Lightroom: Add your IPTC metadata on Import

0Comments

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_opener.jpg

Most of us have heard of IPTC metadata but not everyone knows what it is, whether it is important to them or how to add it to their photos. In this post I’ll cover some of the basics of adding personal information about you as photographer as IPTC metadata to your images. I won’t be talking about image specific metadata such as keywording or captions – that’s a topic all of its own – this post is limited to things like your name, copyright status and so on – the type of information that doesn’t change from image to image.

What is all the fuss about?

The IPTC or International Press Telecommunications Council (www.iptc.org) develops industry standards for interchange of news data. It publishes standards for adding to a photograph certain data about who took it, what it is about and its copyright status among other things. This data is stored inside the image as IPTC Photo Metadata and it was originally developed for use by photojournalists. Nowadays many photographers add this to their images on a routine basis and many more probably would if they knew how to do it and why it is important to do so!

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_1.jpg

The primary reason to add personal details to your images is so that anyone locating that image somewhere on the web can determine who owns copyright in the image and what they can do with it. If the image is copyrighted the metadata can show this and give the finder the information they need to contact you if they would like to get permission to use your photo. Alternately if you prefer to apply a Creative Commons Licence to your work you would state this so that anyone can easily determine what they are licensed to do with the image. Without this data it could be difficult if not impossible for someone to locate the owner of an image. It is also one way to alert people to the fact that this image belongs to you.

Where does the information go?

The information added to the image is added inside the file – it doesn’t appear on the image itself so no one will notice any difference in the way the image looks. It is visible only by using a program which can read metadata. These days, most photo editing programs can do this – for example, the Metadata panel in the Library module in Lightroom shows the metadata in your images and it can also be used to add metadata to your images.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_2.jpg

You can also add metadata to your images as you import them into Lightroom. The Apply During Import panel’s Metadata option not only lets you create a metadata preset but also to use it to add metadata to your images as you import them.

Add metadata on import

Before you can add metadata to your images it’s best to create a metadata preset with all the details that you need to apply to a typical image – this saves you having to type it afresh for each image. To create a preset, choose File > Import Photos and open the Apply During Import panel. From the Metadata drop down list choose New and type a name for your preset.

Completing the fields

Many of the fields in the panel are fields which relate to an individual image such as Label, Caption and Subject information. You won’t complete these fields in your preset – they’ll need to be added on an image by image basis as each image is usually different. The fields you can complete are in the IPTC Copyright and IPTC Creator Information sections.

Typically in the IPTC Copyright field you will type your copyright text – I type © 2011, Helen Bradley, All Rights Reserved. To get the copyright symbol hold Alt on the Windows keyboard and type out 0169 on the numbers keypad.

In the Copyright Status box choose Copyrighted.

In the Rights Usage Terms field you will explain how the image can be used – for example type no reproduction without prior permission.

Copyright Info URL is a field which is not recognized by a lot of other programs – you can complete it but you should be aware of this.

The IPTC Creator section is where you add your details including your name, address, email address, website and so on. If you have multiple email addresses or websites – separate them with commas.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_3.jpg

Some other fields you may complete are in the IPTC Status and in the IPTC Extension Administrative sections and are Credit Line which shows how you should be credited when the image is used – for example Helen Bradley Photography.

In the Source field you can add your name as copyright holder.

In the Digital Source Field you would typically select Original digital capture of a real life scene for a photo taken with a digital camera.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_4.jpg

Stripping metadata from an image

You should note that any field that has a checkmark to its right will be added to the image when you apply metadata to it.

For this reason, it’s important that you don’t check any field that is blank or that empty field will be added to the image overwriting any metadata that is already in the image in that particular field when applied.

That said, in some cases you may want to strip the IPTC metadata from an image. In this case you could create a preset that had nothing in it but every checkbox checked. This would then overwrite any corresponding data in those fields in the image’s metadata with ‘nothing’ effectively stripping that metadata from the image.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_5.jpg

Save and apply a metadata preset

When you’ve finished creating your preset, click Create to create it. If you are editing a preset you will choose Update Preset from the Preset dropdown list at the top of this dialog. Click Done to exit the dialog.

You can apply the metadata preset to images as you import them by making sure that the preset is selected in the Metadata box in the Apply During Import panel.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_6.jpg

You can also apply a metadata preset that you’ve created to any image by viewing that image in the Library and from the Metadata panel select the preset to apply to the image. If you are in Grid view (press G) then you can select multiple images and apply metadata to them all at once.

