Metadata Woes

Well I spent a lot of time working with Aperture yesterday and really liked the way that it seemed easier to add my metadata keywords to my images… until it didn’t seem to add it to the file itself. It’s weird. If I add metadata it shows it on that file in Aperture, but when I go to the same file in Bridge and use the file info command, the metadata is not actually written to the file. Subsequently when I upload the file to Zooomr it’s not showing the keyword tags there. It seems like Aperture doesn’t actually write the metadata to the image file, but rather wants to lock you into their proprietary system to orgranize your files and you can only see the metadata when looking at it through Aperture. Maybe I’m wrong on this and their is a way to actually write this metadata to the file itself, but I don’t seem to be getting it.

I hate the way that Adoble Bridge makes you right click every photo and then go to file info and then add the meta data. So many unnecessary clicks and steps.

So I guess it’s finally time to try Lightroom. Maybe that will be the application that finally easily gets metadata written to my files. I wish getting your metadata in your image files was not so difficult. I’m sure I’m doing tons of things wrong and that I don’t understand Aperture and Bridge how I should, but neither seem to work very well for me for editing my metadata.

I also don’t like how if I use the “Get Info” file on the Mac on an image file that you can’t see the metadata there. I wish there were an easier way to see metadata in the Mac’s finder.

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  1. publicenergy says:

    This can be a nightmare. You could try iView Media Pro but I’d watch their podcasts – particularly the two that deal with Photoshop because they explain the difference in metadata and how to change the options to make it work more smoothly.

    The podcasts on their own might shed some light on this whole problem for you though – it does seem like a minefield!

  2. JeffH says:


    Not sure why you are having so much trouble with tagging. CS2 Bridge can do exactly what you want. Here are two ways to do it.
    1) Make sure you have the Metadata pane up on the screen. Highlight as many RAW files as you want. Go to the metadata pane and you will see a little pencil next to all of the fields under the IPTC Core sub header. These are editable fields, type whatever you want. Click the check in the bottom right corner of the Metadata pane to apply your changes. It may take a few moments to apply if you have highlighted many files.

    2) You can create a metadata template that you can apply or append to any single or group of files. You could make a template of your copyright and contact info for instance, to be applied to all of your photos, or make several templates for different uses.
    2a) Making the template – In Bridge, click File|Get Info and fill in the metadata like you have been doing, but before clicking OK, click on the small right facing arrow in a circle icon at the top right corner of the dialog box. Click ‘Save Metadata Template’ and give the data you just filled in a name.
    2b) Using the Metadata template – in Bridge, highlight as many RAW files (or .jpg, or .tiff…) as you wish. Go to the Metadata pane and click on the small right facing arrow in a circle icon at the top right corner. Pick either Append or Replace Metadata from the flyout list. Select the template you just created. The info in the template will be appended to or will completely replace the IPTC data in your Raw file sidecar files.

    Now when you create .jpgs from your RAW files, the metadata in the sidecar files will be imbedded into the .jpg file. You can add/append metadata to .jpg files directly if you want, and the actual file will be updated. (This takes longer than doing it to RAW files where the data is added to the small .xmp sidecar files.)

    Lightroom works almost exactly the same way. BTY, Processing in Lightroom is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than doing it in CS2 Bridge/Camera Raw. I did a test by processing 50 RAW files in CS2 Bridge/Camera Raw/Photoshop and the same images in Lightroom/Photoshop. I cut my processing time by 30 or 40%. Now that I’m somewhat proficient at Lightroom, the time savings might be even greater. I found that I actually only need to open about 5% of my images in Photoshop to do selective dodge/burn or localized editing like blemish removal etc. Depending on the subject matter of the images and how well I exposed them in the first place. I find that my landscape and commercial/product type photos will not need to be opened in Photoshop nearly as often as say portraits.

    If you try Lightroom, please do a right up on your experience, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

    Jeff H

  3. Thomas

    For the most part I save my photos in Aperture to the Aperture library. When I export my images to edit in Noise Ninja for example the metadata is exported fine (If I do get info on the file from Finder the keywords are listed). If you choose to save you files in directories outside of the Aperture library then yes the metadata is not attached to the file it is saved elsewhere. However, if you export that file following any edits you have made, the metadata will be attached to the image regardless of where you store it. Unless I am misunderstanding you I don’t see what Apple’s proprietary system has to do with it.
    If you were to perform a batch keyword change to a group of images you could then use the Flickr upload plugin to batch upload to Flickr with keywords and all. To get then to Zoomr just perform a batch export and then upload, your keywords will be there!

  4. Anonymous says:

    In Aperture, the original master file is sacred – Aperture will never ever write a single bit to that file. Instead, Aperture maintains all the metadata, adjustments, etc in its own database.

    If you want any of that information you need to export the file – you can export the original master file (which just makes a copy of the original) along with an XMP sidecar file if you just want the metadata, or you can export a version (which includes all of your adjustments, and all of your metadata).

    If you truly just want all your metadata changes on your originals, it’s possible to write an export plug-in using Aperture’s API that puts an XMP sidecar next to your existing master, without having to export a copy.

    Hope that helps.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, and I’m not sure how you’re uploading to Zoomr, but if you’ve added keywords and you export a version, those keywords are in the IPTC – so Zoomr should be able to pick them up.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey Thomas-

    I don’t know if it helps, but the Apple KB article on exporting metadata in Aperture is here:


  7. Paul says:

    I have good luck with iView MediaPro here. Too bad zooomr isn’t reading the XMP/IPTC it embeds. It’s nicely scriptable and allows custom properties to be embedded in the XMP it exports (without great pain).

    I’d really appreciate an API key 😉 then it wouldn’t matter if it reads it or not, I could do it myself. (zooomr user Luap777 hint hint)

    Would love to see spaces and other characters allowed in tag names. I don’t understand why they aren’t….I can’t see why it should make processing any harder.

    Nice shots of CES by the way.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Adding to B’s post, if you open the file you are working with in Photoshop from Aperture by choosing open in external editor, it auto creates a new version and saves all metadata in the file. Then when you save in Photoshop it updates in the Aperture library and the metadata is part of the file. For the files that you don’t need to do any editing to, I’m assuming you need to export to another file type to post anyway at which point all the metadata will be saved also.

  9. Norby says:

    For getting at EXIF info on your files in OSX quickly, you might appreciate PhotoToolCM, a contextual menu plugin thingy that lets you right-click on an image file to see information (and manipulate the file in a few ways as well).


  10. Henry says:


    Exporting EXIF or IPTC with tagged images has been fixed in the latest Aperture 1.5.2. You can change that in your Export presets.

    Tagging pictures can be done in batch or in presets too. This is quite a time-saver.

    If you want help or tips with your workflow, check out the site Inside Aperture, by Oreilly. I’ve had a great time reading that one, and learned a ton too.