VT2000   DESIGN  for  A R T I S T S  in the   INFORMATION AGE

Protecting Your Online Images

This Image Preparation tutorial will take you through using the IPTC capability of digital images to record your copyright and all sorts of information about the image itself. .

Not all artists have PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements, (or need that much moxie), but you do all need to treat your images with respect--whether they are the end product themselves (photographs) or images of the final product. Professional photographers know how to protect their images, but casual image-takers and artists working in other media often do not.

Unseen, but part of every digital image are two groups of information:

EXIF data - information the camera puts into the image
IPTC data - information you put into the image

It is the latter, the IPTC data, with which you must be most concerned. Some of the data you can and should include in this section follows (IPTC Field name or category is first.):

  • COPYRIGHT: copyright information
  • CAPTION: image caption
  • BYLINE: creator's name
  • ORIGIN (sub-fields: Object name, Date created, City, Sublocation, State)

Editing the IPTC Information


For those of you who do not have a version of PhotoShop, IrfanView is a very good, (and very free!) image editing program that lets you edit IPTC information. It is small and fast and installs without a hitch.

Once you have it installed, do the following:

  • under File, click open and select the image
  • under Image, click Information
  • at the bottom, click on the IPTC button
  • you should see the following

The fields that are filled in above are the most critical ones. Simply add your information.

Copyright Symbol

To get the copyright symbol, put your cursor in the Copyright text box and do the following: hold down the Alt Key and on the numerical keypad enter 0169 and let up on the Alt Key. The symbol should appear in the box. The rest is just normal typing.

Caption Information

For the AOA Databse this field is critical. This is where you will enter the text that tells a future viewer what they are looking at.

For instance, you might enter "Kent Corners, looking east from the south side of Robinson Cemetery Road on the Fitch Farm." I generally use Google Maps to help me get this right.

For PhotoShop Users

Once you have an image up in any version of PhotoShop, under File, way down the list, you will find File Info. Click on this.

The box that comes up does not look like the one above, but the headings are the same. Click around until you find the relevant text boxes (from the list above). Fill them in. DO NOT USE anything that says "Save for Web." This is very important, as older versions (and PhotoShop Elements at least up to version 5 or 6) stripped out IPTC info before saving the file. Adobe was roundly trounced for this and has since corrected their mistake.

File Sizes

Generally you will want to reduce the size of your image and save it as a .jpg file, with a resolution of 72dpi, and a quality level of 7 or 8.

BUT, for the purposes of this database, save at quality level 10 and do not reduce the dpi. You may make the image dimensions smaller. (I'm putting mine up with the longest dimension at 2500 pixels which gives the long side a printed size of 8 inches.) The reason for not reducing the image resolution is that this is intended as an historical databse. This means that the images will be available in high-res versions for future reference and historical use. The software running the AOA Database NEVER displays the high-res versions. What you see when you look at a single large image from the database is a version where the longest dimension is 500 pixels, with a resolution of 72dpi, and a quality level of 7.

More to come ---

 Web Images

As and artist, your images are your intellectual property. And, you want to show your work. Doing so on the internet is almost a requirement these days. But, there are issues surrounding how those images are handled.

As a photographer, I have had to investigate methods for protecting my own images on the web. What I have learned goes into your site, goes into protecting your images.

There is NO way to completely protect web images from a determined thief. But, there are various methods for making it extemely difficult for them. At best, all that determined hijacker could get would be a small, low resolution image. And, fast appearing on the internet, are programs that will track image use.

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