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_7.jpg

More information

The topic of IPTC Metadata is big and understanding it can be very overwhelming. I’ve tried to give you a simple approach that will work for most amateur and hobbyist photographers in most cases.

There are some good resources online and some I like for their ability to explain what the fields mean include these pdfs:

This is a 22 page pdf that contains a lot of useful information on interpreting what the field names mean and what goes in them and has some examples – http://www.iptc.org/std/Iptc4xmpCore/1.0/documentation/Iptc4xmpCore_1.0-doc-CpanelsUserGuide_13.pdf

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_8.jpg

This 40 page pdf guide has a lot of information specific to Photoshop CS5 (and by extension is relevant to Lightroom users) and is more recent than the previous guide – http://www.iptc.org/std/photometadata/documentation/IPTC-CS5-FileInfo-UserGuide_6.pdf

iptc_metadata_in_lightroom_9.jpg

This webpage has a set of sample IPTC fields in a table – scroll down to find them – http://www.controlledvocabulary.com/imagedatabases/iptc_naa.html

Read more from our Post Production category

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • really helpful article, thanks for sharing!

  • This is extremely helpful. I had no idea this could be done. So, from now on…

  • I always add IPTC Metadata as one of my work flow. I’m just curious, Does this metadata can be wiped by someone else? or is it hardwritten to the image? For example if someone steals ‘our’ work, can they wipe its metadata and change it to their information?

    if they can, whats the use of this IPTC?

  • @Reimon Yes the data can be stripped – in fact I show you in this article how to create a Metadata template to do just that.

    So, metadata is of no value against some one who steals your work – however, it does help honest people understand who owns the work and what rights they do or do not have to use your work.

    Helen

  • Luis Matias

    Really helpful article
    In the last month I started to import my photos to Lightroom adding IPTC data (with presets). To learn IPTC I did some Google searches for IPTC on photography and got some of the sites/documents you refer but not all of them.
    One problem I have is to manage variable IPTC data like location (variable but not much since you can aplly the same data to a large group of images). If you import a set of photos that were done in the same country but in diferent places, you can use one preset with fixed IPTC copyright/creator data but what do you do for places?
    You gived me a clue in your “Strip all metadata” preset text. Can we have a metada preset called Location with variable data that we adapt in each import only the location fields activated?
    After import how can I add another IPTC data preset to a group of photos (not individually)?

  • Marcos

    Really useful information. Thanks for sharing.

    I was curious: any suggestions for how to fill out private information such as contact address without compromising your privacy/identity?

    I’m just an amateur photographer that would like to share/post my pictures and still clearly retain my rights. I also don’t want my contact information floating around more readily than it already is.

    For my domain names, I can sign up for proxy-like services that protects my actual contact information. Is there a similar service for IPTC contact information?

  • Extremely usefull information, will look inside LR to start using this from now on. in order to let honest photographers know precisely who is the owner of my pictures.

  • Andy

    Great article. Really, really useful. Thanks

  • I use Photoshop Elements when first downloading from the camera card and then do any finishing off in Photoshop. Is there a way to do this metadata in PSE? I couldn’t find a way to do it, other than by individual photo. And when you’re downloading 100 or more at a time that’s going to be time intensive.

  • I see now..
    its so sad some people just couldnt respect other’s works (use our photos without permission or even worse, acknowledge as their work). I wish someday we can see some permanet IPTC in our images 😀
    Thank you for your kind explanation Helen. Wish u all the best.

  • Is there any way to create a metadata preset and then share it with ither photographers? I have an event where I want all my photogs to have the same IPTC info because they are shooting for me. Sharing would make more sense than recreating the metadata on each machine. thanks…

  • Larry Richey

    Thank you, this is very helpful information.

  • Christine

    Hello Helen, I’m a newspaper journalist and recently our computers got Lightroom 5.6 and no more photoshop. I’m finding Lightroom overly complicated and not really suited for journalists on deadline.
    I keep having problems adding IPTC metadata. I got a preset to work as you describe above to add my credit line info upon import. But often I then want to sync metadata to add general caption info for multiple photos at the same time, That also works. But then I can’t get the sync to go off when I want to add further caption info to just one photo in the group. What am I doing wrong? how do I turn off sync metadata?

