How to Add Metadata to A Batch of Photos by Adobe Bridge

With the price of gadgets going down real quick, people have embraced many forms of technologies in their life. One particular of them is digital camera. Be it a point-and-shoot or SLR, photographer do love to share their shots on many different sites including Facebook and Flickr. If you know a bit of photography, you’d know that every piece of photo contains a lot of information about how the photo was taken. Those camera settings are called exif data.

adobe bridgeThere are more personalized information that can be added to photos. For example, if you are a professional photographer, you can include your name, office’s address, website URL, phone number and a lot more information right inside the JPEG file. Even if you are not a pro, for the purpose of sorting photos in your hard drive, you can add keywords to photos. These user-added information are called meta data.

With Windows 7, you can actually edit those meta data right from Windows Explorer. You can open up properties of a JPEG file and edit its title, description, copyright information and so on. You don’t really need any software to do so. However, as your workload gets bigger, you need something more powerful to get this job done. Imagine you have a lot of photos. Title/caption of these photos will obviously be different. But there are some common information (such as your name, copyright info, your website url and so on) that will be same for each of them. It’s a real nightmare if you want to do it one-by-one. Imagine doing it on a batch of photos that has about 300 files in it. Does it get any worse?

That’s when Adobe Bridge, another great tool for photo management by Adobe comes into play. Most people do it using Adobe Lightroom. But I’m covering it in Adobe Bridge because if you have Adobe Photoshop CS4/CS5 installed on your computer, chances are you also have Adobe Bridge installed. So, let’s open up Adobe Bridge from your computer.

A Quick Overview of the Interface

Upon starting Adobe Bridge, you’d see an interface similar to the above screenshot. The idea of Adobe Bridge is simple. You can compare it with your Windows Explorer or Apple Finder. They work the same way. The only difference is Adobe Bridge was designed to do a lot more advanced task to photographs.

The interface of Adobe Bridge is simple enough. In the middle there is content. First of all you have to drive your way into the content, though. On lower left there are filters. They are very helpful to sort out in a large batch of photos. On right side, the panel represents a preview of the selected photo and below that is a place for metadata show/edit. That’s where we’ll work today.

Now, navigate to a batch of photos in your hard drive. You can navigate from the main content window bar. Please note that if your Adobe Bridge does not look similar to mine, simply click the “Essentials” text on the upper right corner (left to the search box). That’ll give you the exact same workspace as mine.

Now select a photo and look the metadata panel closely.

You can see that all of the metadata fields are empty. Only the description field is filled out by default by my camera. These information are going to be the same in case of all the photos in this batch. Only the Title and Description of each photos will be unique. But all the other information are going to be same. You can click the pencil icon and start editing them right away. But this way you’re going to do them individually. That nightmare returns! So, let’s do it the easiest way.

Creating Metadata

First of all, we need to create a template. Click on the little flyout icon next to the metadata panel and click “create metadata template”.

A box with lots of fields will appear immediately.

Now you don’t really need to enter all the information here. Only the ones that are applicable to you. For example, fill out all the fields that start with creator (that means you). Also fill out the location, state, city, country, copyright notice, credit line, rights usage terms and the ones that you think are necessary to be included. Once done, give this template a name and click save. Adobe Bridge in its special format will save the file somewhere in your computer.

Appending Metadata

Appending metadata means applying these metadata information to one or more photos. Now select the entire batch, or Ctrl + click the ones that you want this metadata to be appended with. When all the photos are selected, simply click that flyout menu next to metadata panel again and click the right template from Append Metadata. In my case, I have a template that’s called Digital Camera Shots.

Now all the information from the metadata template has been appended into the photos that were selected from the content area in Adobe Bridge. If you need to create more templates for different types of photos, you can do so. You can also edit them once you need to make any change. Simply select the Edit Metadata Template and then choose the one that needs to be edited. You can also replace any metadata with another saved metadata from the Replace Metadata menu. You are given all the options you might need. Use them the way you need.

Template Files

If you have more than one computer and you want these templates to be synchronized, you have to manually copy paste the files. To do this, open up create metadata template box and click the little “play” icon next to the Template Name box. Then click Show Template Folder. You can copy-paste them in all your other computers.


If you are a professional photographers and if you provide soft copy of your photographs, it’s really important to put your business information in every photo. They may not see it. But you don’t know maybe someone who knows metadata will check out the links you add in the metadata and call you out for an event!