What’s Wrong with Lightroom and IPTC

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

IPTC means International Press Telecommunication Council. It’s a set of standards for the news organizations to file, archive and manage news data. There are many standards depending on the type of data, from photos and video to sound… Lightroom proclaims proudly that it supports the IPTC standard and even supports the new extended IPTC.

  • Please note that the IPTC is very different from the keywords. The IPTC information is the title, description, copyrights, location…
  • The new, extended IPTC that came out just 3 years ago includes model information, location, artwork, model and property releases…

Isn’t that great? Until now, I used the IPTC just for my copyright, all right reserved, and a few categories like:

  • Subject code
  • Intellectual genre
  • Scene code

Last month I got an unusual request from a customer. They want me to supply the IPTC information for the TIFFs with the IPTC data included. So I need to find among the photos which of the IPTC info I have missed. That should be easy with a smart collection.

Oops! Looks like I opened a can of worms.

In the Smart Collectionsearchable IPTCcontains words or doesn't contain and that’s it.

  • I want to search for human interest in the intellectual genre IPTC field. No can do!
  • I want to search for not entering anything in the intellectual genre IPTC field. No can do!
  • I want to search for empty IPTC fields. No can do!

Lightroom can’t search most of the IPTC information! What Lightroom can do is search for is human interest anywhere in the IPTC data. But Lightroom can’t differentiate if this was entered in the correct field or not. It’s just there, somewhere.

By the way, it’s the same for a lot of the EXIF data. At least with the EXIF data, you know that it was filled by the camera so there should be data. But what about scanners?

Why can’t we search by the IPTC fields or EXIF fields? Because some project manager was lazy! It’s not any more code, the search facility is already all there. It’s just a matter of providing the drop down, and that’s it!

So what’s the solution? Terrible, but the only found solution, even after asking “gurus”, is to duplicate the IPTC data in the keywords! You can search and filter by keywords.