How to Get Your Photos Out of iPhoto With Your Titles and Descriptions Intact

“Hi, Firstly, thank you for your tips about adding descriptions in your post ‘The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos.’

I tried what you suggested with iPhoto (’11), but the description was not exported to Preview and it wasn’t included in emailed photos.”


Hey Carol, thanks for your comment! And you know, I bet there are a lot of people having this problem, so let me try and shed some light on this.

First, here’s a short but easy-to-follow video tutorial I put together with lots of explanation and detail that will show you exactly how to get your photos out of iPhoto with your titles and descriptions (captions) intact.

(Problems playing video? Click here)

For anyone who is unable to watch or listen, I have provided [CC] captions in the video as well as a full text transcript below.

Transcription of Video

Hey everybody. It’s Curtis Bisel from and in this video, I want to show you how you can get photographs out of iPhoto but still maintain the titles and descriptions that you spent a lot of time typing in.

So here’s an iPhoto library that I’ve created. It has got about eight events in it. So I’m going to click on the first event and you can see there’s only one photo in here. If I click on the photo, then the info button here at the bottom, the info panel will open up and you can see that I’ve already typed in a description for this photo, “Mom holding Curtis the first day home from the hospital,” and you can see over here the title that I gave the photograph, Mom Holding Curtis. A better way for us to see the title is to go up to View and make sure that Titles is selected. Now you can see the title underneath the photograph.

OK. So let’s say you want to get this photo out of iPhoto to send to someone and still maintain this title and description. Now Apple has done a great job of making us feel like we can drag and drop everything, so most of us will probably try this. We will just click on the photo and drag it to our desktop.

Now everything looks fine except for right here, the filename doesn’t have the same filename as the title. The thing is, it’s kind of hard to know whether the title and description information actually is in the photograph, because a lot of applications don’t utilize or pull this information from the photo.

Even if you were to click on the photo and hit Command I for information, you can see even over here it doesn’t display title or caption or description information. So I’m going to control click or right click on the file and choose Open With and iExifer which is an app that I bought on the App Store and if this photograph had a title or description saved inside the photograph, we would see it listed down here under IPTC.

Now IPTC stands for iPhoto Technical Crap [comical car horn sound]. No, I’m just kidding. It actually stands for International Press Telecommunications Council and the reason I know this is because I looked it up on Wikipedia because no one should know this off the top of their head.

Now this IPTC metadata information was originally created for news organizations so that photographers and companies could maintain their copyright and ownership information with the photo. But what’s cool is now we can use that information to label our personal photos.

OK. So if the photo doesn’t have this information in it, how do we get the photo out and have that information stay with it? The trick is not dragging and dropping the photo. The trick is to actually export the photo and choose the right selections.

So I’m going to select the photo again. Go up to File. Choose Export and a window will pop up and in this first tab under File Export, you will see Kind. Now for whatever reason, Apple only allows you to choose JPEG or TIFF to export your photo out and maintain titles and descriptions. I don’t know why, because man, there are times I really want to use original or current.

I’m currently using iPhoto 11 version number 9.2.1 and these two formats seem to be the only way.

Since a lot of people use their photographs to post on social networking sites and the email, I’m going to choose JPEG and then medium quality which will make the file size really small but still have a pretty good look to it.

If your goal is to have the highest quality, I would choose either JPEG and maximum or I would choose TIFF and maximum, and then make sure size is set to full size.

So I’m going to put it back to JPEG and then put the quality at medium and here’s where the magic happens. You want to put a check mark right here next to title and keywords. Now what this is going to do is it’s going to force iPhoto to export out your photo with the title, the keywords, if you have any, and the description embedded inside of the image. So when you send or give this photo to someone, this information will stay intact.

Then for filename, there are several options. One of which is Use Filename and what this is going to do is save this file using the filename that was originally given to this image either from the camera that you took it with, the digital camera or the filename that you gave your scan before you imported it.

For this tutorial, I’m going to choose Use Title. So I’m going to click on Export and then you can see for Save As, the filename defaults to the title Mom Holding Curtis and I’m going to choose Desktop and then click on OK. And there it is right here in the desktop. The image is called MomHoldingCurtis.jpeg. All right. Let’s see if it worked.

I’m going to control click or right click, if you have a two-button mouse, choose Open With and again for me, I’m going to choose this lightweight program called iExifer and at the bottom, we will see if the IPTC is there and there it is. You can see right there. Under caption, it has got, “Mom holding Curtis the first day,” and unfortunately it’s cut off a bit but that’s just what happens with this program. And then under Object Name, you can see Mom holding Curtis which is the title that we gave the image.

Another way we can see this information is to open the file with Preview that comes with Mac. Again, I’m going to control click or right click on the image. Choose Open With and then Preview.

Aww, I love that photo. You want to go up to Tools now and choose Show Inspector and a new window will open up over here on the right and then you want to choose this second tab for show Info Inspector and then you will see the IPTC tab right here and there it is. Under Caption/Description, there is our description and there’s our title.

Now there are ways to export multiple files at the same time. Here’s an event with multiple images and you can either lasso multiple images or command clicking on each one. Now after choosing File and then Export, all of your selected images will now be exported with titles and descriptions.

Now if you come to this address on my website, that’s for YouTube Video 2 and if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can click on the link directly below this video, you will find step-by-step written instructions of what you just watched as well as the super cool instructions on how you can email a photo right out of iPhoto and the title and description will be written right underneath the photo in the recipient’s email.

So thank you so much for watching. Cheers!

Further Explaination

So Carol, you bring up a shortcoming that I think iPhoto has — well really, a lot of the image managers and photo editors. I mean, Apple makes it so easy to change the titles (names) of your photos and add descriptions (captions) to them, but it seems anytime you want to do something with these titles and descriptions, well… you can’t.

If you are at all confused here, below is an example of a photograph with a title and description I just added. The description is the best place to write what you would hand write on the back of a paper print explaining what’s in the picture. And the title is a where you can give the photo a name to differentiate it from others.

iphoto how to export email photo title descriptions
Here is a photo with a name (title) and caption (description) that I just typed in. (iPhoto ’11 v.9.2.1)

If you would like to learn more about how to enter in titles and descriptions, check out my detailed post “The Best Way to Add a Description (Caption) to Your Scanned Photos.” It not only covers iPhoto, but also the three other photo managers I recommend.

So what Carol is having problems with is once you have this information typed in, how do you get your photos out of iPhoto with this info intact. Once it’s out, she wants to be able to load this photo in the application Preview and to also send it through email and have the description text go with it.

Sounds easy — right?

Well if you drag an image from iPhoto onto your desktop, a copy of the image is created, but all of the text you typed in doesn’t follow.

The problem is iPhoto and a lot of photo managers appear to be a little stingy with the information you type into them. It almost seems like they are afraid that at any moment, you are going to consider jumping ship and leave them for a different photo manager, so they make it harder than it should be for you to get all of your hard work out from it.

In the case of iPhoto, I think it’s safe to assume most of their users are happy with iPhoto and won’t see the need to go elsewhere. But, that being said, there are definitely a lot of times where you would love to use these titles and descriptions elsewhere.

The good news is there are ways to get your photos and descriptions out, you just have to do it in the few ways iPhoto allows you to. It’s basically the equivalent of as asking, “pretty please?”

How to Email Photos From iPhoto with Titles and Descriptions:

So let’s tackle how to email a photo from within iPhoto, but with the title and description intact. Unfortunately for some, as far as I can tell, you have to email using the Apple application “Mail” that comes installed free with OS X.

1 First, make sure iPhoto is set up to email photos using the application “Mail.” Click on “iPhoto” at the top in the Menu Bar and select “Preferences” from the list in the pulldown. Select the “General” tab on the far left. Make sure the item “Email photos using:” has “Mail” selected in the pulldown next to it. If it isn’t, change it. Then close this window out.

iPhoto Preferences set to email using Mail

2 Select (highlight) a photo or multiple to email and then click the “Share” button at the bottom right hand side of the iPhoto application window. Then click on “Email” from the list that pops up. Optionally, you can skip the share button and click on “Share” at the top of the application in the Menu Bar and then choose “Email” from the list.

iPhoto Share and Email menu option

3 A small window will now pop up and ask you to choose a few options before proceeding into the Mail application. For “Size“, choose whatever size you would like. (Most will probably use “Medium” or “Large”)Now, what’s most important is the second item — “Include:” You want to make sure you put a check mark next to “Titles” and “Descriptions” if you in fact have information in both. Since I have both in my example, I will check each one.Also check “Location information” if the GPS/map information is important for your to include as well.

