About IPTC data and the laziness of photographers

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You have a digital asset management system in use, which should facilitate your work with your image and media stocks? Congratulations! To ensure that you can really exploit the full potential of your new DAM system, you should clarify a few basic things with your photographers in particular.

A large number of our customers regularly collect images from a wide variety of photographers, which are then uploaded directly to the image database. How and to what extent photographers maintain the IPTC data of their images can vary greatly. Of course, this has a direct impact, because the indexing of this data ensures the retrievability of the image material.

What exactly is IPTC data? And why is it so important for photographers to care for them?

Digital photos are not only made up of thousands of pixels, but usually also contain a lot of additional information. This information is called metadata. Large portions of this metadata must be created and maintained by photographers. While Exif is more a format for technical metadata (generated automatically by the camera), IPTC-IIM is one of two formats for descriptive photo metadata (besides XMP). The IPTC data is not generated automatically, but must be created by the photographer. Known file formats that support IPTC-IIM are JPEG and TIFF. Typical IPTC metadata fields (which can also be mapped via XMP) describe the content, origin or creator of an image: Who is the photographer? What can be seen in the photo? Where and when was the picture taken?

Here are a few examples of important IPTC fields:

    • Headline (Title)
    • Description (Caption)
    • Copyright Notice
    • Creator / Photographer (By-line)
    • Keywords

How do photographers maintain IPTC data?

Usually, professional photographers edit their images using various tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. So, it is certain that every photographer “touches” his images before making them available to you. Since he has already opened them within his workflow anyway, it would be appropriate to complete the IPTC data in this course as well. Of course, this does involve a certain amount of effort, but the added value for you and the photographer is enormous. Why not all photographers do it anyway? We have a guess …

Are there different types of photographers?

Our customers describe that they are dealing with different types in terms of metadata. There are those who maintain their IPTC data very conscientiously (1), those who do not do it quite so conscientiously (2), and those who neglect it completely (3).

1. The conscientious type

The conscientious photographer wants to save you as much work as possible. When editing his images, he adjusts the IPTC metadata of the image so that you can process his images in a meaningful and straightforward way. He chooses a unique file name, adds a copyright notice and provides an image description and appropriate keywords. Then it uploads the images to your image database after prior upload approval and tags (keywords) are generated from the IPTC data, among others, which you can easily search for. The dream of every marketing manager!

2. The comfortable type

The convenient photographer uploads his images to your photo database after prior upload approval, but often has only entered the most important IPTC data in advance. So you still need to complete a lot of information and have a higher time investment. But, of course, it can be much worse.

3. The artist

This category includes some exceptions who believe that captioning photos is fundamentally not part of a photographer’s job. After all, they say, a photographer is an artist, a creative spirit who doesn’t need to be dismissed with menial tasks like keywording. Such airs and graces should not be tolerated in any case, after all, manually adding important information such as copyright notice, recording location or keywords a very time-consuming process.

How to ensure efficient cooperation with your photographers

You could perhaps say that there are hard-working photographers and somewhat more comfortable colleagues. However, this does not necessarily mean that all is lost, but can also mean that your requirements have simply not been communicated clearly enough so far.

How do I get unwilling photographers to maintain IPTC data? It’s actually quite simple. You record in a written agreement that the metadata must be maintained. In this way, care becomes a prerequisite for your cooperation. At this point, specify in particular what IPTC fields have to be maintained. This does not hurt anyone and has also advantages for your photographers. They want to find their images quickly and easily also. And it helps them placing images at stock photo agencies more easily. Because in the stock photo industry it is always mandatory that images are delivered properly tagged.

Test the image management of teamnext

The Media Hub from teamnext is a cloud-based image management software. IPTC data is automatically imported, merged and indexed here and can of course also be edited in a variety of ways. If we have made you curious and you simply want to try out the possibilities of professional image management, then you can get started immediately with free 14-day test phase for the teamnext | Media Hub. In addition, you can of course book an appointment for a free online product demo with one of our experts at any time. Simply use our contact form for this purpose.

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