How Did You Shoot That Photo? The Metadata Knows...

How Did You Shoot That Photo? The Metadata Knows...

For years, serious photographers have always recommended, 'write down your exposure, lens, and filter data.' I always smiled, nodded agreeably, and kept shooting. I found that I was often too busy taking pictures to write down the details. Fortunately, I have an industrial-strength memory for f-stops, shutter speeds, film speeds, and other information, but the perfect combination of settings behind some of my favorite conventional photos is lost in the (increasingly distant) past.

Thanks to digital photography, pads and pens can stay in the camera bag. Every digital camera, from the humblest 3x optical zoom point-and-shoot to dSLR powerhouses like the Canon EOS 5D, stores exposure and lens data as part of every digital photo. It's called "metadata," and it's the key to understanding why some of your photos are great - and some need repair in a photo editor before they can even be called 'adequate.'

One Need - Many Solutions

Windows XP can use the free RAW Image Viewer and Thumbnailer PowerToy to view metadata from any digital camera, and to view RAW images from some dSLR models.

 

You can discover the shutter speed and f-stop used for your photo, the zoom lens focal length, metering method, white balance, and lots more digital goodness.  

 Windows Vista has exposure metadata viewing built into its Pictures Explorer, and you can edit new fields such as Lens Maker and Lens Type:

 

Prefer a third-party solution? Try Picasa from Google (use the EXIF display mode). Linux users running a distro that includes GNOME usually have the F-Spot photo organizer already included.

Any way you choose to do it, you need to check out the metadata stored by every digital photo you take. Understanding the combination of factors that lead to great (or awful) photos can help turn you into a better photographer.

3

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Insula Gilliganis

... or atleast don't use your own if you are going to download illegal images to the internet!! http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1210641

avatar

Insula Gilliganis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EXIF

Here is a page entitled "EXIF, IPTC, XMP Software - Metadata Readers, Editors, Extraction Tools" -http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/exifsoftware/EXIF_IPTC_XMP_Software_Metadata_Readers_Editors_Extraction_Tools.htm

avatar

sc123

Exif display mode in Picasa = clicking the little hat with the propeller when viewing a picture.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.