Sunday, 21 July 2013

Transferring Picasa photo captions / descriptions to iPhoto and Aperture

If you ever find yourself trying to transition from Google Picasa to iPhoto, Aperture or indeed many other photo management packages, you may find that your meticulously entered captions and descriptions are lost. The reason is that, as with most photo management tools, Picasa stores this information in the metadata of the image file. However, different tools use different metadata fields to store captions with Picasa using the IPTC Caption-Abstract metadata field. Unfortunately, iPhoto and Aperture don't read this field (they use the Exif Image Description field) and so importing pictures from Picasa will normally result in you losing this information.

However, as has been pointed out elsewhere there is a way you can fairly easily copy your existing captions to the right field.
  1. Get and install exiftool which is a command line tool for manipulating photo metadata 
  2. Copy the IPTC Caption-Abstract metadata to the exif Image Description:
    exiftool "-exif:ImageDescription<IPTC:Caption-Abstract" -r -P --progress <targetdir>
    Just replace <targetdir> with the directory containing all your photos and this command will recursively process all your photos (reasonably quickly too!)
  3. Import you photos into either iPhoto or Aperture
exiftool makes a backup of all the images it modifies and will give you a nice summary of how it went.
Even so, it is probably a good idea to make a backup of your valuable photos before running it on your whole library.





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