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Adding Descriptions to Digital Photos

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“I just want to use it; I don’t want to know how it works.” – Unknown

NDIIPP staff at the National Book Festival. By wlef70, on Flickr
NDIIPP staff at the National Book. By wlef70, on Flickr

My Signal colleagues and I give out digital-preservation advice based on our research, our experiences and our understanding of best practices. We also try to pay attention to questions from the general public, with whom we interact at events such as the National Book Festival, Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s Saving Our African American Treasures. By far, most of the questions we get asked are about digital photos and we are able to answer almost every question.


Our main concern is for everyone to back up and care for their digital photos. But, as information professionals, we’re also eager to explain the complexities of digital photos. We talk about file formats, such as JPEGs and TIFFs, and the effects of compression. We explain photometadata and show EXIF examples. We’ve made an informational video about photometadata, written about our project with the Stock Artists Alliance, and, as part of that project, interviewed photometadata evangelist David Riecks .

So, aside from encouraging people to back up their digital photos, we also encourage them to add descriptions to the digital photos. And that part is tricky.


Adding a description to a digital photo (also known as photometadata) is analogous to writing on the back of a paper photo. But honestly, writing on the back of a paper photo is a breeze by comparison. And there is a simple question people ask us to which we don’t have a simple answer: “How?”. Because it’s not easy. In fact, it’s much more difficult than it should be.

Photography professionals routinely use photo-editing software to add photometadata to their digital photos for copyright and business reasons. To them, the process is simple, mainly because they do it routinely. As the saying goes, “The obvious is already known.” However, the process is challenging for a newcomer.

The steps are usually a variation on this: starting the software, opening the photo, selecting the menu options File > Get Info and typing text into fields. The result is that whatever text you entered gets stored within the photo file itself.

To complicate matters though, the field names and terminology vary widely from program to program. Which fields should you use? Is “caption” the same as “description”? Which fields equate to writing on the back of a paper photo?

And to further complicate the process, depending on the software, a description added to a photo might not actually get embedded into the photo file; it might be visible only with the specific software you used to embed the description. Ultimately you want to embed the description so that it always remains stored in the photo file, no matter where the photo goes or what you view the photo on or with.

The larger problem is not so much with the photo-editing software. The problem is requiring people to use photo-editing software at all to add descriptions. And that’s a technological problem.

Given the choice, most of us would not bother. Or we would put that chore at the end of our long list of chores. It’s common for people to leave photos on their smart phones or SD cards and forget about them until they accumulate hundreds of photos. So it’s not realistic to expect people to struggle with photo-editing software and the tedium of adding descriptions to each photo.

Add description

The encouraging news is that it shouldn’t take much technologically to simplify the process, to maybe have a button on the camera that says, “Add Description.” Or a smart-phone app that has the same function. Click a button, display a Description field for the photo, type in text and you’re done.

David Riecks said that the idea is not new. “I raised this same argument at the first International Photo Metadata Conference in 2007,” said Riecks. Nothing came of it though, even though there were a group of engineers from major camera manufacturers in attendance. Riecks said that, still, it is up to the manufacturers to add this feature and make it interoperable with the current metadata schemas.

And if you send a digital photo to me into which you’ve added a description, I should be able to see that description as easily as I can see the title of a song playing on my smart phone. It’s just text embedded into a file, displayed on my device.

Duraspace’s Michelle Kimpton made a somewhat-related point about how consumers will accept a new technology — in her case, cloud storage — when technologists make it easy to use. She said, “These (cloud storage) technologies will become simple to use….when people see the value of cloud technology and that it’s drop-dead easy, then it will take off.”

The same could be said for an “Add Description” feature. People might be more inclined to add descriptions if it just takes the push of a button and a moment of typing. Of course, not everyone will add descriptions, just as not everyone writes descriptions on paper photos. But it’s nice to have the option.

The idea of enabling camera users to add descriptions via the camera is not new. Almost 100 years ago, a major camera manufacturer included an autographic feature on special cameras, enabling users to write captions on film. For whatever reason, that feature never became popular. Maybe because it was easier to write on the paper photo. But at least the company did develop the feature in response to a need.

Riecks points out that manufacturers react to what people voice and what the market expects, and manufacturers seek out suggestions for future improvements. He encourages people to consider contacting their camera’s manufacturer and simply asking for the feature. He has manufacturer contact information, and more, listed on the blog.

At the Library of Congress, we encourage people to add descriptions to photo files as a good archival practice. Modern digital photos automatically capture technical metadata, such as the date, time and geolocation of the photo. When digital photos come to the Library of Congress in collections, it would be invaluable to have them include descriptions, such as the names of the people in the photo and the occasion for the photo.

We hope that camera manufactures will implement this feature soon so that all photo takers can easily add descriptions to their photos if they like. As consumers and institutions accumulate photos and pass them along to others, those who receive the photos will appreciate the embedded information.

Another method for quickly identifying the contents of a photo (aside from just previewing them in the Thumbnail View of your files) is to name the files with a description of its contents, such as “schmuel_wedding.jpg” or “hawaii-sunset.jpg.” Make sure to delete any spaces in a file name; some programs get all weird when they encounter file-name spaces.

An even better naming practice is to include the date of the photo in the file name. “Year-month-day” is one way some divisions at the Library of Congress do it. So if I took a photo in Hawaii on July 2, 2011, I might name it “20110702-hawaii.jpg.”

Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA

Modern digital cameras get better all the time. I took this photo of the river near my house using my smart phone. It took just a few moments of poking and tapping at the screen controls to zoom, adjust the lighting, focus and shoot. And the photo is as good as anything I’ve taken on my “good” SLR camera.

Using this photo, I’d like to conduct an experiment with you. I used photo-editing software to embed Library of Congress attribution information into the photo. But I also embedded in the “Description” field a quote from Benjamin Franklin. Please download the photo and let me know:
1) if you can see the quote
2) which software or website you used to display the embedded information
3) whether you are an amateur or professional photographer.

Your experiences and input may help move the Add Description feature closer to a reality.

Comments (236)

  1. 1. Yes I can see the quote
    2. Google Picasa
    3. Amateur

  2. Yes, I can read it using Adobe Bridge and what a lovely view of the Rappahannock River!
    Metadata is wonderful, isn’t it?

  3. Thanks, Ingmar, for your participation. That seemed quick and easy.

  4. I am able to see the quote using iPhoto 8.1.2. Definitely amateur…

    • Thanks Rick. So far your program is the third one mentioned in as many responses. It’s encouraging to know that the description is at least viewable in a variety of programs, which implies there is a standardization of fields between photo-editing programs. Which means it shouldn’t be a huge technological leap to implement a standardized “Add Description” feature camera.

  5. Thanks Abby for your input. It was indeed a lovely scene, a true photo op, and smart phones take such terrific pictures.

    Would you recommend the program you used?

  6. Windows XP:
    IrfanView (v. 4.25) works fine but GIMP (v. 2.4.5) discards IPTC metadata.

    I am, most certainly, an amateur.

    • Thanks, Seth, for trying two different programs for us.

      I, too, am an amateur. We are the people who would benefit the most from a simple, on-camera “Add Description” feature.

  7. Mike:

    I used Jeffrey’s “Exif” Metadata reader (really a misnomer as it reads all kinds of metadata, not just Exif) to find the quote: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin”

    Others can peek behind the curtain by viewing this at:

    Those that are interested in reading more about the first International Photo Metadata Conference will find my notes at

    Just as big of a problem is that many of the popular social media and photo sharing services are “stripping” that information from our photos as they are uploaded or resized. I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than spending the time learning how to embed this meaningful info, only to find out later that facebook or others have undone all that work! Those that are interested in learning more, finding out which services do preserve your embedded metadata, or contributing to the ongoing survey can visit


    • Thanks, as ever, for the information, David. Especially about stripping information. When I first uploaded the river photo to this blog story, our blog-creating program stripped out the descriptions that I’d embedded.

      The original size of the photo was something like 1200 pixels wide and I had to re-size it to 300 pixels wide fit the web-page layout. When the program re-sized the photo, it stripped out all the information I’d typed into the original. I had to download the new, smaller version, re-enter the information and upload the photo again.

      Is it possible to lock metadata into a photo so that processing won’t affect it?

  8. Sadly I am not using my personal laptop which has a few image software progams, but with this one I can see the full quote using windows photo viewer, although I didn’t see it with microsoft paint. I can see it with Windows Live Photo Gallery.

    • Thanks for testing for us, Zelle. So far we have a range of programs that can see the information.

      At the Signal, we cannot endorse or appear to endorse products, so we scrupulously avoid naming programs. But so far we’ve determined that the information I entered in my photo-processing software (whose name rhymes with Frodoshop) is stable and viewable in about nine popular photo-editing programs, both stand-alone and web-based.

      I wonder if any one of the nine programs could also embed descriptions that would remain fixed and viewable among the remaining programs? If so, that stability and standardization is reassuring.

  9. Using Windows Explorer at Windows 7 I can see all of the populated EXIF fields including the Franklin quote. Amateur photographer, professional metadata hack…

    • Thanks, Chris. Could you elaborate just a little more on your process? Did you use the Internet Explorer browser or Windows Explorer? And, within that, how did you view the EXIF fields?



  10. Mike:

    The problem may be your blogging software, but more likely is the underlying image processing engine/library on your server. The two most popular are Image Magick and GD. The default for Image Magick is to retain photo metadata but many techs set it up not to retain, as this speeds up the processing. GD on the other hand is not aware of the embedded metadata and thus doesn’t retain it when it resizes the image.

    You either have to turn off the image processing feature, or upload an image that is under the threshold where it is resized on the server.

    We discovered that Drupal does this as well when we build the and websites.

    You might check with your IT folks and see if they are using GD and see if you can change to Image Magick… or set up Image Magick so that it does retain the metadata.

    In response to your other questions, it’s not possible to “lock” metadata in an image. It’s a rather lengthy discussion, but the executive summary is that it would require the creation of an entirely new file format that would not be compatible with anything else. Otherwise all you have to do is create a new file, and drag the image pixels to it in your photo software (Photoshop, Elements, etc.) and all metadata would be gone.


    • David,

      So, if I understand you correctly, the image-processing engine library on a server has to be “aware” of metadata, right, in order to know to keep it? Could you say the same about the social-media sites or online photo sites that strip out metadata out of uploaded photos? That their software just needs to be aware of metadata?