Click “Compose Message” and it will take you into the application “Mail” with your photo.

iPhoto Email Window for Description and Title Text Information

Email composed in Mail with photo attached with iPhoto title and description included
Notice iPhoto and Mail worked together to include not only the photo inside this email. The title and description are automatically included at the bottom of the photo. The title also becomes the default subject line.

So this is a great way to quickly email someone your photos when you want them to read the titles and descriptions of your photos from within the email. The problem is if they save the attached image from your email, the photo won’t have this information saved inside of it.

I know! Jeez. It seems that iPhoto just used the title and description to create the text inside of the email, and doesn’t embed this text inside of the photo.

iPhoto safely keeps all of your titles and descriptions inside of the iPhoto Library file (database). When you load an image in iPhoto, it brings up the photo and then loads this information from the database separately and then displays them together.

So now what?

How DO you get the photos out of iPhoto and have your titles and descriptions embedded (saved) inside of the photo?

How to Export Photos From iPhoto with Titles and Descriptions:

“Exporting” your photo out of iPhoto is the trick, but even then you have to select the right settings to make it work.

Once the image has been exported, your titles, descriptions, keywords and even location information (if you so choose) is then saved inside the image so you will no longer need the help of iPhoto to access and view this information.

Additionally, you can then also email this exported image to someone with whichever email software you choose (not just with Mail as per the instructions above) and still maintain the title and description.

Something to keep in mind though, some image programs still don’t handle this (IPTC) metadata yet, so you can’t expect universal access to it. But just know, as long you don’t accidentally overwrite this information with another program, your information will always be saved inside of that image you just exported.

1 Select (highlight) a photo or multiple and then click on “File” from the top Menu Bar and then click “Export” from the list. (Optionally you can hit SHIFT-COMMAND-E)If you would like to export a large quantity of photos, I would recommend selecting an entire “Event” full of photos and exporting it to its own folder named the same as your iPhoto Event.

iPhoto Export Option from Menu Bar


2 Choose the “File Export” tab from the top of this new window. The main thing you’re looking for here is the “Include:” boxes in the middle of this window. Notice how similar this is to the previous instructions to email? You want to put a check mark next to “Title and keywords” if you want your metadata such as title, description and keywords to be “embedded” into your the image that you are about to create in the export.Unfortunately, for whatever reason Apple has, you can only choose this box if you choose “JPEG” or “TIFF” from the “Kind” option at the top. I know, I know — write Apple! I’m just the messenger here.For the “File Name“, you can choose “Use Title” if you would like the new image to be labeled now with the title you gave it inside of iPhoto.Click “Export” and then choose where you would like to save this new image — such as your desktop — and then click “ok.”

iPhoto Export window with title and keywords and file name options


Click “Export” and then choose where you would like to save this new image — such as your desktop. The filename will default to your given “title” if you chose that in the prior menu. You can change this here though if you would like. When you are done click “ok.”

iPhoto Export "Save As" Window

So now, if you look on the desktop or in the folder where you told iPhoto to export your photo, you should see your image. You can do with it as you please.

Understand that this is a duplicate copy. Exporting is not moving, it’s copying. So your original image is still safely saved inside of iPhoto. By exporting, you created another copy of it with the options you chose in the process.

iPhoto Exported image on desktop with title

To test this export, just to make sure the text “metadata” remained intact, I loaded up this image into a program I bought from the Apple App store called iExifer. This is a third-party piece of software that that I picked up cheaply that will display camera EXIF as well as (IPTC) metadata such as captions and descriptions.

You can see in the screenshot below, the title and description are completely intact. They were saved inside of this new image so anywhere you send this photo, this information will now go with it!

iPhoto Exported image viewed in iExifer to show title and description
iExifer displaying iPhoto’s title (labeled as (Object Name” in iExifer) and description (labeled as “Caption/Abstract” in iExifer)

Now back to Carols original concern. In addition to emailing, she also wanted to view her titles and descriptions in Apple’s application Preview that is built into OS X.

How to View Your Photos From iPhoto In Preview with Titles and Descriptions:

1 If your image won’t open using Preview by double clicking it, hold down the Control key and click the image. From the options list, select “Open With” and then choose “Preview” from the list of applications.

iPhoto Preview Open With Titles and Descriptions

2 Once your image is loaded in Preview, go up to “Tools” in the Menu Bar at the top of your monitor and select “Show Inspector” from the list. (Optionally you can hit Command-I)

iPhoto Preview Show Inspector titles and descriptions


From the Inspector window that just opened up, select the “Info Inspector” tab at the top that is labeled with a lower case “i” in a circle. This will then reveal all of the available metadata inside. To see your titles, descriptions and keywords, choose the IPTC tab. You may have to click and drag this window to be a little wider to show the entire length of your description.

iPhoto title description keywords viewed in apple preview application
Here is how your titles, keywords and descriptions will look when viewed in Apple’s Preview App inside of the “Inspector” (Command-I)

Alright, so I think that just about does it. This should make you breath a little easier knowing you aren’t locked into using iPhoto for the rest of your life, just to view your titles and descriptions.

And also keep in mind Apple updates their software at least a couple times a year. So, I think it’s safe to assume this entire process you just learned could eventually get even easier as newer versions are released and IPTC metadata becomes even more widely used.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them below in the comments.



Free Guide Reveals...

My Top 6 Favorite Tools I Use to Scan My Photo Collection (Including My Scanner)

Join 2,741+ people already on my mailing list enjoying exclusive subscriber-only tutorials, occasional blog updates, and tips and tricks you wont find anywhere else on this website.

Happy? You Might Enjoy These Too …

97 Responses to How to Get Your Photos Out of iPhoto With Your Titles and Descriptions Intact

  1. Hi Curtis,
    Thanks for the great tips! I however am still having trouble exporting photos from iPhoto11, that retain location information. Perhaps you have some tips?
    Here is the problem:
    -I imported all of my vacation photos into iPhoto11 on my Macbook (while on vacation).
    -I then manually modified the location information on every photo (took quite a while!)
    -I now want to transfer the photos to my iMac
    -When I choose file export in iPhoto (on my Macbook Pro) and select “location” information to be included in the exported jpegs, the old location information is exported with the photos. That is, the location tag that was in on the photo before I manually updated the location information in iPhoto.
    Any ideas on how I can fix this would be appreciated! Thanks and regards,

    • Hey Brian, you know, I just took about 15 minutes and tried to reproduce your problem in iPhoto 11, and I couldn’t get it to -NOT- work.

      I took a photo that I had taken that includes GPS information. I changed the “assign a place” to “Disneyland” (different from the photo’s original GPS location) and then exported the image as a .JPG and clicked on the “Location Information” box next to “Include”. I took the exported image on my desktop and drug it back into iPhoto, and the new image maintained the gps coordinates for Disneyland. Just to be sure, I Googled the coordinates “33º 48′ 24.6″ – 117º 55′ 10.8” and Disneyland park came up. I also loaded the new image up with a 3rd party program – iExifer and it showed the new coordinates as well in the metadata.

      I am trying to think of what you could not be doing, but it’s not coming to mind.

      Is there any other details you can think of that maybe I should be considering to help you?

  2. i followed your instructions for exporting a captioned photo from iPhoto to the desktop, but the caption does not show up in the copy on the desktop. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Robin ~ Hey there. I would be glad to help you out. Reading your question though, there really isn’t much information for me to go on. I just tried exporting out another photo (in the same manner as I explained in my video) and my .jpg file shows the caption just fine from the desktop in the “info” window that I made pop-up (command-I).

      Have you watched my YouTube video version of the directions yet? It’s in this post about halfway down. In this video I am more in-depth and maybe I visually show you something you have missed in the steps you followed.

      If you have seen the video, and it’s still not working, try giving me some more specifics of what you are doing, what version of iPhoto you are on, what program or window you are looking at to test the image on your desktop to see if the caption is there etc so I can better assist you.

  3. Hi Curtis,

    Thank you for going to all this trouble. You certainly write wonderfully clear instructions. But I’m sad to say none of this worked for me. Could there be a problem with my program? I have iphoto 11 on a Macbook Pro bought in 2011.

