Digital photo archive

I first considered my workflow in Lightroom, including archiving in my Context and Narrative blog. In preparation for an exercise involving portraiture and the archive, I am again reflecting on this, painfully aware that my current practice for referencing photographs is inadequate.

Rideau emphasises that ‘to properly store digital photos requires the development of a workflow, a standard process of taking, storing, editing and archiving your digital photos.’ This should be obvious, but the application of the workflow requires discipline and habit. Labelling in particular is an area not fully integrated into my workflow. Rideau explains the standard for labelling:

The archival standard to follow is called IPTC which stands for “International Press Telecommunications Council”. They have developed a standard for information that can be embedded into a digital photo. Adobe has used IPTC as the foundation for their Adobe XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) open standard. Microsoft has also adopted IPTC as the standard for labelling digital photos.

The IPTC provide helpful information on the types and use of metadata. Explaining three main categories of data:

  • “Administrative – identification of the creator, creation date and location, contact information for licensors of the image, and other technical details.
  • Descriptive – information about the visual content. This may include headline, title, captions and keywords. This can be done using free text or codes from a controlled vocabulary.
  • Rights – copyright information and underlying rights in the visual content including model and property rights, and rights usage terms.”

Phlearn provides a practical guide to applying metadata (including copyright), using presets and applying keywords within Adobe Lightroom.This provides protection to digital images once online and allows searching of the Lightroom archive with the keywords.

My previous workflow practices had been more concerned with the selection and processing of photographs, rather than the copyright protection and keywording of images. This I’ll now incorporate into my workflow.


Fitzgibbon A (2015). Context and Narrative [blog]. Lightroom Workflow. Available from: [accessed 16.7.16] [website]. Photo Metadata. Available from: [accessed 16.7.16]

Phlearn [website]. How to Add Metadata to Photos in Lightroom. Available from: [accessed 16.7.16]

Rideau [website]. Storing and archiving digital photos. Available from: [accessed 16.7.16]

Leave a Reply