Comments in image files

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a real
    help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help me once
    more.

    I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
    looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
    pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
    that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
    Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
    available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows" fields
    don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are something
    completely different.

    All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
    included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason I am
    not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a separate
    file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image file was moved.
    I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS other than Windows.

    My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields and
    find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with IPTC for
    all this?

    Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
    gratefully sought.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #1
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  2. >> My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
    >> and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
    >> IPTC for all this?

    >
    > I would avoid anything that does not tag the image file itself. I'm not
    > familliar with what windows does, but if it is external to the image
    > itself, then it means less portability (losing your additional data
    > accidentally or through incompatibility) as well as hide bounding you to
    > Windows if you don't want to lose all that extra data.
    >
    > In Finder, (Max OS X), I can enter any keyword that was entered in the
    > IPTC keyword record and the finder will cough it up in a heartbeat. (no
    > silly wagging tail dogs, it is frickin fast). Filenames too; as well as
    > most text data withing a file.
    >
    > Other tools will also search the IPTC records, including Adobe Lightroom,
    > Apple Aperture and so on.


    Thanks Alan, that's a very good point. I opened a jpg in Notepad and
    actually found what looks like the Windows fields embedded within the file.
    Then I moved it away from it's location and checked it in Photome. The data
    still showed up, but when I returned it to its original place Photome no
    longer showed it as embedded. But the original program (MS Digital Image
    2006) still displayed it. So results seem a little contradictory at best. I
    can't find any external file that sound be storing the data either.

    I think I will stick with IPTC as you suggest. MS have a nasty habit of
    changing things sometimes without warning. Witness the abandoning of Windows
    Mail in Vista, along with its contacts in favour of Live Mail etc.
    Functionally the MS fields look great, but I don't trust them. IPTC has been
    around for long enough to have staying power regardless of what MS or anyone
    else wants.

    So - - - all I have to do now is work out the best software to use, but
    that's another story. Once again, thank you Alan for your helpful comments.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #2
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  3. "l v" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Peter in New Zealand wrote:
    >> Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a
    >> real help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help
    >> me once more.
    >>
    >> I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
    >> looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
    >> pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
    >> that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
    >> Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
    >> available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows"
    >> fields don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are
    >> something completely different.
    >>
    >> All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
    >> included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason I
    >> am not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a
    >> separate file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image file
    >> was moved. I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS other
    >> than Windows.
    >>
    >> My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
    >> and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
    >> IPTC for all this?
    >>
    >> Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
    >> gratefully sought.
    >>

    >
    > Stick with the IPTC. It's the industry standard for tagging images and
    > more and is platform independent. Software on the other hand is
    > inconsistent as to what and how it displays IPTC information, IMO.
    >
    > There are free software for updating IPTC fields. Infraview to name one,
    > but there are many. It'll handle searching on the IPTC and EXIF fields as
    > well provided you'd installed the free plug-ins.
    >
    > I, however, moved away from simply tagging my images or using creative
    > folder/file names on my hard drive. Look for a digital image management
    > tool. These allow you to tag, sort, search, filter, organize, batch
    > process, etc your digital image library. There are many on the market.
    > Free ones may not fit your needs and may be more trouble than they are
    > worth. Adobe has Bridge, Lightroom and I'm sure more. Microsoft has one
    > maybe 2. Picasa is another but I've never even looked at it so I could be
    > wrong. I ended up buying photools.com IMatch as it fit very well into my
    > existing home grown workflow which I had built using Perl scripts which I
    > developed. IMatch allowed to keep utilizing my Perl scripts while
    > providing a good GUI and functionally and I have not encountered any
    > problems with my library of 12,000+ images. Other IMatch users develop
    > their own IMatch scripts and publish them for others to freely use. It is
    > also cheaper than a tank of gas :) but there is a bit of a learning curve
    > and a few quirks, like any application. It does use a database but the
    > image's IPTC is updated and can export xmp files so you are not locked
    > into a single platform nor application. Not limited to only images
    > either.
    >
    > --
    >
    > Len


    Hi Len, and many thanks for your comments. I appreciate the time you have
    taken and the detail of your comments. IMatch does look good, but I will
    need to think before investing the price of buying it. It's not that I doubt
    the value for money aspect (esp. after your comments), but simply a need to
    take care with what I spend money on. Nevertheless it does look interesting.
    In the meantime I have come to the conclusion that the best setup for me is
    to use Windows XP itself as the thumbnail browser, and for any work on
    images, to open them in Irfanview. I have used Irfanview for years and it's
    astounding what it can do now.

