Read All Metadata Matters Blog Posts

Screenshot shows number added by Facebook to the Special Instructions field on a photo.
Facebook’s “hidden” metadata codes July 19, 2019

A nefarious metadata plot has been unearthed and news of it is streaking around the interwebs. An Australian law student named Edin Jusupovic was casually looking at photos downloaded from Facebook in a hex editor and tweeted about what he saw. 
And from there, as they say, the rest was history. When last I looked, Jusupovic’s tweet had been retweeted 16,637 times, there were nearly 2,000 mostly clueless replies to his thread, and no less a journalistic standard-bearer than Forbes had weighed in: “Facebook Embeds ‘Hidden Codes’ To Track Who Sees And Shares Your Photos”, cried their headline. Read more

Paper "metadata" displayed on a computer keyboard
If photos for the web have no metadata May 30, 2019

How do you deal with photos that come to you with no metadata? If you watched my videos on preparing images for the web, you may have noticed that I said that “I tried to make the demo images look halfway professional.” Most of them had embedded metadata, in other words. You may have cried foul. “None of my [insert adjective] clients ever send me pictures that are labeled in any way!”

We can deal with that. We can slap on some metadata. To our optimizing for the web process, we’ll just add a step to apply the metadata that should have already been there. But we’ll only add seconds to the amount of time it takes. We’ll invest some think/plan/learn time now (again) and the physical process will go by in a blink. Read more

Photo Mechanic 6 interface
Photo Mechanic version 6 released May 14, 2019

Camera Bits has released version 6 of Photo Mechanic. Version 5 was released way back in 2012. According to Camera Bits’ Director of Marketing Nick Orlowski (sp?), there have been 43 updates to Photo Mechanic 5 during its six-year run. Many of those updates introduced new or refined functionality.  Clearly, Camera Bits isn’t pestering their users for upgrade fees every time we turn around
Camera Bits has lowered the price of a full Photo Mechanic license by $11, to (USD) $123. The upgrade fee drops by a buck, to (USD) $89.
So, what’s new in this long-awaited new version of Photo Mechanic? I’ll go over some of the high points here. Read more

Illustration on using variables on Photo Mechanic to update copyright year
Photo Mechanic can update copyright year automatically January 17, 2019

Have you advanced the year in your copyright notice? As I write this, the new year is a couple of weeks old. That’s about when most photographers start to feel a slight gnawing feeling that maybe there might be something they’ve forgotten.

So, go increment your copyright year while it’s still early enough to pretend that you did it in time for your first assignment of the new year.

Users of Photo Mechanic don’t have to go through this copyright year nonsense. In Photo Mechanic, you can just put a variable in the copyright field in your template. The variable will fill in the copyright year when you apply your template. And you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Ever. Again. Read more

Screenshot of Google Images, showing copyright metadata.
Respect copyright metadata now December 11, 2018

Google has begun actively surfacing copyright metadata on Google Images. Now that the Copyright field itself is working, users can see all three of the IPTC fields Google promised a few weeks ago. What does this mean for website operators?

It means that, if you haven’t already, you should make sure your site respects metadata on images.

If you haven’t already, you should, ah… encourage your content contributors to put their names on their work. Read more

Screenshot Exif time data, showing a picture of an ibis
Check your camera’s clock November 4, 2018

Did you set the time on your camera’s clock back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard time this morning?

For those of us who live in the US, at two o’clock this morning time slipped back and we gained (temporarily) an hour of sleep.
Around lunchtime, I somehow remembered that I needed to change the time back on the clocks in my cameras. And I felt good about it in the way that you feel good about doing something that you know you should do religiously, but, well, you aren’t quite as diligent as you should be. Read more

Image Credits popup displayed on a news photo on Google Images
Using Google Images Image Credits October 12, 2018

On September 27, Google announced that it would include limited support for IPTC metadata in Google Images. Next to the gratuitous “Images may be subject to copyright” disclaimer, users may now find a link for “Image Credits” if that metadata exists in the photo. They can now see for sure who owns the picture. That is, if, the relevant metadata exists in the image file.

Google will now display to users, at least those who look, the contents of three copyright-related metadata fields – the IPTC Creator, Creditline, and Copyright fields. (The first two are operational now, the latter will be “in coming weeks.”)

This is a huge step forward for photographers. But “if” the metadata exists means we have to put it there.

