Including metadata in your images is an oft-forgot, but important practice. Best metadata practices require you to include copyright and authorship information about your image. However, options to include keywords and a description help with e-reader comprehension of your image, as well as help it get attention through search engines. In this tutorial, I’ll go through the steps to add metadata to images in Adobe Photoshop, creating a metadata template for you or your organization in Adobe programs, as well as outline some best practices for adding metadata.
To begin, open up an image you’ve been working on. My image is an image that I edited from Pexels.com with a Creative Commons 0 license, meaning that I can edit it without attributing it to anyone. So this image is perfect to use on a blog like Commons Knowledge. To read more about Creative Commons licenses, and other licensing info, head to the Scholarly Commons’ Creative Commons resource page.
So, here’s my edited image, which I’m ready to put up online. But before I do, I need to add my metadata. You’ll need to go to File – > File Info on the top ribbon.
After you open up “File Info”, the following pop-up form will show.
This form may seem a little daunting because of all of the options, but chances are you will not have to fill them all out — for example, there’s no need to fill out the “Camera Data” field if you are working with an image that is not a photograph. Further, there are several repetitive fields that will automatically fill in your information if you fill them out once.
Figuring out what you should, or should not write for your metadata can be difficult. Of all of the resources on the Internet, I prefer PhotoMetaData.org for questions I may have. They have a helpful glossary that includes metadata terms, and explains how you should fill in the various fields. The most important fields — though certainly not the only fields — you should fill in are the description (sometimes called caption in other software), the keywords, and the copyright status. Think of the description as being a short blurb about what the photo is. For this image, I wrote, “An abstract image with a black background, consisting of lines and dots, with the text “My image.”” Keywords are similar to tags, on a blog. Here, I wrote: “Abstract; Abstraction; Art; Metadata Tutorial.”
Go through the form — including the tabs on the left column — and fill in all of the information that you can/care to. When you’re done, your form should look something like this:
When you’re done, press “OK.” That’s all it takes to add metadata!
That being said, that doesn’t have to be the end. Say you put in a lot of work, adding information about you/your institution, and you don’t want to have to fill it in again. Or, you have a series of similar photos who will all have similar metadata. There’s good news! You can easily save your metadata as an XMP template, which you can then import into any Adobe document you have. So, let’s say I wanted to save this form so I could use it again later. I’ll open up my “File Info” screen again. At the bottom of the screen, I’ll click “Template,” then “Export.” From there I head to this save screen:
It’s important to save your file as an XMP file, and to give it a descriptive name that you will understand in the future. Now, in this case, I’m just naming my template “My Image Template” because I won’t actually be using it again, but if you’re someone who frequently uses Adobe products, you’ll want to keep yourself organized for the future. Imagine a file full of “TEMPLATE1” and “TEMPLATE2” file names — it would be impossible to figure out what to do next!
So, after you save your template, you can close out of the file info screen. Now, let’s say I have another image that I want to use the same metadata for, such as this edit I did of another Creative Commons 0-licensed image, this time from Pixabay.
Now, I go to my “File Info” screen, and click Template again. This time, however, I’ll choose “Import.” From my list of XMP templates, I’ll choose My Image Template.xmp, the template I saved from my other image. After I do, I’ll get this pop-up:
Most of the time, you’ll keep the middle option, which is automatically selected. But use your best judgment about your image, and how you want your metadata. Once you click OK, the fields will show the same information as the template!
Having templates that everyone in your organization can use are especially helpful, because even if the images differ, you’ll always have consistent Copyright Notice, Author, Location, etc.
So there you have it! If you have any other questions about metadata, feel free to stop by the Scholarly Commons, open from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday through Friday!