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IPTC Core & Extension = the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard

The IPTC Photo Metadata Standard is the most widely used standard to describe photos. It provides a rich set of fields allowing users to add precise and reliable data about people, locations, products and artwork shown in an image. Further it supports dates, names and identifiers regarding the creation of the photo and a flexible way to express rights associated with a picture.

The latest version of the Photo Metadata Standard is of October 2014 and its specification can be downloaded for free. What's new in this version can be found below.

The standard is made of IPTC Core and IPTC Extension, two metadata schemas developed by the IPTC for professional use with a focus on news and stock photos. The technical implementation of the metadata is employing Adobe's XMP technology.



The IPTC Core provides a set of basic metadata to describe and manage images:
  • The IPTC Core schema is made for a smooth and straightforward transfer of metadata values from the IIM-based IPTC fields to the XMP framework
  • It includes a specification on how to synchronise IPTC-IIM field values with the new IPTC Core - back and forth.
  • "Custom panels" for Adobe CS2 and CS3 to provide a simple user interface to all IPTC Core fields - with a comprehensive User Guide.

The IPTC-PLUS Photo Metadata Toolkit for Adobe CS includes a user guide for all IPTC Core fields in Adobe products from CS3 to CS6.


Version 1.2 specifications

IPTC Core 1.2 was approved in June 2014 and its specification is published as part of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standards spec document.

An Errata Page provides a list of errata found in the spec document after its release.

IPTC Extension

The IPTC Extension schema is a supplemental schema to the IPTC Core. It provides:

  • Fields to provide additional information about the content of the image, e.g. name or locatation shown in the image, an organisation or event featured by the image, ... and more
  • Fields to improve administration, like e.g. for registering the image with a registry
  • Fields for cultural heritage photos, including a title, a creator, a creation date and information about the source of an artwork or object shown in the image
  • Fields to precisely define the licensing terms and the copyrights of a photograph.

The IPTC-PLUS Photo Metadata Toolkit for Adobe CS includes a user guide for all IPTC Extension fields for Adobe products from CS3 to CS6 and adds IPTC Extension fields to CS3 and CS4 by a plug-in panel.


Version 1.2 specifications

IPTC Extension 1.2 was approved in October 2014 and its specification is published as part of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standards specification document.

An Errata Page provides a list of errata found in the spec document after its release.


What's new in the October 2014 standard

The October 2014 version of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard extends the Extension schema:

  • Structured property Person Shown in the Image with Details added, includes fields for the name, identifiers, characteristics and a description of a person
  • Structured property Product Shown in the Image added, includes fields for the name, a GTIN identifier and a description of a product
  • Structured property CV-Term About Image added with fields to precisely express a term from a controlled vocabulary, including names in different languages, its identifier and more.
  • Additional properties for the Artwork of Object in the Image structure, like more detailed descriptions of the work, contributions to the work, circa dates of creation and style period. Also rights data have been added.
  • Containers for machine processable Rights Expressions in different languages have been added: one embeds the expression, another one links to an expression as web resource.

For both schemas

IPTC-PLUS Photo Metadata Toolkit for Adobe CS

It includes:
* for the IPTC Core and IPTC Extension file-info panels built into CS5 to CS6: a comprehensive User Guides for both schemas (Download as single PDF document)
* a plug-in IPTC-PLUS Metadata Panel for Bridge CS3/CS4 for the IPTC Core, IPTC Extension and the PLUS metadata - with a comprehensive User Guide for all fields
* example images
Find more about it and download it from the Toolkit page.

XMP technology

Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is a technology that allows you to embed metadata into the file itself. With XMP, desktop applications and back-end publishing systems gain a common method for capturing, sharing, and leveraging this valuable metadata.

Software created by Adobe but also many more software vendors is enabled to process XMP metadata as XMP is built on a set of public specifications. You may download them from Adobe's XMP pages:

Note: XMP is Adobe's sole intellectual property and not IPTC's. 



Toolkit for Adobe CS

The IPTC-PLUS Photo Metadata Toolkit for Adobe CS products. Download it for free. Download the latest version of the panel only.

User Guidelines

* For the latest IPTC Photo Metadata: in the IPTC-PLUS Toolkit for Adobe CS
* For the IPTC Core 1.0 in Adobe CS2 and CS3


* For both Core and Extension: Photo Metadata Standard as of October 2014

Compatible software

The IPTC maintains a list of software which claims to be compatible with IPTC photo metadata standards

Support + discussion

The IPTC moderates two discussion forums on photo metadata:
* Generic issues
* XMP specific technical issues

Subscribe to Photo Metadata feed

Feed A feed in the Atom 1.0 format is providing all changes to Photo Metadata Standards