In fact it appears that any photo that had a description added ages ago or was imported with a description originally entered on a PC, keeps that description upon export instead of the description I have entered more recently on my Mac.
If the photo has never had any description assigned to it and I were to enter a new description now on my Mac the photo exports with the new description as it should!
The field that the old description is entered in may be the wrong one or damaged. The fact that Preview can see the description you add in iPhoto but not the original description seems to confirm that.
Have you tried overwriting one of the old descriptions with a new one, export and check with Preview?
It's beginning to look like the prolem lies with the files themselves, but why I don't know.
I'm looking for a solution to a similar problem. When I enter a description, export the photo and reimport it, the description disappears. This cannot be to do with a corrupted library. It happens with a brand new library after only one import of photos. I am not exporting to an external drive, just to my desktop.
This problem occurs consistently with all the photos I am presently importing. It's annoying because I like to write descriptions in iPhoto then edit the photos with Photoshop before importing into another libary. When I do this I am now losing all my descriptions.
For me the problem seems to be have started when I began using a new Canon camera. I don't think I've had the probem before so I'm wondering if the camera is the source of the problem. I notice that when the photos taken with this camera are first imported they do not have totally empty description fields. The description fields contain spaces. When the photos are reimported the description fields revert to the spaces. It is as if the rewriting of the description field does not 'stick'.
I'd like to find a workaround for this problem. I already use iPhoto Library Manager for transfering photos between libraries. But I also want to be able to export and reimport photos retaining the information in the description fields.
I'm afraid this doesn't answer your question, but the problem seems similar enough to add to the same thread.
Hi thanks for your swift reply
I am using a new Canon Ixus 255 H5
I created a new library. Imported a photo. Added a description to the description field.
I then exported the photo to my desktop. Settings: Jpeg, medium, Title and Keywords and Location information both checked, filename, and full size.
Reimported the photo.
Again the description field had reverted to the string of spaces it had when it was first imported from the camera.
Thanks for your post
I repeated the test writing a two-line description which was certainly going to show up if it exported correctly
I opened the exported jpeg with Preview and used the Inspector to check the Caption/Description field under the IPTC tab
It was empty, so I guess the desription got lost on export
For good measure I tried the same with an old jpeg not taken with my Canon camera and in that case the description was present when viewed in Preview and reimported correctly.
I don't think the camera model is the cause of my problem unfortunately. The albums I'm having problems with are actually scanned images. They were scanned on an Epson scanner, imported onto a PC, description entered, saved onto a disc and then imported onto my Mac. I then changed the descriptions in iPhoto, but they revert back upon export.
Apologies, I think my post caused a crossed wire.
I am having a very similar problem to yours. I lose my descriptions whenever I export my photos from iPhoto. In my case this seems to be caused by metadata attached to my photos by a new Canon camera. But having done a bit more research I find there are other people suffering the same problem using other cameras or, as I guess is your case, scanned images.
I managed to solve the problem using the excellent instructions provided in a post by CactusTree back in 2010
I could not possibly improve on the thoroughness and clarity of the instructions in that post. I am not a command-line person in the least, but if you follow these instructions carefully it's really quite simple. I found that removing the ExifImageDescription was not enough to solve the problem, but when I also removed the XMP data I got my descriptions back. Also the photos can now be exported and reimported without losing the descriptions.
Why this should work is a complete mystery to me, but I guess it's going to become part of life unless I trash my new camera.
Maybe there's a nice little utility which would just delete the XMP data from your photos and that would be all you need to do. (Anyone have any recommendations?)
But I can confirm that CactusTree's method worked for me.
Graphic Converter is very easy to use, free to trial and inexpensive to purchase.
To reinstate lost iPhoto descriptions, the following seems to work:
1 Export the files from iPhoto to a handy folder
2 Make sure you have a backup copy of the files
3 Download Graphic Converter
4 From the File Menu choose Convert & Modify
5 Choose suitable source and desination folders for the files you want to process
6 Select the files you want to process in the From column
7 Click on Go
8 Check the Exif and XMP boxes and click Ok
9 Reimport the photos into iPhoto
In my experience this will make the description fields behave as they should. Apparently lost descriptions reappear. These can then be exported and re-imported without losing the description data.
Clearly having stripped out a good deal of metdatata your files will have lost something, but I have not yet myself come across a problem using jegs from which the Exif and XMP metadata has been deleted.