Developing Custom Metadata in Adobe Bridge

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Last week, in my post about establishing a post-processing routine, I mentioned that I would write some instructions on creating custom metadata to append to your photographs. Custom metadata is useful for a variety of reasons – to help categorize your photographs, to assign keywords and searchable tags, and to establish copyright and photo ownership.

Every photo taken on a digital camera automatically is assigned EXIF data. This is Flickr’s definition of EXIF data:

Almost all new digital cameras save JPEG (jpg) files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. Camera settings and scene information are recorded by the camera into the image file. Examples of stored information are shutter speed, date and time, focal length, exposure compensation, metering pattern and if a flash was used.

The addition of metadata to the EXIF data can include such things as the creator’s name, company name, address, e-mail, website URL, and the copyright notice. Many post-processing programs have the capability to append metadata to JPEG files – for this article, I’ll be explaining the process using Adobe Bridge. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 has the capability,too.

First, open Adobe Bridge. Next, go into the “Tools” menu and select “Create Metadata Template”. A blank template screen will appear:


Three sections appear in this template as you scroll down. First is the “IPTC Core”. “IPTC” stands for the International Press Telecommunications Council, a consortium of the world’s major news agencies, news publishers, and news industry vendors, who created the standards for photo metadata.

Next is the Audio section, for audio files; followed by the Video section, for video file information. The final section is titled “DICOM”, which stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine, an organization that develops standards for medical imaging media, file format, and directory structure.


Edit each field according to your needs, and save it under its own Template Name. Then, to assign it to a photograph, simply go to the “Tools” menu and choose “Append Metadata”, and you will find your saved template.


To assign the same metadata template to multiple files, simply choose the list of files (shift-click or ctrl-click), and follow the same process. You can also edit existing metadata templates, or replace one metadata template with another, from the “Tools” menu. You can create as many metadata templates as you need, and you can append multiple metadata templates to a single file, if required.

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