About Metadata

Filed in Helpful Hints, Tutorials by on October 5, 2016 0 Comments

Below you will find a collection of tutorials about photo metadata including definitions, recommendations, how-to videos, etc.  Over time various pertinent applications will be addressed.   Such as Lightroom, MAC OS finder, Windows File Explorer, Photoshop, etc.

Metadata Glossary of Terms:

Metadata-   information that is held as a description of stored data (data about data)

Example:   A digital image is stored data.   Metadata provides descriptive information about the digital image.

Example:   In a traditional book library.  The books are the “stored data” and the card catalog is the metadata.

Standard types of Photo Metadata: (Much source material from Wikipedia)


Exchangeable image file format (officially Exif, according to JEIDA/JEITA/CIPA specifications) is a standard that specifies the formats for images, sound, and ancillary tags used by digital cameras (including smartphones),scanners and other systems handling image and sound files recorded by digital cameras.  Exif data is usually embedded in the photo file, including JPEG and TIFF standard formats as well as DNG (Adobe Digital Negative) and camera manufacture RAW formats.  (Nikon – NEF, Canon – CRW, CR2, Sony – ARW, Olympus – ORF, Pentax PEF, Panasonic – RW2)

Exif data includes basic exposure info for the image (Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, and more depending on the sophistication of the camera.


The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), based in London, United Kingdom, is a consortium of the world’s major news agencies, other news providers and news industry vendors and acts as the global standards body of the news media.

The IPTC defined a set of metadata properties that can be applied to images, part of a broader standard developed in the early 1990s and known as the IPTC Information Interchange Model (IIM). Embedded IIM image information is often referred to as an “IPTC header”. This basic set of metadata fields is branded asIPTC Core, in 2008 a second set branded as IPTC Extension was developed.

IPTC data is oriented to image administrative management and copyright protection.

This is the location for storing copyright and artist information about your images.



The Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is an ISO standard, originally created by Adobe Systems Inc., for the creation, processing and interchange of standardized and custom metadata for digital documents and data sets.

XMP standardizes a data model, a serialization format and core properties for the definition and processing of extensiblemetadata. It also provides guidelines for embedding XMP information into popular image, video and document file formats, such as JPEG and PDF, without breaking their readability by applications that do not support XMP. Therefore, the non-XMP metadata have to be reconciled with the XMP properties. Although metadata can alternatively be stored in a sidecar file, embedding metadata avoids problems that occur when metadata are stored separately.


Digital Negative (DNG) is a patented, open, non-free lossless raw image format written by Adobe used for digital photography. It was launched on September 27, 2004.[1] The launch was accompanied by the first version of the DNG specification,[2] plus various products, including a free-of-charge DNG converter utility. All Adobe photo manipulation software (such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom) released since the launch supports DNG.[3]

DNG is based on the TIFF/EP standard format, and mandates significant use of metadata. Use of the file format is royalty-free; Adobe has published a license allowing anyone to exploit DNG,[4] and has also stated that there are no known intellectual property encumbrances or license requirements for DNG.[5] Adobe stated that if there were a consensus that DNG should be controlled by a standards body, they were open to the idea.[6] Adobe has submitted DNG to ISO for incorporation into their revision of TIFF/EP.[7]

Metadata Lightroom Screen Shots

Exif Sample



IPTC Sample




The following 14 minute YouTube video presents some basics about managing metadata in Lightroom.  It specifically addresses copyrights and keywords.   All is presented in an easy to understand and informal style.  Benefits of saving copyright info in your image metadata are presented.   Software featured in this video are Lightroom and Metapica.com (an online free metadata reader)  Credit:  Phlearn, Aaron Nace



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