When you press down on the shutter release you have established a copyright in the resulting image. You may then state your copyright. Many people will place an extensive copyright statement on the About page of their website.
The EXIF data of photos is used generally to also show a copyright notice. You can add it by right-clicking the file and selecting Properties. You will find a place for the notice. I generally use this as my copyright notice:
Copyright © 2016 Ludwig Keck. All rights reserved.
If the copyright symbol is not readily available, the accepted alternate method is to enclose the letter “c” in parentheses, thus: (c). You can see this in the illustration here:
In my case here the copyright notice was placed into the EXIF, properties, fields by my camera. It does not have the symbol © hence I use the alternate form. Also notice that in my photo files the notice appears in two locations, the Copyright field and the Comments field. Keep in mind that any thief can easily delete or replace this information. Not all cameras allow for this feature. For photos from other cameras I add the notice with a bulk select and opening the Properties dialog and I copy or type the notice in. I also add my name in the Authors field.
At the bottom of every blog post I add “boilerplate” like this:
Note the short form copyright notice (there are links above and below this notice to my “gateway” sites).
All the notices don’t make a bit of difference to thieves. Images are still stolen all the time. I protect a little against that by only posting low resolution images (generally about 1200px on the big side). At least this will make the images not suitable for printing or where better resolution is required.
You can also register a photo, or a collection of photos, with the U. S. Copyright Office or equivalent agencies in other countries. The process takes some time. In the U.S.A. there is no charge, however a copy of each image must be supplied to the Copyright office. I have done that only with books, not my individual photos. Such registration gives you some additional rights and protections that come into play only in law suits. You have to go after the bad guys in court, nobody else does that for you. It is costly as you can imagine.
I should also point out that just because you have taken the photo you may not be fully entitled to use it any way you like. The little thumbnail photos above show people in recognizable form. That entitles them to protection of their own likenesses. I did not get “model releases” for these photos and therefore I am rather limited with what I can do. I can use them in blogs as those are “news stories”, but I can’t sell those images as “wall art” or for use in advertising or what-have-you.
Please note that I have explained here what I do. I can not tell you what you should do as I am not a lawyer and thus not qualified to give legal advise. Consult with a lawyer to learn what is appropriate in your own case.
© 2016 Ludwig Keck