Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hearst 8 x 10 Biennial requires photographers to make orphans of their images?

The publisher that brings you Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, The Oprah Magazine, and Town & Country is holding their 8 x 10 Biennial photo competition this year, seems intent on having photographers making their submitted images potential "Orphan Works" by requiring them not to include their name within the metadata of the image.

My question is why?

There is no entry fee, and applicants may submit up to 16 images as part of a single entry, however, the requirements for the digital images submitted include this note:
"Important note: To ensure a fair and unbiased selection, entries are to remain anonymous. Submissions that contain a photographer’s name and/or contact information within the file name, caption field or metadata will be disqualified."
The judges include a number of professional photographers, and unlike some other "contests" this one doesn't seem to be a rights grab, as Heart Corporation is only stating that they reserve "...the right to use the award recipient’s name, likeness, biographical information, and project images in perpetuity for publicity and promotional materials related to the Hearst 8x10 Photography Biennial and Hearst Corporation."

That seems fair enough, the photographer isn't giving up the rights for them to use their photos for anything they wish, or allowing them to license them to others. So again, I have to ask: why is having metadata in the image that identifies the photographer an issue? Are the judges going to be sent a CD, or directed to a website where they will view the images independently...and the folks from Hearst are afraid that someone will show favoritism if they can determine who took the photo?

However, wouldn't it be easier to simply process all the images that are shared with the judges and remove or replace any identifying information with a code that only they will know? This way, one set of the images has the photographers copyright and contact info for future reference. Besides, if they don't have some identifying information in the images, just how are they going to keep track of who has actually won?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Major Publishers Adopt PLUS Standards

A press release from the PLUS Coalition today announced:

"Representatives of McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson each announced that they will adopt the Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS) Picture Licensing Glossary definitions in their contracts, and that they encourage image suppliers to begin embedding PLUS license metadata in all images within one year."

The publishers voiced their support at the "PLUS Takes Root in the Publishing Industry" event hosted by the Picture Archive Council of America, during their recent International Conference in New York City.

Some of you may be aware of the work of PLUS, but for those of you that aren't aware; here is the elevator speech: The PLUS coalition is an international non-profit organization dedicated to simplifying and facilitating the communication and management of image rights. It includes all of the groups involved in the picture licensing industry (publishers, picture archives, photographers, illustrators, designers, advertising agencies, museums, libraries, artist representatives, educational institutions, manufacturers and their associations ) which have jointly developed a standard for describing (PLUS glossary and Media Matrix), recording (PLUS License Definition Format), embedding (PLUS License Embedder), and reading (PLUS License Reader) licensing information for images.

Today's announcement shows that the movement is finally coming to fruition, as the biggest publishing companies are adopting the PLUS standards, and recommending image makers to start using these standards as part of their workflow.

Details including the full press release can be found on the PLUS website.

When you visit the site, take some time to learn about the PLUS Embedder, an application that can be used in tandem with the PLUS website to generate licenses and define licensing terms that can be added to each image provided to clients and third parties as embedded metadata.

The PLUS Coalition includes participants in thirty countries, and receives significant support from Leadership Circle members Adobe, Adbase, Adobe, Pentagram, Jupiterimages, Digimarc, Belay Development, Getty Images, IDEAlliance, ImageSpan, Photo District News, IPTC, NAPP, PACA, StockPhotoFinder, Swan Turton, WongDoody and Capture.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

iView Multimedia Web Site End Of Life

Douglas Norton, SSDE for Expression Media with Microsoft Corporation passed along the following to the members of the Controlled Vocabulary Forum yesterday.

It is now over 2 years since iView Multimedia Ltd. was acquired by Microsoft, and in that period we have been able to keep the iView web site available for those that needed the resources it contained.

Very shortly (in a week or so), that site will be removed from service. The future plans for its content are being discussed, but you should treat this email as a warning that the information may cease to be available.

If there is any information that you frequently access on that site, you should take whatever steps you need to secure your continued access to that information. You should act now.

In particular, you may wish to make backup copies of the iView MediaPro installers should your current copy become unserviceable. Additionally, information in the online guides and the forum may be of particular interest and you should ensure that you have a copy or printout.

Useful links:
iView Multimedia website
Expression Media website
Expression Media forum



Friday, November 7, 2008

Jeffrey Friedl releases Geotagging plug-in for Lightroom

Jeffrey Friedl, yes, the same Jeffrey Friedl that put out the Online
Exif Metadata reader
, has now released a
Geotagging plug-in that works directly within Lightroom.

His plug-in reads a GPS unit's track log, then extrapolates the
location for each specific digital image based on the time it was
taken. Although that's the same basic mechanism many other geotagging
programs employ, Friedl's plug-in allows you to move move the process within Lightroom, minimizing the steps it takes to geotag your images.

Read his full blog entry on the Lightroom Geotagging Plug-in for a link to the download.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Q&A: Converting Keyword Catalogs between Photo Mechanic and Lightroom

Q: I have a custom controlled vocabulary set that I use for keywording in Photo Mechanic. Is there any easy way to use it in Lightroom?