    I also agree completely with your comments re IPTC. It's a standard that's
    been around long enough to survive most software writer's vissitudes (is
    that spelt right?). Irfanview seems to work very well with IPTC and EXIF
    data, as well as embedded JPG comments.

    Many of the budget priced, or free programs around do some things extremely
    well, but with something missing, so that a number are needed to cover most
    serious image work requirements. I think the Windows/Irfanview combination
    will do well enough for me in the meantime while I am considering IMatch.

    Once again, my grateful thanks for your experience and helpful comments.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #3
  4. Peter in New Zealand

    ray Guest

    On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:08:19 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:

    > Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a
    > real help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help
    > me once more.
    >
    > I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
    > looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
    > pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
    > that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
    > Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
    > available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows"
    > fields don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they
    > are something completely different.
    >
    > All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
    > included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason
    > I am not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a
    > separate file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image
    > file was moved. I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
    > other than Windows.


    Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
    someone who does?

    >
    > My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
    > and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
    > IPTC for all this?
    >
    > Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
    > gratefully sought.
    ray, Sep 25, 2008
    #4
  5. "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote:
    >I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
    >looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
    >pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
    >that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
    >Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
    >available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows" fields
    >don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are something
    >completely different.


    Actually those "Windows" fields are stored in the EXIF as can easily be
    confirmed with any binary editor and they are visible in at least
    Photoshop Elements ("File -> File Info -> Description") and IrfanView.

    jue
    Jürgen Exner, Sep 25, 2008
    #5
  6. I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
    >> other than Windows.

    >
    > Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
    > someone who does?
    >

    Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac, and
    I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although they did
    seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with Notepad. That
    said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want" to see them.
    (Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).

    You remind me of a valid point - thank you.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #6
  7. >
    > Actually those "Windows" fields are stored in the EXIF as can easily be
    > confirmed with any binary editor and they are visible in at least
    > Photoshop Elements ("File -> File Info -> Description") and IrfanView.
    >
    > jue


    Yes, I discovered that myself looking at one with Notepad. Whether, as Ray
    pointed out, another OS would "see" them is another matter. But it's
    interesting. Certainly Photome, which seems to show absolutely everything
    that is inside the file in the way of metadata, shows the Windows fields. Of
    course, it's running on Windows anyway.

    Oh boy, I really do wish the industry, profession, whatever, would work out
    a standard here, although I guess IPTC is about as close to a standard as we
    are likely to get. At least it's been around for a while.

    In the meantime the software I have used for the past year or so, Microsoft
    Digital Image 2006, concentrates on the "Windows" fields (natch), and isn't
    so hot with IPTC. I would hate to change boats in mid stream as it were,
    having accumulated a significant number of images with the Windows fields
    used in them through that software. Ah well, it's all really interesting.
    And I am appreciating the comments, thoughts, and discussion here.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #7
  8. Peter in New Zealand

    ray Guest

    On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:44:07 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:

    > I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
    >>> other than Windows.

    >>
    >> Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
    >> someone who does?
    >>

    > Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac,
    > and I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although
    > they did seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with
    > Notepad. That said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want"
    > to see them. (Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).
    >
    > You remind me of a valid point - thank you.


    Exactly - this is why there are standards - even though MS chooses to
    ignore many of them.
    ray, Sep 25, 2008
    #8
  9. "ray" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:44:07 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:
    >
    >> I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
    >>>> other than Windows.
    >>>
    >>> Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
    >>> someone who does?
    >>>

    >> Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac,
    >> and I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although
    >> they did seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with
    >> Notepad. That said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want"
    >> to see them. (Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).
    >>
    >> You remind me of a valid point - thank you.

    >
    > Exactly - this is why there are standards - even though MS chooses to
    > ignore many of them.


    Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields show up in a
    text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and Photome shows
    them, why do they not appear in Irfanview, XnView, Picasa, or Faststone?
    Even the new Windows Photo Gallery only shows one of them. Arrrgh!

    Does anyone here identify with my frustration?

    Maybe I should just forget-about-it-all and ignore IPTC and EXIF and use
    v-e-r-y l-o-n-g file names to hold all the data. I'm only half joking. I
    just gotta settle on one main program for managing my digital images, and I
    need metadata in a form that will hopefully be retrievable in 50 years time
    or so. Maybe MS Digital Image is OK, considering my grandchildren will
    hopefully still be able to get at the metadata with a simple text editor if
    all else fails.

