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Captioning a group of images is very simple using the IPTC Stationery Pad. The Stationery Pad can be applied to single images or a selection of images making it perfect for adding information to whole sets of images at one time. To use the Stationery Pad in this way, make a selection of images in the Contact Sheet and then open the IPTC Stationery Pad under Image / IPTC Stationery Pad on the main menu bar. Type your data into the various fields and make sure the checkbox to the left of each field you wish to apply is checked. If unchecked, that field will not be applied.
If you have a set of data that you use regularly, like a list of Photographers, Cities or States, you can set up a custom dropdown list for all of the fields in the IPTC Stationery Pad. Next to each field is a dropdown list arrow which will open an Edit option when first clicked.
Click on Edit to bring up a word list dialog where you can enter any number of items and add them to the list. This menu allows you to select from a list rather than type in the same words each time. One other benefit from this approach is that all the spellings will be the same as well as the case. Even slight misspellings will throw off a search so using the drop down lists is a good way to ensure consistency. Next to each field in the IPTC Stationery Pad is a dropdown menu.
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Click on the Edit option to bring up the Edit IPTC List dialog where you can type in new entries and hit Return/ Enter to add them to the list. Adding items to IPTC ListsIt is good practice to set up as much of this as you can in advance, and to export the data and keep a backup. If you have whole sets of data that you use on a regular basis, you can save the entire Stationery Pad to be loaded later. Use the Snapshot button to save the current data to use again later.
Normally the IPTC data is added to files by replacement of existing data but this may not always be desirable. You can ‘append’ data to Keywords, Caption and Caption Writers fields by checking the Plus (+) sign next to the field. This will then append the data rather than replacing whatever is there already. Hint: It's a good idea to add a space at the beginning of appended text so that the last and first text characters do not run into one another.
Holding down the key causes the “Clear” button to change to an “Options” button. Click this to set options for which data fields are cleared and which are kept unchanged when you use the “Clear” button. Most of this dialog operates much like the normal IPTC Stationery Pad with the difference being this applies only to one image at a time. All fields can include Variables and there is a Snapshot button to save commonly used data sets. Adding Keywords can help finding photos later on You can add, delete, or change keywords from your master keywords list. Note: Changing a keyword in the Master keyword list does not change the keywords on previously-saved photos.
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It only changes the entry in the list. If you wish to change a keyword that has already been applied to multiple images, you can use Find and Replace. After setting up the Keywords list you can select them from the dropdown list next to the Keywords field in the IPTC Stationery Pad and IPTC Info display. Use the additional Snapshot buttons to save either the Current or Master lists for later use. Keywords Panel.
Another way to keyword an image or a set of images is by using the Keywords Panel. You can access this panel by choosing the ‘Keywords Panel.’ command on the Image menu. This panel operates on selected photos and can be used interactively with the current Contact Sheet. Select some photos and then use the Keywords Panel to apply keywords to the selected photos. Multiple sets of keywords may be saved and loaded from the Snapshot button. If you want to make a new subset of a list of keywords, you can Command-click the individual keywords to select them, then use the ‘Snaphshot from selected’ button to create a new set.
Add, Delete, and Change buttons work just like they do in the Keywords Dialog. Load from Master loads the current set of master keywords (used above in the Keywords Dialog on it’s right hand column) replacing the current set of keywords. Save to Master saves the current set of keywords over the master keywords list as used above in the Keywords Dialog on it’s right hand column. Applying: text field may be edited directly to change keywords or quickly add in a keyword that you don’t want to add to your keyword list. Just add keywords separated by a comma or a semi-colon (depending on your IPTC/XMP Preferences.) Then to apply the set of keywords listed in the ‘Applying:’ text field, click on the ‘Apply to selected photos’ button. The keywords will be applied according to the popup menu just above the button. The choices in that popup menu are ‘When applying, append keywords’ which only adds keywords, and ‘When applying, replace keywords’ which deletes any current keywords each selected photo has before adding the keywords.
Structured Keywords. Beyond the basic functionality of a simple linear keyword list is the concept of controlled vocabulary and a hierarchy of keywords. There are two different Structured Keyword ‘tools’, one is a floating panel which can remain open and the other is accessed through the IPTC/Info Dialogs. Both have similar functionality, the slight differences being how the keywords are finally applied to images. The main Structured Keywords Panel is accessed on the menu bar through Image / Structured Keywords Panel. Organize Keywords into a structured hierarchy Photo Mechanic comes with a basic vocabulary which is intended as a starting point and to illustrate the concept of nested keywords. Each keyword can be a parent, sibling or child word, forming a hierarchy of words from broad categories like ‘Animals’, to more detailed ‘child’ words like ‘Birds’ and on to even more detailed words like ‘48 Spotted Pardalote’.
