These hints all refer to Kopete's main configuration window residing under → . Be sure to click on Apply or OK if you want your changes to be saved.
All adjustments affecting your account setup and configuration of multiple accounts in Kopete (Jabber/XMPP as well as ICQ, MSN and many other messaging protocols) can be found under the tab Accounts. If you want to set your personal information or are willing to use a contact photo, click on Modify Identity... and make your settings. A photo can be uploaded by clicking on the small icon on the left hand side at the bottom of the image area.
The next tab in the vertical list at the left hand side is Contact List. These settings are mainly self-explanatory and it seems useful to enable Use contact photos when available. The other three horizontal tabs (Colors & Fonts, Advanced and Layout) include quite special settings you will perhaps fine-tune when you have used Kopete for a few weeks.
The Status configurations enable you to set your default status messages when you're set as Online, Away, Invisible etc.
Clicking on Behavior opens a quite detailed set of configuration. The most interesting ones, that can be found in the tab General are Message Handling and Initial Status. The first one decides if incoming messages from your contacts open instantly a new window or if they are queued until you open Kopete yourself. The second one tells Kopete if it shall go online when you start the program. When you set this, you are always available for your contacts once you run Kopete. The tab Events lets you set in what cases Kopete notifies you via your computer's notification system (in most cases KNotify). When you want Kopete to set your status automatically to “Away”, open the tab Away Settings and enable the first checkbox. You can set the time that has to pass after your last action (keyboard input or mouse movement) that Kopete will set you as “away”. The default value is 10 minutes. Options located in Chat are again self-explanatory and already set to useful values.
The next item in the vertical row on the left is Chat Window. The first tab in there, Style, can be used to set another appearance than the default one. You can also install your own styles or download new ones from the Internet by clicking on Get New.... When you type in an Emoticon during a conversation, Kopete will convert it into a graphical emoticon by default. To disable this feature or to use another set of emoticons go to Emoticons. The last tab, Colors & Fonts is again self-explanatory and configures these preferences of your chat window.
Webcams are supported in Kopete, but at the moment (November 2010) there are still some difficulties concerning video chat, so settings in Video are made at your own responsibility, because it's quite possible it doesn't work in the right way. The KDE Forums may be helpful while dealing with webcam issues.