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How to capture press and PR photos correctly – and avoid trouble with media and photographers

Why every image needs a text – Correct captioning helps when using

To make a long story short: With me, no picture leaves the computer unlabeled. And with good reason. No matter if I am booked as press photographer, as photographer for events and events or for business photography. Because only so it makes sense. Only in this way can I find photos again, only in this way can I ensure that the context of pictures is understood, and only in this way can I as photographer ensure that my works are only used for the purpose for which they were made.

Thanks to IPTC labeling, the text stays with the image

What many don’t know, you can save the image texts directly in image. This is in the so-called metadata, a special area of the file. The standard was invented by the International Press Telecommunications Council and is also abbreviated to IPTC.

Photojournalisten in the whole world label so their photos

Especially when photos are distributed to third parties, this is very important, because this is the only way to avoid misunderstandings or legal consequences.

For example, press photos are often distributed via email with the press release. The image caption is then written directly into the email. So far so good, but this text is often already lost on the way to photo editing. Important information about the event, the persons pictured, but also restrictions and copyright proofs are lost.

Photo editors work with IPTC data

But how does the text get into the picture? There are a number of programs that can be used to write and read IPTC image texts. The best known representative is certainly Adobe Photoshop, where you have access to the data fields with the function “file functions”. Irfanview belongs to the free representatives (only for non-commercial purposes), I personally use Photomechanic, with which you can also send pictures, resize them and do a few more things. With the program you can edit and deliver large amounts of photos in no time at all

There are a lot of fields in the IPTC, the most important is certainly the description (Photoshop) or caption (Photomechanic). Here the picture description belongs purely, thus who, what, where and when. I also write my copyright and additional information, if only this field is read. Please do not copy complete press releases!

In this way, press photographers and agencies label their pictures, which are then sent to the world.
photo editors read out these texts with their systems and add additional information such as keywords and special notes to the photos.

Correct labeling increases chances of publication

If you deliver your press photos correctly labeled to the media in this way, you increase the chance that they will find their way into the media in the desired way.
You can also add that photos may only be used in a certain country (spatially) or for a limited period of time.
And the inscription has other advantages. The Spotlight search on Mac systems reads the IPTC data and so you can search your hard disk for photos. Especially for smaller projects this is very practical if you don’t use a photo archive system, for larger projects IPTC is unavoidable anyway, because otherwise the archive doesn’t know what photos it is about.