan would register their images with the US Copyright Office. Well, this is simply because I believe the system to register online in the US to be very simple, and because pretty much every country that you can think of has some kind of treaty or convention with which they bought into the US Copyright laws, so it’s probably the best single place to register. You can see details of which countries are signed in the Circular 38a which is available from the US Copyright Office Web site at www.copyright.gov.
What to Copyright?
Before we hop over to the US Copyright Office to take a look at the process, let’s first consider what we will copyright. Now that you can do this online, you could literally zip up your entire image library, and register the whole thing for just US$35. Consider though that you will probably never use some of the multiple shots of a scene or subject that you made while drilling down to the final shots that you were very happy with. In last week’s Podcast I spoke about how I keep all of my final selects in a separate folder. There are just short of 2,500 images in this folder and this is all that I registered. I don’t intend to publish any of my other RAW files, and if I do, I’ll have to register them later, but that’s not a big deal now that I’ve finally taken the time to understand the system.
Published, or Unpublished Work?
It’s also pretty important before you register to consider whether or not your work is Published, or Unpublished, because the process is different based on this. If you have a library of images that you’ve never posted to the Web, or displayed in public in any way, then you could register them all in one go, regardless of the year that you shot the images. If you have been putting your images on the Web though, and the Web site had no way of stopping the general public from looking at the images, then they are Published, and should be registered as such.
The problem that I found because of this was that you have to register the date that the work was first published, and then the year that the work was completed. And, the year that the work was completed has to be the same year that the work was started.
I originally intended to register all 2,500 of my images in one batch for $35 but this wasn’t possible because I’ve been putting my images on my Web site since 2003. In 2003 I published images from as early as 1991, but because I didn’t display these until 2003, I did register this batch together. For the following years after that, I had to split my registration into yearly batches. Because of this, I had 9 batches of images, at $35 each, so in total it cost me $315.
UPDATE: Note that I have since found that there is a big difference between the rights you have if you register your images more than three months after publication. Please check this article on The Copryight Zone, brought to my attention by Paul Kelly.
Prepare Your Images
I also suggest that you prepare your images before you start the registration process. If you are going to upload by year, as I did, and you don’t have your images in separate folders per year, use a program such as Lightroom to display your images by Capture date. Once you have your list of images for each year, ensure that you have all images selected, and then fill in the Copyright field in the IPTC data. You can find the IPTC data towards the bottom of the right panel in the Lightroom Library Module, though you may have to select IPTC from the pull down in the Metadata panel. I always have EXIF and IPTC selected here.
First ensure that you add your name to the Creator field in the Contact information. This should already be filled out if you add your name to each image in the camera.
Lightroom Copyright Fields
Then make sure that you select the Copyright Status as Copyrighted, and enter at least the year that you made the image and your name in the Copyright field. I enter “© 2003 Martin Bailey – All Rights Reserved”. This is also because this is displayed by some Web sites, so I like to have all information displayed from this field. I also then add All Rights Reserved to the Rights Usage Terms field below the Copyright field, for good measure.
As long as you select all the images for that year in Lightroom, this information will be added to all images. Then, with them all still selected, export the batch for this particular year. If you are going to export all of your images in one batch, then you just need to select by year to add your copyright information, and then you can export the entire batch later. Unless that is, you intend to export an insane number of images. If that’s the case, you would probably end up with a single zip file that’s way too big to upload after registration, and so you might want to consider exporting per year anyway.
You will want to resize your images, because they become public information once registered. Of course, the chances of someone trying to steel you images from the Library of Congress are pretty slim, so this is less of a worry than final size of your zip file, and the time taken to upload your files at the end of the registration process.
I re-size my images to 900 pixels in width, and a maximum of 700 pixels high. Of course, if the image was a landscape aspect, then 9oopx wide is going to result in a 540px high image but for portrait images, there’s really no need for them to be much bigger than 700 pixels high. I also export at compression 7 on a scale of 10, though you could reduce this to around 5 to save on size if you have a lot of images to package up. 7 has virtually no visible signs of the image having been compressed, and the file size is pretty small for images of this size. I exported each year into a folder named with a number, such as 2003, 2004 etc. and then zipped these by right clicking each folder and selecting Compress “2003” etc.
Once you have your images prepared, we’re now ready to start the registration process. First let’s head over to http://www.copyright.gov. The screen will look like this. I hope I’m not infringing any copyright laws by using this screenshot. This certainly would be the wrong people to mess with on copyright issues.
