So what are some measures that you can take to protect yourself?
If you use digital photography, your photographs have information attached to them called metadata. Look through the software you use for this information. This will tell you when the picture was taken and what the settings of your photograph are. Most programs will let you set information such as copyright holder. If you set this information, it should automatically fill it in for all future photographs. Metadata is also handy when you want to remember what your shutter speed was, or if you used flash for a certain photo.
Most photo editing software has a watermark feature. This could be as simple as duplicating your photograph and typing @yourname and placing it across the front of your photo. Always save an original photo separate from your watermarked photo. Only place the watermarked copy on the internet. There are many people who spend a lot of time developing a special watermark that includes their logo and name. The type of watermark you use should match the kind of photograph you are posting. You want it to be see-through enough that it doesnít detract from the photo, but across enough of the photograph that it canít be cropped out.
Film doesnít have the advantage of attaching your name to it. But negatives will prove that you took a photograph. You will need a way to organize these if you take a lot of photographs. Use a binder with pages that hold negatives and organize by date. You can add papers to these that track what you have used photographs for.
Claiming copyright isnít hard, or even overly time consuming. But it is important if you want to keep the credit for your work.