META Resources

Guide to Photo Metadata Fields - IPTC Core and IIM only

Our "Field Guide" provides a valuable resource for photo metadata users. It lists and defines the most commonly used fields in key metadata schema and in popular software.

You may also find the "IPTC Core Mapped Fields" PDF, available from the ControlledVocabulary.com website to be of use if you are trying to figure out how various field names vary from one application to the next.

Index

Author
By-line (or Author)

By-line Title (sometimes listed as Author position)

Caption

Caption Writer(s)

Category
City (legacy)
Contact Info

Copyright Notice

Copyright Status

Copyright URL

Country (legacy)

Country Code (legacy)

Creator

Creator’s Job Title

Credit Line

Date Created
Description
Description wr
iter
Document title

Headline

Instructions
Intellectual Genre
IPTC Subject Code
IPTC Scene
Job Identifier
Keywords

Location

Object Name
Original Transmission Reference
Photographer
Provider
Province/State
Rights Usage Terms
Source

Special Instructions
State/Province (legacy)
Sublocation
Supplemental Categories
Title
Title (if used in Photo Mechanic)
Transmission Reference
Urgency
Writer/Editor

 

Author [IPTC Core]
Alternative label, used for "Creator."

By-line (or Author) [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label advocated by the older IPTC IIM schema, used for "Creator."

By-line Title (sometimes listed as Author position) [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label advocated by the older IPTC IIM schema, used for "Creator's Job Title."

Caption [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label advocated by the older IPTC IIM schema, used for "Description."

Caption Writer(s) [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label for "Description Writer."

Category [IPTC IIM]
This field was deprecated (removed from use) when IPTC Core 1.0 was released in 2005, although it may appear in some applications supporting IPTC IIM. Use at your own risk.

City (legacy) [IPTC Core]
Enter the name of the city where the image was captured. If there is no city, you can use the Sublocation field alone to specify where the photograph was made. City is at the third level of a top-down geographical hierarchy.
Note: This field is "shared" with the "City" field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Contact Info [IPTC Core]
The Contact Info fields provide a generic structure for storing basic information that should make it easy to reach the person or organization that created this image. Note: "City," "State" and "Country" used in Contact Info should not be confused with fields bearing the same names that refer to the picture's origin.

Address (Contact info)
Address is a multi-line field. Enter the copyright holder's company name and all required information to locate the building or post office box where copyright holder receives mail.

Examples:
PO Box 666

11000 Avenue of the Americas
The Big Photography Building
Suite 1200


City (Contact info)
Enter the name of the city where your business is located.

Country (Contact info)
Enter the name of the country where your business is located.

Email(s) (Contact info)
Enter your business or work email address, such as name@domain.com. Separate multiple email addresses with commas.

Phone(s)  (Contact info)
Enter your business or work telephone number here. Separate multiple numbers with commas. Be sure to include the complete international format of a phone number including: +{countrycode} ({regional code}) {phone number} - {extension, if required}

e.g.: +1 (212) 1234578 - 222

Postal Code (Contact info)
Enter the local postal code (such as ZIP code) where your business is located.

State/Province (Contact info)
Enter the name of the State or Province where your business is located. Since the abbreviation for a state or province may be unknown to those viewing your metadata internationally, consider spelling out the name.

Website(s) (Contact info)
Enter the URL or web address for your business. Separate multiple addresses with commas.


Copyright Notice
[IPTC Core]
The Copyright Notice should include any legal language required to claim intellectual property. It should identify the photograph's current holder(s). If the photographer differs from the copyright holder, enter the photographer's name in the Creator field. Usually, the value for this copyright notice would be the photographer, but if an employee made the image under work-for-hire rules, then list the employing agency or company.

Use the form of notice appropriate to your country.

For the United States, you would typically follow the form of ©<date of first publication> name of copyright owner, as in “©2012 John Doe.”  Note the word “copyright” or the abbreviation “copr” may be used in place of the © symbol. In some foreign countries only the copyright symbol is recognized and the abbreviation is not accepted. Note the copyright symbol must be a full circle with a “c” inside; using something such as (c), where the parentheses form a partial circle, is not sufficient. For additional protection worldwide, it's best to use of the phrase, “all rights reserved” following the notice, as in: ©2012 Jane Doe, all rights reserved."