‘Animals’ and ‘Plants’ would be sibling words and would appear alphabetically in the same panel. Each column to the right lists ‘children’ of a highlighted ‘parent’ word. The grey triangle to the right of a word indicates that it has Child words in the next column. ‘Grey’ words denote Categories, ‘normal type’ words are Keywords and ‘bold’ words are synonyms of the currently highlighted keyword. Keywords can be added to files either singly or as the whole ‘path’ which includes all the ‘parent’ words.
The preview field displays what the path will be; click on Add Keyword to add the last word in the list to the Collection panel or on Add Path to add the whole string of words. If you wish to use a path as a single keyword entity, use the Separator option by checking the ‘Use separator between keywords in path’ checkbox.
There is a search function for keywords, type in the word (or sub-string) and click ‘Find’. If there are more than one result the ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ buttons are activated. To save time when using large lists of searched for keywords there is an option to present the results in a list rather than the Next/Previous method.
Hold down the key and the ‘Find’ button will change to ‘Options’. Click the button to select how many results should be displayed in one list dialog. Apply to: adds the words to either the Keywords field or the Caption field of the IPTC metadata. Append: adds new keywords to any already in the field. Note: if this box is unchecked Photo Mechanic will replace any existing keywords. Double-click: there are 4 options for when you double click on a Keyword. Apply path to selected: applies the whole keyword path directly to selected images.
Apply keyword to selected: applies the keyword directly to selected images. Apply collection to selected: applies the keyword directly to selected images. Adds Path: adds the path to the collection panel above. Adds Keyword: adds the keyword to the collection panel above.
Synonyms: options to exclude synonyms, to add synonyms only at the end of the path or all along the path. Add Path: adds the path of the selected keyword to the Collection panel.
Add Keyword: adds the selected keyword to the Collection panel. Synonyms are different words with identical or similar meanings. It is useful to include these words in keyword list because you can never be certain whether a searcher might type in, for example, beast or beasts. Searches are ‘literal’ in the sense that a search for ‘beast’ will not show results that only have the term ‘beasts.’ In this way many different groups of keywords can be assembled into a Collection of keywords which can then be applied en masse to selected images using the Apply buttons in the bottom right hand corner. This is a very powerful tool and there are many ways to use it to add keywords to your images. The exact method used will depend on your own workflow and how much detail you need from your keywords. The other Structured keywords tool, seen below, is accessed through the IPTC Info dialogs by clicking the arrow next to the Keywords field.
The main difference is that the keyword Collection is applied to the keywords field of the IPTC dialog when ‘Apply’ is clicked, thus the ‘Apply to’ dropdown and the three lower Apply buttons become redundant and are not included in the dialog. All other functions are identical.
Commercial lists can be purchased from sources like David Riecks’ Controlled Vocabulary website: You can also manage the keywords from within the Structured Keywords interface. Just right-click on an existing term and the contextual menu will appear. Rename: Allows you to rename the text of an item. Create child item: Adds a new item that will have the current item as its parent. This new item should be a more specific term than the current item. Create Synonym: Creates a child item that is synonymous with the parent item.
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Create sibling item: Creates an item that is at the same level as the current item. Set type to Synonym/Category: Changes the type of the current item. Delete the current item and any children underneath it. Find and Replace. On all of the most commonly used dialog boxes you will see a small Lightning symbol this is the Snapshot button and it is used to make a quick copy of the dialog’s current settings.
Click on the button and you will be prompted for a ‘save’ name and it is best to use something meaningful here. In future, when you click this button, not only will you see a Save option but also a list of all the previous Snapshots relevant to that particular dialog box. Selecting a named item will load the Snapshot, restoring the settings. The Save As dialog is a great place to use this– you could set up two different Snapshots, one for large web images and one for small thumbnail web images.
Run the dialog twice over a selection, using each Snapshot and you have very quickly generated a set of images for the Web. This is very similar to the Export option, but like many things in Photo Mechanic, there are different ways to do many things and it is up to the user to determine which best suits his or her needs. Snapshots can be managed by -clicking on the named entry in the snapshot list.
This brings up the Finder or Windows Explorer opened to the folder where the Snapshots are saved. In the Finder or Windows Explorer, you can copy, rename and delete the snapshot files if you would like. When you return to Photo Mechanic, the snapshot menu will be updated.