There’s lots of great information on this page, so do take a look around, but once you are ready to start the process, we can go ahead and click on the eCO Login link, marked Electronic Copyright Office.
If this is the first time you are doing this, then you’ll first need to create an account. It’s just like signing up for pretty much any web site, but you do need to provide a pretty strong password. I think it had to be eight or more characters long, and contain at least one number and one symbol, in addition to alphabetic characters.
Once you have your account successfully created, let’s go ahead and login. Once you are in, look for the Start Registration button towards the top of the page, and give that a click.
The first screen is to select the type of work that you are registering. For photographs, you’ll want to select “Work of the Visual Arts” from the pull down menu.
Type of Work
Once selected, click the Continue button. From this screen you’ll need to click the New button, to provide a Title for this body of work. Under the Title Type, select “Title of work being registered”, and then type something that describes the work. This doesn’t need to the be actual title that you gave your images, just a generic title for the body of work, such as “2011 Photographs”. For my 2011 registration I actually used “2011 Photographs to Aug 14”, so that I know where I left off. Unless I shoot something very special between now and the end of the year, I’ll probably wait and do one more registration at the end of 2011, to top this up.
Provide a Title
Once you’ve provided a title, click the Save button, and you’ll return to the last screen, and click Continue again. On the next screen you are asked if the work has been published or not. If you have not publicly shared your work, then select No, and then select the year that the work was completed. This is a little ambiguous, because if you are talking about an entire body of work, theoretically you could have started working on the photos years ago, but only completed your body of work this year. In this case, I’m assuming that 2011 would be fine, but if you don’t trust me on this, get help from a lawyer.
If you have publicly shown your work, then you’ll need to select Yes, and then provide a bit more information. Again there’s a year of Completion, and Date of First Publication. Now, here, I put the date that I created the first image of the year, thinking of the year as the start of the body of work, and then entered the actual year in the Year of Completion field. These have to be the same year for Published work, and this is why I had to split up my registrations into batches for each year.
Screen for Published Work
For the Nation of First Publication, I chose the United States, because my Web servers are based in the US. By the way, for larger screenshots that get resized in the blog post, go to the bottom of this post and click on the images in the gallery to see in more detail.
On the next screen, you are asked who the author of the work is. Assuming that this is you, all you need to do is click the Add Me button, then fill out the additional data, such as your Citizenship and where you live, and date of birth if you want to. There’s also a date of death, but hopefully we can all steer clear of that field for a while.
Note here that you will probably want to ignore the Organization field. Even if you work as an organization, you’ll want to keep your copyrights in your own name. Once done, click Save and you’ll be asked what you created, so select Photograph(s), and click Save and then click Continue.
On the next screen you’ll be entering the Claimants name, and this is you again, so click Add Me and fill in your address and select your State. If you are not based in the US like me, then do select Non-U.S. from the State pull down menu. I’m not going to include a screenshot here, as much as I’d love for you guys to come around for a coffee and a chat, but one thing to note on this screen is that you will ignore the Transfer Statement fields. If you are registering our own work this is not necessary, and if you’re not, you’ll need help from someone other than me to complete this. 🙂
Having clicked Save, once again click Continue and on the Limitations of Claim screen, just click Continue again. There’s no reason to limit what you could claim against, as your photographs can pretty much be used in any of these ways and many more.
On the next screen, Rights & Permissions, you’ll click Add Me again, and this time add any phone numbers etc. as well as ensuring your address is fully filled out. Another tip here for non-U.S. applicants is that when you first register with the system, the number checks for phone numbers make you add your number is a totally whacked out way, with the first three numbers in parenthesis, then a gap, then three digits followed by four digits with a hyphen in between.
This is not how Japan writes down phone numbers, and it also gives you no way of adding a country number etc. I found though, that although these fields are populated by what you provided when you registered, you can change the format here to something closer to home and the system will let you continue. You can also now add an Organization name if you work as a registered company. Having checked the State pull down again, click Continue.
Same drill again on the Correspondent screen. Click Add Me, and ensure that all the details are filled out, then click Continue.
And once again, click Add Me on the Mail Certificate screen and this time you have to provide an Organization name, then click Continue.
