Last month Andrew Wiard attended the annual IPTC Metadata Conference in Paris on behalf of The BPPA ( IPTC – International Press and Telecommunications Council ). There he proposed drafting ‘quick guides’ to get the IPTC basic essentials across to as many photographers as possible. Starting with the Four Cs, the four IPTC metadata categories that every photographer should complete in every picture – Creator, Caption, Copyright Notice and Contact details.
This BPPA version is the first, and I hope only the first, produced with the help of Board member Neil Turner.
Four Cs, Five Ws and an A
As professional photographers we owe it ourselves, our colleagues and the wider creative community to make sure that we make the fullest use of the metadata options provided by the IPTC (International Press & Telecommunications Council) to identify ourselves as the creators and copyright owners of our work at all times.
The Four Cs:
- Creator/Photographer or Author – that’s you, the author of your photographs. If you do not identify yourself no-one will know who to contact for permission to publish them or pay you. Worse, your work may then be considered an ‘orphan’ and in certain circumstances used without either permission or payment.
- Caption or Description/Caption – that’s the 5 ‘W’s. Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Without this information a picture is useless for editorial purposes. There is no limit to additional details but these five are mandatory.
- Copyright or Copyright Notice – that’s to make clear that you are not only the creator but also the owner (assuming that you are) of your intellectual property. In three parts, the symbol © and/or the word ‘Copyright’, your name, and the year of first publication. For example; Copyright © 2019 Fred Smith (the copyright symbol is, on a Mac, ‘Option’ key and press the ‘g’ key, on a PC the ‘Alt’ key and type 0169). It is also acceptable to type (c). Omitting this information does not restrict your rights but can make it more difficult to enforce them.
- Contact Details – that’s so you can be found. Maybe to check caption details, but also, again, to get permission to publish and then to pay you. Even if you can be identified as author and copyright owner, if you cannot be contacted you still risk your photographs being considered ‘orphan’ works. To be clear that is a minimum of your telephone number with the international dialling code and a valid email address. Adding a URL with your copyright statement is also strongly advised.Different software applications display IPTC information in different ways, but these fields remain the same. Here below are three examples, from Lightroom, Photoshop and Photo Mechanic. We have also added the Credit field as Google searches do now read and report three IPTC fields, Creator, Copyright and Credit – not yet matching the four ‘C’s, but close.It is important that you don’t rely on metadata inserted in one of the dozens of other fields to convey important information. Not only do search engines not look into them but the majority of picture desk systems don’t show them either. There is nothing to stop you as the photographer filling in the relevant information in other fields – especially if a client requires it but important and unique information should not only be inserted into other fields.
Adobe Lightroom Classic uses the word Description instead of Caption and inserts a © in the credit line but otherwise follows the Four Cs well if you select IPTC as your metadata option
Adobe Photoshop CC also uses Description instead of Caption and also inserts a © in the credit line. The Four Cs are over three different pages of the File Info rather than being on one page.
Photo Mechanic has two captioning options – the Metadata Template (called Stationery Pad in version 5 and earlier) and the Caption Info tool. Both have all of the Four Cs fields displayed in a single view. The Caption is called Description/ Caption and the Creator is called Creator/ Photographer.
It also has the option to customise either IPTC dialogue window to only showing those fields that you are interested in. This is done under Preferences/Accessibility.
So we have explained the Four Cs: Creator, Caption, Copyright and Contact and the Five Ws: Who, What, Where, Why and When.
All that leaves is the single A; ALWAYS. Always add these basics of metadata to every single picture that you deliver to clients, place on the web or in any other way make available in a form that is accessible by those who may seek permission to use your work.
If we, as the professionals, do this properly at all times then we have a stronger case to go out there and demand our rights and defend our intellectual property.
You may download a PDF version of the Quick Guide Here…