Lightroom’s metadata preset functionality makes it easy to add all sorts of information to digital images the moment they’re imported. For instance, I use a handful of default presets that are accessed with a single click to add my name, phone number, website and copyright information to every image during import. I want to make it as easy as possible for anyone who sees my work to be able to identify me, and that all starts with metadata. Here’s how I create and edit those metadata presets so my images are annotated easily and effectively.
To create metadata presets, choose Edit Metadata Presets from the Metadata file menu, which is only active when Lightroom is in Library mode.
From there, a window pops up offering all sorts of shoot-specific information that you’re free to modify if you choose to do so. Things such as camera model and other information I prefer to leave blank because they change with such regularity. Plus, the EXIF metadata encompasses these items—hardwired into the image file at the moment of capture, and including all of the information such as ISO and exposure settings, camera, lens information and more. Instead, the information I know I want to use on a regular basis pertains to me—the creator of my photographs.
To that end, I scroll down to the IPTC Copyright heading. From here, I can easily enter a copyright to the IPTC metadata—the portion of the metadata dedicated to transmitting information about an image, such as the caption, description, keywords, creator, copyright and more. I plug in a copyright message, link to my website, along with my address, phone and email. This way, my status as image creator is stamped into the file’s metadata. Sure, it can be stripped out by unscrupulous websites, but I know at least when an image leaves my hands it’s correctly identified.
Farther down in the Edit Metadata Presets menu, I add job-specific information if I’m hoping to make a preset that corresponds to a particular customer, for instance, or a recurring subject or location. While you can include all sorts of image-specific information here, including title and keywords, I find this a bit less useful as a preset because these items, too, change with every shoot. And the way I use presets is to embed data in every shot that I import to my Lightroom catalog. Here’s how I implement that part of the process.
When you’re finished filling in the preset information, click Done followed by Save As to give your preset an easy to remember identifier—such as the current year and your name. (I change my presets annually for this very reason—to update the 2019 copyright preset to read 2020.) Click okay and the preset will be saved.
To put it to use, open Lightroom’s Import dialogue and navigate to the right side of the screen to find the “Apply During Import” heading. Here, you can apply any Develop settings you’d like to change the look of the images, as well as imparting keywords and—there it is—the Metadata. By default it shows “None,” but clicking on it will open up a window of options including all of your presets. Choose the preset you’d like and Lightroom will then apply that IPTC data containing your name, copyright and contact info to every file as it’s imported into the catalog.
Better still, when you export files later from Lightroom, you can choose which IPTC data should be included with each file. Once you’ve set this to your preference—Copyright and Contact Info, for instance—Lightroom will default to that metadata setting on every export, helping to protect your image files and ensure your information is embedded into every file.