Generating photo captions from EXIF data and posting them to tumblr
April 20, 2015 1:55 PM   Subscribe

I have a tumblr that I post images to and my backlog of images is piling up because it's a boring slog to post them all. I want to come up with a way to automate the boring parts so that I can focus on the fun parts (taking and categorizing the photos) instead of dreading the process of uploading them all. Special snowflake details inside.

At the start of the workflow are photos taken with a iPhone 4s (GPS tagged) or a DLSR (no GPS). My current workflow is to download the photos to iPhoto, choose the best ones, resize them in Photoshop, upload each individual photo my tumblr queue, caption each photo with a location and date (from memory or checking what iPhoto says) and add tags based on what is shown in the photo.

I'd like to automate the whole middle part of the process so that after importing the photos I can just drop all of the images I want to post into a folder and run a script or utility that will grab the exif data and parse it into a nice human readable caption like "Found at [location](links to gps coords on a map) on [date] at [time]" resize the images to 1280px on the longest side, and upload them to my queue with the caption as the accompanying text.

If the photo is from the DSLR it would be nice if I could manually enter a location for that batch. For location names it would be good if it could deal gracefully with locations that don't have strict street addresses (open fields, parks, etc.) If there's a better way to do tagging than in tumblr I'd be interested in that too but it can't be automated.

I'm currently using a Mac but I can move to Windows if it is needed. I'm not scared of a little scripting or command line tool use if needed but I'm not proficient enough to get it all going without some help. Even a partial solution is better than nothing any ideas for making the process faster are welcome.
posted by metaphorever to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had thought this would be easy with Automator or AppleScript, but there are a couple of sticking points.

Getting the name of a location from its coordinates is called reverse geocoding. This requires a database that is expensive. Apple provides one for iPhoto but AFAIK you can't make use of it. I looked through iPhoto's AppleScript dictionary and couldn't see any way to get the named location of a photo, only its coordinates.

Secondly I haven't looked at the Tumblr API. Authentication and uploading isn't something I would say is difficult but it would be involved.
posted by Monochrome at 6:06 PM on April 20, 2015

I use ImageMagick for the resizing part of this kind of thing. Script up the logic in a bash file and that step should be straightforward after you've figured out how to determine the longest side with ImageMagick.

For the tumblr upload bit, there is a project similar to what you need, but using Picasa.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:15 PM on April 20, 2015

Both jhead and ExifTool allow you to extract information from Exif data. Both have Mac versions.

Bulk Rename Utility will also extract info from Exif data and use it to rename files but it's windows only.

Also check out Raw Therapee, it might do what you want.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:19 PM on April 20, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions everyone. ExifTool looks really interesting but for now I've decided to drop the geocoding and just go for a 90% solution. Here is the new workflow that I've come up with:
  1. Batch rename photos using Automator with date and time and manually specified location
  2. Batch resize using Preview (I can probably roll this into the Automator renaming action)
  3. Photos are saved to a folder that uploads to Dropbox
  4. If This Then That adds photo posts to Tumblr queue when photos are added to Dropbox folder using the file name as a caption
  5. Manually add tags and make any edits needed on the Tumblr queue

posted by metaphorever at 8:32 PM on April 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

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