Post of the week – 004 : IPTC info in photos.

This  was an old post I forgot to upload a while ago and is an excerpt from a conversation on the DLF (Digital Laborers Federation) email list regarding IPTC information in JPEG photos, which is useful for Photographers, and especially those uploading images to Flickr.


Peter Moran wrote:
> Hey
> I’ve finally got myself a flickr PRO account and wondering the best way to manage things.
> I manage my photos with folders, and occasionally open Picassa (WIN XP) – but if Im going to go to effort and
> tag everything for flickr, I would like for Picassa to be able to read all that and so I can search all my photos
> local also, not just on flickr.
> Unfortunately Irfanview doesnt batch edit EXIF data – my camera seems to just put “EXIF Image Data” in
> the image description field, which then loads into flickr. Manually deleting/replacing this is boring.
> Id like to keep the filename somewhere on flickr also..
> SO maybe a way to batch edit the Image Description field in EXIF? Adding the filename, and whatever else I want?
> I read somewhere you can add tags to it also which flickr can read?
> If I can do all this, can Picasa then search using the EXIF info? No point to tag everything in Picasa if on new computer
> I lose all the tags cause its not within the file itself.
> Cheers
> pete

My Reply :

Hi Pete.
Firstly, EXIF information is the extra metadata information that the CAMERA saves. Things like shutter speed, ISO, aperture, flash settings, etc..
IPTC information is what you are interested in, which is custom meta-data, like the photographer, copyright information, the location the photos were taken, and other various information.

You can use Irfan viewer to VIEW the IPTC info, but it’s not good at adding it.
You are better off using something like Photo Mechanic, which is especially used by a lot of photojournalists.
I use Photo Mechanic regularly to save IPTC/XMP information to my images before I upload them to the internet. It also has very good image selection and batch editing options.

After a large photoshoot I will quite often have a quick view through the photos in Irfan viewer at full screen, to see which ones I like the most. I will then review the photos again in Photo Mechanic, tag the good ones, setup the cropping information, etc, and can then batch save all the tagged photos, or all of a certain colour class to a resized for web JPEG, all watermarked and with the extra IPTC info I defined.

It’s like Lightroom, but it was around way before that and unfortunately doesn’t have all the image manipulation options that Lightroom or Apple Aperture have, although from what I’ve seen, the different programs will all pick up on the tagging, although as far as I’m aware, only Photo Mechanic will actually write IPTC info to Camera Raw files (although I haven’t tried).

Getting back to the topic, Photo Mechanic uses what it calls an ‘IPTC Stationery Pad’, in which you write the basic keywords, copyright, and photographer details, etc.. You can then batch apply the IPTC info to all the selected photos, and and if you so feel, can manually add captions to individual photos.

Most of this information is then picked up by Flickr, so that you don’t have to manually add it.
Also, I’ve read the IPTC information for Pulitzer winning photos, and they are amazingly detailed, although mostly you just want who you are, what your website is and what your photos are about.

Sorry if I’m sounding like a prophet, that is preaching, but the other good thing about Photo Mechanic is that there are multiple ways you can save the IPTC pad information. You can save it to a file, as either a IPT or XMP file, which you can then import on another computer, or you can add it to a quick link (lightning icon), for frequently used presets.

Michael Kubler
Grey Phoenix Productions

His Reply

Hi Michael
Great info! I was a bit confused at the two.
Seems that programs will then be able to search using info within both EXIF and IPTC.
It seems as Flickr picks up the Image Description from the EXIF info, not in IPTC. I will have to do some tests and see what it picks up where, so it can auto name and describe and add tags for me when I load to flickr.

Photo Mechanic looks nice, but $150 for full version…
Im just testing ExifToolGUI, a GUI for the command based ExifTool.

Its free and it will edit Exif Iptc and XMP, copy etc.
Not sure about batch changes though yet

Seems Flickr picks up from IPTC

Caption Abstract – goes to the image description
object Name – goes to Title
keywords – goes to the tags
Country – goes to tags

Byline, Byline Title, Headline, Object Title – All appear in the more details page

From EXIF info

Image description is stored, shown in the More Details
User Comment stored in User Comment

So – that all seems to work!
now if I can get the batch naming from file sorted..

I could use IPTC for caption abstract, object name, keyword, author
And maybe store the original filename in the EXIF image description or user comment.

If only id done all this BEFORE adding like 300 new photos to flickr :( !!

By Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *