After audio files, we arrive at photos. At a time when people can feasibly keep thousands of photos on their phone, it becomes ever-so-important to make sure you know what-was-taken-when-and-where. (And, just as importantly, who took the photo, and does that person own the rights to it?)
Learning about photo metadata could be ugly, but fortunately, there a number of great web sites and advocacy groups spreading the word about embedding metadata in your photos. PhotoMetadata.org -- a joint project between the Stock Artists Alliance and the Library of Congress -- offers free tutorials (in web content, PDFs, or videos) for embedding metadata using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, Camera Bits Photo Mechanic and Microsoft Expression Media. As PhotoMetadata.org points out, JPEG, TIFF, Photoshop, and Raw file formats can include several types of metadata in the same file: IPTC-IIM, IPTC Core & Extension, PLUS, Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP), Exif, Dublin Core, and so on. Eager-beaver readers can learn about each of these in greater detail by going through the Guidelines for Handling Image Metadata, published by the Metadata Working Group.
The rest of you, shuddering at the idea of reading the 70-page guidelines, are probably asking for us to recommend a schema. The American Society of Media Photographers says IPTC Core and Extension (originally designed by the International Press Telecommunications Council) is the baseline schema used by image editing and cataloging software to describe the content and ownership of the pictures; the latest version of the schema was released in 2014.
So what do you record? Honestly, that’s up to you. The IPTC and IPTC Extension fields provide an embarrassment of photo metadata -- so much that it might be overwhelming. As we’ve said previously, your best bet will be to select the most pertinent chunks of metadata and apply them consistently throughout all of your photos.
Embedded Boogaloo will wrap-up later this week with PDF metadata and some advanced editing techniques. Stay tuned.