    Regarding emailing photos, there was no option for ‘include description’; as soon as I hit share (both methods) up comes the email with photo attached. And regarding exporting, all my many tries didn’t include titles or descriptions, despite that I checked those boxes. Neither did they show up in Preview.

    • Carol ~ Hmmm… well that certainly is frustrating. I would have to say it’s possible it could be iPhoto, but the chances are probably pretty low. I would tend to think something still isn’t set right, or something was clicked on correctly etc. But, it’s really hard for me to detect with what I have to go on.

      Let’s start on the email problem first. You say when you hit share (both methods) up comes the email with photo attached. The only way I have found it to work is by having iPhoto set in the General tab to “email photos using: mail.” So even with that selected, when you click share, and then select “email” from the list, that window doesn’t pop up to give you the option to check titles and descriptions before your Apple Mail program loads up and creates a new email message?

      That just really seems odd to me. I can’t seem to reproduce the problem at all on me end with “mail” set to be the program iPhoto uses to send out email.

      I hate to ask, but have you watched my video that I posted in this post from YouTube? It goes through each step in video form and I am wondering if there is some off chance there is one tiny step you didn’t do that is causing this. I don’t know what it could be, but maybe this could be an “aha” moment for you with the video.

      Let me know what you come up with and I will keep working on this with you.

  4. Thanks for the article, it was really helpful. It seems silly that iPhoto makes it so difficult to export this information.

    Do you know if it is possible to get a simple print from iPhoto with the titles showing? I am an interior designer, and have several photos from a jobsite that I have labelled in iPhoto, and want to send a simple print of a contact sheet with each shot labelled for my client, but can’t seem to get them to print out. I don’t even need to export the files themselves, just have a physical visual representation of them.

    If I go through the “Customize” dialog to print a contact sheet, the titles all appear, but as soon as I enter the “Print Preview” view, they are all gone.

    Any ideas? Thanks so much!!

    • Hey Tracie! Glad you enjoyed the article. Yeah, iPhoto and many other image managers do make it a little difficult to deal with this exporting of metadata information. It’s kind of frustrating.

      It IS possible to print a contact sheet with the titles showing. So be happy about that!

      What won’t make you happy is that I can’t figure out what you might be doing “wrong” that is keeping YOU from printing them out. I couldn’t get mine to NOT print titles when I had those checked. Here’s a sample image of the test print out I did for you.

      iPhoto contact sheet print test — Larger Version

      From what you wrote, it sounds like you are doing it right. There is the “Settings” button at the bottom of the “customize” screen where you can put checks next to whatever you want it to print out on the contact sheet. But, you must have the titles checked otherwise you wouldn’t be seeing them in this view. And when I click on print, I still see the titles in the “print preview.” So honestly, I don’t know what could be wrong.

      Apple just release another update to iPhoto 11 today. Maybe, just maybe this will help you with a minor bug fix.

      I will keep thinking about this. And, if I come up with anything, I will let you know. Promise.

  5. Hi Curtis,

    Under your Point #2, you mention only JPG and TIF being available choices for exporting with any metadata (title, caption, etc.). This is not Apple’s fault: these are the only image formats that can include metadata in the actual image file. Since Apple has apparently chosen not to include the XMP sidecar file option in iPhoto, other file formats can’t include metadata.

    Tracie’s problem with seeing titles/captions on her contact sheet(s) might be because of the number of rows and columns set for each page. All the appropriate check boxes might be correctly marked, but if there isn’t enough physical space to include text with the images, the images will print without any text. Reducing the number of rows and columns (and maybe the thumbnail size, if that’s possible) may make it possible to see the desired text in print preview and have it print correctly. In my experience using Windows programs, it’s often possible to fit a total of 36 to 40 thumbnails on an 8.5″ x 11″ page but, even though I’ve correctly set the program to include captions/titles, with that many images, the space between them is insufficient to include any text. Reducing the settings to 3 or 4 columns across the page and 5 or 6 rows down the page, my desired text appears correctly in print preview and on the paper print. Hope this helps.


    • You are correct Art, I shouldn’t have written it that way — telling people to write Apple. I’m glad you brought that up and clarified that for people.

      The reason I was frustrated, but didn’t state it well at ALL, was that iPhoto as is, in the current version, doesn’t allow you to export titles and descriptions out using the “current” or “original” option when you export, even if your photos (and originals) are .tiff and .jpg files. If you choose “Current” or “original” from the pull-down list, it grays out the option to check titles and descriptions to be included.

      What I mean is, if you have 2 photos you want to export, 1 is a .tiff file, and 1 is a .jpg file, and you select both and hit export, you can’t select “current” or “original” from the list. Well why not? We know both formats export out with this metadata. BUT, Apple (currently at least) won’t let you export both file formats out at the same time. Instead, you would have to click on one at a time and export it out separately selecting “.tiff” or “.jpg” and possibly converting it to a different format if you select the wrong one.

      If I have 100 .jpg files, I think I should be able to select them all and hit export > current or export > original and then be able to check titles and descriptions for inclusion.

      I was very fixated on this point when I was recording my video and writing this post but didn’t bring that up. So thanks Art for clearing that up for someone who might be confused.

      • I can understand your frustration with this particular aspect of dealing with Apple. I may not be a dedicated Apple supporter, but I agree with you that you should be able to export both .tiff and .jpg files, in any desired quantity of each, simultaneously, along with all the included metadata. Too bad Apple doesn’t see things the way we do. Glad to have been able to clear up any possible confusion about this point.


  6. One other point to make: lengthy captions/titles may still be truncated when printed on a contact sheet since only so much space is available on the page. You might need to include only a few (2 to 4)images per page if you have long captions.

  7. The title of this page, “How to Get Your Photos Out of iPhoto With Your Titles and Descriptions Intact,” is EXACTLY what I need, but I’m wondering if you have any idea on how to get those exported photos INTO some kind of photo album app for the iPad. It seems really lame that Apple hasn’t created that feature for either the Photos or iPhoto app for iOS.

    So, IS there some way to get photos with titles and descriptions onto an iPad?

    Thanks very much…your site has a LOT of useful information.

  8. I have just inadvertently renamed all the photos in one event with the same name. Not sure how, I was not using Batch Change. (You’d have thought Apple might have had a warning message to stop this.)
    Now I can ‘see’ the old file names from my back up on time machine but how do I copy and paste these back to correct the error? I’ve tentatively restored one photo but it comes back as DSC0045 or similar.
    PS. Why on earth did Apple stop including the title etc. in the left hand grey pane?
    Help, Jon

    • Jon ~ Oh no! That’s too bad. I hope you didn’t lose any of your titles — good thing for time machine!

      So it sounds like you are onto a good plan there. Since you say you are able to restore your time machine backup of your iPhoto library where you can see the old “filenames”, you at least have access to them. So now you just need a way to be able to copy and paste from the old to the new. The problem is, of course, that you can’t have more than one iPhoto library file open at one time.
      And it would be too time consuming to open and close each library file (old backup and new) for each photo anyways. Well you could, but if you had a lot that would be a LOT of time.

      My first thought would be to open up your backup restored copy of iPhoto with the correct filenames — and by filenames I assume you mean the “titles” (Apple’s terminology for the name you type under a photo that replaces the original finder level filename) — and then EXPORT out a simple jpg copy of each one of the photos that now has the improper title, but export using the TITLE as the filename. Export all of these to one folder on your desktop per event that is now messed up in your new iPhoto library. Which, I believe from your comment is just one.

      Follow the instructions in this post (or the YouTube video tutorial I recorded and posted in this article) if you are unsure how to do this.

      Now close out your backup Library and reopen the new one. Using the folder on your desktop, you can now copy and paste the correct “titles” from the filenames in these new .jpg files into your library event on top of the “incorrect” titles in there.

      Hope that makes sense. And yeah, I can’t think of how you could have replaced all of those titles without batch change. You’re right though — there should have been a warning message!

  9. Curtis,Thank you for your helpful and very detailed reply. Much appreciated.
    I have in fact done it the hard way as there were only about 25 photos, I brought up the event in time machine and tried to print out a contact sheet but it wouldn’t let me so I photographed each section on my iphone and worked from that to re-type the Titles.
    I won’t make that mistake again!
    I wish there was an easy way to get feedback to Apple – they don’t encourage e-mails and don’t respond to feedback on their site.
    Thanks again.

