Adding IPTC Data in Photoshop

by | Tutorials


There has been a lot of talk in the photographic industry recently about the use of “orphan” images for profit, images which have no details on the originator/owner, and trying to prove that an image is owned by you.

So what can you do to prevent your images being claimed as an orphan image?

Well you can ensure all your images include IPTC data, as discussed below, OR you add watermarks or change the look of your original image.

Most digital photo software can display EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) information to the user. The metadata captured by your camera provides information about the camera that took the image, the camera settings and lens used etc, however, it will not contain any information about the photographer and it’s not usually editable.

There are other types of metadata that allow users to add their own descriptive information within a digital photo or image file. This metadata might include the characteristics of the photo, copyright information, a caption, credits, keywords, creation date and location, source information, or special instructions. Two of the most commonly used metadata formats for image files are IPTC and XMP. The information can be transported within the file, in a way that can be understood by other software, hardware, and end users. It can even be transferred between file formats.

In software programs such as LightRoom and Bridge, the IPTC/XMP data can be imported automatically through a saved preset.

But what if you are like me and regularly make composition images from scratch in Photoshop you will find the process of filling out the metadata fields for a number of images to be very repetitive, even tedious, and will soon say to yourself: “There has got to be a better way!”

Well actually, yes there is 🙂

Adding IPTC Data:

First you need to create a metadata template

1. Start with a fresh, new document in any Adobe Creative Suite application, here I am using Photoshop.

2. Locate the File Info option under the File menu and enter the information you want in the template.

3. Save the template by clicking on the downward-pointing arrow beside the Import/Export button in the bottom right of the File Info dialogue, choose Export from the resulting menu, give it a memorable name and choose Save.

4. Cancel File Info.

5. Discard the new document.

To apply the template to a single image

1. Open a file and select File Info from the File menu.

2. Select the template you want to use by using the downward-pointing black arrow beside the Import button, and select Import from the resulting pop-up menu. Another dialogue box will appear asking whether you want to “Clear existing properties and replace with template properties;” “Keep original metadata, but replace matching properties from template;” or “Keep original metadata, but append matching properties from template.” Make the appropriate choice for your situation. It is at this point that you can make any changes to the keywords etc

3. Apply the template.

The information is now permanently stored within your image.

I’ll just have to remember to insert the data when creating a new image now!!


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