After attending the getMETAsmart event in San Francisco last week I became curious how photographers who read my blog and/or follow me on Twitter use it. To be honest I’d be even more curious how photo buyers or stock agents actually use metadata on a daily basis, but that will have to wait for another post. Metadata as many of you know is often discussed but rarely so in the context of how real people use it. While hearing about best practices is helpful everyone has a slightly different take on the subject and many address metadata differently in their workflow. Let’s first address the “why”. Why should metadata play a role in your workflow? To answer that I’ve combined my understanding of metadata with feedback received from my Twitter followers. Read on to learn more.
1. Photographer Attribution & Contact Info
Metadata provides you the means to identify yourself as the photographer behind the photograph. If for any reason your photograph is used with out proper attribution a view of the metadata embedded in the photograph will reveal your identity and how to contact you.
On the legal front specifying Copyright information in your metadata informs others what copyright terms are assigned to your photograph. As with watermarks, embedding this data discloses copyright terms to others. In the event of copyright infringement one question asked will be if you the photographer made clear the photograph was copyrighted. Between watermarks and embedded copyright info you should be more than covered.
@thatchrisbrown I have LR add copyright metadata during import…
@kwm: Routinely populate fields related to copyright…
@scuba_suzy i’ve set my camera up to fill in the copyright metadata because I kept forgetting to do in it adobe bridge.
Newer software applications targeting photographers are now addressing the need of document access management (DAM). Lightroom is among the most popular and while not a true DAM solution it provides a solid low cost solution for photographers. Being able to query a database of images improves a photographers productivity. While keywording isn’t the most exciting task the effort can be streamlined and even automated.
4. Licensing Notes
Another solid use of metadata is to attach licensing information in your image. This saves you the time of referencing separate documentation that can easily get misplaced. While this isn’t an end all solution it is another example of storing data with the image in ways that can save you and your clients time.
@enlightphoto not only enters copyright and creator info but includes special instructions or rights if sold
5. Anticipation of the Orphan Works Legislation
Interestingly enough no one mentioned using metadata in anticipation of the Orphan Works Legislation (OWL). While the OWL hasn’t been at the forefront of news recently thanks to the economic crisis it’s important to not lose sight of it. Consistently employing metadata now will in the end save you time as requirements surrounding this legislation are defined. Metadata will likely be a central component to future OWL legislation to identify photos and/or to transfer data to registries upon submission. The jury is still out on what will be required but best to think long-term
Photographer Phil Colla (@philcolla on Twitter) recently posted an incredibly detailed article about his approach to metadata
Be sure to check it out…
Metadata, Photography and Workflow for the Web
[tags]Photography, Metadata, Workflow[/tags]