Registering Your Images

As the photographer (author/creator), your work is copyrighted as soon as you finish creating it. While you own the copyright to your images, you will want to register them with the Copyright Office to have a more complete protection of your images. In this article, I’ll share a workflow that may work for you and walk you through the online interface for registering them with the Electronic Copyright Office at

Copyright Registration Workflow

  • Get it on your schedule. Every 90 days gather up your recent photos and create a zip file to file with the copyright office for a $55 fee.
  • Have a system to make it easy for yourself. In Lightroom or comparable software you use, as you import and pick your final selects for editing, color code the images that need to be registered. Next time you are ready to register you can filter by color and know exactly which ones to send.You may want to have a second color label to change it to once they’ve been registered or simply remove the color label at that time so you are not mistakenly registering an image more than once.
  • Make it easier with metadata. Attach a keyword you will use consistently for these images ie. Filed Copyright, Registered.  Additionally, once you’ve filed with the copyright office, the filing will be assigned a case number. Use the case number as a keyword in that batch of images as well. This will help you easily identify the correct copyright certificate should you need to go to court.


Preparing Your Images for Registration

  • Size them down. If you use the workflow above you can simply “filter” them in Lightroom or comparable app to gather/select them and export them all into a folder. An app like Photo Resize is also quick and easy if you are gathering them differently. Size them big enough that they can easily be identified should you have to present a case in court but small enough for them to be uploaded more quickly. Somewhere around 1600 – 2000 px on the long side should suffice.
  • Add your watermark somewhere on the image. Watermark it somewhere at the bottom of the image so you are not obstructing the image but it’s clearly marked. Something like “©2017 [Your Name], All Rights Reserved. You can do this while exporting from Lightroom or comparable software. While it’s not necessary I would highly encourage it because they are being filed with the Library of Congress and could potentially be available to the public in some instances.
  • Zip (compress) the folder. The uploading interface on will timeout at 60 minutes. Make sure it will upload in that timeframe. If not, you will need to break it up and create 2 or 3 zip files. The interface enables you to browse and select one file at a time, then upload them as a group in one session for your case filing.


Now You Are Ready To Upload

The application process will have 3 steps.

  1. Complete an application
  2. Make your payment
  3. Upload the file/s.

Go to and register if you have not already done so. Once you are registered, log in.


Once you are logged in, you will see this screen. Select Register a New Claim (as I’ve highlighted in green).


Read each option and select accordingly, then Start Registration. For me, this is typically a No, Yes, Yes, but it may be different for you.



Next, you are asked to select the Type of Work from the drop-down menu. For photographs, select Work of the Visual Arts.

The list on the left side of the screen identifies each step of the application process. The red arrow will progress as you complete each section.



Next, you need to provide a Title for the work.



When submitting a batch of various stock photos, I name the batch as opposed to giving each image a title. That would be crazy take too much time and is not necessary.



Follow the screens. By now you have a good idea of the application process. The interface is very dated but each screen has an explanation of what is required.

Quick Tip: For the purpose of copyright, your work is also considered “published” as soon as you share it on social media.



Once you’ve completed all the sections of the application you will get a preview. Next, you will Add to Cart and make your payment.


After your payment has been made, you will upload your zip file/s.

After successfully submitting your work, in several weeks you’ll receive a copyright certificate in the mail.

It’s an easier process than most anticipate. Don’t put it off and get your work protected.

A Twist in Atlanta Skyline

I wanted to try something more experimental and fun this past week. I took my camera and tripod and went out to Jackson Street to have a different look a the skyline. It’s the zooming technique. I did it a number of ways. Some were with a smooth transition and others, like the two first examples below, I stopped incrementally on the long exposure. I also did some where I panned but haven’t pocessed those yet. I’ll post one up soon.

suspendedimage_atlanta_skyline_abstract suspendedimage_atlanta_skyline_abstract2 suspendedimage_atlanta_skyline suspendedimage_atlanta_skyline2

Can’t Always Shoot Where You Want To

Like the title says… you can’t always shoot where you want to. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the job done. Enter the magic of Photoshop… and a little know-how too, of course.

As you can see, this image from a football series was shot indoors.


Although, the background is large (12′), you can see it doesn’t cover the model completely. That is because I used a wide angle to give the final image more drama. As for the lighting setup, there are three lights used here. One on each side (angled from the back) and one key light up front (left of me).

When compositing, it’s important to match your light sources, so be aware of that when you are looking for various elements to work with. I happened to be going to a high school football game and was able to get something I could work with. Believe it or not, I only had my iPhone with me and so that’s what I used. To finish off the final image, the football player was masked out. The background image itself was edited from the original since I needed a much higher resolution image but you can see pieces of the stadium to make it convincing enough.


The final image is much more interesting than having the football player on a black background.

Copyright Status Change In EXIF After Export

Ok, so I wrote about this briefly a few months ago but the original post was lost in a blog database mishap so I’m posting it again since it’s still happening.


Snapseed is a quick way to edit images and give them a little grungy stylized look. A few months ago I noticed my copyright status was changing in the file after working on the image. I’ve checked it multiple times and it never fails to change the Copyright Status to public domain. In trying to figure out where it was happening I went through each step of my workflow and checked the file each time.

I’ve verified it several times running through it like this:

  1. Exported from Lightroom as a PSD file keeping all exif and copyright data.
  2. Open in Photoshop and check info to verify Copyright Status is correct.
  3. Open in Snapseed, edit.
  4. Export as TIF from Snapseed.
  5. Open in Photoshop and the Copyright Status in exif has changed to Public Domain.

Happens with all my images wether they are shot on the 5DII, GF1 or the iPhone.

I send Nik Software and email to report the issue but have not seen any updates to the software. So, if you ever use Snapseed, be sure to check your Copyright Status is correct on export.

[1] this image shows the copyright in Lightroom set correctly.lightroom_copyright_setting

[5] After exporting from Snapseed the Copyright Status shows as public domain in Photoshop.