    • You’re welcome! And photos with your iPhone… that works! Yeah maybe not as quick as my suggestion, but I doubt with only 25 photos, it was too too painful. So clever workaround

      And yes, I wish Apple would give better software support. I love when you call Applecare and they tell you they can’t help you with the software you just bought because the computer you are using is slightly out of the timeframe of your Applecare warranty. Shouldn’t the software have Applecare as well?

      That said, I’ve had great care from the “Genius Bar” when I’ve made appointments for other things, so maybe I am just spoiled by the care I can get there and just wish it was equivalent online.

  10. Hi Curtis,

    Man, thanks heaps for this free info!! Ticked all the boxes, incl. your “Apple, what the hey?!!” comments. Right on.

    Spent so much (wasted) time today on what one would think would be a very straight forward task; now thanks to the power of google and to your very giving initiative (this free tute), I’m there.

    Thanks man,

    Really appreciate your work!!

    Take care Curtis,


  11. Curtis, thanks for this great info. I get asked this question frequently. I use Aperture and love it. But you say it so well already. I love how easy it is to make some quick tweaks to my photos and create a more detailed file structure.
    Thanks for sharing your digital journey!

    • Thanks Charee! I am so glad you enjoy my website. I appreciate you leaving me a comment.

      Yes, isn’t Aperture great!? I love iPhoto too for what it can do, but I love Aperture even more. It is just so great at organizing vast photo collections. I can’t wait to see what Apple comes up with for version 4.

  12. The other problem with not being able to export the data with the ‘current’ or ‘original’ setting is that all your images will be re-compressed in the export process. This can mean either the exported photo isn’t quite the same quality as the original, or the exported photo has a larger file size. All we really want is our original files + some additional metadata!

    • You are correct Jonathan — good point. It’s true. What we really want IS to be able to export as our “original files + metadata.”

      I guess though it’s possible to export with metadata and not have it re-compress. For example if you had uncompressed TIFF files in your iPhoto library and then you chose TIFF as your means to export. I wouldn’t think it would then choose a compressed TIFF at that point when exporting. There is no option to choose so hopefully it makes an uncompressed one.

      But yes, (for example) JPG to JPG would re-compress and JPG to TIFF would then make a larger file size.

  13. I upgraded iphoto to ’11. Now all the jpeg exports to finder (for later import to Rapidweaver) have the IPTC and Tiff Caption ‘Konica Minolta Digital Camera’ instead of the description written in iPhoto ’11 (or earlier). However all the exports of pics from newer Panasonic Models are o.k.

    See sample in my draft: The last photo is the one with the wrong caption in the slideshow (click the photo).

    I need a solution because I have hundreds of jpeg to transfer from my iWeb-Site to Rapidweaver.

    I found a possible solution in “c”: see at the bottom
    exiftool -iptc:all= -tagsfromfile @ -all:all -unsafe ./

    Since I have no experience with terminal I would be glad to have an other solution. Your hint would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance and best regards

    • Hey Martin!

      After re-reading your problem a few times to make sure I understand what’s going it, I’m afraid it seems to be a simple problem but with a frustrating answer.

      Someone else wrote to me not too long ago and said he was having problems when he took photos he knew had IPTC metadata (captions), imported them into iPhoto, made CHANGES to the captions and then tried to export them out again with the new changes to the captions (descriptions technically).

      I went to work and tried to duplicate his problem. And very quickly I learned my iPhoto wouldn’t export them out either! I even tried it in my latest version of Aperture — same problem. I tried every trick or idea I could come up with and nothing.

      Then I went looking on the internet and I found an Apple thread in their forum that seemed to detail this exact problem. Seems to be a bug in the latest versions of iPhoto and Aperture that is causing problems with exporting metadata.

      And this person claims they reported it as a bug. So fingers crossed, we will be blessed with an update to both pieces of software soon! This thread is dated Oct 20th, so one can only hope it won’t be too long now.

      If I am not mistaken, this seems to be the same problem you are having.

      The only thing I can suggest, that would be remotely easy, is for you to down-grade your copy of iPhoto to a version that doesn’t have this bug. The only problem might be that once you upgraded to the latest version of iPhoto, it probably updated your iPhoto Library file to the latest version as well. And often, the databases won’t load on earlier versions after they have been updated.

      Sorry I don’t have a simple fix for you. At least you know now it wasn’t operator error! You were doing everything right.


    • Hey David! You know, that is a great question! In fact, that’s more of a question I would like to ask the higher ups at Apple. Because, I tried that very thing not so long ago and I couldn’t get anything to work.

      I believe in iPhoto for iPad, you can add a caption. But, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get captions/descriptions to sync back to my desktop version of iPhoto (and vice versa). And now there appears to be a bug in the latest versions of iPhoto and Aperture, where you can’t export out captions/descriptions correctly. So I doubt I can even try testing this out again.

      I also had tried looking for Apps in the App store that allowed for this type of metadata transfer, and I couldn’t find any. Are you personally aware of any that I am missing?

      I hope captioning becomes important to Apple really soon. A lot of us really place a lot of importance on them in our photo collections.

  14. Hey David. Thanks for the great instructions. It certainly appears that the descriptions and titles are now transferred with the file. However, does this work for Facebook? It doesn’t appear to? I would really like my friends to view my descriptions when I upload my albums from Iphoto to Facebook.

    • Hey Rachel. You’re welcome!

      I wasn’t sure about Facebook so I just tried it out. Titles and Descriptions didn’t seem to appear immediately when I uploaded a photo into my Timeline as a status update. But, when I clicked on “Photos” in the far left menu and then uploaded a photo into one of these albums, the “Title” and “Description” immediately appeared! So, it appears Facebook is utilizing this information. Fantastic.

  15. Hey Curtis,

    My fiancé saved a wedding dress photo from the Internet directly into iPhoto. She really likes the dress but now can’t find the website where the picture came from. Is this data stored in iPhoto somewhere?


    • Hey Douglas. Yes, it’s possible the name of the website is saved in one of two places.

      It could either be stored as a caption — the description field in iPhoto, or it could be saved by the store owner in the file name of the photo. If you haven’t changed the “title” of the image in iPhoto yourself, then the title should be the original file name as it was originally saved.

      If you have changed the “title” once you imported it in iPhoto, in order to see the original file name then you will probably need to drag it out (such as the desktop) or export it out of iPhoto using File>Export and make sure you don’t have it change the file name to your new “title”. This way it will preserve the original file name before you changed it.

      If the name of the website isn’t present in either place, but the file name has an unusual name like “dress_012345a” or something, consider Googling this filename and see if this image has been indexed and shows up in the results. Also try clicking on “Images” at the top of Google to see if you can identify it visually in the results.

      Hope this helps you out!

  16. Hi, I have a question. I have been to Apple twice to figure out how to share 660 photos I took on a long vacation to Europe. I first was taught how to use Dropbox. But only 430 showed up and they were completely out of order, and there appears to be no way to put them back in order. They have no customer service number. Then I tried moving them into an album through icloud/photo stream. This worked, but the captions I laborously typed in iPhoto are gone. Do you know of any photo sharing options that keep pictures in the same sequence as in iphoto and keep the captions for a large quantify of pictures? Thanks so much in advance!! Robin

  17. I have been trying to do this for at least a year. Thank you so much for showing me how in 7 minutes!

  18. In iPhoto ’11 version 9.4.2, I was able to export IPTC data (title, description, keywords, GPS coordinates) by first selecting JPEG in the Kind menu of the Export dialog, checking the two Include checkboxes, then switching to PNG “Kind” before hitting the Export button. Notice how the checkboxes remain checked (but greyed out) when you switch to PNG.

  19. Curtis, the procedure worked well with exporting from iPhoto to share a few photos, but what happens with backup software (e.g., Time Machine or Backup Utility) to an external hard drive? I have a large digital photo library and am either going to use another off-site-based external drive or try Amazon’s Glacier storage, or both. But I am wondering if upon retrieval (hopefully not necessary), will the photos have the descriptions I have created for each? Without some organizational structure or at least the descriptions, recreating photo albums will be a nightmare. Thanks.

