A simplistic GUI to add meta data to your photographs under Linux

Update: Added an adaption for nautlius by Derek Keats.

Images taken with your digital camera come with detailed information about exposure time, aperture, date and location. These meta data are stored in the image file using definitions like EXIF, IPTC and XMP.

Most image viewers allow you to display the meta data and search or organize your library based on them.

The real benefit and time saver for amateur and professional photographer comes when adding additional meta data to your images, though. Probably the most common use case is to add the image title, a description, a few tags and a copyright entry.

Taking such an enhanced image and sharing it on Facebook, uploading it to this website or my online stores on fineartamerica.com and pictrs.com, the meta data are automatically processed. This means, I enter enter the data once and have it showing up in all of my online places as soon as the image is uploaded. Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately I did not find any open source tool under Linux which nicely fits into my processing workflow.

Of course, with exiftool and exiv2, two very mature tag editors for the command line are available. But as much as I love working on the command line, adding the meta data this way will become extremely cumbersome. Especially as different website tend to read the same information from different tags. The title for example has to be added as IPTC:ObjectName and EXIF:title to be shown on all platforms.

I wanted this to be encapsulated somehow so that I have to enter the title once and  it being stored in the right places without having to remember all the details.

Here is what I did to solve the problem

I configured my favorite image viewer geeqie such that whenever I hit "CTRL-e" it runs a small script in an xterm, which asks me to enter the meta data and adds them to the image as soon as the last value is entered. Quick, easy and doing exactly what I want.

How to set it up yourself?

First, download the bash script and store it under <yourscriptlocation>. I put it under "/home/martin/bin".

Now add an external editor to geeqie putting the following content into the file
Replace <your username> in the path and the file content with your linux user name.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Add Exif
Exec=xterm -e bash /home/<your username>/bin/addexif.sh %f

In the last step, restart geeqie and assign a shortcut to call the editor. Press CTRL-o to open your preferences menu or go to Edit->Preferences->Preferences. Select the Keyboard tab and look for the Action "Add Exif". Now click into the "KEY" column and press the shortcut you want to use. Click "Save" and you are done.

Nautilus plugin

Save the nautlius version in the Nautilus scripts directory (.~/.local/share/nautilus/scripts/), right click several images to add the same metadata to all of them.

Improving the script

If you like the script, please spread the word and feel free to adapt the script to your personal needs. Should you think the adaptions being useful for other people send them to me and I will include add them to the existing script.

All tags supported by exiftool can be found here. The most common definitions can be accessed using the following links