  11. 1 – yes, I can see the quote

    2 – In Windows Photo Viewer I found the quote in the Subject field of the Properties (in the File menu). In Photoshop, the quote was in the Description field, also in the Properties. In Irfan View, it was a little harder to find. It was located in the Image menu > Information. If you click on EXIF info, the info is partly displayed in the image description field, but if you select IPTC, the info is in the Caption field. So this highlights well the point you made about the various terminology.

    3 – I’m not a professional photographer but I do have a diploma and a BA degree in “old school” photography.

    I love the option of the “Add description” button.

    Looking forward to hearing more.

    • Louisa, thanks so much for testing the photo in all those programs. And see how the quote wandered into different fields? Gaaah! No wonder most people won’t bother with the process.

    • Louisa, it would be even cooler if you could just speak the description into the phone and have it automatically transcribe and embed the text into the photo.

  12. Can see it in Photoshop Elements 2.0 but I never knew that menu option existed before! So I wouldn’t have found the information without your article. Doesn’t appear in Windows Picture Viewer for me though – although I’m not entirely sure where to look.

    What about adding information by right clicking then going to Properties and Summary? How does that work in other programs.

    (and definitely amateur – in photography terms at least).

  13. Thanks, as ever, for the information.

    standardization of fields between photo-editing programs.

    I can see it with Windows Live Photo Gallery in space

    Please download the photo and let me know:

    I am using
    VLC media player

    • Thanks for your response, Leo Khan. That’s interesting. I thought that the player you used was only for video. I’m going to revisit it.

  14. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    I opened the image using the Firefox browser and read the data with EXIF Viewer. I am a professional photographer.

    • Thanks, Wayne. You’re the second professional photographer in this group of commenters who used that viewer.

  15. I can see the quote and info using exif on Linux. Could not see them using GIMP, though apparently there are exif plugins for it.

    On the topic of stripping data: I love how my iPhone embeds lat, lon, altitude, even angles, I think. Unfortunately it strips those out when you try to upload the images to, say, the Dropbox app on the phone. The only way to keep the metadata is to download them from the phone to a computer, then use them. Very frustrating that images are modified as they get moved around.

    • GPS data is definitely a cool feature for digital photos, and it seems to be more widespread on smartphones than cameras, if I understand the technological situation correctly. High-end cameras have it but I don’t think it’s standard yet on regular consumer cameras. It’s only a matter of time though.

      So, even if you can’t identify who is in the picture, you can deduce from its automatically added photometadata when and where it was taken, in addition to the mechanical camera settings. And, of course, that embedded GPS data can be used to help sort photos by geographic region, and so on. Great stuff.

  16. I’ll echo David’s work. I read the metadata using Adobe Bridge and Phil Harvey’s Exiftool. I noted that the original camera (or your phone) is no longer available – it has been stripped out along with a number of other interesting bits of metadata. As David points out, resizing processing is the trouble spot. Which I suppose is understandable when some sites receive hundreds of millions of photographs a day!

    • So, Barry, about the stripped out metadata. Would you say that the lesson here is:
      – to definitely add descriptions to your original photos (the master files, which, of course, you’ll responsibly backup and protect)
      – and don’t count on any of those metadata/descriptions you carefully typed in surviving uploading, downloading or processing?

  17. Some sites retain the original and all embedded metadata. Some sites retain the embedded metadata when the resize the images. Some strip it all out. So I’d say, choose a site wisely to suit your purposes. And retain your own copy …

  18. I gave it a try using JHOVE — geeky of me, I know, and maybe self-serving. The quote is there, but JHOVE exports the XMP in a lump and the XML export escapes all the “” characters. The quote is there, but not in a way that’s easy to find.

    Amateur photographer, professional programmer. 🙂

    • Thanks, Gary. I think you just might get the Geekiest Response award. JHOVE indeed.

      But your test is a terrific confirmation that “the quote is there, but not in a way that’s easy to find.” The responses to the Ben Franklin challenge show the range of tools in use: software bundled with Macs and PCs, professional photo-editing software, freeware, EXIF viewers, media players and format-validation software. And only some consistency and reliability.

  19. 1) Creator: Library of Congress
    Caption/Description: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Headline: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Title: Rappahannock River
    Location: Fredericksburg, VA
    a) Image Preview app in MAC OS.
    b) Bridge gives additional info like address and
    3) Amateur

    • Thanks Ronny. Would you recommend the software you used?

  20. Yes, as it comes with OS and is the default application when you open a .jpg file on a mac. It makes the information available, but you have to know where to look, it´s not in your face… (Tools -> Show inspector -> IPTC)

  21. No, I cannot see it when I click on the image using Firefox. I tried to see if I could choose what to open it with, but was not given that option. There is also not an option to download.

    Apparently I am even more of an amateur than I realized because I don’t know what these people are talking about when they mention EXIF viewers….

    • And the point of this blog is that you shouldn’t have to know what an EXIF viewer is…or care. Just as when you drive to the store in a car you shouldn’t have to know how the engine works. Adding information to digital photos shouldn’t have to be a complex process involving computers, software and a learning curve.

      Be sure to visit, get your camera manufacturer’s contact address and email them a request for an “Add Description” feature.

  22. I viewed the file properties via Windows Explorer in the Details tab. I also did a keyword search for Rappahannock on the drive to which I saved the file and was able to locate the file using that function–which is nice: I hadn’t realized that would work!

  23. Irfanview with plugins works fine.

  24. I could not see the metadata in any of the programs available to me on this PC (Microsoft Picture Manager, Windows Picture Viewer, or Paint. I am not really a photographer of either amateur or professional status, but have to deal with analog photos all day.

    • Thanks for checking, Sara. By “amateur” I meant anyone other than a professional. Just your average photo snapper.

  25. 1) Yes I can see the quote.
    2) Just saved image as from the website and then opened up file info on Mac through “Get Info.”
    3) Amateur

  26. ACDSee Pro 3:
    Photographer: Library of Congress
    Caption: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    PaintShop Pro X3 EXIF Information:
    Artist: Library of Congress
    Image Title: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    Adobe Fireworks:
    Document Title: Rappahannock River
    Author: Library of Congress
    Description: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    Interesting exercise!

  27. Sorry – I’m an amateur when it comes to photography.

  28. 1. i always do things the hard way, but i got it, by downloading on my mac and dragging it from documents (how’d it get in there?) into
    2.iPhoto. then it showed right up in the information corner. at the bottom. in tiny print.
    3. very, very amateur. but i’m also a librarian, by golly gee, and i was gonna get it if it took me all night. which it didn’t, thank goodness. if i hadn’t been looking for it, i’d never have noticed it. one of the drawbacks of having a small laptop.

  29. 1) I can see the quote
    2) I am using a Mac (OS X), so I just select the “Get Info” choice that is available for any file.
    3) I am an amateur photographer, but use my photos in job-related products.

    I find that other operating systems — perhaps older versions of Windows — cannot read/display the data associated with a photo, such as the time it was taken.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  30. In IDimager, the quote shows up in the Full Exif, not the summary Exif. It is seen in both the image description field and the image caption field.

    Lightroom 3 has a bunch of ways to view the metadata (mimimal, quick describe, large caption, EXIF and IPTC together, EXIF and IPTC separately) The quote is seen in the caption field in each of the different views, except for the EXIF where it is not seen and the IPTC where it is seen in the description field.

    I would consider myself an amateur working as a professional (but don’t tell anyone).

  31. From the Mac OS X ‘Get Info’ window for the file selected in the Finder, I could see:

    Title: Rappahannock River
    Dimensions: 300 x 224
    Color Space: RGB
    Description: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Alpha channel: 0
    Headline: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Where from:

    From the command line on Mac OS X using jhead, I could see:

    [11:28:32:~] jhead Desktop/river-300x224_a.jpg
    File name : Desktop/river-300x224_a.jpg
    File size : 70880 bytes
    File date : 2011:10:28 23:27:12
    Date/Time : 2011:10:27 09:04:21
    Resolution : 300 x 224
    Jpeg process : Progressive
    ======= IPTC data: =======
    Record vers. : 1996
    Caption : An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Headline : Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Byline : Library of Congress
    Object Name : Rappahannock River

    So no mention of the Library of Congress in the ‘Get Info’ window.

    Amateur photographer.

  32. Yes. On my Mac, I right clicked to save image to desktop, then right clicked to get info. I’m an amateur.

  33. 1. Yes, I can see the quote, but the window with the info doesn’t allow scrolling horizontally, so I can’t read the whole thing.
    2. Preview, a simple image-viewing utility for Macs. I also tried iPhoto 5.0.4, which has more bells and whistles, but couldn’t see the quote or EXIF data after importing the image into iPhoto.
    3. Mainly amateur, but I’ve had photos published and have been paid for reproduction rights for one (so far). Semi-pro, I guess.
    Thanks for the interesting post!

  34. You ask us to contact our camera manufacturers…. Are any of them automatically recording metadata that the user may not be aware of? I am a general amature user and am looking to upgrade to a better model. If some cameras do record the metadata, how would I know?

    • Sue, to the best of my knowledge, digital cameras record technical information, such as date and time, and camera settings, such as aperture, shutter speed and light metering. Visit dpBestflow for more information.

  35. I was able to see the quote using Windows Live Photo Gallery after making a special trip to properties > details. I am definitely an amateur photographer, but an archivist in training. Thank you for this very interesting article and experiment.

  36. The following fields were accessible in Preview, Expression Media 2, Adobe Bridge and Lightroom 3 on a Mac: Headline, Title, Creator and Location.
    Although the Caption/Description field was available in all apps, the Ben Franklin quote was accessible in Preview, Bridge and Lightroom 3, but not in Expression Media, even after a manual re-sync.
    Expression Media, Bridge and Lightroom 3 additionally displayed all Contact details. Preview displayed only Artist info.

    I am a professional photographer.

  37. 1. Yes
    2. Get Info (Finder – Mac OS X Lion)
    3. Amateur / Archivist

  38. 1. Yes – but there wasn’t a horizontal scroll option so the “Franklin” was cut off.
    2. GNOME Image Viewer 3.2.0 – right-click, Properties.
    3. Amateur, Archivist

    • Thanks, Walker.

      We’re getting a terrific range of users responding to the challenge.