    Any even a cursory reading of this post will reveal that I am a bit of a
    cheapskate, as just about every program I mention is freeware.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #9
  10. "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote:
    >Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields show up in a
    >text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and Photome shows
    >them, why do they not appear in Irfanview,


    They are accessible in IrfanView:
    - Image -> Information -> ExifInfo
    - Image -> Information -> IPTC Info -> "Caption" and "Origin" tabs

    I don't know about all fields, but at least those I tried do show up.


    jue
    Jürgen Exner, Sep 25, 2008
    #10
  11. "Jürgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    news:p...
    > "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote:
    >>Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields show up in
    >>a
    >>text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and Photome shows
    >>them, why do they not appear in Irfanview,

    >
    > They are accessible in IrfanView:
    > - Image -> Information -> ExifInfo
    > - Image -> Information -> IPTC Info -> "Caption" and "Origin" tabs
    >
    > I don't know about all fields, but at least those I tried do show up.
    >
    >
    > jue


    Yes, Irfanview is good like that, but although it shows a lot of EXIF and
    IPTC data it doesn't show any of the embedded fields from MS Digital Image
    even though the wretched things are embedded in the file! It's enough to
    make you spit! Now MD have discontinued Digital Image and want everyone to
    go Photo Gallery which is no more than a simple toy by comparison. And I
    refuse to be manipulated towards using their Live services.

    I dunno - I just might end up tossing a coin . . .

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 25, 2008
    #11
  12. Peter in New Zealand wrote:

    >
    > "Jürgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    > news:p...
    >> "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote:
    >>>Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields
    >>>show up in a
    >>>text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and
    >>>Photome shows them, why do they not appear in Irfanview,

    >>
    >> They are accessible in IrfanView:
    >> - Image -> Information -> ExifInfo
    >> - Image -> Information -> IPTC Info -> "Caption" and "Origin"
    >> tabs
    >>
    >> I don't know about all fields, but at least those I tried do
    >> show up.
    >>
    >>
    >> jue

    >
    > Yes, Irfanview is good like that, but although it shows a lot of
    > EXIF and IPTC data it doesn't show any of the embedded fields
    > from MS Digital Image even though the wretched things are
    > embedded in the file! It's enough to make you spit! Now MD have
    > discontinued Digital Image and want everyone to go Photo Gallery
    > which is no more than a simple toy by comparison. And I refuse
    > to be manipulated towards using their Live services.


    You might want to see if there's a Windows port of exiftool. It
    shows and allows writing to about a million (I exaggerate)
    different EXIF and IPTC fields. Far more than any Windows or non-
    Windows apps/utils I've seen. And I think it uses the proper
    labels for them; I've seen the same data field called *different
    things* between different programs, even when they do see them.


    --
    Blinky
    Killing all posts from Google Groups
    The Usenet Improvement Project: http://improve-usenet.org
    Blinky: http://blinkynet.net
    Blinky the Shark, Sep 26, 2008
    #12
  13. Peter in New Zealand

    Mike Mills Guest

    "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote in
    news:gbeoa3$u8m$:

    > Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which
    > was a real help for me. Now I have another question, and hope
    > someone can help me once more.
    >
    > I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers
    > and looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add
    > comments etc to pictures. It seems this sort of function falls
    > into two main groups, one that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The
    > other seems to be particular to Windows, with fields for subject,
    > title, description, copyright etc. available through the right
    > My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties
    > fields and find them portable with the image file? Or should I
    > stick only with IPTC for all this?


    the iptc and comment fields are defined in the jpeg specifications.

    jhead will manage and manipulate both.
    I use it as a cmdline to stick info into groups of photos .
    It is very fast and lightweight.

    jhead -dt -du -ci mike *.jpg
    jhead delete thumbnails, delete useless garbage, insert comment from
    text file "mike" to all .jpg files in dir.
    [the "mike" file may just say "Sept 25 pix of cow in field barn"]