In Europe you use: Copyright {Year} {Copyright owner}, all rights reserved.

In Japan, for maximum protection, the following three items should appear in the copyright field of the IPTC Core: (a) the word, Copyright; (b) year of the first publication; and (c) name of the author. You may also wish to include the phrase “all rights reserved.”

Notes on usage rights should be provided in the “Rights Usage Terms” field.

Note: This field is “shared” with the “Copyright Notice” field in the Description panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info field.

U.S. Examples:
Independent Photographer -
©2012 John Doe, all rights reserved
Agency Photographer -
©2012 John Doe / XYZ Agency, all rights reserved
Staff Photographer -
©2008 Big Newspaper, all rights reserved

Copyright Status [Photoshop]
This field is not part of the IPTC Core; it exists only as part of the Photoshop XMP Namespace. Use with caution, as some software programs will not recognize this field.

Copyright URL [Photoshop]
This field is not part of the IPTC Core; it exists only as part of the Photoshop XMP Namespace. Use with caution, as some software programs will not recognize this field.

Country (legacy) [IPTC Core]
Enter the full name of the country pictured in the photograph. This field is at the first level of a top-down geographical hierarchy. Use a verbal name and not a code; the ISO country code should be placed in the field titled Country Code.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Country” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info field.

Country Code (legacy) [IPTC Core]
Enter the Country Code of the country pictured in the photograph. This field is at the top level of a top-down geographical hierarchy. Display country codes as upper-case letters (US not us). They may be either two- or three-letter codes, as defined by the ISO 3166 standard. The two-letter code list (3166-2) is freely available from the International Standards Organization site. The full name of a country should go to the “Country” field.

Creator [IPTC Core]
This field should contain your name or the name of the person who created the photograph. If it is not appropriate to add the name of the photographer (for example, the photographer's identity needs to be protected) use a company or organization name. Once saved, this field should not be changed by anyone. This field does not support the use of a comma or semi-colon as separator.
Note: This field is "shared" with the “Author” field in the Description Panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Creator’s Job Title [IPTC Core]
This field should list the job title of the photographer. Examples might include: Staff Photographer, Freelance Photographer or Independent Commercial Photographer. Since this is a qualifier for the Creator field, you must also complete the Creator field.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Author Title” field in the Description Panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue (only appears in versions of Adobe products later than CS).

Credit Line [IPTC Core]
The Credit Line is a free-text field that specifies how to acknowledge the supplying person(s) and/or organization(s) when publishing the image. Indicate more formal identifications of the image's creator or the copyright holder in other rights-specific fields - such as Creator and Copyright Notice. The older IIM metadata schema called this property "Credit." It was renamed to "Provider" in IPTC Core 1.0. It has been renamed to “Credit Line” in the latest version of the IPTC Core 1.1 to acknowledge how it is most widely used.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Credit” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Examples:
Independent Photographer -
John Doe Photography
Agency Photographer -
XYZ Agency
Staff Photographer -
Big Newspaper

Date Created [IPTC Core]
Use this field to record the calendar date (and optionally, the time) when the photograph was made - not the date when you scanned or edited the image. If using a digital camera set to the correct time, you can find this information in the image's EXIF data. If no time is given, the value should default to 00:00:00.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Date Created” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue. You can use the Origin panel’s “Today" button to set the IPTC Date Created field.

Description [IPTC Core]
The Description field, often referred to as “Caption,” should report the who, what and why of what the photograph depicts. If there is a person or people in the image, this caption might include their names, and/or their roles in any action taking place. If the image depicts a location, then it should describe the location. Don’t forget to also include this same “geographical” information in the appropriate fields (location, city, state/province, country) of the IPTC Core. The amount of detail to include depends on the image and whether it is documentary or conceptual. Typically, editorial images come with complete caption text, while advertising images may not.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Description” field in the Description panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Editorial Example:
The Shore Temple of the Seven Pagodas was built underNarsimha II of the Pallava dynasty between 7th and 8th century AD and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It resembles the structure of the Dharmaraja rath, but its tower rises much higher (approx. five stories or ~ 60 ft. high) and its stupa spire is small and slender.