This post is a HOW-TO for putting it there. Read more

Google's illustration of their new functionality
Google Images Adds Metadata Support September 27, 2018

Google Images will include copyright-related IPTC metadata   Google announced today that Google Image Search will support some IPTC metadata. In a blog post dated today, September 27, 2018, Google Images product manager Ashutosh Agarwal says that “Starting today, we’ve added Creator and Credit metadata whenever present to images on… Read more

XnView preview at 100%
Preparing images for the web in XnView August 24, 2018

You’re a web designer. An email full of images lands on your desktop with a thud. You experience a momentary euphoria. But euphoria slowly turns to dread as the prospect of actually dealing with those photos looms. In this HOW-TO post, we’ll lay out a workflow that gives you the tools you’ll need to bring order to the mess, be duly diligent about rights and licenses, automate the drudgery of optimizing images, and it’ll be dead fast. Read more

The real Statue of Liberty and the stamp, which shows a replica
Post Office Statue Snafu Redux July 11, 2018

There is a metadata angle to this story. We’ll get to that. But first, let’s vent about the outrage. Outrages. Multiple outrages. There is so much that is so wrong here.

Our tale begins as the Post Office, best known in some circles for delivering letters, and in others for infringing sculptors’ copyrights, begins production for a “Forever” stamp to be issued in late 2010. They wanted to do a Statue of Liberty stamp. They hired an image research consultant to scour stock agencies for a photo of the great statue.

Stock agencies?!!!!! Stock?! Why on earth would the Post Office use a stock photo of an iconic statue Read more

GDPR infopraphic
GDPR Update May 25, 2018

Today – May 25, 2018 – the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect.

The GDPR is a 200-page law designed to protect internet users from spam and abuse at the hands of websites and services that use or store data on individual users. It applies to any website that does business with people who live in the European Union. Which means every website in the world. Including this one.

I’m posting this GDPR update to let you know that I take your data and security seriously. And, for that matter, to let you know how much I appreciate the time you spend on this site. Read more

A De Havilland Otter on floats
Creative Commons needs metadata May 16, 2018

In this post, we’ll talk mostly about the considerations and decisions that must be made to get ready for labeling our works under Creative Commons.  Once you have a plan in place and some templates made, the actual workflow process is quick and easy. Read more

Screenshot of sharing gallery
Linking back to original Creative Commons pictures May 16, 2018

The Creative Commons licenses require – as long as it is “reasonable” – provision of a link back to the original work. For photographers, that means a link to an “original” file. In this post, we look at what kind of file to host and how to host it. Read more

Brendan Quinn headshot as seen in a metadata editing application.
IPTC names new managing director April 30, 2018

The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) has named Brendan Quinn as its new managing director.
Quinn joins the IPTC with two decades of experience in managing technology for media companies. In June 2018, he will succeed Michael Steidl, who will retire this summer after 15 years with the organisation. IPTC made the announcement today at their Spring Meeting in Athens. Read more

Pile of S.A. Rand banknotes
2.1 Billion Rand copyright suit March 15, 2018

A South African photographer is suing an agency of the South African government for copyright infringement. He is seeking a breath-taking 2.1 B-i-l-l-i-o-n Rand in damages. (I’m sorry. I can’t even type that number with a steady hand.) That’s north of $180,000,000 in US dollars.

So, how did this happen?

“I attach a photo you can use.”  is how. Read more

New IPTC viewer
New IPTC Tool Reveals Out-Of-Sync Metadata February 27, 2018

A newly-released application can add metadata viewing functionality to websites and web apps, or even on a local computer. IPTC Managing Director Michael Steidl wrote the program, Get IPTC PMD. The application, as configured for a test system, here, can display whether or not metadata is in sync between the three data blocks where IPTC data can live in your files.

Read more

Screenshot of Drupal site with image
Preserving Metadata in Drupal with ImageMagick February 16, 2018

So you run a website and you read my post about the Jessica Simpson lawsuit and destruction of copyright management information. Now you’re thinking about how not destroying metadata would help, well, everybody. True enough. You can protect your contributors, reduce pollution on the web, make assets easier to manage and, just maybe, prevent a nasty lawsuit by preserving metadata (and CMI). Read more

Copyright notice in watermark on Simpson photo
Jessica Simpson sued over Copyright Management Information February 5, 2018

A photo agency has sued clothing mogul and former pop singer Jessica Simpson for copyright infringement and, of more interest to the readers of this blog, removal of copyright management information (CMI). Photo agency Splash News alleges in a lawsuit filed in federal court in the central district of California on January 23 of this year that Simpson posted on Instagram, and later Twitter, a photo owned by the agency. Read more

Structured Keywords panel in Photo Mechanic allows hierarchical keywording
Keywording in Photo Mechanic Part 2 January 29, 2018

This post is Part 2 of our HOW-TO for keywording in Photo Mechanic. (See Part 1 here.) In this installment, we explore hierarchical keywording, or “Structured Keywording” as Photo Mechanic calls it. Hierarchical keywording allows us to add all the keywords along a hierarchical path by double-clicking on a single keyword, which we will find in a, yes, hierarchical organization.