    Should be easy too find.
    Mike Mills, Sep 26, 2008
    #13
  14. > Also don't confuse these "Windows" fields as being OS specific (I'm sure
    > that comment will start a war). Since the information is stored within
    > the jpeg file, any OS can read and display the jpeg without any
    > conversion. In reality it's not the OS that is reading or updating the
    > EXIF/IPTC fields, it's an application, Windows Explorer in your case.
    >
    > The reason why Photome, Irfanview, XnView, Picasa, Faststone, the new
    > Windows Photo Gallery, etc display different EXIF/IPTC fields is that it
    > is up to the developers of each application to determine what to call the
    > fields on the screen and what EXIF/IPTC fields they want to display.
    > However, when the application reads or writes the EXIF/IPTC fields they
    > are following the EXIF or IPTC standards. Otherwise the jpeg itself may
    > become corrupt.
    >
    > --
    >
    > Len


    Yeah - I noticed. I messed with a jpg in Notepad (only deleted one little
    space - honest), and the whole file was unreadable in any image viewer. (And
    yes, it WAS a copy I was playing with.) So it's all a bit delicate it seems.
    Interesting each apps developer seems to vary in what fields they feel are
    important. PhotoME seems to be the most comprehensive, cheerfully displaying
    the most amazing amount in data. Also, it is the only app I have found that
    displays (and can edit) the "Windows" fields as well as the others.

    Ummm, yes, I see how it is confusing to refer to them as Windows fields. I
    just chose that name out of ignorance as a convenience but they are clearly
    embedded in the file, so I guess they qualify as EXIF ot IPTC. I know the
    difference between EXIF and IPTC, and therein lies a bit of frustration for
    me. I want to continue using MS Digital Image but the fields in that don't
    appear in other apps that display IPTC data. Nor do they appear anywhere in
    the EXIF data. So, even though they are in the file, they seem to be
    considered not as important by the apps developers.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 26, 2008
    #14
  15. "Peter in New Zealand" <> wrote in message
    news:gbi21t$rfi$...
    >> Also don't confuse these "Windows" fields as being OS specific (I'm sure
    >> that comment will start a war). Since the information is stored within
    >> the jpeg file, any OS can read and display the jpeg without any
    >> conversion. In reality it's not the OS that is reading or updating the
    >> EXIF/IPTC fields, it's an application, Windows Explorer in your case.
    >>
    >> The reason why Photome, Irfanview, XnView, Picasa, Faststone, the new
    >> Windows Photo Gallery, etc display different EXIF/IPTC fields is that it
    >> is up to the developers of each application to determine what to call the
    >> fields on the screen and what EXIF/IPTC fields they want to display.
    >> However, when the application reads or writes the EXIF/IPTC fields they
    >> are following the EXIF or IPTC standards. Otherwise the jpeg itself may
    >> become corrupt.
    >>
    >> --
    >>
    >> Len

    >
    > Yeah - I noticed. I messed with a jpg in Notepad (only deleted one little
    > space - honest), and the whole file was unreadable in any image viewer.
    > (And yes, it WAS a copy I was playing with.) So it's all a bit delicate it
    > seems. Interesting each apps developer seems to vary in what fields they
    > feel are important. PhotoME seems to be the most comprehensive, cheerfully
    > displaying the most amazing amount in data. Also, it is the only app I
    > have found that displays (and can edit) the "Windows" fields as well as
    > the others.
    >
    > Ummm, yes, I see how it is confusing to refer to them as Windows fields. I
    > just chose that name out of ignorance as a convenience but they are
    > clearly embedded in the file, so I guess they qualify as EXIF ot IPTC. I
    > know the difference between EXIF and IPTC, and therein lies a bit of
    > frustration for me. I want to continue using MS Digital Image but the
    > fields in that don't appear in other apps that display IPTC data. Nor do
    > they appear anywhere in the EXIF data. So, even though they are in the
    > file, they seem to be considered not as important by the apps developers.
    >
    > --
    > Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    > Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    > compulsive computer fiddler.

    In case anyone else is learning as much from this thread as I am I have just
    been in email contact with the author of PhotoME. He tells me what I have
    called the "Windows" fields are proprietary (that awful word) and MS's own
    invention. PhotoME can read them, but not edit them - yet. He is thinking of
    making that available in a future version. However, since only MS Digital
    Image seems to make good use of them, and MS have discontinued that line of
    software, the future of those fields looks dicey to say the least. I had
    assumed in my ignorance they were legitimate IPTC stuff when I saw them
    embedded into the file, but no, it was good ol' MS once again going their
    own independant way. So DI will have to go, and it's IPTC all the way from
    now on.

    --
    Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
    Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
    compulsive computer fiddler.
    Peter in New Zealand, Sep 26, 2008
    #15
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