  39. 1. No
    2. Microsoft Office Picture Manager (I don’t have nice photo editing software on work computer, unfortunately)
    3. Amateur photographer, but I certainly take enough and would love to be paid for it! Records management professional.

    I don’t think this program, even though you can make edits to the picture, does anything with metadata.

  40. Great experiment, thanks for doing this.

    1) Yes, and all the other XMP metadata
    2) I tried the web-based data viewer and Dublin Core editor
    3) Amateur photographer, professional cataloger

  41. 1. I can view everything in Preview (Mac), including the quote, but more importantly, I can search for “Benjamin Franklin” or text from the quote in my spotlight search and your image comes up. Yay.
    2. Preview 4.2
    3. amateur photographer, professional cataloger of images.

    [wanted to add a bit about this site:
    created by some students at Pratt. Allows average amateurs to view existing and add their own metadata with very little trouble. Problem, then, is that any added data isn’t necessarily preserved from copy to copy. Someone could delete it all from their version. Its still pretty cool.]

    • It’s very cool. Easy to use. Very well done.

      We still need an “Add Description” button on cameras though.

  42. I could see the quote using Windows Photoviewer. I could also see the name of the picture and the date taken. I am an amateur who has been pondering this exact question because I have been digitizing family photos – so want the same capability for photos I already have saved.

  43. I downloaded the photo from Firefox to the desktop of my mac. Selected the photo went to the finder and chose get info. The quote was there. I am using Mac OS 10.5.8

  44. Yes I cna see the quote
    Adobe Bridge
    Amatuer photographer, image curator by profession

  45. In Win7, right-click | Properties shows some metadata including the Franklin Quote. I can also see the EXIF and IPTC embedded metadata including geotagging and Franklin quote using Geosetter. Amateur photographer but IT professional.

  46. 1) if you can see the quote
    Yes – Ben Franklin Invest in Knowledge

    2) which software or website you used to display the embedded information

    3) whether you are an amateur or professional photographer.

  47. 1 – Yes, I see the quote.
    2 – I’m not sure what you are asking. (Sorry, I’m technology challenged.) I just saved the image to my MacBook Pro desktop and then right-clicked and selected “Get Info.” The pop-up shows the Ben Franklin quote next to “Description.”
    3 – Amateur.

    Additional comment: The pop-up info shows date & time the image was created as the time I saved the image to my desktop. Presumably accurating dating embedded on the image would be helpful for true archiving.

    • Alice, what you did for step 2 was perfect. I did ask about using software or websites as methods of seeing the description but I overlooked the simple “Get Info” step that you took.

      It should be that easy — selecting “Get Info” — to view photo descriptions on cameras, smart phones and any other medium that displays a digital photo. One step to enter a description; one step to view it.

  48. 1: I could see the quote
    2: Downloaded image from Firefox to my desktop (Windows 7) and opened it with Windows Photo Browser. Quote appeared in the Details tab of File/Properties.
    3: Amateur.

  49. Thanks, Mike.

    I applaud the effort to embed descriptions in digital photos, and agree that simple is the way to go!

    For key photos I’m saving, or photos I send to family & friends, I usually add date & description by changing the file name – from, say, “IMG_242.jpg” to something like: “2011_10_29 John Doe.jpg”. But I definitely would like to be able to add more to the description sometimes.

    • Thanks for writing, Alice. The file-naming method that you use is the same one that we recommend for archiving personal digital files. It helps when you try to pick out a file from a group of files and — depending on how you word it — it can help identify some key elements of the photo (e.g. “Tanya_graduation_1.jpeg”). Also, most photo software will display thumbnail samples of the photos, so you can identify them by appearance.

  50. 1) I could see the quote
    2) using IrfanView, my default JPG viewer – but I had to hunt a bit (maybe all of 30 secs)
    3) total amateur

  51. Mike, I always include the date in the title because, for some maddening reason, not even the date of the image capture seems to permanently embed in the file. I’m not technologically astute enough to understand why this might be so, but I do find it quite frustrating!

    I understand your comment about thumbnails, but my primary motivation for file-naming relates to those times when you can *not* identify an image by it’s appearance. The digital equivalent of finding your beautiful river picture in a deceased grandmother’s collection and thinking…. “How lovely! Where is this, and when was the picture taken?”

    By the way, if you succeed in convincing camera manufacturers to include the Add Description feature, I hope they will add the same feature to scanners.

  52. I can see the quote and all other info using the “EXIF” and “EXIFTool” functions within the “Information” box using Graphic Converter 7 on an intel iMac. Info is also visible in XMP function, but all run together so more difficult to decipher; amateur photographer, professional digitizer

  53. Mike:

    Here’s one tool that might point the way to what is possible. BlueSLR has a “dongle” for sale that creates a link (via Bluetooth) between various smart phones and Nikon Cameras.

    If this wireless connection is open for use, then what would it take for the camera manufacturers to give access to modify the contents of a file that is then merged into the Exif (camera metadata) of an image at the time it’s created? At present that is what happens with a number of external GPS devices — they take the current single and push that information into the Exif milliseconds after the shutter is press and before the the file is written to the memory card.

    It might be at first that you have to write the info before you shoot (rather than after), but that’s a better situation than we have at present.


  54. Thank you for conducting thei survey.

    Image Fields visible to me through Preview are:


  55. 1. Yes, can see all data.
    2. GraphicConverter 6.7 on OS X (10.6.8)
    3. Genealogist

    (Love the blog.)

  56. 1) I see the quote
    2) as I have nothing handy on this laptop, I just looked at the file using a hex editor … 🙂
    3) amateur

  57. 1) I can see the quote in XnView for Windows Version 1.97.8 (via Edit -> Properties).

    2) On the IPTC tab the following information is listed:
    Object Name: Rappahannock River
    Byline: Library of Congress
    Headline: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Caption: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    While on the EXIF tab, the “Image description” field contains the quote and the “Artist” field is set to “Library of Congress”, but the location fields do not appear.

    3) Amateur

    I have a PC running Windows XP and I normally label my digital photos using Windows Explorer. In the properties window there’s a summary tab with “Title”, “Subject”, “Author”, “Keywords” and “Comments” fields. I normally put the description into the “Title” field. I can see this in XnView, where it appears in the EXIF tab of the properties box in a field labelled “XPTitle”. Unfortunately, it is not available when I upload the photos to either Facebook or Google’s Photo sharing site. I hope that the information will stay with the images, as I don’t want to have to relabel all my photos!

  58. Pauline, what you describe in your last paragraph — how your descriptions get stripped out when you upload your file — is a bitter fact. One of our staff members, Barry Wheeler, wrote about that recently on Until such issues are resolved, we all need to be aware that our carefully added descriptions may indeed get stripped out (and the image compressed) when we upload files to social-media and photo-hosting sites. But by all means, add descriptions to your original digital photos if you can, never upload those originals and protect your photo collection carefully.

  59. Hello,

    I can read the Franklin quote in the “Description” field in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and the “Description” field in Bridge CS5. When opening it in Photo Mechanic, the quote then appears in the “Caption” field. When I view the image in Adobe Lightroom 3.5 the quote appears in the “Caption” field in the “Default” Metadata panel, as well as the “Caption” fields in the “EXIF and IPTC” “Large Caption” “Minimal” and “Quick Description” Metadata panels. When I switch to the “IPTC” panel in Lightroom, then the quote is presented in the “Description” field. I am a professional photographer.

  60. This site (and discussion) is a great find.

    What I’m curious about is a “mail-merge” application that can bulk edit IPTC or EXIF data in a gallery of JPGs.

    Commercial social galleries like Flickr use photometadata as captions and other content tags. Ideally we’d like to bulk edit (add) unique captions and certain keywords to each image, which would shorten the task of manually adding captions to each photo after uploading.

    Applications include commercial ecommerce companies with literally hundreds of product images *side-by-side* with an Excel spreadsheet filled with hundreds of unique keywords, descriptions and pseudo captions.

    Any ideas about how to do this?

  61. 2. Opened it in Windows Explorer and in Microsoft Office 2010 (Picture Manager).
    1. In neither case could I see/find the quote.
    3. Amateur.

  62. David,

    Professional photographers add photo metadata in batches all the time. I’ve watched our Library of Congress photographer tag batches quickly and easily. We are restricted from making software recommendations, so use your favorite search engine for terms like, “batch, photo, metadata” and such. I have not seen mail merge or spreadsheet mapping, but that may exist too.

  63. 1) I usually can see the quote (depends on software)

    2) Software:

    Mac OS X Lion Finder. Get Info sees: title, description, headline. No Creator info.

    iPhoto 9.2.1 puts title and description (quote) up top – easy to see, but no Creator info?

    Mac OS X Preview 5.5.1 (Lion) sees all info in IPTC tab, including Creator. EXIF metadata is stripped.

    Media Pro 1.0.1 (newer version of Expression Media) sees IPTC annotations, but it is difficult to notice and read Description because the field is by default hidden at the bottom left panel. Curiously, I do not see Contact details here, but they are visible in Preview, unlike comment 54.

    3) amateur photographer (biologist)

    Other comments: it is confusing (= not common, but this is not to say it is wrong!) to use location information in both Title and Headline. Same with the insertion of a quotation in Description/Caption– might not be expected to find that there.

    Also, the location field is ‘intended’ for a place name, but you have inserted both a location and a state separated by a comma (which could lead to trouble with parsing when exporting?). More common is to put placenames as Keywords, or even better to use the the separate Location and State IPTC fields available in metadata editors.

    Often folks like/need to put in unique file ID, copyright information and a contact person and email, not just a creator address and URL. Easier to trace the origin of an image.

  64. I see the “Benjamin Franklin” quote (and “Library of Congress” in the XPAuthor field) with the software called DF/Meta found at

    I use DF/Tools to manage my library of 100,000+ images that span a century (including more than 11,000 scanned images and negatives). Easy to use for batch metadata settings and great for keywords.

    I am an amateur photographer.

  65. I could read all of the data in Elements 9. I used to print digital photos in a photo lab setting. Some lab digital printers would allow a limited input (16 characters) for printing on the back of photos. It might be interesting if the machines could print the longer “description” metadata on the back of each print. Perhaps more people would print their digital photos.

    Some digital cameras have the availability of adding voice annotations for photos. Once quality universal voice recognition software becomes ubiqitous in cameras with small, powerful and cheap processors, then captions should be easy enough for everyone to add to their photos.