Not only does hierarchical/Structured keywording allow us to quickly apply keywords, it also allows those of us who need giant keyword vocabularies to manage big keyword lists without any major loss of sanity. Read more

Keywording in Photo Mechanic
Keywording in Photo Mechanic Part 1 January 22, 2018

require([“mojo/signup-forms/Loader”], function(L) { L.start({“baseUrl”:””,”uuid”:”9e4930d98c239436da5a6409b”,”lid”:”45c8348710″}) }) Photo Mechanic is a powerful keywording tool; we’ll learn how in two HOW-Tos Now that we have a plan in place for our keywording strategy (see this post), we can dive in and actually keyword some pictures. This post is the first of two HOW-TOs on… Read more

Photo illustration showing keyword cloud
Keywording – Considerations Before you Start January 10, 2018

What are keywords? Why do you want them? Why is there air? Keywording is probably the trickiest wicket in the whole metadata game. Your keywording regime requires more forethought than most any other component of your workflow.

A good keywording approach depends heavily on a specific understanding of your collection, your searching needs, and the capabilities of your archive system.

There are lots of shades of gray here. Keywording can be controversial. Read more

search illustration
New search engine and Boolean primer January 5, 2018

require([“mojo/signup-forms/Loader”], function(L) { L.start({“baseUrl”:””,”uuid”:”9e4930d98c239436da5a6409b”,”lid”:”45c8348710″}) }) This just in – site search Looking for something? I just added a search engine to this blog. If, say, you’re interested in using ExifTool to work with GPS data, you can now search exiftool gps, instead of reading through every post. (ExifTool and GPS… Read more

Which IPTC field need individual attention? Which are filled by the template? And which can we ignore?
Photo Metadata – Which Fields, Which Files December 4, 2017

Which IPTC metadata fields do you need to fill out for each of your pictures? Which ones do you take care of with your template? Do you need to add metadata to all your photos, or just a subset? Enquiring minds want to know. Read more

Google Vision returned correct, if not terribly useful, tags for the test iamge.
Is AI image recognition useful yet? November 7, 2017

Users discover that their iPhones are using AI image recognition technology to tag their pictures. Of their underwear. Gasp! A ripple on the internet ensues. But for real, can machine learning image recognition be useful? After some snarkiness, we take a look. Read more

Lord Kitchener - wants you to mind your metadata
The Ask September 11, 2017

require([“mojo/signup-forms/Loader”], function(L) { L.start({“baseUrl”:””,”uuid”:”9e4930d98c239436da5a6409b”,”lid”:”45c8348710″}) }) OK. So what, exactly, is it that I want you to do about this metadata thing? If you give birth to photographs – label them properly with a caption, copyright notice, and some contact information before you send them out into the world. If you… Read more

Jeffery Friedl's Image Metadata Viewer
Online metadata viewer survey September 4, 2017

You can use web-based tools to view metadata on photos. While I doubt that’s earth-shattering news to any of you, a quick Google search on the subject returns breathless posts. “OMG! There’s metadata! Look! See!.”  Granted, we have a lot of educating to do if we are to improve the environment in which photos must live online, but it’s a bit over the top. Let’s exhale and see what, if any useful resources we can find here. Read more

Support the Embedded Metadata Manifesto September 1, 2017

What is the Embedded Metadata Manifesto? is an effort of the IPTC. I used to have an icon in my footer that linked to their manifesto, at (It’s not a link. Copy and paste it into a browser.) I upgraded this site to secure all its traffic with… Read more

Your metadata may be stored in multiple places in your media file. We took a deep dive to find out wh
XMP, IPTC/IIM, or Exif; which is preferred? August 28, 2017

Which instance of the IPTC metadata does your favorite application prefer? Inquiring minds want to know.

Let’s step back for a moment for some background. Because all things that should be dead simple usually aren’t, the IPTC metadata –  important information like the caption, your byline, and copyright notice –  is stored in multiple places in your file. Read more

dickpiclocator screen capture
Do you need the dick pics locator? August 18, 2017

New website tells where dick pics come from; it’s all about metadata

Dick pics. Film at eleven. This week’s internet’s social, er, upheaval has it all. Bad puns. Check. Click bait. Check. Moral outrage. Check. (I guess.) Metadata. Check. Wait. Metadata? Read more

Caption field in Photo Mechsnic
Automatic captions in WordPress August 16, 2017

If you have captions on your photos, WordPress will place them on your page (or post) along with the pictures. If the details in the caption were correct when the photographer – you or whomever –  originally captioned the picture, they’ll be correct on your site. That means less chance to make an error. (And less room for excuses if you do.) Read more

XnView is a powerful photo browser
XnView metadata How-To August 7, 2017

Considering its power and low cost, XnView is a must-have. XnView is a photo browsing/editing/metadata tool. It operates in a files and folders environment, like Photo Mechanic, and unlike Adobe Lightroom. It’s available at a price that suggests that there’s no reason not to have a good tool for working with metadata. Read more

