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I tried out three apps for the purpose of utilizing their metadata features, rather than their editing features. The first, Photogene, will cost you 2.99 and may be my favorite of the group. The second, PhotosInfoPro at 4.99 is the easiest to use for metadata entry and last, Filterstorm Pro, with a higher price tag, 14.99 is clearly aimed at the advanced user and has a learning curvethat most of us won’t want to venture on to.

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Photogene impressed me with the itsy bitsy (as in almost non-existent) learning curve in using its editing features. Almost all filters and effects are on sliders, rotation is possible at 90 degree shifts and minute degrees via slider, the retouch tools allow for masking and inverse selection, and the instagram-like effects and frames are not half bad. You can create presets of effects to store in their own little tab on the menu bar, and it has a nice little “original” icon that you can tap and hold at any time to toggle between the plain image and your edits.

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On to the metadata. The application stores General, Exif, IPTC and GPS data, and will let you input manually into the IPTC, and GPS fields. You can add default values for IPTC fields and create controlled lists for lookup. One tiny thing I don’t like is that the button to go to the lookups screen is very close to the X button to delete the value in a field, so you can accidentally delete information fairly easily. Finally, it has easy built in export options to email, twitter, dropbox, tumblr etc. In the export dialog you can choose whether or not to include IPTC data. I didn’t try all of the options but the data came through clean via email once downloaded to my computer.

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PhotosInfoPro does not have image editing options it only handles data. That said, it has a nice interface for adding metadata, with the IPTC data divided into tabbed areas (author, keywords, rights info, instructions, and geo position).

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2012-12-14 10.28.24It also has the ability to create a vocabulary of keywords. The export function is more advanced than the Photogene application in that you can elect to export master files with XMP sidecars (technical mumbo jumbo for data saved into a file that can be imported later on any machine andis saved independent of file format type). This might be helpful for people that deal with a lot of data and complicated workflows. Another option is just the XMP file. You could for instance have a nice camera hooked up to your ipad and take pictures with it, and keep the master file to download later onto a computer, but use the ipad to easily create metadata to later be linked up with the master file from the camera.  For the rest of us there is another exporting option – .jpg with embedded metadata. This final option gives a result just like that created in photogene, with fewer destinations though.

Filterstorm has lots of features for editing, and includes layers and masks, and far more filters and effects than most editing programs offered in the ipad environment. It keeps your step by step history, which is very nice. Has a watermark tool, again cool. Allows for automations to be added, pretty slick. But it is hard to use. The icons are not intuitive, and the manipulations for various tools and filters are very hard to get used to.

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2012-12-14 10.29.16To make a long story short: cropping is difficult. As far as metadata, it is not bad. The same fields as usual run along the right hand side. You can scroll through them and when you click on one it brings up a bigger box for typing. The settings allow you to pick and choose which IPTC data fields show up along the right hand side, so you can hide all of the ones you don’t use. You can also create sets of default values to add to images in one quick click. The most important distinct advantage it has to the other two applications is that you can attach values to multiple images at once. Data can be added by collection, selected single or multiple images, which is a big time saver. Finally its export functions are more customizable. You can create preset “destinations” that save files to certain places, like Flickr, or email, or dropbox and with those places you can also choose file types and sizes. You can tell the program what quality of jpgs you want, whether to send XMP sidecar files as well, and if you need it to scale for a particular purpose, fit it to those dimensions. Additionally the preset destinations can be applied to batches of images rather than individual images, similar to the metadata options.

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