Photo descriptions

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Craig Shore, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. Craig Shore

    Craig Shore Guest

    How do you guys go about adding descriptions to your digital photos?

    I've been trying to figure a way that's as robust as the old write on the back
    of the printed photo who the hell is in it and when it was taken. Now the
    digital camera will take care of recording the date and time onto the exif data
    in the jpg image, but is there some standard for storing comments?
    I've tried a few programs, but all seem to be specific to that program. If I add
    comments it doesn't show in any of the others.

    I want something standard so it doesn't matter if I switch viewing programs
    further down the track, of if it's someone using a different OS and viewing
    program in 50 years time.

    Craig Shore, Jul 31, 2006
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  2. Craig Shore

    -=rjh=- Guest

    There is a standard - has been for years, but many image editing
    applications either don't care and ignore it or don't know about it. is a
    pretty good explanation and has some links to software. Worth browsing
    the rest of the site, too.
    Yep, this is an old problem and dates back to the early days of 'wired'
    photos for newspapers.

    Use the IPTC standard, and embed your comments and keywords etc as exif
    data. Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and the like know about this;
    Picasa, Photofiltre etc mostly don't, and worse - may even strip out the
    data if it is in the image. Irfanview can read and write this data.

    There is a summary of some applications compatibility at and their product looks pretty
    good, too.

    Flickr understands IPTC/exif data if you avoid using their own image
    uploader (which strips it out if it resizes the image) - so you can
    title, describe and tag your photos in the exif/IPTC data before you
    upload and Flickr will automatically add tags, captions and title.

    I use a free app under Windows called exifer, does the job quite well.
    Can backup exif data in case an application removes it, can insert
    correct thumbnails into the image, keywords and most of (if not all) the
    IPTC fields (copyright, title, description, location etc). Exifer allows
    you to build dropdown lists of field entries, and you can save custom
    templates. You can tag multiple files at once (say add copyright and
    credits, contact information etc to files as soon as they come off the

    Whether MS will finally adhere to the IPTC standard was the subject of
    some debate when Vista was first released as beta, with AFAIK no sign
    that MS is doing anything sensible here.

    Not sure iPhoto is being any more sensible about this.

    HTH :)
    -=rjh=-, Jul 31, 2006
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  3. Craig Shore

    elephanto05 Guest

    I started by naming all my photos to a standard type of date the a
    number eg: 20060731-01.jpg. Then I used a spreadsheet to store the
    info about each photo

    I have since found a great free application called pixvue
    ( which a) renames my photos automagically and
    b) stores all the info in the photo file using the standards noted by
    the poster above.
    elephanto05, Jul 31, 2006
  4. Craig Shore

    Kent Smith Guest

    Wondering how pixvue compares to googles Picasa? I've been using picasa for
    a while and while it looks pretty and is great for searching. But I find it
    very limiting for adding descriptions and as far as I understand all the
    information is specific to picasa so if I give a photo to someone else, it
    won't have my description, etc.

    Another tip - If you print using digitalmax, they print the filename on the
    back of the photo, so if you rename your filename to include a date and
    short description it'll end up on the back.

    Kent Smith, Jul 31, 2006
  5. Craig Shore

    -=rjh=- Guest

    It's great for browsing, since you don't have to navigate through the
    directory structure. I don't think it is good for searching, though, as
    it disregards tags I've added to photos.

    But I find it
    Picasa writes an .ini file to each directory recording changes you make
    when you 'edit' an image (it doesn't change the image itself). But for
    some reason it stores data like captions and changes in a db at
    although it does actually write captions to the correct location in the
    exif data.

    I suspect that means if I look at the same image after tweaking with
    Picasa from two different instances of Picasa (as when accessing the
    same images on a fileserver, from two different systems) I will see two
    different edit states for those images. What a pain.

    BTW I like Picasa a lot, there is a new version out which includes 250MB
    of free online web galleries, you can sign up for the beta at google. It
    is very good.
    That's a great idea, but the real problem is that Digitalmax *should*
    (maybe they do?) use the IPTC data if provided, so you don't have to
    change your filenames to suit their system.
    -=rjh=-, Aug 1, 2006
  6. Craig Shore

    SchoolTech Guest

    IPTC comments are the standard way of doing it. Irfanview will insert them.
    SchoolTech, Aug 1, 2006
  7. Craig Shore

    Craig Shore Guest

    Thanks, good info in the followups to my message here, far better than what I
    could find by searching.

    Picasa seems to write it's captions to the IPTC data stored in the image file.
    It shows up in Exifer in the IPTC descripton field. It only allows access to the
    description, not the other fields, so I don't think i'll use it to write them.
    I've decided to write them to the IPTC data under XMP. That should future proof
    it as much as possible.

    Thanks to everyone that answered, and hopefully this has helped some others in
    the group too.
    Craig Shore, Aug 1, 2006
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