Old family photo
A meditation on the caption July 31, 2017

Captions connect pictures to the world. That connection between an image and its subjects, time and place (and its author, too) gives a photo the power to endure. Join your Aunt Louise as we explore the power of the caption. Read more

You'll need FTP access for this to work.
WordPress Metadata Workaround July 26, 2017

Replace stripped-away metadata on your WordPress server with this quick workaround  If your WordPress hosting provider makes ImageMagick available for your site, that’s good news. It’s good news for metadata. It’s good news for image optimization. It’s just a great day all around. But what if you’re stuck with GD?… Read more

Resized images
WordPress honors metadata, sort of July 21, 2017

Enable ImageMagick on your server and your WordPress site will be metadata-friendly The good news: WordPress, by far the most popular content management system on the web, supports embedded metadata. The bad news: Well, not always. But we can fix that.   If you import a photo into WordPress that… Read more

MAMP webstart page
Using ImageMagick on MAMP July 21, 2017

It’s a quick task to set up your desktop WordPress server to run ImageMagick Recent versions of the local desktop WordPress server MAMP come with ImageMagick already installed. If you want to check out ImageMagick on a locally-hosted test site, enabling ImageMagick on MAMP is a one-keystroke process. (Granted, you… Read more

Photo Mechanic's Copy Options dialog
Metadata in Photo Mechanic How-To July 14, 2017

Photo Mechanic is a powerful metadata editing tool Photo Mechanic is the high-power tool of metadata editing and photo selection. If you’re a woodworker, it would be the Festool track saw. If you’re a photographer, the Nikon D5 or Canon EOS 1D would pop to mind. While it’s not expensive… Read more

Screenshot of metadata in text editor
Metadata. What is it? July 6, 2017

A mini-glossary post…….Labels. Most definitions of metadata start by saying that “‘metadata’ literally means ‘data about data.” In a technical, database-y kind of way, that’s exactly true. But for us it’s labels. We’re talking about behind-the-scenes labels attached to digital content assets. Read more

A portion of the Photoshop history for Emmanuel Macron's official portrait.
Macron portrait meta-mess July 5, 2017

Last week’s release of new French president Emmanuel Macron’s official portrait, by photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière, caused a stir on Twitter.  Metadata on the version of the photo released on the government’s website revealed that somebody had the picture open in Photoshop for some fifteen hours. But vital information was left off the photo. Read more

Metadata is really just labels.
Metadata helps marketers June 26, 2017

It’s about labels. Labeling digital assets, particularly pictures. Digital image files have places to put labels – labels about what’s shown in the image, who owns the image, who made the image, what you can do with the image, that sort of thing. In the old days, people put this kind of stuff on the backs of prints with a rubber stamp and pencil. Read more

Import and Export templates
Import and Export Metadata Templates June 21, 2017

Move metadata templates between Photo Mechanic, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, and XnView   In this post, we’ll learn how to import, export and exchange metadata templates between Photo Mechanic, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, and XnView. We can easily import and export metadata templates to and from… Read more

IPTC Metadata in Adobe Lightroom June 15, 2017

Lightoom has powerful metadata authoring features Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular photo editing applications on the market. Lightroom differs from some of the other applications we’re going to talk about both in scope and function. Lightroom is a big, sprawling program. It is used to edit photos,… Read more

IPTC fields guide
Guide to Photo Metadata Fields June 5, 2017

Which IPTC fields are we really concerned about? And what do the fields mean? If you peruse the photo at the top of this page, you’ll see that some of the field labels are pretty opaque. We’ll see which ones we will need to fuss with picture-by-picture, which ones we fill in our template just once, and which we can safely ignore. Read more

IPTC metadata on a photo
Why webmasters should love metadata May 26, 2017

Webmasters — metadata is your friend. Respect it. We should be able to look at a photo, or another digital asset, and see for sure who owns the copyright, how to credit the photographer, and what the heck is going on in the picture. It’s one thing that the client… Read more

Old time metadata on news photo from the 80's
Metadata Protects Photographers’ Work May 25, 2017

 Put a copyright notice and caption on every photo! Once upon a time…. photographs were physical prints. “8×10 glossy” was a then-pop-culture buzzword. People usually/often/hopefully wrote notes on the prints about who or what was in the picture, who made the picture and when. If you looked at that picture… Read more

A beautiful picture without metadata
Join our metadata movement May 24, 2017

Welcome! This blog will focus on using embedded metadata to help photographers and other content creators protect their work and make it more valuable. We’ll talk about how website operators can do their part and help protect themselves from copyright problems, simplify their workflow and make their sites more authoritative.… Read more

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