    • Hey Rick. So as long as your backup software such as Time Machine backs up your iPhoto Library File (folder), you will be good. If you are letting iPhoto store and manage all of your photos inside of this library (this is the default way), then the backup will not only backup your photos, but it will also backup the iPhoto database files inside of this library that contains all of your description information. (I suspect with iPhoto, the description isn’t saved INTO the photo file until you export the file out of iPhoto — until then, this data is probably just stored in the database files)

      I just made another video that explains how iPhoto stores your photos and where and how etc. You might really get a lot out of it:

      Hope this helps!

  20. I have a MacBook with iPhoto 2009. I have images which I spent quite a bit of time labeling (clicking on the “i” on the lower right corner of the image). Today, I went to the same images and noticed I had an image that was not labeled. I entered the appropriate label. I then went to some of the other images to see if they were missing labels, and I was horrified to see that the newest label is now attached to all the images in the folder. How do I revert back to the original, painstakingly entered, labels? I have deleted the newest label, so it’s blank now, but all the other images still carry the label. I have not exited iPhoto in the hope that I can still undo this mistake.

    • Hi Rebecca. I am so sorry to read about your iPhoto problems. I can imagine how frightening and frustrating this is right now for you.

      I no longer have iPhoto ’09, so I can’t easily reproduce what you think went wrong. In iPhoto ’11, when you select two or more photos, there doesn’t seem to be any way you can then change either the title or description in the info panel. This method only seems to work for one photo at a time. In iPhoto ’11, if you want to change the title or description for multiple photos, you have to go up to Photos and then “Batch Change.”

      I know that doesn’t help you at all. But, even in ’11, I don’t know of a way to reverse a “batch change” process if command-z (undo) didn’t work for you (which I am not sure that it even does). The easiest course of action right now would be to revert back to a backup in Time Machine right before this “batch” type change was made.

      Do you have a backup you can revert back to? A Time Machine one, or one you just made manually of the library file (folder) to another hard drive for safe keeping?

  21. Great article, Curtis!

    One question. You explain how to get the Title/Description embedded into the file itself, which is great. You also explain how to get the Title/Desc to show up when emailing the photos to someone. But how can you get both?? If I email the exported photos from Finder or Preview, the Title/Desc don’t go through. But if the email recipient exports my mailed photos, those JPEGs won’t have the data embedded in it.

    Seems a shame to have a solution to each problem but no solution to both?



    • Hey thanks Dave! You know, I actually believe this still is a solution for both unless I’m misunderstanding you.

      If I can step back a bit, the real “problem” actually lies in programs like iPhoto that work exceptionally well to label and organize your photos, but still don’t do a great job of updating your master files. For whatever reason you want to believe, iPhoto (and some programs like it) holds onto much of your data that you type in about a photo only inside of its internal database. One could say this is just for speed — so as you type in information, you aren’t “waiting” around for this information to be written inside of all of the master images (I don’t believe this though — drives are fast now). Others say Apple just doesn’t want you to easily take your files away from iPhoto and use it in another company’s photo manager. (Possibly)

      So, what this means is that much of this data I was speaking about isn’t written inside of the master image file until you export out the image from iPhoto. So, if you export out a photo from iPhoto like I showed you, your titles/descriptions will be saved (embedded) inside of this “new” file you just exported. If you exported it correctly, and you are still having problems reading this title/description, it could be whatever program you are using to load it just isn’t written to read this IPTC metadata. Same with whomever receives them via email. If you export them out correctly, and the person on the other end has software that accesses and reads this metadata correctly, then they will be able to see your titles and descriptions.

      All this being said, the industry as a whole — photo editors and organizers — still has a long way to go to make sharing this information easy from one program to another. It’s still as if they don’t think any of us really want to use these information fields outside of the professional photography/news industry.

      Dave, are you specifically having problems after trying the above steps? Or did this question/problem just come up after analyzing everything you just read/watched in the video?

  22. Thanks for a very helpful description. Do you have any suggestions about which programs are convenient for displaying the exported photos with the embedded descriptions (captions) under the photo (such as iphoto does for shared emailed photos with Mail) so your ordinary recipient can see the descriptions conveniently. Those sidebars in Preview [and iexifer(?)] with the caption all on one line so only part is visible are rather unsatisfactory. (The use of Apple Info in the Finder is somewhat better.) I found no way in Word for Mac 2011 to extract the Description from the exported-imported photo. Can Mac publishing layout software do it? A laborious solution is to copy-paste the description of each photo from iphoto into Word.
    Thank you again

    • Hale, sadly enough, there just aren’t any great options out there that I have found — software at least. I’ve looked and really haven’t found anything.

      So if anyone is reading this and knows of a great program, for any platform, please reply or use my “contact” form and let us know.

      One option that does work with iPhoto, and could be a temporary solution for you, depending on what you need it for, is to print a “contact sheet” from iPhoto and deselect all of the options in the “settings” panel except for “comments.” This will print page(s) of your photos as contact sheets and will list your caption underneath. And you can grab the slider and choose how large you want all of your images. You could display 1 per page if you would like them big.

      Settings to print out captions using iPhoto and printing contact sheets

      And don’t want to print them to paper? Just choose the “PDF” pulldown in the bottom left of the final printer panel and choose “Save as PDF” and save your contact sheet to your computer as a PDF file instead. This could then be emailed etc. to anyone who you would like to show them to.

      But, I know this is not as graceful as you might like. I can’t believe I can’t find a lot of great photo viewing programs out there that will display captions like we all would like to.

      I think it’s possibly because images have “gone to the web.” Google Picasa’s Web Albums and sites like that are probably taking attention away from local software being developed. And there are some iPad apps that seem promising — like “Souvenir” that DOES allow for captions and displays them nicely like a photo album. The only problem is the ease of syncing to and from it.

      I sincerely hope a future update to iOS iPhoto will solve that problem of getting our photos to and from our iOS devices. And hopefully they will have an answer to the issue of displaying the captions too!

      Hope some of this helps.

  23. Hi Curtis,

    Thank you for your information. A few months ago I had the horrendous experience of opening my computer and finding 3 years of my photos absent from my library. After hours at the genius bar, I was able to recover my photos from the files labeled “originals” that were buried on my hard drive. I reconstructed a separate library for each year so now I have 10 iphoto libraries instead of one. This was the advice from the genius bar guy, in order to keep the library from getting too large. So all of my titles and descriptions have been lost, which included details of sites visited on foreign travels and names of things that I don’t even remember now, as I labeled my photos as I downloaded them.

    Do you have any knowledge of how this information is stored on the computer and whether I might be able to find it somewhere? I know you said that it is stored separately than the photos themselves. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that it wasn’t embedded in and saved with the photo before I went through all of this.

    Also, if I just switch over to Aperature, will that solve the problem for the future? Can I add labels and have them saved/embedded with the photo?

    Thanks so much.


    • Hi Michelle. I’m so sorry to hear about all the trouble you went through That would be awful to go through all of that.

      Can you remember back, did the “genius” at the Apple store tell you what he tried? What I am wondering is since you were able to recover the photos, then it just sounds like there was some kind of corruption with the Library file and database. I still don’t have much experience dealing with corrupt databases, but Apple does offer a few steps you can try to rebuild them. So I was going to ask if he tried all of them, or if you ever tried any of them. (If you hold down command & option while you boot up iPhoto you can get to them).

      The other option is a third party program called iPhoto Library Manager that can help with corrupt databases. Here is what it says it can do with them: “Sometimes, an iPhoto library will become corrupted, with missing photos, mysterious iPhoto hangs, or outright crashes. With iPhoto Library Manager, you can rebuild a new library based on your current library, starting with a fresh database free of corruption. You can even scavenge photos from the library that iPhoto may have lost track of.” So, if you still have the original library file where you extracted all of your photos, I would give that a try. And they have a trial period with the software.

      As far as me telling you where the titles and descriptions are stored, I’m afraid I’m not going to be of much help. If you go into the contents of the library file folder, you will see database folders etc. where iPhoto reads and writes all of this information. But, I don’t believe it’s written in a place where you could extract it — copy and paste it. That’s where I would hope one of the above methods could help in restoring access to your library file (from a corruption) so that you could at the least, access some of this data to copy and paste or export.

      Aperture is definitely better than iPhoto in the way you can work with titles and descriptions (captions). Aperture doesn’t always immediately write all of this type of metadata to the original photo master files as you type it into the application, but unlike iPhoto, there are menu items above that you can select that will tell Aperture to do a manual overwrite (update) of this data to the master files. So, the long answer to your question is yes, Aperture can solve this problem for you.

