Once in a while I find something on the web that makes me say: It’s about time! That’s what I found a couple of weeks ago. Image metadata and image metadata standards are very important for coming up with any meaningful long term strategy for organizing your pictures. However, with so many standards and acronyms it is very hard to figure out what to do. Do you use EXIF, IPTC or XMP for your strategy? How about all three? I believe I found a really good resource that explains the differences and commonalities between all three standards.
The metadata working group
It’s about time the industry would come together to figure out all these image metadata standards. I was surprised to find out that this group has formed in 2006 and that they already have come up with some standard way of understanding all these image metadarta standards. Here is what they say about themselves.
The Metadata Working Group (MWG) was formed in 2006 as a consortium of leading companies in the digital media industry, focused on the following goals:
The intent of the MWG is to publish technical specifications that describe how to effectively store metadata into digital media files. These royalty-free specifications will be made available to manufacturers and service providers so that they may create products that store metadata in a consistent way, and that allow consumers to maintain control over their valuable information. Where possible, these specifications will rely on existing standards, and will aim to create a unified and cohesive approach to applying these standards.
This all sounds great and they definitely have the right companies: Adobe, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia and Sony.
A picture is worth a thousand words
There is much confusion about image metadata. I have studied the subject over the years and while I think I was able to figure some things out, I am still confused by how much overlap there is between the three standards: EXIF, IPTC and XMP. However, the overlap is not across all three. This picture below puts everything together:
What’s the bottom line
The bottom line I believe is pretty close to my previous article about understanding and using image metadata.
- EXIF is used for capturing camera generate data including image orientation and GPS location. EXIF contains image metadata that is intendend for computers and cameras (machines) to read.
- IPTC is used for capturing image keywords and image geolocation (Read geotagging and geocoding). IPTC contains image metadata intended for humans to read and understand.
- XMP is used to capture image rating as well as image keywords and geolocation. The cool thing about XMP is that it is a standard that can be extended. This type of metadata can be insterted not only in images but in pretty much any type of file.
Essentials for organizing your digital photosOver the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.
If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.