Easy tool to add EXIF tags to batches of JPEGs?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Makosuke, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I’ve got a problem that it seems like there should be an easy tool for, but a bunch of searching came up completely empty.

    Basically, I want a tool that gives the same sort of “generate a text string with some combination of characters and incremented counter/etc” that tools like Rename, Name Mangler, and A Better Finder Rename give you. Except instead of changing filenames in batch, I want to set the description EXIF tag. (To a sequence like “Tuesday, Picture 24”, “Tuesday, Picture 25”, etc.)

    There are plenty of tools that will pull data from an EXIF tag and put it into the filename. And there are some tools that will mess with the EXIF date tags to get them set right. Even iPhoto, of all things, will let you set Description tags in bulk, but without any ability to increment a counter or do anything past just add a block of text. And I can’t seem to find anything that just provides a simple GUI to let me generate a bunch of slightly-different EXIF tags in batch.

    exiftool can probably do this if I can figure out how to get it to increment a value in the description tag, but I haven’t been able to get a command sorted to actually do that, and a basic GUI would make life simpler. I can sort of manually do it relatively quickly with the GUI frontend to exiftool, but I was needing to manually increment the counter and set each file individually, rather than just doing them as a batch.

    Is there something obvious I’m missing that will do this? Suggestions appreciated.

    (The reason is to make importing several large chunks of images into Wordpress and have it tag them correctly faster. I can manually change the media titles in Wordpress or use one of the batch media manipulators, but all of those were a bit flakey, and since it pulls titles from EXIF description tags, if I had something to set a few hundred images quickly it’d make life easier. That said, now I’m just wondering why there aren’t better EXIF tag manipulators available.)
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm not sure it's exif you want. The exif imagedescription field is kinda weak. And in your example of iPhoto, note that at least when iPhoto exports it puts the iPhoto "description" into the IPTC caption field. What shows under the thumbnail in iPhoto goes to IPTC title. The distinction is important, since lots of applications do stuff with IPTC fields, since they are more for that sort of info than exif, which is oriented to camera and image (and now GPS) data.

    If you want variables and such for inserting IPTC then Photo Mechanic is it. It's the king of that sort of thing; it can do stuff like take an athlete's number and reference a list of numbers to name and team and then generate a string like "Lionel Messi of Barca...."

    Graphic Converter also has a mess of IPTC and filename commands. If you could rename the files incrementally, it has a command to then "Copy filename to caption." Or you could find a way to populate the comment field, and then batch copy that to IPTC caption.

    Another way to go might be to use something (GC comes to mind) to generate XMP sidecars for the photos. Then use a text editor and/or script to change those files (XML). If necessary then write that back into the jpeg or whatever. This all may depend on what fields you need the info to be in.
  3. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I appreciate the suggestions. I did, in fact, want to create an EXIF tag, since Wordpress reads those, although after looking into it it will also pull information from IPTC tags, so that would work just as well.

    That said, Photo Mechanic was drastically too expensive for what I wanted it for, and even if it wasn’t, when I looked into the demo it didn’t really provide an easy interface for incrementing a counter in a text tag, which is mainly what I wanted it for.

    I ended up doing a somewhat stupid but basically effective kludge using exiftool with this set of options:

    exiftool * "-EXIF:ImageDescription<filename” .
    ...which basically pulls the filename of everything in the current directory and sticks it into that file’s Description EXIF tag (I could have used an IPTC tag as well, but there was no need to). Using one of the simple GUI file-renamers, it wasn’t very difficult to get the filename to be the text I wanted, at which point this command did what I needed. I then batch-renamed the files again back to the desired format, and all was well.

    Again, stupid, and clumsy, but basically effective, and a whole lot faster than hand-typing 200 titles. If I could have figured out how to remove the last four characters from the filename (pretty sure exiftool can do that, but the syntax was confusing) I could have saved a bit of additional time not having to remove the .jpg from everything, and I suppose if I got fancy enough I could have used its built-in rewrite rules to reformat the counters in the filenames into a more pleasant text string for the tag.

    But, again, brute-forcing it was faster than figuring out the command line syntax for something I’m going to do maybe once a year at most.

    I remain a bit surprised that there’s no easy tool for this--everything is either too simple or an industrial monster designed for experts.
  4. superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
    Glad to see exiftool recommended. If you're not scared of the command line then you can do some impressive stuff with it.

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