      I would love if when Aperture 4 comes out (maybe they will call it Aperture X), they will have really improved the way metadata (IPTC and EXIF) is handled within photos. I would love to know that in the future, we will be able to move a photo or video around our computer and mobile devices and know that the metadata will easily go along with them without us as users having to make sure it was updated.

      • Thank you so much Curtis. The genius bar tried all the available rebuild options that were on my computer (holding down command and option while opening iPhoto etc.). They did not, however tell me about iphoto library manager. I have since learned that they are not allowed to discuss third party options.

        Your info about Aperture is very helpful. I think as I sort through all of this mess, it will be better if I just switch over to the new application as well. In the meanwhile I will try the iphoto library manager to see if I can recover the missing titles and descriptions.

        Thank you!

  24. THANK YOU SO MUCH for this thorough and clear tutorial!
    Saved me a LOT of time for a project I’m doing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  25. Thank you SO much for this!! I’ve been trying to find a way to export my photos onto my computer for months!!!

  26. I have a large number of photos that I’m trying to put on a thumb drive for a relative. I’d like to include Title, Date and Location. Your procedure worked fine for Title, but not Date or Location. I did check the location box. I have iPhoto version 9.5.1. Any suggestions?

      • Preview. I exported to the desktop, then clicked on the photo’s icon which opens in Preview. My intent is to give about 2,000 family photos to a relative. She uses Windows and Picasa.

        • Okay good. Well Preview is capable of showing EXIF/IPTC metadata, but it’s fairly clumsy at it. Most of the date information it casually gives you is all related to just when the file itself was created and modified — not when the photograph “inside” the photo was taken.

          But, if you have a photo loaded in Preview, if you show the inspector (Tools > Show inspector), then the “More Info” inspector window will come up with 4 small tabs along the top. If you click on the second tab from the left, the “info” tab, then you will now get 5 buttons at the top to select from. (See what I mean by clumsy?) By clicking on these buttons, primarily the either the Exif or IPTC ones, you should see info like the “Date Created” info that you typed into iPhoto for when the photo was taken, as well as the caption etc.

          It would be really nice if Preview would show all of this info in the “Get Info” window by just hitting command-I on the file icon. But, it doesn’t seem to. You have to go into this inspector window.

          There are other programs you can use on a Mac that will show you Exif/IPTC info easier. Like I bought and use iExifer. It’s available in the Mac App Store for a few dollars. It doesn’t do much besides just show metadata, but it’s much easier to use if you just want to quickly see metadata for a photo.

          Your relative should be fine though once she gets them. Picasa on Windows should display this Exif/IPTC metadata fine if the photos were updated/exported correctly with the metadata inside from your iPhoto library. You might do as it appears you are already trying to do, and test out a few on your system and then hers to see if the metadata carries over correctly before you deal with the entire 2,000.

          • We are making some headway. I found the Location info, but it comes out as a map and not just the name I was looking for. As you said, “clumsy.”

            The Date info is more complicated. What I didn’t mention before but now see as important, the photos I am trying to copy were 35mm slides that I digitized using a device sold for that purpose. When I export them, every one shows the date as Jan 1, 2008, which is neither the date I typed in nor the date when the slide was digitized. However, when I export other photos that were downloaded to iPhoto directly from a camera, I get the date I typed in.

          • Oh good John. “Some headway” is positive!

            Yeah, Preview isn’t the best program for displaying metadata. I would avoid it if you are looking for something more useful. I would use iExifer or another program in the Mac App store — search for “exif iptc metadata” to find programs that utilize these formats. They are all usually around $10 or less.

            It doesn’t surprise me you aren’t having any problems getting the correct date from photos taken with a digital camera. They have that easy access writing that EXIF data. It’s obviously more of a chore to add that data in yourself.

            Since you are using iPhoto to do this, let’s go back to the beginning and just make sure you are entering the date information and saving it correctly. Have you reviewed my instructions in this post before? (It walks you through entering the date and even checking that it was saved correctly inside of the file using a program like iExifer)


  27. I realize this is an older post, but the information is still very useful. However, is there instructions that are a little different and will allow me to export the photos and then view them on a PC? I got all the pictures and are listed as .jpg but give me an unknown format message when I try open them on a PC. Would love your help on this one.

      • Hi Juli. I don’t think anything has changed with iPhoto since I wrote this post. Jpeg files are very standardized, as well as the IPTC metadata where much of our customized data about the photos are stored. So I don’t think it’s the photos themselves that’s the problem.

        Have you checked in any other program on your MAC that can display metadata? Preview can, but it’s a little hard to get to. You have to go into the “inspector” panel to see it. By using another program outside of iPhoto to view your metadata, you can be sure the exporting worked. I use a program called “iExifer” from the Mac App store just to verify metadata is in fact inside a file.

        I think, more than likely, maybe it’s an issue with the way you are copying the files to the PC. I don’t use PC’s enough all the time to be sure of this, but I do know the way a drive (even a USB thumb drive) is formatted makes a difference how Mac’s and PC’s read and write files. It’s very possible maybe you are connecting a drive that is formatted only for Macs to the PC, and maybe the PC can’t read your photos correctly to copy them off.

        Fat32 is the type of formatting that is widely given as the one that easily works on both platforms, so this is how you should format the drive you want to use shuttle files between the two. If drive “reformatting” isn’t an easy option (since you will erase everything that is on there now), another way to move files would be to email them if you aren’t dealing with many, or to use a file syncing program like Dropbox.

  28. I’m having a problem exporting pictures with data. Everything appears to be fine until I click on inspector. I then get a window that says no document selected. I tried dragging the photo back into iphoto and none of the info is included. Any suggestions?

    • Mel, I think this is a simple fix for you. I believe what is happening is you are loading the image viewing application “Preview,” but you aren’t telling it what file to load inside of it, before you hit “show inspector.” So it doesn’t know what metadata to show you yet.

      My Mac is setup to load Preview by default for image files. Yours may be too. So, if you double click on the image you exported, it may very well just load up in Preview for you automatically. If it doesn’t, then the other way is once you have Preview loaded, choose “File > Open” from the top and then choose your image through the Finder window file chooser that will pop up.

      Once the image is loaded, then try the Inspector (command-I) or “Tools > Show Inspector” again. It should work for you.

  29. Hi Curtis,
    I was wondering if you could help me with a dilema that I am having. I recently bought a scanner to undertake the job of scanning all of my families pictures into the computer. I have a MacPro7.1 that has OS X v10.6.8. I have an old version of iPhoto v8.1, which I have used for years and in which I labeled all of the pictures. Before taking the time to scan the thousands of pictures that I have I decided that I should check to see if there was an update for my iPhoto v8.1. Unfortunately, I discovered in order to update iPhoto to v11, I need to update my operating system to OS X Maverick. I also found that the reviews for the new iPhoto were not good. Before going to all of this trouble of updating, I was wondering if there is another program that you would recommend for exporting my photos from iPhoto to for creating folders/albums for my children. Thank you so much for any advice. Your article above is well written and seems easy to follow. Thank you for posting it.

    • Hi Elizabeth. There are definitely other programs out there for the Mac that you could move to. You could export them all out and use them in the Mac version of Picasa, or Photoshop Elements, Aftershot Pro (Corel), Capture One, or even a version of Apple’s very own Aperture (big brother to iPhoto).

      The thing is however, you will lose the ability to undo all of your non-destructive edits you’ve applied to all of them (such as color corrections, crops etc). When you export your photos out, you will have to choose whether you want to export them out as originals, with edits applied (flattened), or both and then manage both copies. (It can get messy)

      There are definitely benefits to keeping in the Apple software ecosystem (iPhoto or Aperture) if you can. Are you able to upgrade to Mavericks? Or are you saying your computer is old enough now that it isn’t compatible with 10.9 Mavericks? You said you had a Mac Pro 7.1 — do you mean the professional Mac Pro (tower computer), or did you mean an older Macbook Pro (laptop) computer. You can usually look up compatibility by the model and year… so like “Macbook Pro 2010” would be a way to start seeing if a certain OS was compatible.