Almost there now. Bear with me a little while longer. The next screen is to select whether or not you need Special Handling of your copyright registration. Unless you have just photographed someone very famous doing something very bad, and you need your copyright registered and documentation mailed to you straight away, or unless you just want to pay the extra $760 to see how fast they can expedite your claim, just click Continue.
On the next screen, Certification, you need to check the check box and type your name to certify that you are the author of the work and own the copyright that you are about to register. Of course, it would be against the law to grab someone else’s work and try to register it, and there’s a hefty fine of up to $2,500 for doing so. Assuming that you are registering your own work here, check the check box, type your name and click Continue.
Now, we’re finally on the last screen, the Review Submission part of the application process, and here you’ll find all the details that you entered so far. Now, before we jump to the next part of the process, if you intend to register images again in the future, you might want to click the little blue link next to the Save For Later button, that says “Save As Template”. If you save a template now, all of the data that you just entered will be saved, and you can create future claims in less than a minute, just needing to update the title and dates that the images were shot etc. It makes future registrations very, very quick.
Once you’ve created a template, click Add to Cart. You can put in multiple claims and add them all to the cart before you checkout, but once you have all of your claims input and ready to go, click the Checkout button. You’ll be asked if you want to pay via a Deposit Account or Credit Card. I don’t have a US deposit account, but even if I did, I’d probably use a credit card to leave a nice record of the payment on my credit card statement.
When you select your payment method, at least when you select credit card, but I assume both, you are taken to a U.S. Treasury site to make your payment. This is as simple as any online credit card payment.
Once completed, you will go back to the U.S. Copyright Office site, and see your open case, or cases in a table. From here you need to click the blue linked Case number, and there you’ll see an Upload Deposit button. Click this to upload your images that you prepared earlier.
The upload screen is actually too narrow when it first opens, so you will need to grab the right side of the browser window and make it a little wider so that you can see both the upload fields and a title field to give each uploaded file a title. Just browse to the zip files that you prepared earlier, and select the ones for this particular claim, then add something descriptive in the Brief Title field. I just called each of my uploads the number for the year of the images I was registering my copyright for.
OK, so once you’ve uploaded your images or zip file, congratulations, you’re done!
Action NOT Needed
I assume if there are any problems with your claim, you will be contacted by someone for additional information, but you should be careful to do everything necessary to make the process as smooth as possible.
Note that if you go to your Open Cases list to check the progress, you might get a bit of a shock when you see the orange indicators in the Action Needed column. As long as this is not a bug, when you roll your mouse over these orange indicators, you should see a yellow tool tip pop-up that says “No Action Needed”.
Once you have done, you’ll receive an email politely thanking you for registering your claim, and stating that “The effective date of registration is established when the application, fee AND the material being registered have been received”. After you have everything filled out, your fees paid and your images uploaded, it apparently takes around three months for the claim to be processed and the certificate of registration mailed out to you.
So, I hope that has helped in some way. I know that this was one of those things that I put off for a long time because I thought it was going to be a big task with lots of red tape, but it really wasn’t like that. Hopefully you’ll have seen here that although the first time has a few screens to go through, the information you need to provide is simple, and once you have a template made, future or multiple registrations really do take a matter of minutes each.
Just a couple of quick bits of housekeeping before we finish today. Firstly, I was interviewed by Chris Marquardt recently, and although we had no plans for what we’d talk about before we started recording, we touched on quite a few interesting topics, so do listen to Tips From the Top Floor episode 515.
Also note that I have released information on my 2012 Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tours and Workshops. We’ll be heading out to Nagano from February 13 to photograph the adorable Snow Monkeys and then on to Hokkaido to photograph the majestic Red-Crowned Cranes, Steller’s Sea Eagles, White Tailed Eagles, as well as Whooper Swans, Ezo Deer and the beautiful landscapes of the Hokkaido Winter Wonderland. We return to Tokyo on February 24, so we have 12 full days of photography, including in the field tuition from me, and a few classroom sessions and critique sessions that the entire group agreed in the past adds so much value to what was already an amazing photographic experience. Seats are filling fast, but if you are interested in joining us, please take a look at our workshops page or drop me a line via our Contact Form if you have any questions.
Chris Marquardt’s Interview with Martin on TFTTF 515: https://mbp.ac/nw
Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Photography Tour and Workshops Info: https://mbp.ac/workshops
Music from Music Alley: http://www.musicalley.com/
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