A: Those are two of the easier formats to share as both understand and can use both synonyms and excluded category headers.

Some differences between the two are addressed in the CVKC-FAQ page.

For members of the Controlled Vocabulary Forum there is a document in the Files section about editing a Photo Mechanic style Keyword Catalog using a plain-text editor. This explains a bit of the underpinings of the format if you want to amend your version in a text editor before importing into Lightroom.

Depending on whether you are on Windows or Mac, it may be possible to simply save out the file from Photo Mechanic and then import into Lightroom. The Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog Support pages for both applications have basic
directions on how to export / import a Keyword Catalogs such as the Controlled Vocabulary Keyword Catalog.

The only issue might be that Lightroom is expecting a Unicode "UTF-8" file with Mac carriage returns, and Photo Mechanic may save out the file as Unicode "UTF-8" but with Unix Line Feeds.

If you need to handle those types of conversions, utilities such as TextWrangler, TextPad, or Jedit can be very useful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adobe CS4 Bridge Extensions

Adobe engineer, David Franzen has released a few new scripts that Bridge CS4 users might find useful.

* Bridge Export to JPEG Extension allows you to create JPEG files quickly using the cached previews and thumbnails already in Bridge’s cache. This is a major update to the script Franzen made available for CS3, and includes options for image sizing and naming, metadata options based on the new options in Save for Web, and the ability to save all of these as presets.

* Bridge E-Mailer Extension allows you to E-mail files directly from Bridge (using a Mac desktop E-mail client, or by sending directly to your ISP’s POP or SMTP E-Mail server).

* Preview Latest File Extension enables an "auto preview" mode in a Bridge window that selects the latest file in the folder which should be very useful for photographers that are interested in tethered shooting.

In addition, all the extensions now use the Extension Manger for install, so they should be easier to install and uninstall since you no longer need to locate the correct install folder.

The scripts can be found at The Adobe Exchange

Monday, October 20, 2008

Multilingual Contextual Keywording

Karsten Risseeuw, of Kursiv has posted a screencast of the presentation he made at the recent MILE (Metadata Image Library Exploitation) seminar titled "Multilingual Contextual Keywording."

Kursiv uses this multilingual approach in the development of their keywording software "KIM Keywording" and Risseeuw gives some insights into how one can use their software to apply keyword tags in multiple languages at one time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guidelines for Handling Photo Metadata

The "Metadata Working Group" made a major announcement at Photokina on September 24th, 2008 and released a document designed to help developers by providing best practices on how to create, read and modify a set of core metadata values within digital images that use Exif, IPTC-IIM (legacy IPTC) and XMP metadata. The groups involved in this initiative include a number of long-standing digital imaging and metadata advocates you might expect, such as Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., and Microsoft Corp.; as well as a few you might not: Canon Inc., Nokia Corp. and Sony Corp.

The primary thrust of the Metadata Working group is to reveal issues regarding how metadata is exchanged and preserved as it moves between applications and processes (devices, platforms and services), file formats and metadata standards. Their whitepaper, titled, "Guidelines for Handling Metadata" discusses the use of a small number of current metadata fields which are part of existing standards which deal with what they feel are the key questions that most consumers have about images:

-Who is involved with this image (who took it, who owns it, who’s in it)?
-What is interesting about this image?
-Where is this image from?
-When was this image created or modified?

Their goal is to provide best practices on how these nine critical data fields (Keywords, Description, Date/Time, Orientation, Rating, Copyright, Creator, Location [created], and Location [shown]), should be synchronized so consumer don't face the kinds of interoperability issues professionals have been dealing with for a number of years.

This includes things such as how, when and where metadata should be changed in popular consumer still image file formats using existing industry metadata standards. A wide scale adoption of these best practices should solve many current problems that plague the photo community.

While this initial effort targets consumer still-imaging metadata, rather than those of the professional; they expressed plans to expand their efforts. Josh Weisberg, chairman and founder of the Metadata Working Group and director of Microsoft's Rich Media Group said that, "We've chosen to address the most common issues photographers face as we feel this will make the biggest impact for the average photographer," noting that "Down the road, we will expand our work to include other metadata issues relevant to photographers."

Details are available from their website.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

IPTC Core 1.1 & Extension 1.0 released

The IPTC has approved a new specification of their Photo Metadata Standards.

These include the the slightly updated IPTC Core 1.1 Schema, and the the brand new IPTC Extension 1.0 Schema which complements and extends the set of IPTC Core metadata properties. Download the new IPTC specifications to see the new options available, which include a set of PLUS fields that are shared with the IPTC Core.

The IPTC photo metadata working group will be working over the summer to develop an updated version of the User's Guide and custom panels that can be used in the Photoshop Creative Suite. After reviewing the specifications you are welcome to send comments and views to the IPTC Photo Metadata Yahoo group.