Photo Metadata Research

IPTC not only defines the standard for photo metadata, but also conducts research about how photo metadata is used and implemented. Our most recent tests and studies:

Rights Information and Social Media Networks

IPTC was approached by users who discovered that when they shared photos via social media sites or systems, their embedded metadata disappeared.

The IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group tested 15 social media sites in 2016 and 2013 to understand how image sharing, through upload and download, affects the integrity of embedded metadata as defined by IPTC standards and the Exif standard.

Some social media sites or systems remove embedded information like copyright notes, the name of the creator, the description and more, while others protect photographers’ data better. The results show that it is not impossible to preserve metadata in a workflow.

See results of each social media site/system.

Rights Information and Software Performance

IPTC tested software programs most commonly used by amateur photographers to find out the programs’ effectiveness in writing, editing and reading rights data in an image. The programs are available either for free or at a price below about 150 US Dollar/Euro/British Pound, and run mainly on Windows or Mac computers (a few even run on smartphones or tablets).

The test measured two results for each type of software: how it helps the creator of a photo add and edit rights information; and how it helps the user of a photo find and read rights information.

The results, published in August 2014, look promising:

  • Half of the programs offered fields for photographers to enter rights information, including the date, the image’s creator, copyright notice, and rights usage term.
  • Two out of three programs helped users retrieve embedded rights data.
  • Unfortunately, two of the programs didn’t support rights metadata at all.

See details of the study, including results chart.