Advertising Example:
Paper tissue roll core, photographed upright.

Description writer [IPTC Core]
Enter the name of the person writing, editing or correcting the description of the photograph in this field. If you're an independent photographer, this is typically your own name, since you are entering the image metadata.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Description Writer” field in the Description panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Document Title [IPTC Core]
Alternative label for "Title."

Headline [IPTC Core]
A headline is a brief, publishable synopsis or summary of the contents of the photograph. Like a news story's lead, the Headline should grab attention and summarize the image's content. Headlines must be succinct. Leave any supporting narrative for the Description field. Do not, however, confuse the Headline term with Title.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Headline” field in the Origin Panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Examples:
Young boy yelling
Shore Temple, Malibalipuram, India
Farmer planting onions

Instructions [IPTC Core]
This is a simple text field that can include any of a number of instructions from the provider or creator to the receiver of the photograph. Any of the following might be included: embargoes (eg: News Magazines OUT) and other restrictions not covered by the Rights Usage Terms field (or new PLUS rights related fields); information regarding the original means of capture (scanning notes, color profile, etc.) or other specific text information the user may need for accurate reproduction; additional permissions or credits required when publishing.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Instructions” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Examples:
Image to be used one time only, non-exclusive in English-language-edition magazine as inside image, no larger than a full page in color. Additional third-party rights to be negotiated with Julie Doe / XYZ Agency in advance. All rights not specifically granted are reserved. See delivery memo for specific license.

For consideration only; no reproduction in any form without prior, written permission.

Intellectual Genre [IPTC Core]
Use this field to describe the type of use a photograph fulfills, in terms of its intellectual or journalistic characteristics. For example, at a newspaper, Intellectual Genre labels might include terms like daybook, obituary, press release, or transcript. A magazine might use terms such as actuality, interview, background, feature, summary, or wrap-up. For best results, organizations should use a set of terms from a controlled vocabulary. A sample taxonomy of “Intellectual genre” terms developed by the IPTC is available from http://www.newscodes.org/. The PRISM working group of the IDEAlliance has also developed a set of terms.

IPTC Subject Code [IPTC Core]
This field can specify and categorize the content of a photograph by one or more subjects listed in the IPTC “Subject NewsCode” taxonomy available from http://www.newscodes.org/. Each subject term is represented as an eight-digit numerical string in an unordered list. Only subjects from a controlled vocabulary should populate this field; enter free-choice text in the Keyword field.

IPTC Scene [IPTC Core]
Describes what a photograph depicts, using one or more terms from the IPTC "Scene-NewsCodes." You should only enter values from the IPTC Scene controlled vocabulary (available from http://www.newscodes.org/). Each IPTC Scene term is represented as a six-digit numerical string in an unordered list.

Job Identifier [IPTC Core]
You can enter a number or identifier created or issued to improve workflow handling and image tracking. Typically, the creator or image provider creates this code for transmission and routing purposes, relating it to the job for which the item is supplied.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Transmission Reference” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Keywords [IPTC Core]
Enter keyword terms or phrases to describe the subject of content in the photograph. Keywords may be free text (i.e., they need not from a controlled vocabulary). You may enter (or paste) any number of keywords, terms or phrases into this field. Each keyword term should be separated by a delimiter, such as a comma, though some software may allow semicolons or line returns (note also that some applications may change the appearance of this delimiter as well, such as Photoshop changing your commas to semicolons). To maintain backward compatibility, no single value should exceed 64 characters. Values from the controlled vocabulary IPTC Subject Codes must be placed into the “Subject Code” field.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Keyword” field in the Description panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.