      I’m not sure where you read reviews of iPhoto 11 wasn’t any good. I personally have enjoyed their improvements, and have welcomed them. And, I believe it’s fair to say it’s like any form of change — there are going to always be a group of people that aren’t going to welcome it. But, just in case, you should without question make a backup of your entire library file so that if you upgrade the library to work with a newer version of iPhoto, and you decide you don’t like it for whatever reason, then you have an un-touched version of your library that you can return to and safely load up again in an older version. (An upgraded library often won’t let you go back to an older version once the library database inside has been changed to the new standards)

      Apple announced weeks ago at this years WWDC event that with iOS 8 (Sept-Oct) and their new Photos for OS X that is coming out early next year, we will all have a new way to keep our photos in one place and be able to share them ALL on all of our Apple devices. This new Photos for Mac application will replace iPhoto and will let us sync our entire collection to their new version of iCloud they are about to put out. So they will all be accessible on your iPad or iPhone, and if you do an edit to one photo on one device, that change will also sync to all of your others!

      If you aren’t aware of this, you might want to take a look at the WWDC video. I have queued it up for you right at the spot it’s talked about here in this YouTube video. It’s about 6 minutes long from talk about the iOS features, through a short demo of the new Mac application (1 hour 13mins 19 seconds — 01 hour 19mins 40 seconds):

      So, again hanging in there with Apple and iPhoto a little while longer might be the most rewarding decision for any Mac user. (Unless their new easy to use color correction sliders and syncing to multiple devices isn’t very important to you) You will be able to import your iPhoto and Aperture library files into this new Photos application (probably with some kind of updater). There is no guarantee however if you now move to another photo managing program, and then later want to move to this new Photos for Mac, how difficult that could be.

      I’m for one am very excited to see how this new Photos for Mac and Photos for iOS 8 is going to improve the way we all access our entire collections!

      • Curtis thank you so much for your information packed reply. I truly appreciate the time that you spent in crafting your response. The video about the coming change of being able to sync my photos to all of my devices was terrific. I think what I will do is upgrade my laptop to OS Maverick and then wait for the upgrade. Again, thank you for your time and answer to my question.

  30. Hi, this was very helpful, but what about the date? I noticed that you had the real date in iPhoto and like me once you exported the picture the date changed. I like to have my pictures organized and this messes with my files. Can you help?

    • Hi Miriam — glad you found it helpful! I just rewatched my video to see where you might have been looking and seen the wrong date after the export. I think what you saw was around 6 min 05 seconds in where it showed the date of April 2012. If this is the one you are referring to, this is because this date refers to the date this actual file — this version of the image — was created and modified. The “shoot date,” the date the photo was taken, really has nothing to do with the date the JPG image in the video was created.

      Think of this date as like the date you got your roll of film developed in the 1970’s. But, the date you took the photo could have been weeks or even months earlier. So, just like this example, the shoot date is different from the date the computer saves that the actual photograph was exported out of iPhoto and created. So, what you didn’t see in this video is on another tab in that inspector window of the Preview app. If I had clicked on the “EXIF” tab, which is where all of the camera metadata is listed, you would have seen (in this video) the date the photo had been taken. I just re-created this example in iPhoto and exported it and I ALSO so the shoot date listed in the “IPTC” tab this time. But, in the video, it didn’t come up there. I’m not sure why though — maybe I used a different file format, or maybe iPhoto has been updated since to include some more metadata in different places in the exported version.

      Does this help you out? If it doesn’t, please feel free to elaborate a little more where in your exported images that you would like the date to be that it isn’t showing up, and I would be glad to answer more for you.

      In my scanned images, I actually really like to put the shoot date in the filename. So, I will add that like “1969-07-02 Curtis Riding Bike.” (I actually wrote a whole 3-part post about this type of naming if you want to check it out) What’s great about having the shoot date typed in there, is that when you export a file out with this name intact, then they will sort by shoot date in any operating system at the “desktop” level because you can sort the photos in a folder by filename. If this date is at the beginning in the format above, then they will sort in the order that they were taken way back when.

  31. I have just discovered your wonderful site, Curtis. I have been using Apple since about 1983, and have scanned most of my photos and slides (too early for the latter, but they’re OK for my purposes). I’m always reorganizing my iPhoto files (ex-librarians are compulsive that way). I’m a troglodyte – I don’t like the later versions of iPhoto, so I kept iPhoto ’08 (version 7). My wife has the up-to-date version working with 10.6.8, which we’re both happy with, and hope our Desktops will see us out (probably unlikely). I’m going to work through your valuable tips, particularly about backing up, exporting, etc. as fail-safe.

    Today I am puzzled. I know you can have the same photo in as many separate albums as you want, (and that you can create separate iPhoto Libraries). Sometimes, particularly with group photos, I have wanted to give the same photo different names (titles), and in the past I have simply duplicated the photo and retained the word “copy” following the new name. I have always assumed (and the help manuals seem to confirm this) that if you change the original photo name it changes “globally” in the iPhoto Library and all albums in which the photo occurs. But today, it didn’t work like that. I simply altered a title and added the photo to a different album. It now appears in both albums with two different names, and in the Library under the two names. The original now appears twice, one with the word “copy” added to the name. This is actually ideal for what I want, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t use to happen. Or am I just mistaken and confused??

    I’d be grateful for your feedback.

    The reason I don’t like the later iPhoto versions is that I don’t need faces or places, and to see the information panel always available in full on the left suits me fine.

    PS I live in Sydney, Australia

  32. As a first time user of a imac i found your infor on how to get my photes out of iPhoto with the captions in tact just great

  33. This is REALLY great info! I had no idea one could get so much great metadata displayed out of Preview … I checked a couple of the GPS coords, altitudes, times … all seem pretty close … and the Google map with the Location pin is shown in the GPS window with the GPS coords !! Goes to show, I should really learn how these apps such as Preview work and what you can do with them … The Description data I wanted viewers to be able to read, to tell them where, when, etc the photo was taken and of what, is both in the IPTC window (as is the Title) and in the TIFF window. So one can lengthen out the Inspector window, with IPTC displayed, place this at the bottom of the photos displayed in Preview, and just use the arrows to scroll through the photos, viewing both Title and Description metadata as one scrolls. With GPS displayed, one can do the same with Location info. Thanks so much … this is incredibly useful !!

    • You’re welcome Douglas!

      Preview certainly isn’t the BEST way to view all of this information — it’s not as slick as it could be. But, nonetheless, every MAC owner has access to Preview, AND it’s free… so it’s hard not to use it in a pinch or recommend it to Mac users when I’m trying to show them how metadata can be useful to them.

      Happy to hear I helped you out.

  34. Thanks for this, really helpful.

    I am in the process of exporting my iPhoto library into folders that I create to avoid the mess that iPhoto does by itself. I was just choosing:

    Export -> Kind -> Original

    This, as expected, exports the photo with the same file size, resolution, and dimensions as the original one.

    I did notice that this does not include image metadata, so I chose:

    Export -> Kind -> JPEG (and ticked the “title and keywords” and “location information”). Chose Full Size as JPEG Quality.

    Interesting thing is that it now exports an image with same dimensions but the size is *twice* of the original one.

    So I tried again and exported using “Large” instead of “Full Size” and I get an image with the same size as the original but whose resolution is now 1280 × 960 pixels instead of the original 2048 × 1536 pixels.

    So my question is, how do you export an image in iPhoto, preserving title and keywords and preserving the same resolution and file size?

    • You cannot. If you have a version iPhoto 9.3 and below you can use a third party free software called “phoshare”. iPhoto 9.4 & above requires Aperture 3.x to be used an intermediary. If you have a trial version of Aperture 3 hanging around you can upgrade for free via the App store (Google or YouTube search for a tutorial), or buy it now while you still can. Aperture will go away when Photos is soon released for Yosemite, but maybe the new Photos app will have proper metadata export… maybe?

      How does it work? Aperture and iPhoto can both share the same iPhoto library. Since Aperture is a “pro” photo application it also has more advanced features, including many metadata export options. These features include locking the metadata (aka, IPTC) to the original/master photo file (“write to Original/Master”), exporting a modified photo (“Version”) with associated metadata or an IPTC sidecar file (aka, XMP), and exporting the Originals with the XMP sidecar file. That XMP is a fairly universal method of keeping metadata associated with an image file, and thus compatible with many applications.

