Uploading your images to the web or sharing them by email is an essential part of showing off your work to others. But what about copyright? Although you can put statements on websites, or use Flickr’s copyright features, images can easily be downloaded with the best intentions but separated from your contact info. Once someone has an image of yours and wants to get hold of you, how can they?
This tutorial shows you how to use Photoshop to embed your contact details and copyright info in to images you share with others.
Open the image in Photoshop
For this example I’ll just use a render of the Design Studies logo I created.
Go to “File Info…”
Under the File menu you will see “File Info…” towards the bottom of the list.
The File Info dialogue box
The File Info box contains a lot of options, but most of them will not be applicable to you. You can decide what you need to enter here but notice the tabs at the top of the window, and the arrow pointing right. That reveals a lot more options, most of them quite specialised, and you really don’t need to bother about them – but take a look anyway as you never know what you could be working on in the future!
The Description tab
Fill in the information on the first tab. Photoshop will use a lot of this to auto-fill boxes on later tabs.
In this example you can see I’ve added my name and a description of the file, along with keywords. This is handy for storing and locating files later and everything gets written in to the file’s “meta data” (hidden information such as when the file was created, modified and so on. Notice at the bottom of the window Photoshop has already inserted some of that information, including the application in which I made the image).
Notice at the bottom there’s an aoption to include a link to a copyright info URL. If you are putting a lot of images online you might want to create a page on your site that states very simply your copyright policy. This allows you to link directly to that page.
In the future if you are working for companies or clients you should see if they have similar pages to link to here.
The IPTC panel
IPTC stands for the International Press Telecommunications Council, an organisation which has established guidelines for the exchange of news information. Basically, this includes standard information for photographers and illustrators working for the press and media so that images can be attributed properly and correct payments made.
Some of the information will not be relevant to you but fill in what you can. The important information would be your email address and phone number so that anyone wanting to use your image in a publication can find you.
For most people this isn’t going to happen (but you never know – it’s happened to me!) but it’s also useful in the rare instance of your image being used inappropriately, because you’ll be able to open the image and show your details in there, proving you are the author. It’s a security measure.
Scrolling down the window reveals more options. Many of these relate to specific functions. The credit line is for art editors on newspapers and magazines so they know who to credit, and the “job identifier” would be a code or number for invoicing or project management. But if you’ve been commissioned by someone to create an image or design, or are going to be invoicing a client, you could insert information in here such as “illustration for Observer article commissioned by…” or “test of weave pattern for…”
Apart from anything else, it’s useful years later when you’re trying to remember what an image was for!
IPTC Extension info
This is useful for photography so you can identify people in images and the location shown. If you ever think you might sell an image to a publication or have it used on a website or somewhere, it will be important to have this information.
Save the file
When you save the file. all this information will be saved with it. In fact, if you click on the image file on a Mac and press command-I or select File>Get Info you’ll see some of the information there, so the user doesn’t even need to use Photoshop! Looking at this, I should probably go back and add my name and email address to the “Description field” (see below)
Anyone finding your image online should – of course – be able to get your contact details from your site but if the image gets passed on to someone else, that information may be lost.
This won’t stop your images being stolen but it does provide you with some security and proof. It also means that genuine potential clients will be able to find you instead of using someone else’s work who they know they can contact.