Photo of Man Planting Onions, by David Riecks

Example of keyword set for image of man planting onions:
agriculture, farm laborer, farmer, field hand, field worker, humans, occupation, people, agricultural, agronomy, crops, onions, vegetable crops, plants, vegetables, outdoors, outside, agricultural equipment, tractor, gender, male, men.

Location [IPTC Core]
Label introduced in IPTC Core 1.0 schema and replaced with "Sublocation" in IPTC Core 1.1. While replaced by "Sublocation" in IPTC Core 1.1, it may still appear as Location in many applications.

Object Name [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label from older IPTC IIM schema; used for "Title."

Original Transmission Reference [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label from older IPTC IIM schema; used for "Job Identifier."

Photographer
Alternative label used by Photo Mechanic for "Creator."

Provider [IPTC Core]
Label introduced in IPTC Core 1.0 schema and replaced with "Credit Line" in IPTC Core 1.1. This field is “shared” with the “Credit” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue. While replaced by "Credit Line" in IPTC Core 1.1, it may still appear as Provider in many applications.

Province/State [IPTC Core]
Alternative label, used for "State/Province."

Rights Usage Terms [IPTC Core]
The Rights Usage Terms field should include free-text instructions on how the photograph can be legally used. If submitting the image(s) for consideration only, you can indicate that, and stipulate no reproduction is allowed without first negotiating permission. Use the PLUS [link to PLUS website, or PLUS page within the PhotoMetadata Website] fields of the IPTC Extension in parallel to express the license in more controlled terms. It is strongly encouraged that you use a standardized set of terms or controlled vocabulary when populating this field.

Source [IPTC Core]
The Source field should identify the original owner or copyright holder of the photograph. The value of this field should never be changed after the information is first entered. While not yet enforced by the custom panels, you should consider this to be a “write-once” field. The source could be an individual, an agency or a member of an agency. To aid in later searches, separate any slashes “/” with a blank space. Use the form “photographer / agency” rather than “photographer/agency.” Source may also be different from Creator and from the names listed in the Copyright Notice.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Source” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info dialogue.

Special Instructions [IPTC Core]
Alternative label from older IPTC IIM schema, used for "Instructions."

State/Province (legacy) [IPTC Core]
Enter the name of the subregion of a country - usually referred to as either a State or Province - pictured in the image. Since the abbreviation for a State or Province may be unknown to those viewing your metadata internationally, consider using the full spelling of the name. Province/State is at the second level of a top-down geographical hierarchy.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “State/Province” field in the Origin panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info field.

Sublocation [IPTC Core]
Enter the name of the sublocation shown in the image. This might be the name of a specific area within a city (Manhattan), or the name of a well-known place (Pyramids of Giza), monument or natural feature outside a city (Grand Canyon). Location is the most specific term, at the fourth level of a top-down geographical hierarchy.

Supplemental Categories [IPTC IIM]
This field was deprecated (removed from use) when IPTC Core 1.0 was released in 2005, although it may appear in some applications supporting IPTC IIM. Use with caution.

Title [IPTC Core]
This field can include a shorthand reference for the image or “photograph” - primarily for identification. The title of an image should be a short, human-readable name - text and/or numeric reference - and may take several forms. For photographers, this might be the filename of their original scan or digital camera file. For news organizations it might be the name of a story it accompanies. The Title term should not be confused with the Headline term, which is a short synopsis of the photograph's content.
Note: This field is “shared” with the “Document Title” field in the Description panel of the Adobe Photoshop File Info document.

Examples:
0706_1024
IMG_9873
Sunrise Over Temple
Fun At the Beach

Title (if used in Photo Mechanic versions prior to v5)
Alternative label in Photo Mechanic for "Creator's Job Title."

Transmission Reference [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label for "Job Identifier."

Urgency [IPTC IIM]
This field was deprecated (removed from use) when IPTC Core 1.0 was released in 2005, although it may appear in some applications supporting IPTC IIM. Use with caution.

Writer/Editor [IPTC IIM]
Alternative label from older IPTC IIM schema, used for "Description Writer."