    Today it is easy to take several hundred digital photos at a short event that it seems overwhelming for the photographer to attempt annotating each and every frame. Not enough self-editing is done. Not every photo needs preservation.

  66. Doing research for my dissertation (on preservation of context when digital photoarchives are handed over to heritage-institutions like photomuseums) I got to this blog… and downloaded the photo…

    1) yes in the Description & Mobile SWF of
    2) Photoshop CS5
    3) professional photographer & archivist-to-be 🙂

    Here I have a link with great free software to name/rename:

    All the best,

  67. Dragged photo from blog to Mac desktop. Searched Benjamin Franklin using spotlight … image was one of several items found. Was able to see the quote by CTRL-clicking on image and selecting Get Info. Quote appeared in the Description field.

  68. 1. Yes I see the quote and other metadata.
    2. Windows 7 – saved image file to desktop. Selected and right click for Properties. Everything was visible. Did not use a separate application. Nice.
    3. Amateur Photographer, Engineer.

  69. 1. yes, I see the quote and other metadata
    2. Adobe Bridge CS3 as well as Apple’s Findedr–> Get Info panel
    3. professional digital archivist

    Love metadata and am surprised it’s not more widely used by photogs, museums & libraries

  70. Ditto comment 91 for 1 and 2.

    3. Amateur Photographer, Librarian

    Although I typically process my photos using Bridge on Adobe 4, I don’t have that on this computer.

  71. Opened on a Mac both in Apple Preview and Photoshop…

    Saw the info and quote under Tools>Inspector>IPTC in Preview

    and under File>File Info>Description in Photoshop

  72. Thank you all for your continuing responses. This information helps us a lot.

  73. Thank you for this blog! I have been searching for months trying to figure out how to attach metadata so that others can read it, but haven’t been able to find much from others with the same issue. Our company does personal and corporate histories, so a lot of what we have to do is scan in physical photographs to be used in books/videos and we want to be able to add all that historical data so it stays with it for future use. I’ve tried Lightroom, Microsoft Pro Tools, PhotoShop Elements and Windows but can’t seem to get all the information I’ve added to be read from one program to another. It’s very frustrating when it seems like it should be so simple!

    • Thanks for writing, Mary. You’re right. It should be simple and convenient.

  74. I have no problem viewing your description and the quote in Zoner Photo Studio Pro but neither Fast Stone Image Viewer nor ACDSee Pro 8.0 showed either piece of information. These are all Windows programs, used in Windows XP Media Center version.

    One possible reason for social media sites stripping EXIF and IPTC information from images uploaded to them is to protect the contributor’s privacy, since some camera phones include GPS data that can reveal an individual’s exact location. It’s probably easier for the sharing sites to just strip all EXIF and IPTC information than to try to strip only selected data fields, even though it is frustrating to spend the time adding descriptions and other data just to find it removed before one’s images appear on-line.

    • Art, you might be correct. The metadata stripping by social media sites could be a deliberate privacy protection measure. Thanks for your suggestion and your comments.

  75. Sorry, forgot to mention, I’m a serious amateur photographer, with a desire to be able to caption, describe an extensive collection of various photo types, glass plate negatives, various older print types (eg carte de visite), several formats of film negatives, and colour slide and negative formats.

  76. I see the comment in picasa, also in exiftool (command line) I see the same comment in two fields:
    Image Description

    I am looking for photo organizing software with the power of picasa, that stores the metadata in EXIF fields

  77. Sorry to come in late on this, but I agree it would be great if this were easier! I’ve been struggling to describe and upload some photos to Flickr, and tried this one as a test. This photo uploads and keeps the title and description nicely. (I can see them fine in Windows Photo Viewer too, by the way.) But when I try to enter these on my own photos, Flickr just duplicates the Title for both. I wonder if the quote is also contained in different field in this photo? It seems online services would need to be on board on which fields are looked at!

  78. Another late-late response from an (3) amateur/intermed photog. using some less-common software under WinXP-SP3.
    Aside from ExifTool, most of my software shows NOTHING of image labels. (File Explorer, Media Player, ImageMagick display, Free LightBox,

    Sony’s PMB, an image manager probably similar to Flickr or Picasa, takes an interesting approach: when I add Labels to a picture in the PMB collection, the file explorer shows that the source .jpg file has been modified (or at least its modification date is changed), and a small new file is created in the same directory with extension .jpg.modd . This would be a reasonable “industry standard” assuming the operating system’s file manager always keeps the original file and its dependent descriptor files together. The PMB approach has the advantage that it can label read-only images on read-only media — no risk of corruption. It’s portable and extensible: doesn’t rely on the operating system file manager to support the label categories. I peeked inside the .modd file; it’s actually XML text (nice!) but with a proprietary touch — my label text has been encrypted somehow.

  79. I could partially see the quote (cropped due to the short window size) with Windows(7) photo viewer. Gimp advanced properties wouldn’t let me see it. On the other side, XnView offered the most comprehensive overview of the metadata through the file properties menu.


  80. No quote in Windows Photo Gallery – first half of title text at bottom right outside the frame.

    Office Pictue Manager only shows the image – no text at all.

    Your “good camera” can’t really be very good if this is the same quality.


  81. As others have already stated, it is simple to read the metadata from the description field on a Mac in several ways – e.g. opening the image in Adobe Bridge or using the “get info” function. I would like to take this discussion one step further. I have thousands of photos on my computer that I have painstakingly organized and have edited in photoshop to add text to the “description” field in the metadata area. I like to view these photos in the “slideshow” format using any of several programs as a photo viewer (e.g. Bridge, Preview, or even Iphoto). Unfortunately, I have yet to discover an image viewer that will let me view the images so that they are displayed right along with the description on the monitor. Does anyone know of an image view that has this feature (preferably a free one :))? If not, has any interest been shown in trying to incorporate this feature into an image viewer?

    I’m an amateur

  82. I’m an amateur photographer but an avid asset collector of digital cultural heritage.
    Using Photoshop Elements 7 I can read Document Title: Rappahannock River Author: Library of Congress Caption: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. –Benjamin Franklin made using Application: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows created and modified 10/27/2011 format image/jpeg. When you post a photo to a public page in Facebook it includes the copyright notice section of PSE. Enjoyed your blog.

    • Jan, thanks for testing the photo and for the information about Facebook including the copyright notice section.

  83. I’ve been trying to solve the captions/descriptions metatag issue for a while, primarily so the metadata can be extracted for classification in digital archives using the Greenstone digital library software.

    With potentially thousands of photos to classify, is would be good to have photo organizing software, such as Picasa, easily make their captions (now in “dc.description sub-folder”) appear directly in Greenstone. When I find a method to automatically extract this metadata, I’ll be glad to share it.

    At least is relatively easy to put a caption on a photo in Picasa,

    Thanks for this experiment!


    PS My digital archive is

    • Bob,

      Thanks for your comment. Please let us know if your automatic photometadata extraction is successful and perhaps we could share your story and results.


  84. I could partially see the quote (cropped due to the short window size) with Windows(7) photo viewer. Gimp advanced properties wouldn’t let me see it. On the other side, XnView offered the most comprehensive overview of the metadata through the file properties menu.

  85. 1. I can see it
    2. Adobe Photoshop (CS6)
    3. Amateur

  86. As a follow on to my Nov 18 message, I’ve runs some tests on “extracting” Picasa captions to use as metadata and display with the photos added to Greenstone digital library/archive software.

    I’ve personally been using the (free) Picasa program from Google for several years to organize thousands of digital photographs and many images from slide and negative scans.

    I’ve been running tests with 10 digital photos captioned in Picasa. Inspecting these photos in Photoshop Elements shows the captions are embedded in the photo as “XMP Description”, “dc:Description (alt container)” and TIFF “Image Description”.

    The initial tests did not show any extracted metadata for Greenstone’s standard Dublin Core “dc:Description”. However, I configured the Image Plugin to extract “OIDmetadata dc:Description” and after the collection build there is a “xmp.description” which now displays the Picasa caption with the digital photograph.

    Great, even though the metadata does not show up in the Greenstone “Enrich” function for any image.

    My knowledge of Greenstone could be much better, so I can only improve this process by trial and error. I’ve emailed the Greenstone support team to see if there is a more efficient and clearer method to reach this result. At least I think I’m on the right track and it seems Picasa can be a viable recommendation to organize and identify images for a Greenstone digital archive

  87. I’ve continue trials with Picasa, the ExifTool and the ExifToolGui. Picasa captions can be extracted in the Greenstone archive/library program, but I also wanted to put on unique ID on each photo (good archive practice?)

    The ExifToolGui does a great job with both caption and “objectname” editing and both are accessible in Greenstone. A summary of all this is at

    I’ll now do less trials, more captioning and make better archives!

  88. I saw the quote in the “Subject” field using Windows Explorer running under Vista 64 bit

  89. Like snowman51 I too found the quote using Windows explorer (right-click, properties, details, subject field). And I couldn’t agree more with Benjamin Franklin. This has proved to me that data typed into the details form in MS Windows is indeed embedded within the image file – good news. My real question however is a very technical one… how can you easily extract the photometadata for display along with the image on a web page?
    Kent, UK

  90. I stumbled upon this while trying to find a good guide in cataloging an organization’s and my personal overwhelming amount of books and digital media. This experiment has helped me decide on which programs to uninstall and deem as USELESS, so I thank you!!!

    As of 01.12.2013, this is programs I tested and my results:

    Paint- Useless as usual for stuff like this.

    Windows (7) Photo Viewer- quote is visible as “Subject”

    Windows Live Photo Gallery (from Essentials 2012)- quote is visible as “Subject”

    Google-Picasa 3- quote is visible as “Caption”

    Microsoft Office 2010 Photo Viewer- Properties is separated into Camera- (ALL data was wiped) and Picture- (only the very basic photo data remained…size and pixel…)

    Hope this helps!
    And if anyone has a good suggestion for organizing, catagorizing, filing a mass of books, photos, music, etc. when two languages are involved, PLEASE LMK!
    Thank you.

  91. Sorry, forgot to write that I am an amateur.
    and it’s Microsoft Office Picture Manager (from MS Office 2010 Professional for Educators)

  92. Lisa and all –

    I’ve finally added recommendations to my Picasa-Greenstone archive project – all on

    Basically, you can do quite a lot with Picasa captions and tags for photos, but other programs may be needed to embed and extract metadata in/from other digital media. LibraryThing is good for books, especially because it provides for an export to Excel of the books you catalog in that program.

    I’m counting on Greenstone to be the primary organizing program, but my tests/trials will continue and I’ll report back.


  93. I could see the title and description in Directory Opus

  94. Yes, I was able to see it in properties–>details–Subject on my Windows 8 machine! I have thousands of family photos I am trying to digitize and share before they are all lost. Trying to figure out a way to tag them so that the information doesn’t get lost.

  95. 1. yes – appears in the subject
    2. Windows Photo Viewer
    3. amateur photographer and digital curation student

  96. Mike,
    This blog comment list has a lot of great stuff. It would be great if someone would pull together a spreadsheet chart showing the various products and their methods for handling each type of meta data. This sounds like a GREAT project for a PhD thesis! Naw – takes too long! We need this soon. Can’t we get a student or some dedicated soul to do this now?! Then share that with facebook, flickr, etc… and see if we can develop some useable standards.

    And you already know how I feel about include AUDIO files (plural) as a standard field.

  97. 1. the quote appears in the “Description” field
    (additionally, under the “Headline” field it tells the location
    2. I ‘right-clicked’ on the photo and saved it to my (Mac) desktop; then I command-I clicked on the photo in the finder, and all the jpg info was displayed. (now – if I could just go in and type something there that easily, instead of having to go into Bridge or Elements to do it!! – I know I could see the information in those programs, but this was simple – one click and I saw the info!)
    3. I am an amateur photographer; I used Photoshop Elements for digital scrapbooking

  98. Another follow-on about reading and writing metadata to photos (and other files).

    I’ve updated to be a tru guide rather than a blog. It also links to a guide to the ExifTool and the ExifToolGUI. Both are very useful.

    The basic ExifTool is command line only but can nearly “do anything”. You can do much with the GUI, such as caption or put keywords on a full directory of photos at once.

    My current volunteer project is to help an archive document their archives of photos and other material. A first step is to make lists (Excel) of the thousands of photos and other documents, with any metadata in those files. The ExifTool does a great job on this. And it works with MP3 files also. Reduce chaos!

  99. 1. Yes I can see the data
    2. Lots of info in IPTC Meta Data using ACDSee Pro 6
    3. amateur

  100. 1. Yes I can see data.
    2. The Finder (Mac Native Software embedded in the OS X) Also works on Aperture from Mac Store, iPhoto from Mac Store, and Picassa for Mac)
    3. Pro

  101. 1) YES can see the quote
    2) software Canon DPP v
    3) professional photographer.

  102. Xubuntu Linux 12.04, Firefox 23.0, Exif Tool Viewer

    Still looking for a convenient, easy-to-use method of adding descriptions of the photos from my smartphone (HTC Rezound 8-megapixel front camera, 2-megapixel rear camera)

    Hard to believe that this most basic function is ignored by manufacturers and photo display software!

  103. 1. Yes.
    2. gThumb Image Viewer 2.10.11 (An image viewer and browser for GNOME on Linux)
    3. Amateur photographer

  104. I can also view the Exif data using the right-click “Properties” feature of the Nautilus file manager in GNOME 2.3 on Linux. In the “Image” tab it gives me the following:

    Image Type: jpeg (The JPEG image format)
    Width: 300 pixels
    Height: 224 pixels
    Date Modified: 2011:10:27 09:04:21
    Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
    Location: Fredericksburg, VA
    Description: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Creator: Library of Congress

    That same tool gives much more information on camera settings if it is used on an unmodified JPEG file from my digital camera, although “Location”, “Description” and “Creator” are not shown.

  105. No. I could not read a description, even though properties show a field, it is left blank (along with title & keywords)

    I used Microsoft Office Picture Manager

    This is really interesting & I am wondering if you’ve made progress in finding one that is universally sound?

    • Thanks for participating.

      The main goal of this test is to document all of the tools that work.

  106. A little more on the ExifTool, which can read and write metadata from individual or groups of photos – and make and use (CSV) file for both operations.

    I finally used the “write” functions, after help from the ExifTool forum. It’s briefly described at:

    I used this to put unique ID numbers on a group of 405 photos and a unique title on about 100 of those. It backs up your original photos in the process, just in case!

    This is done from a command line, so not exactly “user friendly”, but could be a great help to anyone with many digital photos looking for better organization.


  107. I happened to stumble across this page and was surprised to see that it states some of my personal objectives. At the same time it reinforced some of my frustrations. Allow me to state my objectives and maybe something can come from this.

    I have approximately 3000 photos from my growing up years as well as over 4000 from my current family. It’s great to have them in digital format, but they’re little more than a “bunch of files” and have little or no meaning to anyone else – even my own children. In an effort “preserve” the value of this record, currently I have an spreadsheet in parallel to these files that has the date, place, people and event. But, without the human effort, there is no link between the two.

    My objective would be to encode this information in the photos themselves and I did a trial of a program that did just that, but there were two problems. The first was that it was licensed with a fee. I don’t want everyone accessing the information to have to pay that fee. Also, the original author “lost interest” and I can’t even find the program any more!

    So, here’s my objectives:
    1. The information must be encoded to some standard. (This blog indicates that may be an elusive objective!)

    2. The program to access this must be free (open source?) and available on common platforms.

    3. The development must provide a basic application to view and/or edit the data, but must also provide an API that would allow other programs to build on it. For example an application to search this information for certain names and/or phrases.

    My current effort was to search for a solution in Java only for the cross-platform support, but that’s not a requirement.

    Any ideas? Is there a similar product? Alternatively, is there interest by others? Could an open effort like this drive the basis of a standard?

    • Dave,

      There are several free, open-source programs that will enable you to embed descriptions into digital photos. You might want to start with those to find which one meets your objectives.

      I am not permitted to recommend any one but you might try any of the programs that other commenters in this post have suggested, such as the photo-processing program Picasa or any of the “Metadata Viewing and Manipulation Utilities” listed on Because you would be merely adding ASCII text into the appropriate photometadata fields of you digital photos, you would be adhering to a general standard of practice.

      I hope this helps.


  108. If you are willing to go down the iPad path there is an very good app called PhotoName that very simply puts a perminant caption either above or underneath a photo. Its very easy to use and there is a free simplified version that still does the job very well.

  109. I cannot see the quote. I am not sure I actually “downloaded” the pic. You tell me. I simply clicked on it and it came up in its own window. Only the picture came up, nothing else. I tried to right click in order to possibly get a “download” option, but did not get one. Sorry for being such a dummie! I am using Google Chrome.

  110. Yes I can see the photo. I used Picasa and I am a professional photographer.
    You can visit me at :

  111. I have been looking for a way to carry my caption information entered in Photoshop Elements 10 (Windows), over to a photo album on my iPad Air. At this stage, I have only found one solution, that is to use PhotoMgr Pro on the iPad. This works well, but it saves all the photo files outside the iPad’s native photo system which complicates backups.

    Importing your photo into Elements displays the quote in full, but Picassa Photo Viewer displays only a truncated version of it. Exporting the file to my iPad, allows me to see the full quote in PhotoMgr Pro, but it is not shown in Apples iPhoto, Pixsort or ShortShots.

    Finally, something I have noticed about iPhoto (iPad version), is that if I add a caption to a photo in iPhoto, export it from iPhoto to Camera Roll and re-import it into iPhoto, the caption is lost, although the IPTC-NAA (IIM) Caption/Description is still on the file.

  112. I can see the quote using Microsoft photo viewer.

    I am an amateur

  113. Yes I saw the quote.
    I just downloaded it to my computer, right click, save as….
    I’m an amateur trying to become pro, starting a photo blog on wordpress and sometimes selling prints and calendars in the past.
    I was able to download, then go in and delete the information you added. I wonder if that would affect the validity in case of theft…. I am so worried about people using my images for their own purposes, I don’t know if I even want to share online!!
    Interesting informative article. Thank you!

  114. Downloaded photo to iPhone. Date metadata downloaded as sorted photo to 2011 in the list – but no description visible. (Amateur photographer)

  115. I viewed this photo using Internet Explorer 8. I can’t see any information directly in the browser, but after downloading the photo to my computer, and opening the file with Windows Photo Viewer (Windows 7), I can right-click on Properties and see the name of the river in the “Title” field, the Ben Franklin quote in the “Subject” field, and the Library of Congress in the “Author” field.

  116. I should have mentioned that I’m an amateur photographer, but an experienced information techology professional. I stumbled upon your site because I am looking for best-practices for adding metadata to stored pictures – I am just starting a large personal project, digitizing thousands of family slides using a Nikon Coolscan scanner. I’d like my slide collection to contain relevant descriptions, as well as to (hopefully) be searchable by keywords (e.g. family name, year, location, and perhaps categories such as vehicle, home, landscape, faces, etc.) I also want it to be technology-agnostic – so 10, 20, 50 years from now, nobody has to have some obsolete piece of software to view the stored data. I’m using a program called VueScan to process the scanned images, which offers some limited abilities to store photo information. I’ll look at your picture with VueScan, later, and see if I can see the metadata…

    • Thanks for testing, Ian.

  117. Mike,

    I used Windows Photo Viewer (windows 8) and right-clicked for “properties”, then I could see the quote. I’m an amateur.

  118. Hi Mike, and thanks for this article.

    1) I was able to see your metadata
    2) On my Macbook, I just hit ctrl+I to view the file’s informations. It doesn’t support all fields, but a few do show up.
    3) I am digital preservation and DAM professional working in Archaeology.

    I tried twice actually – first right-clicked and downloaded the image, and got no metadata. Then click-opened it into a new tab and downloaded- that gets all the metadata.

    • Thanks for your input, Elena. It helps in our Photometadata research.


  119. I saw the quote. I downloaded the image to my iMac, imported it to my iPhoto library and clicked on INFO. The quote appeared in the description area. Wish I could add an audio description as easily. I have about 20,000 images of family friends and work that I am trying to update descriptions on. iPhoto seems to address some of your concerns.

  120. I can see the info
    Photoshop CS6

    What I would like is a professional camera that can add recorded messages to the image file itself. So I can push a button and say what I just photographed.

  121. None of the programs I tried in Ubuntu gave me any up-front hint that there is a description to look at, which I think is important, but also difficult from a user interface perspective. But I could access the description easily in gthumb (nice big “comment” button), and could find it via menus in eog (right click, properties, metadata tab) and exiftool (via its command line).

    Unfortunately, the default application in Ubuntu Linux as of release 12.04 makes this difficult. Descriptions (“titles”) can’t be seen at all via the shotwell viewer (i.e. when run from file manager or command line), only in the full shotwell application. There you need to change an option via the checkbox “Write tags, titles and other metadata to photo files” in the Preferences dialog. I entered a bug report at

    • Thanks, Neal, for such a detailed test. I appreciate the information.

  122. 1) I can see the quote
    2) Windows 7, right-click, properties, details
    3) amateur

  123. I can see the quote under image information/EXIF information in PaintshopPro v8
    RM click in Windows 8, properties, details/subject
    (came across your site because I was looking for how to save ‘date taken’ information when resizing my digital photos 🙂 )

  124. I found your post while struggling with the same issue. I downloaded the file and then right clicked it (Win 7), then Properties, then details. In details I can see the Title field with “Rappahannock River”, and the Subject field as “An investment in knowledge….).

    However, to see the Subject field in the “bar” at the bottom of the Windows explorer window (where is shows several metadata fields), I had to click “View” from the File/Edit/View/Tools/Help menu. Then click on “Choose details” and scroll through the fields and to find and check the box for 1)Title and 2) Subject, then click OK (I think, but am not sure, that even though Title already shows, I had to check that box too. I just discovered that earlier tonight after many hours over several months trying to figure it out. To your point, this is way too complicated!

    I then used Windows Live Photo Gallery to view the pic, and it shows a field called Caption that is populated with “Rappahannock River”. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to show the “subject” field with the Quote.

    Finally, I imported the file into Adobe Lightroom, and very nicely it shows both Title and Subject in the LR fields called “Title” and “Caption”..

    What I have been trying to figure out is this: I use Lightroom and have populated both Title and Caption (historical family photos). I want to share these files with other family members and want them to be able to see both fields in whatever photo viewer/software they use (Lightroom is not a common or easy program for everyday use). This has been a very challenging/frustrating exercise. One would think, again to your point, that it would be a very easy thing to do! If anyone has any ideas, let me know!

  125. I’m a Linux user – amateur photographer – and I’ve tested the following programs on Ubuntu 14.04:

    a) gThumb
    comment (called Description), title and location shown when Comment icon is clicked. This, and several other fields, can be edited.

    b) Geeqie
    1) comment only shown when Info sidebar is visible. Comments can be edited.

    c) Ristretto – no facility for viewing or editing comments.

    d) ImageMagick suite – ‘display’ utility
    Under ‘Miscellany – Image Info’, there’s a Profiles section; Profile-IPTC shows comment as Caption, location as ‘unknown’ (but the info is there), and Title as Image Name. No text editing possible in the display utility.

    e) Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program)
    Image menu – Image Properties allows adding a Comment, but it doesn’t see the existing one.
    File – Properties, Description tab shows an empty field until the XMP data is imported from the jpg. Then, under the Description tab, Title is shown. However, under the Advanced tab, Dublin Core section, the title is shown, plus the comment as ‘description (x-default)’. In the Exif section, the comment is shown as ‘user comment’. In the IPTC-Core section, the location is shown. In the Photoshop section, location is shown again as ‘headline’.

    What a mess! Gimp is the best at retrieving data if you manage to work out the tricks, but how you get it there without Windows and Photoshop – is a project for another day!

  126. Mike, I’ve just read your article in the ‘Perspectives on Digital Archiving” eBook so am coming very late to this discussion. I’ve scanned the 154 responses but can see no mention of just using the file title for all the metadata. I use an excel index to number sets of photos and a sub-number for each photo in the set. In the file title, I write the number followed by the description (usually including the names of any people or places in the photo), followed by the date. This has worked well for me on over 17,000 photos from many generations of my family. The reason I took this approach is because I discovered many years ago the problems of becoming locked into specialised programs, so I decided to use standard features and common programs as much as possible. I know this isn’t as sophisticated as the meta data tag facility, but it is effective, highly visible and does not require any specialised software. Surely there must be other people taking a similar approach?

    • Paul,

      You are correct. And in some of our other personal-digital-archiving resources we do recommend naming a file in a way that describes its contents. I will add that bit of information to this blog post. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      There is one clear advantage to embedding photo metadata into the file itself: you can add much more descriptive text, copyright information and so on, than you should into a file name. I’m not sure what — if any — the character limit is either.

      But too much text in a file name can be hideous.

      Thanks again,


  127. 1. Yes – but took several steps.
    2. Photoshop Elements
    3. Amateur

  128. irfanView offers both EXIT and IPTC info if one goes looking for it. There may be options or plugins to display selected fields in status bar but I’ve not not yet stumbled upon them.
    I landed on this page looking for better software for editing ImageDescription, Title, Caption, Keywords, Category, Location, etc.
    While it’s apparent most photo viewing software can access photo metadata, the same either do not support, or make it convenient to add missing details, which seems to be the whole point of this page.
    I would love to see this thread evolve to the topic of locating software suitable for casual photographers to enter this information.

    I have EXIFToolGUI: it works well and efficiently after investing significant time to figure it out. Returning to it after a period of inactivity, I’m at a loss how to switch to an other folder of images.

    Thanks, Shawn

  129. 1) if you can see the quote

    2) which software or website you used to display the embedded information
    ACDSee 18.1, in IPTC Description and EXIF ImageDescription

    3) whether you are an amateur or professional photographer.
    1) if you can see the quote Same as above

    2) which software or website you used to display the embedded information

    Windows 7 Explorer – Right click, Properties / Details / Subject

    3) whether you are an amateur or professional photographer. Same as above
    2) More answers

    IPTC Caption (description)
    EXIF ImageDescription

    Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 Organizer
    IPTC Description
    EXIF Image Description

    Windows Photo Gallery 2012
    Quote not visible

    Microsoft Office 2010 Picture Manager
    Quote not visible

    Picasa 3.9 Viewer
    Can see first part of quote, followed by “…”

    Picasa 3.9 Editor, Properties panel
    Can see quote in these fields:
    Camera ID

    Have been researching this subject for some time. Would appreciate hearing if the above information is helpful to your project. Thank you.

  130. Hi,
    The question was asked in 2011. The question in 2015 should be how to add it, not just how to get it (although that is the first step).

    Using imagemagick’s identify -verbose gives tons of information :-

    [$] identify -verbose river-300x224_a.jpg [2:13:53]
    Image: river-300x224_a.jpg
    Format: JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group JFIF format)
    Mime type: image/jpeg
    Class: DirectClass
    Geometry: 300×224+0+0
    Resolution: 72×72
    Print size: 4.16667×3.11111
    Units: PixelsPerInch
    Type: TrueColor
    Endianess: Undefined
    Colorspace: sRGB
    Depth: 8-bit
    Channel depth:
    red: 8-bit
    green: 8-bit
    blue: 8-bit
    Channel statistics:
    Pixels: 67200
    min: 0 (0)
    max: 255 (1)
    mean: 123.35 (0.483727)
    standard deviation: 73.2964 (0.287437)
    kurtosis: -1.19917
    skewness: 0.499519
    min: 2 (0.00784314)
    max: 255 (1)
    mean: 128.511 (0.503966)
    standard deviation: 70.8711 (0.277926)
    kurtosis: -1.24345
    skewness: 0.55818
    min: 0 (0)
    max: 255 (1)
    mean: 114.286 (0.44818)
    standard deviation: 83.3308 (0.326788)
    kurtosis: -1.37591
    skewness: 0.498162
    Image statistics:
    min: 0 (0)
    max: 255 (1)
    mean: 122.049 (0.478624)
    standard deviation: 76.0243 (0.298135)
    kurtosis: -1.24736
    skewness: 0.485569
    Rendering intent: Perceptual
    Gamma: 0.454545
    red primary: (0.64,0.33)
    green primary: (0.3,0.6)
    blue primary: (0.15,0.06)
    white point: (0.3127,0.329)
    Background color: white
    Border color: srgb(223,223,223)
    Matte color: grey74
    Transparent color: black
    Interlace: JPEG
    Intensity: Undefined
    Compose: Over
    Page geometry: 300×224+0+0
    Dispose: Undefined
    Iterations: 0
    Compression: JPEG
    Quality: 99
    Orientation: TopLeft
    date:create: 2015-03-30T02:13:10+06:00
    date:modify: 2012-09-13T20:54:04+05:00
    exif:Artist: Library of Congress
    exif:ColorSpace: 65535
    exif:Compression: 6
    exif:DateTime: 2011:10:27 09:04:21
    exif:ExifImageLength: 224
    exif:ExifImageWidth: 300
    exif:ExifOffset: 280
    exif:ImageDescription: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    exif:JPEGInterchangeFormat: 418
    exif:JPEGInterchangeFormatLength: 6019
    exif:Orientation: 1
    exif:ResolutionUnit: 2
    exif:Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
    exif:XResolution: 720000/10000
    exif:YResolution: 720000/10000
    jpeg:colorspace: 2
    jpeg:sampling-factor: 1×1,1×1,1×1
    signature: a97f5effd71e491d4e45930239e242177f9916053427db95d77cef613e159455
    Profile-8bim: 7694 bytes
    Profile-exif: 6443 bytes
    Profile-iptc: 173 bytes
    unknown[2,0]: 0x00000000: ff00 –
    Caption[2,120]: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Headline[2,105]: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Byline[2,80]: Library of Congress
    Image Name[2,5]: Rappahannock River
    Profile-xmp: 5339 bytes
    filename: river-300x224_a.jpg
    verbose: true
    Tainted: False
    Filesize: 70.9KB
    Number pixels: 67.2K
    Pixels per second: 6.72MB
    User time: 0.010u
    Elapsed time: 0:01.009
    Version: ImageMagick 6.8.9-9 Q16 x86_64 2015-01-05

  131. 1) Yes
    2) Photos
    3) Amateur photographer.

    My question would be is there any way to Print a digital picure and then print the descriptions/Note on the back?

    • >is there any way to Print a digital picure and then print the descriptions/Note on the back?

      Not that I know of, Ed. But smartphone apps are getting better all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an app in the near future that could do that. If you have a smartphone, keep searching for “photo editing,” “metadata viewer” and “metadata editor” and similar search terms. There are a few terrific, easy to use apps available now that make tagging and reading easy. The next step should be printing.

      Thanks for the comment.

  132. Yes, I can see:
    The creator, the caption/description, the creators contact info, digital creation date, headline, title and location. This was just using preview on my mac.

    I am a professional photographer.

  133. Yes: An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Used Windows 8 “Properties” dialogue

  134. 1) Yes.
    2) Downloaded the photo and opened it in Windows Live Gallery, right-click -> Properties, tada
    3) I don’t even qualify as an amateur photographer, but I am a fairly proficient computer user — I knew what metadata and EXIF info were before reading this article.

  135. Yes I saw the quote. Downloaded it into Pictures Library (Windows 8) and then looked at properties/details and saw the quote and the metadata. I found you because I was looking for a way to do this, rather than using a long filed name. Looks like it has been about 4 years in the making and evidently no success so far.

  136. i’ve been looking for a way to tag/organize my photos.

    in case it’ll help anyone else — firefox has 2 addin’s (exif viewer & fxif) that allow you to see exif data. also, there is a website ( that will show the info & allow you to edit select fields.

    to answer the questions:

    1) i can see the quote.
    2) i used windows 7 & the two addin’s & website listed above.
    3) i actually take relatively few photos — i’m organizing for someone else.

  137. I’m sorry about the above — I should have double checked before posting.

    I used jotti & virustotal to scan for viruses after adding to the exif data on

    Jotti came up clean, but virustotal found (on 2/55 of its searches) a virus (W32.HfsJPEG.5A58) and a trojan (Trojan.Html.Heuristic-script.cadouz).

    I’m not sure if these are false positives, but be careful if using this site.

  138. I came across this article today, looking for help to add a note of info to a picture orally in my iPhone 6, either with camera app or photo gallery app.
    I did ‘save’ your photo to my phone, and because of the date it was taken it went to 2011 in my camera roll rather than today 9/21/15 when I saved it. But the Save does not reveal quote or other info you supplied. Maybe another app would?

    • Interesting. Thanks for turning this up. I’ll look into it and test the “before” and “after” effects of saving the photo and see if it has any effect on the photo metadata. I appreciate you finding this and writing to us about it.

      Citizen science in action!


  139. Ps -Amateur!

  140. Works fine (displays your caption) in Picasa 3 on my PC but does not seem to work at all on any iOS stuff I’ve tried to date.

    I’ve got about 6000 PC and web based jpegs captioned and mostly date sortable or if not name sortable-latter are mostly scans of old family 35mm slides I’ve saved. They are organized in dual level folders with Year Info and sub folders by event. Essentially all have about >=1K vertical resolution to allow good display on 1080 HD TV’s if needed.

    I’ve put this stuff on an iPod and an iPad with poor sort results and no captions available-essentially I have to find them in a jumble without any caption. I can access them online PicasaWeb with captions displayed via Google Images fine but not local access needed when wifi not available. My spouse has a smart phone but I don’t need one given a decent wifi device but I REALLY WANT CAPTION DISPLAY on same. I’m retired and really have no need of a smart phone but am highly computer literate.

    Any way to get that on either iOS or Android devices at this time (Oct 2015)? I’m thinking of moving the the Nexus 7 but am trying to find a solution to your now age old captioning problem as well.

    Any hope?????

    I’m considering

  141. Thank you very much for this very useful blog entry and the many posts from readers. It’s reassuring to know that my confusion is not just me!

    I downloaded the image to a folder on my Windows 8.1 computer, right-clicked on it, and navigated to Properties, then the Details tab. This is using the file manager for Windows 8.1, now called File Explorer (was Windows Explorer before Windows 8.0).

    1) I see the quote. Note that in the Properties dialog, you can’t see the whole quote but it’s there (here’s a copy and paste; I clicked in the field, pressed Ctrl-A, then Ctrl-C to copy the entire contents of the field in fell swoop):

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

    2) I’m using File Explorer in Windows 8.1. Note that when looking at the Properties, Details tab in Windows you can edit the field contents. Selecting multiple files allows you to edit the same field in the selected files. Works well with JPEGs. Less well with other file formats.

    3) amateur.

    Note that on Windows, when a folder is open in the Details view, you can alter which fields are visible by right-clicking on the column headings and then selecting the fields. A checkmark means the field is visible in the Details view. Clicking a checkmark turns the checkmark off and dismisses the dialog. Right-click on the column headings again to continue selecting and de-selecting fields.This way of working with column headings is fairly standard on Microsoft products, including Excel and File Explorer / Windows Explorer.

    With Finder in Mac OS X, I have NOT been able to do see photo metadata using the details view. For a single file, the Get Info option (Cmd-I) shows one file’s info at a time, and allows you to edit that info. I suppose it works for all selected files.

    I’ve long been frustrated that I had to tinker with the Details view each time I opened my Pictures folder. Then I found this helpful tutorial. Now my Pictures folder, and all its subfolders, are set to show my preferred photo metadata fields. Very helpful!

  142. I am an amateur. I see the quote and I used iPhoto (version 9.5.1.) on my MacBook Pro.

  143. Yes, I can see it
    I downloaded to Linux Ubuntu 14.04
    Simply, right button over icon -> Properties: shows Description

    • Thanks for your contribution, Ted.

  144. Typing into your camera makes no sense. Doing it later with software on your PC does.

    With SD card memory being so cheap it does makes sense to be able to add short voice descriptions.

    They could later be stripped or even converted to text using voice recognition software if you wanted. Good software is the key and I have about 100 ideas for how it should work and what it should do.

  145. I just installed Gimp onto my live version of Ubuntu Linux and got 2 of the fields:

    Headline: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA
    Location: Fredericksburg, VA

    But did not find the quote.

  146. May I also suggest better software to take advantage of the embedded GPS info in a smartphone photo?

    I turned it on for a recent trip and so far it has turned out to be useless. No web site or software really takes advantage of it. I was hoping to use it to help add comments when I got back.

  147. 1) Yep
    2) Photoshop Elements 11
    3) experienced photographer and archival digitization specialist

    It looks like we still have a way to go before metadata entry becomes common among the average users, if ever.

    I’ve scanned hundreds of old photographs, taking care to transcribe the written descriptions, occasionally researching the image when the available information is insufficient. It’s easy to use a portrait of unidentified ancestors and their associates to argue for labeling of some kind.

    I not only advocate metadata, but also throw in the usefulness of context in taking a photo. I often suggest, for instance, attempting to include recognizable and informative backgrounds in everyday picture-taking, to aid that someone down the road trying to identify the content.

  148. 1. Yes
    2. “Get Info” on Apple iMac
    3. Experienced amateur

  149. 1. Yes
    2. Used File Properties in Windows 10 File Explorer. [Rt-click, Properties, Details, then “thar she blows!”]
    3. Former newspaper photographer – mid 1980s.
    4. It’s a Royal PITA having to enter descriptions/comments individually. Ideally, they could be entered in batch-mode from a text-list of descriptions. The first file selected in the software would have the first description added to the “appropriate” exif heading; and so on. But if it’s so easy, it would have been done already.

  150. 1. Yes
    2. Windows Photo Viewer, properties, details
    3. amateur but family history hobby has taught me some of this

  151. I was reviewing your excellent post as I am looking for ways to manage my research collection. I downloaded your photo and discovered that Windows 10’s built in photo view does not show your title, description, attribution and other metadata. I do see the data in Zoner Photo Studio and in Irfanview.
    Cheers and thank you.

  152. Go the whole hog: voice-to -text photo captioning. In my line of work we investigate failed oil-field equipment through dismantle and photo documentation . We are trying to go paperless and find that the act of having to acccess and and use a keyboard/keypad entry to add photo captions to digital photos( usually taken with an I-pad) a giant nuisance as this requires my techs to remove and discard their gloves so that they can type in a photo caption. And we take hundreds of photos a day , 5 days a week.

    • Robert,

      I hope that voice-to-text becomes a reality soon for adding descriptions to photos. It’s sort of the missing link in the chain of good archiving.


  153. 1. Yes I can see the photo
    2. “Get Info” on Apple Macbook pro
    3. I am an amateur

    Also, I might mention that adding proper keyword description in your photos will help you rank better in search engines versus just having random letters and numbers 🙂 Hope that helps.

  154. I’ve used FotoTime software to edit and view exif data. Works great.

  155. I was able to read the quote.
    I used digiKam 5.25.0 on Fedora 24 Linux
    Very ameraturish – need to scan about 2000 35mm slides and scan thousands of photo dating back over a hundred yers and want to share these with others on MS windows, apple and Linux with metadata comments and just starting to learn about metadata issues.
    Thanks for your sharing on metadata

  156. Hi,
    I am a frustrated digital photography enthusiast with many thousands of photos on my NAS server all waiting to be categorized and put into slide shows along with 4×4 off road video clips. I have been involved in IT for many years but so far have not found the perfect solution. This is what I want to start with:

    Take a selection of photos and video clips from my NAS server. Collate them using some form of photo editor software. When batch processing these photos I want to access the Exif data, extract the GPS co-ordinets and the location text and insert at the bottom of each photo and or video clip. This means I do not need to type location info into each photo which is time consuming. At the end of this process I will have a slideshow which I can write to DVD for future reference and sharing with relatives and friends.

    Have you any ideas.
    Quote: “The impossible is just around the corner”

  157. I used Microsoft Office Picture Manager
    No description or metadata visible.

  158. I didn’t find any quote*

    Using Windows 10 “Photos” (I think… whatever the default app is for viewing image files) – once I found where I could look at file information, no quote was found.

    I also tried using GIMP (v2.8.18) but couldn’t find any quote with that either (which honestly surprised me).

    * I may have found the quote (or part of it) from just right-clicking the file and looking at the properties, but I don’t see a way to edit it.

  159. I can see the quote in “Subject” of the Properties>Details

    using Windows 10 file explorer

    I’m NOT a professional photographer

  160. i appreciate your concern & effort on ‘Add Description to Digital Photo’
    without a description a good photo is merely a beauty to see with no utility
    my good wishes to you for your effort on make ‘Add Description’ a reality !

  161. Irfanview showed comment, but not in an obvious way. Yes, description would be great. But I’d like your recommendation of which program to use to annotate photos, both personal and professional (academic, museusms, archeology, etc.) I am an amateur.

  162. Irfanview showed comment, but not in an obvious way. Yes, description would be great. But I’d like your recommendation of which program to use to annotate photos, both personal and professional (academic, museums, archeology, etc.) I am an amateur.

  163. People keep saying that search engine optimisation is dead or organic SEO is
    on its way out, could they be right about SEO?
    Bookmarked your site, should help me keep up to date with your posts!

  164. I downloaded the file and opened it first on the default viewer on my W10 Acer, but could not see the quotation.
    I then opened it in my Photoshop CS2 V,9.0 and could see the quotation in the Description field in the properties section.
    Useful, but a complicated way to do it.
    (I am going to be digitizing all of my slides going back to 1865 and further so this is going to be a task.)
    Thanks for your info anyway.

  165. Yes, I can see it. Opened in Preview on Mac and looked at its properties via “get info” – I’m not an amateur or professional photographer, just a gal trying to archive her family’s photo collection!

  166. Yes, I can see it.Thanks for your contribution.

  167. I was able to read your quote using Android phone and Quickpic app. I wish someone would come out with a good app for archiving to include the ability to add comments from the back of the photo you’re working with. For now i just keep two copies of the picture, one with no comment and another with a comment on the front of the picture. By way of an app that let’s you type text on a picture.

  168. I’m going to try this method of dating my pictures. Maybe Facebook page keeps the correct dates on my pictures that are important to me. The dates keep getting changed and some I can’t remember the original dates that they were taken.because the dates have been changed so many times. Thank you for your tips in your article on dating pictures when they’re taken.

  169. 1. Yes
    2. IrfanView 4.51 32 bit
    3. Amateur

    Here is the contents of the filled-in IPTC fields.
    Document title: Rappahannock River
    Author (byline): Library of Congress
    Caption (description): An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Headline: Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg, VA

    The relevant EXIF fields are:
    ImageDescription – An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin
    Software – Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows
    DateTime – 2011:10:27 09:04:21
    Artist – Library of Congress

    This is an extremely important issue. Some aging relatives want to enter descriptions for thousands of travel photos taken over several decades.

    Has this post been updated since 2011? If so, could someone please supply the relevant URL or Web site?

    Thank you.

  170. I tried 2 programs, using Mac OS, Affinity Photo and Pixelmator. I couldn’t find any of the metadata with Affinity but Pixelmator’s inspector revealed the Quote, location, creator and much more. I was surprised Affinity couldn’t reveal the data, but if it does it’s well hidden.

  171. I can see the quote. I am using Windows Live Photo Gallery. I clicked on Properties > Details and hovered over Description.

    I’m using Windows 7.

    I am an amateur photographer.

    I found this post because I’m looking for a way to view comments embedded in a jpeg image without having to go through Properties > Details or raise the bar at the bottom of the page in Windows Explorer and look at Comments there. I’m afraid when I haven’t done this for a few months, I’ll forget how!

  172. This is a hugely important topic and thank you for pointing us in the right direction to label our photos.

    I am using the powerful freeware Irfanview (

    Here’s how to view and edit the metadata of a single image:
    1) open image in Irfanview.
    2) type “I” (for “information”) or click Image > Information
    3) Now you can view or edit the EXIF and IPTC data.

    Here is how to edit a batch of images all at once:
    1) from Irfanview, type “T” (for Thumbnails), or click File > Thumbnails. A file viewer will open up.
    2) Navigate to the folder of your choice.
    3) Select the images you want to update.
    4) Type “CTRL-I”, or click File > JPG Lossless Operations > Set IPTC data to selected files…
    5) a dialog box will open and you can make your changes to one or all of the images – check out the “Options” tab.

  173. absolutely just like your website however, you ought to analyze this punctuation in quite a few of this articles Oxbridge French lessons. Some of them will be rife together with transliteration concerns and I realize its pretty disturbing to tell the facts however Let me undoubtedly keep coming back all over again.

  174. I used Paint Shop Pro to see the EXIF data under image information.
    I was able to read the quote and
    I am an amateur photographer.

    I have recently gotten a Samsung Note 9 and found out I have GPS information that actually tells me where I was by name, but it’s not visible unless displayed on my phone as the original picture. I tried sharing with my husband to find out if he can see the info that I see….he could not. I don’t know if putting comments into the file under properties will change the actual quality of the photo (see what an amateur I am!)

  175. On my desktop PC, I used MS Paint 98 to digitally create a white space (text box) which could be enlarged or reshaped appropriately to fit the text at the bottom of the photograph. Then I selected the text icon to write in the information. I would use a smaller text space & font for the date the original photograph was taken. Then I would use the text icon to create a larger text space & font for the names of the people in that photograph. As of 2017, the MS Paint 98 is now called Old Paint since MS came out with Paint 3D. It is still available in th Windows Store.

  176. Photo Supreme reveals:
    Headline, Description, Document Title, Date take, Creator`s info: name and location, Image content location.

    A snapshot would have been more descriptive of amount of info showed.

    Hard to beat when it comes to metadata editing.

  177. Good Post Thank you.

  178. Software: Irfanview 4.52 x64 version

    IPTC Info: Document Title, Author(byline), Caption(description.

    JPG Comment: – not visible.

    EXIF Info: Filename, Image Description, Orientation, xResolution, YResolution, Resolution Unit, Software, Date Time, Artist, Exif Offset, ColorSpace, Exif Image Width, Exif Image Height,

    EXIF Info Thumbnail: Compression, XResolution, YResolution, Resolution Unit, JpegIFOffset, JpegIFByteCount.

    Retired newspaper photographer (in the b&w days) – now amateur hobbyist.

  179. Downloaded the image to my MacBook Pro Desktop, clicked on it with the mouse, and used Command-i to display all Metadata, including the quote. I also viewed it in Photos using Command-i. I’m an amateur iPhone photographer.

    I’m looking for a way to record audio into a photo’s EXIF data at the time it’s taken, and then play it back when the image is viewed and/or edited in other apps. Why can’t I simply snap a photo on my iPhone and immediately use my iPhone’s microphone to record comments in that photo’s image file?

  180. Helpful post. Thanks for share.

  181. I found this site while browsing on my iPhone SE running iOS 12.4. I downloaded your photo to my phone and was able to view the Ben Franklin quote, and other metadata using an app called Metapho. I am an amateur photographer, but I came to the site because I am scanning family photos and was trying to find the best way to attach descriptions to them, in order to create a lasting and coherent archive.

  182. yes, even if late (12/19)

  183. 1. yes
    2. command line imagemagick:
    $ identify -verbose river-300x224_a.jpg
    3. amateur

  184. i can see the quote in Windows Explorer though I can see only part of it unless i scroll through it but not in the default Window 10 photo app. Nothing.

  185. This video explains how you can add descriptions and tags to your digital photo files to make it easier to organize and search your collection

  186. Yes, I saw your caption on my Mac OS Catalina version 10.15.4 I am an amatuer photographer.

  187. 1) Yes, I can see the quote;
    2) I used Explorer (included in Windows 10 v2004, Tab , select Detailwindow
    3) Amateur

  188. 1. Yes I can see the quote
    2. Mac OS X, Get Info
    3. Amateur

    Recently purchased a Canon mirrorless camera and have been managing the RAW images in Canon’s DPP4. So frustrating to not be able to add descriptions. Years ago was using Apple’s Aperture to edit and manage B/W scans of old family photos. The description field and the ability to easily copy and paste metadata was a Godsend. Even iPhoto (now Photos) has always provided a description field. Kinda mind boggling that, now, in 2020 this is still haunting us.

  189. 1. Yes I can see the quote in ‘properties-subject’
    2. Windows 10, viewing properties-details-subject
    3. Amateur
    Question for you: I’ve added text detail to numerous jpg files for archiving into metadata such as title, subject, comments, and now many jpg’s seem to have lost this detail. Any idea why? I would hate to spend all this time to find I’ve permanently lost the detail.
    Thanks Anthony

  190. 1) yes, can see it
    2) ipad ios 14.4, downloaded photo to photos, opened pic in photos and swiped up and quote is there
    3) amateur

  191. cool site. Thanks for posting.

  192. Really good blog,thank so much for your effort in writing the posts.

  193. 1. Yes
    2. Ubuntu Linux on a PC, Gthumb image software
    3. Amateur

    As a mineralogist I have large numbers of mineral specimen photos in Gthumb, all with information added to the Description field. I’ve never found a way to export the Description field to other image software used by people with the Windows OS.

  194. Yes, I see the quote from Ben Franklin. I saw it by using Apple’s Preview app on my Mac and choosing Tools, then Inspector. The data appeared in a sub-section marked IPTC. I am what some call an advanced amateur photographer, and I do sell some photographs but do not rely on it as a living.

  195. Mike:
    Excellent article! 10 years later it is still being commented on still striking a nice chord.

    Thank you!
    We’d obviously love for you to warm this up again 😉


  196. (1) Yes, I was able to see the quote as:

    (2.1) “Description” in Gnome (Linux) ImageViewer

    (2.2) “IPTC/Caption” in jhead (Linux)

    (2.3) “Description” in Synology Photos (Network Attached Storage app) Fully supported by Synology – it appears on hover.

    (3) I’m (very) amateur.

    The Synology “Photos” app writes the caption/description directly into the image file, something I was extremely pleased to discover today.

    It’s unacceptable to put all that effort into captioning and then have it locked up in proprietary software.

    But even a hundred years from now, data will still be data, and there will be a way to read the captions.

  197. 1) No, I couldn’t see the quote (nor title) in my typical photo viewer
    2) Microsoft Photos (ver. 2021.21090.10008.0 for Windows 10)
    3) Amateur

    It’s been interesting and somewhat disheartening to see in the comments over the years default Windows image programs going back-and-forth on displaying captions.

  198. I can see the quote in:

    Apple Photos on Mac OS Catalina;

    Get Info in Finder in Mac Catalina (in the Description field);

    Affinity Photo(in the Description field).

    Amateur Photographer

  199. Quite easy. I used an iPhone 13 ProMax.
    1. Clicked on photo to open it.
    2. Clicked and held finger on the image for the prompt to “Save photo”.
    3. Opened image with the iPhone “Photos” app
    4. Swiped up on the photo to see the quote and other data.

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