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In Bridge CS5, I've been updating my photos' metadata and IPTC fields. There are a lot of fields available...How much of them do you typically fill out? I can tell I'd at least want to put in my name, and the location of the photo along with keywords, but I'm not sure how far to go. For example, should I bother filling in the creator contact information?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 12 down vote accepted

In addition to the obvious things like keywords, I use a metadata preset in Lightroom to automatically add my name, contact information, website URL, and copyright information to every photo as it is imported.

Proving copyright infringement is significantly easier if you have contact info in the metadata, since most infringers aren't savvy enough to remove it.

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1  
+1 for copyright info. For that, make sure it makes its way into the EXIF of your output JPEGs. –  Reid Jul 18 '10 at 2:41
1  
A good point. I just found the metadata template feature in Bridge. I used to be adding the metadata after import, now I can do it up front! –  Grant Palin Jul 18 '10 at 5:22
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An even better suggestion I picked up from Ken Rockwell for Nikon cameras is to use the camera's well hidden option to add some custom metadata with your name. He suggests this for proving that a stolen camera is yours, especially in some random 3rd world country. See kenrockwell.com/nikon/d5000/users-guide/menus-setup.htm#secret for how to do this on a D5000. –  Josh Goldshlag Jul 19 '10 at 16:09
    
@Josh Goldshlag That's a neat feature, I didn't know cameras could do that. I'll have to see if mine has such capability. –  Grant Palin Jul 21 '10 at 17:14

I've set my camera to automatically add my name and website URL to every photo I shoot. This can be done using supplied software at least on Canon DSLRs.

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Besides the standard stuff, like keywords and copyright info, I try to give most of my work that I "pick" or "flag" as much detailed information as I can. The more information you supply on your images, the more information you have to find your work later on. Tooks like Lightroom and Aperture offer some very rich search capabilities, which makes working with huge libraries (or catalogs) of images much easier.

Here are some of the things I tend to add:

  • Copyright Info:
    • Year copyrighted
    • Usage terms
    • (A URL is also possible, in case you wish to link your a copyright/license.)
  • Detailed Photo Info
    • Title
    • Description/caption
  • IPTC Metadata:
    • Category(s)
    • genre
    • scene, location
  • Contact Info
    • Creator
    • State
    • Country
    • Phone
    • Email

There are plenty of other metadata values, and I don't use even half of them all. Much of the info I have configured in Lightroom presets, so if its standard stuff, I never actually fill it in manually. Most of the time, I add the IPTC metadata, title, and caption, while the rest is added automatically on import. Every so often I have to update a preset (i.e. January of a new year, I change the copyright year.)

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short answer: I never feel I add enough. there are always keywords and etc I feel I should add, but I don't except on my absolutely best images.

But I do the same as jrista; all of my images have that data in it, most of it added via a standard default in Lightroom. I also geocode all of my images, at least to a location that can get me back to where the shot came from (at the least, say, a parking lot in the area so I can always get back there)

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Contact information should, of course, be added. But the questions I always aim to answer by entering metadata: who, what, and where. That typically translates to tagging the people in a photo, the activity/event, and the location. With those basics covered I can typically find anything I want at a later time.

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