Making Sure All The Photos in Your Lightroom Catalog Have Your Copyright Info Embedded

Hi Gang (and Happy Monday). This is a quick tip for making sure every photo in your Lightroom Library has your copyright info embedded into it, and the whole process literally just takes a few seconds, so it’s quick and easy. Here’s how to make Lightroom do all the heavy lifting:


STEP ONE: In the Library module, go to the Catalog Panel and click on “All Photographs” so it displays all the images in your catalog. Now press the Backslash key to make the search bar visible (it appears above the top of your rows of thumbnails).

In the first field at the top where it says “Date” at the top of the first column (well, that’s the default anyway), click and hold on this field and choose “Copyright Status” (as shown here, circled in red) and then right below it, it immediately shows how many of ALL your images have copyright info embedded (in this case, it was 9,951 images), and how many have an “unknown” status (these are the ones you need to embed your copyright info into, and in this case it’s 397 images).


STEP TWO: Click on the field “Unknown” and now it just displays the images in your catalog that don’t have any copyright info. Press Command-A (on Mac) or Ctrl-A (on Windows) to select all the images. Now go to the Metadata panel, to the Preset pop-up menu and choose your Copyright preset (as seen here).


STEP THREE: A pop-up menu will appear asking if you want just the “most selected” image to have your metadata embedded into, or to all of the selected images. My advice? Click that “don’t show again” button first, because this dialog assumes from the start that you didn’t actually mean to select all your images. Plus, it’s just annoying. LOL! Anyway, click All Selected (as shown here).


STEP FOUR: Once you apply your Metadata to these images, their status is now changed to “Copyrighted” — the results of your search are empty now since there are no longer any images left in your library without your copyright info embedded into them.

There ya have it. Short and sweet.

Hope you have a better than average Monday! 🙂



P.S. I know some of the images above are unlinked. For this particular technique, it worked anyway. 




  1. Steve 13 April, 2015 at 10:35 Reply

    Great tip. However, how can you change the copyright info on the photos. It may because of a name change, (marriage / company) or in my case, I forgot to change the year, so all my images in one of my catalogues is copyrighted as 2011. Thanks!

  2. Ed Batsel 7 April, 2015 at 09:36 Reply

    I followed this tip but, for some reason I don’t understand, the action removed all of my color labels and stacks. What did I do wrong?

  3. lyle 6 April, 2015 at 20:00 Reply

    I leave mine un-copyrighted in the hope someone will rip them off, and I’ll finally get published somewhere… 😉

  4. Jasmine 6 April, 2015 at 17:25 Reply

    Thanks for covering this. I have always been worried whether or not my photos were actually copyrighted. Now I can go through and change all of my catalogs without having to worry anymore.

    • bubbanurth@gmail.com 6 April, 2015 at 18:10 Reply

      If you are from the good ole’ US of A, you must know that merely labelling your photos as copyrighted is not enough. In order to take legal action to enforce your rights you must somehow register your copyright with some federal agency or other. This is a gargantuan task for non-commercial and even some commercial photographers. You can count on your brilliant half-brain legislators to come up with some way to screw you, just saying.

  5. Danny Silva 6 April, 2015 at 16:38 Reply

    Thanks Scott. Awesome tip, as always. I have a follow up question regarding copyrights. Is that all I need to do to make sure my photos are Copyrighted? Or is there more backend legal steps that I need to take besides just making sure the metadata on my photos say Copyrighted?

    • Stephen Cupp 6 April, 2015 at 16:43 Reply

      You have to register them with the Copyright Office. At least here in the United States. You probably should pick up the book “The Copyright Zone: A Legal Guide For Photographers and Artists In The Digital Age” by Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki. They walk you through the whole process.

  6. Keith R. Starkey 6 April, 2015 at 11:13 Reply

    Great tip.

    However, for step four, you said, “. . . and so there are now images left in your library without your copyright info embedded into them.”

    Shouldn’t it read “and so there are now NO (emphasis mine) images left in your library without your copyright info embedded into them.” May I’m just misreading it. Thanks anyway.

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