Photo Workflow 07 - Set Base Metadata

   My initial reason for buying Photo Mechanic, before realizing all the other great stuff it could do, was to inject metadata (like keywords) into my images. For years, I'd struggled to figure out a database for my image, where I could store their various categories and therefore search for them more easily. All the eaves of Art Deco buildings, for example.

   But then I heard about IPTC metadata, which allow all those keyword tags to be embedded into the images themselves so that the images BECOME the database, rather than needing an outside database. That was a no-brainer... the only question was how to inject the metadata. I did a lot of research and Photo Mechanic was the clear winner.

   Lots of keywords are specific to some images, but not all, in a particular shoot. But some particular pieces of metadata belong on every image in a shoot. To set the "base metadata," as I call it, go to the "-2 Set Base Metadata" folder where the images from your shoot now reside. Select all the images. Click Command-I (again, all these are the Mac key commands; see documentation if you have the Windows version) or select Image>IPTC Stationery Pad from the menu bar. It'll bring up the Stationery Pad window. Here's what I consider my base metadata, and its settings... obviously, you'll want to adjust all this for you and your shoots:

Caption Writers

   Stephen A. Mouzon (just in case I write a caption, that'll already be entered.)


   Here, I enter the location keywords. For the example I've been using, it would be North America, USA, Maryland, St. Michaels

Rights Usage Terms

   Make sure you have the terms you want. You probably want to do some research here to make sure you're comfortable. Here's what mine says: "Image may be used an unlimited number of times in books, publications, reports, or presentations, including books and publications offered for sale so long as the photographer is credited and the copyright is indicated. Image may not be re-sold directly, nor may it be used as part of an advertisement of any sort without a specific Advertising Agreement, for which different rates apply. Contact Steve Mouzon to arrange Advertising Agreement. All other rights are reserved except those specifically granted. NOTICE: There are no model releases on any persons depicted in this image. Use at your own risk."


   Enter the city. In this example, it's St. Michaels, obviously.


   If you know the neighborhood, enter it here, like "French Quarter." Or if it's a significant place smaller than a neighborhood, you might enter that as well, like "Capitol Hill."


   Enter the state or province. In this example, it's obviously Maryland.


   I use USA rather than United States, FWIW, for shoots in this country.


   Look up the IPTC Country Code. You may need to do a bit of Googling because these are no longer listed on As a matter of fact, when you find the list, you should probably save it offline for future use.


   Make sure it's set to the Capture Time option.


   I use my full legal name in all metadata: Stephen A. Mouzon.


   ©2012 Stephen A. Mouzon. If I'm processing images from past years, I change the date to the year shot. Just make sure to change it back to the current year when processing new images. I make a habit of glancing at this field with every shoot... it just takes a second to make sure you're not screwing up.

Contact Address

   1253 Washington Avenue

   Suite 222

Contact City

   Miami Beach

Contact State


Contact Zip


Contact Country


Contact Email(s) I could include my other addresses, but that's unnecessary, IMO. Just use the primary one associated with your image portfolio. In this case, Mouzon Images is associated with Mouzon Design, so I use my address.

Contact Phone(s)


Contact Web URL(s)

   Most of these fields don't change. The only ones that change for sure are the Keywords, City, and State... or not even those, if you have subsequent shoots in the same city. Also, the year on the copyright might change. But everything else should be the same. Once you like what you've got, click Apply Stationery to Selected. It'll take a few seconds (depending on how many images you have in the shoot.)

   Once it's finished setting the base metadata, click Command-Y or select File>Copy/Move Photos to move the images on to the next folder in the process. As with the move to this folder, it'll bring up a dialog box. The "Move photos (delete originals)" check box should already be selected, and the "RAW+JPEG handling" should already be set to "Process both RAW and JPEG files." Under the Destination window, the "Always pick destination" radio button should already be selected. Click Move. Navigate to the "-3 Rate" folder that's just beside the "-2 Set Base Metadata" folder they're now in and click OK. If you like, you can now delete the "-2 Set Base Metadata" folder.

   The next step is to rate the images.

© 2012 The Guild Foundation Press