/picasa/?hl=en
5/25/14
Original Poster
jk.ch

Captions are not stored in the EXIF section (?)

I have always assumed that the captions entered in Picasa are stored in the image in the exif section, but this is apparently not the case. After I enter a caption in Picasa (3.9.137, build 118) I can see it in the image properties in Picasa. But this information is likely taken from the Picasa database and not from the image itself. When I check the image file with an exif tool (e.g. IrfanView or http://regex.info/exif.cgi) or with the File Explorer I cannot find the caption.

This means that I am loosing the captions when I backup my photos by copying them on another disk.
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All Replies (15)
rlsmith46
5/25/14
rlsmith46
Captions are stored in the EXIF metadata of the JPEG file in the EXIF field "Description"

If you would like to examine all the metadata for your pictures, I would highly recommend ExifTool  http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/ together with the GUI helper program ExifTool GUI

ExifTool is the gold-standard for displaying and manipulating JPEG metadata.
earlboss
5/25/14
earlboss
Hi:
I second the motion :-)
ExifTool along with ExifToolGUI is an excellent tool  for looking at and manipulating your Metadata.

If you want to take a quick look at the metadata in a photo from within Picasa, Pieter (the_roggy) has written a custom button you can install in Picasa:
This button also uses Exifool.

Earl
5/25/14
Original Poster
jk.ch
Thanks for the suggestion. I investigated the photo also with ExifTool/ExifToolGui - the field "Description" is empty (but I see it filled in Picasa) !

I made another experiment: I overwrote the image having the Picasa caption by an image without Picasa caption. But Picasa keeps the caption of the original image. This proves that the caption is stored in the Picasa database and not in the image.

earlboss
5/25/14
earlboss
Hi:
Actually that just proves that the caption is in the database (along with all other text fields), it doesn't prove that the caption is not in the image.
Picasa puts the caption in the XMP: Description field. (and this is then copied into the database).

If the file type doesn't support the XMP tags or it is a read-only file or for any other reason Picasa can't write to the file, the caption is put in the .picasa.ini file in the photo folder.

If the XMP tag does not contain the caption in your case, look in the hidden ".picasa.ini" file in the photo folder and see if it is there.  Assuming you are backing up complete folders, you will be backing these up also.

You might also want to back up the Picasa Database:
    Paste the appropriate path below (depending on your operating system) into the Run screen or into the Start search box:
  • Windows XP:     %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\
  • Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8:  %LocalAppData%\Google\
   In the Google folder, you'll see two folders that have "Picasa" in the folder name: "Picasa2" and "Picasa2Albums. You should back up those two folders,

Earl

 
the_roggy
5/26/14
the_roggy
Hello,
Picasa doesn't change the metadata if the file is set to read-only...so if the caption really isn't in the file, that could explain it...
5/26/14
Original Poster
jk.ch
Hi all,

thank you for your help! I investigated further and discovered strange and embarrassing behavior of Picasa.

My photos (JPG) were not read-only and I could write the metadata into the files using the exiftool. The captions entered with Picasa were definitely not in the image files. The captions were also not in .picasa.ini (only a hash value of the image was there).

So far I had been using Picasa with the German GUI, displaying image properties in German. Since I wanted to have a better correspondence of the attributes with exiftool I changed the Picasa's GUI to English. And surprisingly, the English version writes indeed the captions to the metadata! I wanted to confirm that the German version does not do so and switched back to German. But intriguingly now the German version also writes the metadata.

This is fine for the future but bad for the past. I have entered several hundreds of captions in the last weeks. I can see these captions in Picasa but they are not in the metadata of the images. When I delete and reenter these captions in Picasa, then they appear also in the metadata. A lot of work and frustration is ahead of me ...
the_roggy
5/26/14
the_roggy
Very odd... but great that you found that...
Sund1001
5/27/14
Sund1001
To further the discussion:
I use Picasa 3.9. 
In my earlier versions of Picasa there was an option to save captions to the .jpg file but I cannot find that command in my current version.
Based on discussions here and elsewhere I understood that Picasa writes the caption real time to the .JPG file.  I have just updated several hundred photos and cannot see the caption using the Explorer detail properties window. However the tags entered in Picasa DO appear.  I also looked using Irfanview (as recommended in an earlier discussion) and can see tags in the IPTC view but not the caption in either IPTC or EXIF view. 

By the way, I did check to see if the captions displayed after a few updates and could see them.  I later determined my default viewer had been changed to Picasa and I believe the caption was coming from its database. Lesson  learned is be sure what you are looking at before massive data entry.

Any help anyone can provide before I caption the 2000 remaining photos will be most appreciated.

5/27/14
Original Poster
jk.ch
I am just summarizing my findings - perhaps it can be of any use.
  • The caption displayed in Picasa is not necessarily stored in the image. It can be stored in the Picasa database only. It is not stored in .picasa.ini. Picasa does not give you any hint about where the caption is actually stored.

  • Check the image metadata using ExifTool:
    "exiftool.exe FILENAME"
    If you find the caption there, then Picasa has stored the caption there and will (very likely) do so subsequently. If it is not there, I do not know what to do in general. In my case, switching the Picasa GUI language to English helped.

  • If the caption is stored in the metadata then it is in the tag "Description" of the XMP section and/or in the tag "Caption-Abstract" in the IPTC section. It is not in the EXIF section (so e.g. the tag "ImageDescription" is not set).

  • The tags "Description" and "Caption-Abstract" are not displayed by the Windows File Explorer so you cannot check the caption with the File Explorer.

  • The program IrfanView displays the caption in Image/Information/IPTC Info, field "Caption". The program ExifToolGUI displays the caption as "Description" in the XMP section and "Caption-Abstract" in the IPTC section (correspondingly to ExifTool).
 My recommendation:
  • Insert the caption in Picasa.

  • Check whether the caption is in the image using ExifTool, or IrfanView, or ExifToolGUI.

  • If it is there, proceed entering captions, and check with the mentioned programs from time to time.
earlboss
5/27/14
earlboss
Hi:
One Point:
If the photo file type doesn't support XMP tags or Picasa doesn't know how to tag the file format, it does write the caption to the .picasa.ini file.

Here is an example on a RAW file (CR2) from the .picasa.ini file:

[IMG_2252.CR2]
backuphash=9271
caption=This is a caption on a cr2

Earl
4 MORE
bevhoward
5/29/14
bevhoward
picasa captions are stored in the IPTC data, not in the EXIF data.

WORSE, if you add a caption using picasa, ALL OF THE IMAGE'S EXIF DATA, including the original time/date, all of the camera information _AND_ the GPS location data will be stripped from the image by picasa.

Beverly Howard
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