Manipulating Image Metadata for Stock Photos

On a Linux desktop one thing I miss is the ability to easily add metadata (exif / iptc) to the images I upload to stock photo websites. Adding this metadata makes it much easier to submit the same photo to multiple websites. The ‘File Info’ command in Photoshop does what I want but I haven’t had any luck running this particular dialog via Wine.

So i have taken a look at Exiftool. Exiftool is a command line tool for viewing the metadata of an image and allows editing the tags. It can be installed (on Ubuntu/Debian) with:

apt-get install libimage-exiftool-perl

To view the metadata for a file:

exiftool ./myimage.jpg


To set the value of a tag:

exiftool -Description='Sunset over Slieve Gullion'  ./myimage.jpg

Then use exiftool again to check the value was set i.e.

exiftool ./myimage.jpg

exiftoolObviously setting tags one by one could be time-consuming but I reckon I routinely need to amend  13 tags of which there is about 3 values repeated under various tag names:

  • Title
  • Object Name
  • Subject
  • Keywords
  • Rights
  • Copyright
  • Copyright Notice
  • Creator
  • By-line
  • Artist
  • Description
  • Caption-Abstract
  • Image Description


So I could start with creating a shell script that asks three questions – Name, Description and Keywords – and use that to build an exiftool command to apply to the image. I’ll start with that and then move on to creating a GUI tool in Python when I get the time.


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