      All in all, iPhoto has been a great overall photo management application, except that its metadata handling has historically been a failure. The mentioned Aperture handles it like a pro application should, but even the free Picasa has been doing it the correct up-to-standards way for years. Additionally, Adobe Bridge that came bundled with some versions of Photoshop Elements is a good way to quickly lock in important metadata. Hopefully the new Photos application by Apple keeps the Aperture way of locking in the IPTC metadata into the photo file.

    • Hi Reg. I believe you can manage photos from Picasa on your iPad, but it’s not through a Google developed app called Picasa. Instead you use their “Google+” app on your iPad to interact with photos you’ve uploaded from Picasa to Google+.

      Additionally, if you are looking for a different interface, if you do a search for “Picasa” in the App store, (as of today at least) you will find a couple apps that handle Picasa photos. One is called “Web Albums HD for Picasa Web Albums/Google+” and the other is “Best Best Album – Picasa Web Albums Manager.”

      It appears that Google is trying to free themselves from the confines of a product name like “Picasa” and are trying to associate your entire lifestyle including photos with the Google brand itself. So you socialize with others through Google+, but you also store (host) your photos there as well to share with others.

  35. How do I export a large group of pictures with captions/titles into a folder on the desktop and maintain the same order as I have in iPhoto.

  36. Hi, thank you for this great article ! I wonder if you could also help me on my current issue. I don’t use iPhoto as I work on a PC. I’d like to get the metadata from pictures friends shared with me using Photos on iPhone (iOS 7.1). Is there a way around his ? Cheers

    • Hi Vera. What kind of metadata would you like to have in your photos from your friends? There’s all kinds. The most popular and used metadata is filled in and saved by the iPhone itself — such as GPS location, time and date taken, camera model and camera settings used etc. All of this is saved inside of all photos taken with the iPhone and will carry over to you automatically if you copy them over to your PC.

      There are probably a few applications out there that will let an iPhone user record some more metadata inside of photos such as captions. But, this is pretty rare. If this is the case, the application used to type in the captions will have to write this metadata into each file, or be asked to when export out of this iOS application in order for you to have access to this additional data typed in by your friend. Then when you copy them to your PC, this information will also follow with it.

      The trick then on your end, is you need to make sure whatever application you use on your PC to view/organize these photos is capable of displaying (and also possibly editing/writing) this metadata. Most photo viewing/managing applications will display the standard EXIF metadata that the iPhone automatically fills in. But not all of them display the IPTC metadata such as “captions.”

  37. I would like to export from iPhoto to Picasa (not the Google+ but the older version of Picasa) so others can view my photos. I did what you showed me but the captions did not transfer. Any ideas on how to do this? Thanks

    • Hi Bonnie. If you followed all of steps in this post, then it should work, unless something is slightly different or software updates with iPhoto have changed something since I made this tutorial.

      Could you provide me with your iPhoto version and also all of the settings along the way of your exporting that you are using so I can do the same on my end and see if I can correct for whatever is off a bit?

  38. Great help but what about exporting video? When I tried to export a ton of files from an old library (with titles), it came up with errors for all my .mov files

  39. Curtis I was wondering if you could help me with my photo issue. I saw the post where you can export under a file name but is there a way to maintain the “shoot date” without manually changing each file to include it under the name. I am terrible at getting pictures off my phone and currently have 2500 pictures over 2 years that I need to save and organize and it is not including the shoot date when I export them and I can’t manually add it to that many pictures without going crazy.

    • Hi Cora. If you shot the photos with a digital camera phone, like an iPhone, the “shoot date” will actually already be stored inside of the camera’s EXIF metadata before you had imported them into iPhoto. So, there really isn’t any concern about making sure the “shoot date” is in the metadata, like you have with scanned photos where you have to manually enter in that “shoot date” using a program that can write metadata (like iPhoto etc).

      So, the question is, after you have exported your photos from iPhoto, where are you looking to see the “shoot date”? The thing is, not all software is coded in a way to display this information. In fact, Mac OSX is quite horrible at it. The Finder application just shows you dates the file itself was created and modified — not the photo inside.

      In the video above, I used a program called iExifer that is capable of displaying this EXIF metadata (as well as the IPTC metadata kind). It’s around 5min 14sec in the video. (I just fixed the video player on this post so if the video wasn’t working for you before, try it again now)

      But, this isn’t the only application out there to display metadata. There are plenty of others.

  40. Thanks Curtis. They photos were shot on my i phone and I am trying to save them onto an external hard drive. So I need to download this app and then when I open my photos in this program it will display with dates?

    • Cora, so you don’t necessarily need to download iExifer and use it, it’s just one of many programs out there that is written in a way that will access this “Shoot Date” metadata. The program will work for you to display the date, but it may not be the best application if you are really looking for an application that will do this and a whole lot more.

      iPhoto and Photos that just came out that replaces iPhoto is a photo managing application and editor and metadata viewer all in one. iExifer doesn’t organize or edit photos, but it does display metadata. So, think of it like a small single tool in a toolbox. iPhoto and applications like it are multi-tools.

    • The video is at the top of this post, almost underneath the question that Carol wrote in and asked. I just checked this post in Safari and Chrome on my Mac and the YouTube video loads in both, so it should work for you as well.

      If it doesn’t, tell me what kind of computer you are using, operating system and browser so I can try and reproduce that on my end.

    • The date the photo was originally taken is stored inside of the photo’s EXIF metadata and will go with the file wherever it is moved or copied to. (Unless software is used to manually remove or change this metadata) So, if you want photos inside of your iPhoto application in a library file to be in your home folder, you just need to select those photos in iPhoto and then export them out (File>Export) to your user home folder. Using another program like iExifer will allow you to view the metadata still inside of your photo file.

  41. hi,

    Any idea how to do “How to Email Photos From iPhoto with Titles and Descriptions” in the new ? I would like to generate emails that include the text/description field with each photo. But I can not find the required options any more.. any idea?

  42. Hi Curtis
    I would like to export a pile of photos out of iPhoto for a friend. I would like them to include metadata, titles, keywords etc and also be of high quality so that my friend can edit them as she pleases. From your earlier comments I understand how to export the photos so that they have all the data ie don’t export as original and tick all the boxes BUT what size do I export them as? High or Maximum knowing that the person will probably edit them and print them out for photo albums?? And also conscious of the size that they will take up on my friends computer.
    Thanks heaps

  43. Hi Curtis,

    Super helpful article. I am trying to export from iphoto to desktop. I followed your instructions, went to the info inspector tab, and noticed the title and date had been preserved. yay! However, there is no IPTC tab under the info inspector, so I cannot see the caption. The only available tabs are “General” Exif” and “TIFF”
    Any way to display the IPTC tab? I am using iphoto version 9.5.1
    Thanks a bunch.

  44. So doing family history of photos, 1000’s, of them as terminally ill with geotag and old address etc, and tagged. Do quick tidy up in iPhoto (edit), geotag, list some tags, and then export to folder say birthdays – bella, birthdays – George, xmas with friends. Xmas with family, years 1972, 1973 for the oddball things that don’t got in folders I’ve made.
    I export than with title, data and info all jpeg or jpg, normally high quality, and then put them in folder on desktop named Family photos in relevant folders. . Now…question is:

    I leave these on computer mostly but back up fat format on external drive. When I finish if I delete all photos from iTunes, will my folder photos on desktop still be there, and will they be on external hard drive, or are they always going to want to link to iPhoto…….trying to unclutter computer and nearly finished. Obviously I will use iPhoto for newer photos as they come in to geotag if needed or edit, but am curious what would happen if I deleted all photos out of iPhoto! Would I be stuffed and have no photos after five years intense work?
    Thanks as I think I would go crazy.

    • Hi Belinda. I think I can safely say the answer to your questions is “yes, they will still be there.” This assumes a few things though.

      Most people when they import photos into iPhoto (or now Photos), they leave the setting in the preferences set to “copy items to the iPhoto (Photos) library.” This means the master stored inside of iPhoto (Photos) will be a duplicate, and will not be attached to the one you may have had on your desktop (for example) when you originally imported it. If you have this setting unchecked before the import, then your master inside of iPhoto is “linked” to the image on the desktop, so if you deleted the image on the desktop, it would no longer be on your desktop, AND it would no longer be in iPhoto (Photos).

      I made a short video tutorial about this that you should check out that shows this in detail and is probably more comprehendible than what I just typed:

      Give this a watch and see if this helps you feel better about deleting those files.

Care to leave your own comment?

Pin It on Pinterest