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Working With Metadata In Lightroom

With the help of Lightroom, photographers can add important information into their image files.

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Working With Metadata In Lightroom:
Metadata is an important tool photographers can harness which, among other things, will clarify who took the image and what its copyright status is. This data is stored inside the image and thanks to software such as Lightroom, this information can be added and also edited at later dates. You'll also find that your camera will write Metadata into images as they are taken but this will be more about what camera / settings were used and not who owns the image.

If you don't already add / amend the Metadata in your images it's something you should get into the habit of doing and with the help of Lightroom, it's a process that can easily become part of your workflow.

Add Metadata On Import

In Lightroom, the first place you'll most likely come across Metadata is in the Import window.

Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Metadata dropdown Import window

To the right of the Import window you'll see several options but the one we are currently interested in is 'Apply During Import'. Here you can use / create a Metadata template to add various pieces of information to your images during the import process. This will save you time by reducing the amount of information you'll have to input into each image manually.

Click on 'Apply During Import' to open a drop down with three options: Develop Settings, Metadata and Keywords.

Metadata is what we are interested in so click on this option and a smaller menu will open with None, New and Edit Preset options available. If 'None' is selected this tells Lightroom that you don't want to apply any specific Metadata during import and the 'Edit' option allows you to change Metadata presets you've already created. If you're reading this you've probably not created any presets before so you want to select the 'New' option.

When you click 'New' a window will open where various pieces of information can be added. It's important you rename the Preset so it's easily identifiable and do remember to save (press the Create button) once you're happy with the setup.

Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Metadata Preset

You can add as much or as little information as you like here, but often it's best to add the information you'll want to repeat on every image you import such as the copyright information and Creator Information then add the rest of the Metadata that's more image specific in the Library module. 

Adding Information 

To add Metadata just click in the box you want to type in and add your text. A tick will appear at the side of each piece of information you add. Don't apply ticks to any blank boxes at this will remove any metadata already applied.

If you want to add a copyright symbol you can copy and paste one in or press Alt and the following keys on a PC's keyboard: 0169.

The Copyright box is where you input your copyright information and in the Copyright Status make sure Copyrighted is selected. In the Rights Usage Terms box you need to say how the image can be used so if you don't want it to be used without your permission, you need to state this. The Copyright Info Url is where you add your website address.

Under IPTC Creator you can add your name, address, contact details etc. if you so wish.

Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Select PresetAnother option worth considering adding information to at this stage is the Status section as the Creditline and Source options show how you wish to be credited when the image is used.

You can create as many presets as you like, adding different metadata options or keywords to each of your presets so they can be used on different types of images. For example, you may have a specific set of keywords you always apply to portraits so you create a portrait preset.

To ensure a specific preset is applied to images when you import them you need to make sure it's selected in the Metadata data box.

Metadata In Library Module

In the Library Module you can edit / add more Metadata that's specific to an individual image as well as apply a preset you've previously created.

Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Metadata Library

To apply a preset, find the Metadata data panel and select the preset you wish to apply. If you're in grid mode rather than working with one specific image you can select multiple shots and apply the preset to them.

You can change the type of Metadata shown from the dropdown menu found at the top of the Metadata panel. You'll also see small icons to the right of some of the Metadata options listed. These allow you to change / edit / apply different options. You can see what each button actually does by hovering your mouse cursor above it.

Under Default it's worth adding a Title and Caption as this can make using the output modules (Book, Slideshow, Print and Web) a quicker process as you can use titles and captions alongside your images in these sections. You can also rename your file, add Copyright details and information on ratings and labels (see our tutorial on ratings for more information on what this is for) as well as GPS information under this Default option.
Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Metadata Preset Working With Metadata In Lightroom: Metadata

Under EXIF you'll find the Metadata the camera wrote into the image when it was taken.

The IPTC Metadata shows the standardised categories developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council. As stated previously, the Copyright and Creator information should be filled out. You can also add your contact details here alongside many other categories, including where the image was taken. The IPTC Extension option supplies even more Metadata options that can be applied to an image that make up the standard created by the IPTC.

To save the Metadata you've applied out to the files you need to go to Metadata>Save Metadata. 

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