  • Helen Bradley

    Christine – how did you turn on the sync metadata option? Is the problem occurring because you still have multiple photos selected I wonder. See if selecting only the one image at a time disables this option? You may want to check out this post of mine on selected and most selected images: https://digital-photography-school.com/lightroom%E2%80%99s-selected-and-most-selected-images/

  • Catherine Lacey Dodd

    Thank you!

  • Henry

    Thanks for this. I was just looking to update my 2016 preset, and this information was helpful. Cheers! 🙂

  • Abu Nudnik

    I don’t have a lot of those fields in my LR 4. After re-setting computer, I can’t remember how I automatically added by copyright to import. Still can’t, even after reading.

  • Jose84254Pandy

    I was looking for a form a few days ago and came across a document management site that has a lot of fillable forms . If you require it too , here’s a http://goo.gl/nhXFMz

  • tonyc0101

    Thank you SO much for this…certainly answers a lot of questions 🙂

  • Singleton Makin

    Thank you for the post this educated me quickly and reminded me of things I had forgotten. You also are kind to leave links to the 40page document…..

Some Older Comments

  • JohnDawg August 28, 2013 11:08 pm

    Is there any way to create a metadata preset and then share it with ither photographers? I have an event where I want all my photogs to have the same IPTC info because they are shooting for me. Sharing would make more sense than recreating the metadata on each machine. thanks...

  • Reimon Andisuwa May 31, 2011 01:45 pm

    I see now..
    its so sad some people just couldnt respect other's works (use our photos without permission or even worse, acknowledge as their work). I wish someday we can see some permanet IPTC in our images :D
    Thank you for your kind explanation Helen. Wish u all the best.

  • Kathie M Thomas May 31, 2011 08:20 am

    I use Photoshop Elements when first downloading from the camera card and then do any finishing off in Photoshop. Is there a way to do this metadata in PSE? I couldn't find a way to do it, other than by individual photo. And when you're downloading 100 or more at a time that's going to be time intensive.

  • Andy May 31, 2011 08:01 am

    Great article. Really, really useful. Thanks

  • Serge May 31, 2011 05:45 am

    Extremely usefull information, will look inside LR to start using this from now on. in order to let honest photographers know precisely who is the owner of my pictures.

  • Marcos May 31, 2011 01:53 am

    Really useful information. Thanks for sharing.

    I was curious: any suggestions for how to fill out private information such as contact address without compromising your privacy/identity?

    I'm just an amateur photographer that would like to share/post my pictures and still clearly retain my rights. I also don't want my contact information floating around more readily than it already is.

    For my domain names, I can sign up for proxy-like services that protects my actual contact information. Is there a similar service for IPTC contact information?

  • Luis Matias May 31, 2011 01:38 am

    Really helpful article
    In the last month I started to import my photos to Lightroom adding IPTC data (with presets). To learn IPTC I did some Google searches for IPTC on photography and got some of the sites/documents you refer but not all of them.
    One problem I have is to manage variable IPTC data like location (variable but not much since you can aplly the same data to a large group of images). If you import a set of photos that were done in the same country but in diferent places, you can use one preset with fixed IPTC copyright/creator data but what do you do for places?
    You gived me a clue in your "Strip all metadata" preset text. Can we have a metada preset called Location with variable data that we adapt in each import only the location fields activated?
    After import how can I add another IPTC data preset to a group of photos (not individually)?

  • Helen Bradley May 31, 2011 01:31 am

    @Reimon Yes the data can be stripped - in fact I show you in this article how to create a Metadata template to do just that.

    So, metadata is of no value against some one who steals your work - however, it does help honest people understand who owns the work and what rights they do or do not have to use your work.

    Helen

  • Reimon Andisuwa May 30, 2011 10:03 pm

    I always add IPTC Metadata as one of my work flow. I'm just curious, Does this metadata can be wiped by someone else? or is it hardwritten to the image? For example if someone steals 'our' work, can they wipe its metadata and change it to their information?

    if they can, whats the use of this IPTC?

  • SJCT May 30, 2011 02:27 pm

    This is extremely helpful. I had no idea this could be done. So, from now on...

  • matabum, MaP blog May 30, 2011 08:33 am

    really helpful article, thanks for sharing!

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!


DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed