People are taking more pictures every year. Sorting through all these images can be very difficult without the proper catalog system. For the professional photographer lost images can mean lost revenue. In the 1970’s a catalog system was created called the IPTC (international Press Telecommunications Council). This standard was established to help combine the text information together with the image so they both could be sent over the wire. Today the ITPC standards are an important tool for the digital photographer to organize and market their work.
Photographers can add important information to the image such as photographer name, copyright holder, license information, key words, and subject matter. Embedding this information into the image allows the photographer to easily search for the right image using ITPC compliant applications. The file info tool in Adobe Photoshop follows the standards of IPTC. IPTC information can be saved in JPEG, TIFFs, and PSD’s. IPTC makes cataloging of image data easier to find and edit through. In addition it can also make image usage and licensing simple to track.
Many stock agencies such as Fotolia now detect the IPTC data for faster categorizing. If the image was saved using a IPTC compliant application the photographer will not have to enter all the key words and image data manually.
Now the IPTC format has many fields that just aren’t needed for the average photographer shooting for a stock agency. Here are the most common IPTC fields used by professional photographers with stock agencies:

  • Instructions (Insert License Information here)
  • Keywords (Insert other important data here, such as Subject, Client, Project, Names of Those Photographed, Stock Keywords, Portfolio Image)
  • Photographer
  • Copyright
  • Copyrighted
  • Credit
  • City
  • State
  • Country
  • Date

Many applications besides Adobe Photoshop support IPTC and make the workflow of adding this information easy. Here are a few to review:
Captionwriter II (Mac OS 7.5+, Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000)
FotoStation (Mac, Windows)
GraphicConverter (Mac)
Image Info Toolkit (Mac OSX, OS9.2, Windows 2000, XP)
iView MediaPro (Mac)
MediaGrid (Mac, Windows)
Photo Mechanic (Mac, Windows)
It is simple to add IPTC information to PhotoShop files click here to see screen shots of the “File info” tool.