Here are 5 easy steps to get started with metadata and manage it efficiently.
Step 1 – Start with the end in mind
Your end-goal and your workflow will dictate what is important to you and your company. Ask yourself some basic questions:
- What’s your end-goal? Are you trying to narrow down thousands of images to one single final? What are you going to use these files and images for? (billboard, campaign, etc.)
- Who needs to review and access these images? How will you filter your files as the creative workflow goes on?
- What fundamental information do you want to know when you look at your images metadata? Product detail, photographer, location, date, rights management?
Step 2 – Always embed at the earliest point in the workflow
- Embed basic metadata in your files when you transfer from the camera, whether it be a hard drive, a DAM or work-in-progress platform. As of today, there are unfortunately no great ways of embedding custom metadata directly in camera. Check out the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) for free and low cost software for entering/editing metadata.
- Add as much of the basic information at ingest, with a standardized vocabulary to ensure that assets are searchable. The minimum details that your file should have: contact information, original file name, any other information that makes sense for your workflow (Again, what information do you always need to know?). Trick: embed the original file name into the file itself. Too many image users have a ‘nasty’ habit of renaming files, which can make it difficult (if not impossible) to find the image you want later.
- Make sure these basic metadata are embedded before the files are accessed by anyone else from your team or your clients.
Step 3 – Select the fields that make the most sense to your workflow
- Don’t be “paralyzed by analysis”. Don’t over-think it, you don’t have to fill out all the fields available for metadata.
- Look at your workflow and ask yourself which field would make the most sense to you and your process. For example: if you are always shooting in the same studio, “location” field might not be important.
- If you work in an enterprise environment, keep in mind that your company might already be using a controlled vocabulary or taxonomy to categorize the assets and files.
- The most popular fields are:
- title/object name
- location related fields (location, city, state, country, country code, continent)
- date created
- date updated
- original filename
- Write the ‘right’ kind of information. Use the fields in the way they were expected. Your files and assets are going to travel. If you are using the captions or description fields inconsistently, it might confuse your team members and clients down the line.
Step 4 – Automate your metadata
- Batch add these basic metadata at once. Trick: check out some free and low cost software for embedding and batch adding your metadata straight away.
- Check out ControlledVocabulary.com for some ideas on how to automate them.
Step 5 – Make sure metadata ‘sticks’ to your file
- For file formats like .jpg and .tif., metadata is automatically embedded and travels with the files.
- For proprietary raw image files like CR2 (Canon) or NEF (Nikon), metadata is separately stored from the image file in a .XMP sidecar. The good news is that .XMP files are very lightweight most applications can read and display the metadata properly. The down side is that they can be easily misplaced. Make sure to keep them with the raw file.
- Be careful: when you upload a file to online sites, some of them might ignore or strip out your metadata. Check out which ones preserve metadata.
- Photo / Video Metadata Conference
- Plus – Picture Licensing Universal System
- Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines
How can globaledit help you manage your metadata? Our powerful Metadata Editor allows users to upload or download assets with embedded metadata or XMP sidecar, export metadata as CSV, tag individual images by searchable keywords, using standard or custom schemas, force user metadata entry prior to upload, batch update metadata at upload, and even has an auto-complete feature that saves your entries and auto-populate when you start typing. Our improved external metadata support also translates ratings from CaptureOne and Adobe Bridge.
Found out more about metadata and globaledit by requesting a demo with our workflow specialist!