IPTC Metadata for Real Estate
If you use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 in your real estate photography workflow, you already have the tools you need to fully utilize the power of IPTC metadata. By utilizing metadata properly, you can simplify your workflow, archiving solutions, publishing, and more.
As with every great journey, we will start with the very basics. Metadata is information that is attached to a photograph (or other digital file) that holds auxiliary information related to the file. Metadata such as EXIF information can hold the aperture, shutter speed, date, and time the photo was taken at. The International Press Telecommunications Council developed a specification for image archiving that has been adopted as an industry standard.
What Should I Use?
A great plug-in to streamline your metadata workflow is Jeffrey Friedl‘s Metadata-Viewer Preset Editor. It allows you to create a custom view for the Metadata panel in Lightroom, to facilitate easier editing and viewing of relevant metadata. In fact, I have created a preset with his plug-in, available to download for free. To use this, you must register his plug-in. Next, simply open Lightroom‘s Plug-in Manager (File → Plug-in Manager), choose the jf Metadata Presets plug-in, and click the Configure Metadata-View Presets button. Click the import preset from file button, and choose the location you downloaded my preset to. Don‘t forget to click the Reload Plug-in button! Once you choose the Real Estate view in the Metadata panel, you‘ll see my custom-tailored metadata view.
Why Should I Keep These Records?
Keeping records in your metadata can serve two purposes. First, you can easily find images in a giant catalog of thousands by searching the relevant fields. Second, by documenting shot notes and property releases, you will avoid forgetting these things in the future.
What Information Should Be Kept?
There are certain IPTC fields that are relevant to real estate photography. I will go over each one below.
I have labeled this field Room in my preset. This is a good place to list the name of the room, and possibly the angle. (Example values: “Kitchen,” “Living Room Angle 1,” “Open Floorplan View,” etc.)
I have labeled this field Shot Notes in my preset. This is a good place to list notes about your composition, lighting, and other shot-journal style notes. (Example value: “1 LP160, camera left, bounced off wall, 1/1. 1 LP160, camera right, shoot-through umbrella, 1/4.”)
I have labeled this field Agent in my preset. As a general purpose field, this is a good place to list the name of the listing agent who hired you to photograph the home. (Example values: “Jane Doe,” “John Smith,” etc.)
I have labeled this field MLS # in my preset. Because the MLS number should be unique for each job you get, it matches the use of this field preciesely. (Example values: “67216,” “234973,” etc.)
IPTC Subject Code
This field must be a number represented in the IPTC standard. Luckily, there is a subject code for real estate, 04004003.
IPTC Scene Code
This field must be a number represented in the IPTC standard. The most common ones that will be used in real estate are as follows: 011700 for interiors; 011600 for exteriors; 011200 for aerial (and pole-aerial) views; and 011800 for close-ups (and detail shots).
I have labeled this field Address in my preset. There is no field for an address in the IPTC standard, but location is the next most specific level after State and City. (Example values: “123 Main St,” “555 Broadway Ave,” etc.)
This is a self-explanatory field.
This is a self-explanitory field.
ISO Country Code
This is the place to use the ISO country code. For example, “US” for the United States, or AU for Australia.
Property Release ID
If you got a property release, this is the place to list its ID in your filing system.
Property Release Status
This is a drop-down with four options: None; Not Applicable; Unlimited Property Releases; and Limited or Incomplete Property Releases.
Okay, You’ve Convinced Me; Now What?
Good! If you create metadata presets to apply to your images on import, you will find that you only have to manually enter the Room, Shot Notes, Agent, MLS #, Address, sometimes the City, and the Scene Code on import - and most of these can be done in batches! In fact, the shot notes are only important on the best image out of a set of images that were composed in the same way. Now get out there, and start utilizing metadata!