Help running exiftool from the command line

I am ready to try making changes to the metadata of my photos. I want to put the names of people into the metadata.

I think the exiftool is the way to go but I am looking for suggestions on the best method to do this.

Anyone doing this that could offer some suggestions?

Thanks Roger

Phil Harvey just released a new production version of ExifTool on Wednesday and I wrote a news release on it for Photo Corners that links to a few of my pieces that detail different ways of using the wonderful tool. But none of them discuss adding the names of people, although they'll give you a sense of how to do that.

He's also very responsive to queries on his forum and his documentation on the site is excellent as well.

Leaving aside whether including personal information in a photo file is advisable (I guess it depends on the person, how much control of the file you have, context of use, and many other things)... What field were you planning on using? "Description", "Person Shown in the Image", something else?

Regarding the best field to store picture information, you might find Phil Harvey's Metadata: Where and What to Save helpful.

And regarding the safety of adding that information, I'll just point out that image optimization software like the free ImageOptim allow you to strip that information so you can have it for your own collection and remove it for public consumption (which is particuarly helpful when it comes to GPS data).

Thanks for the suggestions. I have decided to use GraphicConverter to do the updating. It also provides much more information and seems to be easier to use.

As far as putting names into the metadata. These are mostly older historical images and most of the individuals are deceased.


It makes perfect sense to use GC, especially if you are looking at the images to see what names you need to add. If you are adding to the "People" field in GC, that updates both the "PersonInImage" and "People" fields in a file's metadata.

If you wanted to replicate that on the command line it would be

exiftool -PersonInImage="Jones Davey" -People="Jones Davey" path/to/image/file

...and if you wanted to append to data already in those fields it would be

exiftool -PersonInImage+="Nesmith Mike, Dolenz Mickey" -People+="Nesmith Mike, Dolenz Mickey" path/to/image/file

For safety you'd probably want to try and get the data from those fields and then use that plus the data you want to add to set the whole lot from scratch.

Easy enough to script -- for example, if you wanted to browse a folder of files, made notes in a text editor, then batch-processed the name adding.

I can find the People field but how do I see the PersonInImage in GC?

It isn't there in GC.

But if you fill in the "People" field in GC it puts entries into both the "Person In Image" and "People" tags of the file, so if you're switching between GC and exiftool it's best to be consistent and do the same with exiftool.

You can see this for yourself. Take an unaltered image and in Terminal: exiftool -All path/to/image/file
... and you'll (probably!) see there's no "Person In Image" or "People" metadata. Add names using GC, run the command again, and you'll see both tags have been added -- each with the names you put in.