EXIF Data Explained

Lightroom Interface

Did you know that your images contain a whole host of information that you may not even be seeing?  The header information in your photos contain something called EXIF data.  While most of us know how to get things like our shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and perhaps even the camera body, there’s so much more that can be pulled in with the right software.

That software is a plugin that Jeffrey Friedl makes called Metadata EXIF Viewer, which you can download for free from his website at the link provided.  It’s based on an EXIF tool Perl script from Phil Harvey, which he links to here.  It’s just like any other Lightroom plugin as far as installation goes – download the compressed file,decompress, and then copy the folder to where ever you save plugins for Lightroom and you’re set.

Then, after installation, highlight the image you want to get extended info for, and click on File, Plugin Manager Extras, and select the plugin:

Lightroom Interface

Once a short CGI script runs (that’s the Perl program for you programming types), you’ll be presented with a laundry list of more info than you likely ever wanted to know about your photos.  All this, just from the header info!  Check it out:

Like I said, a veritable fountain of info…and this is just from one photo!  The question of course becomes one of “What do I do with all of this?”  Excellent question!  In the interests of full disclosure, more data isn’t always a good thing, and for many of the fields, there’s often no data reported.  Nevertheless, there are times (albeit not everyday occurences), where being able to access everything can be helpful.

Take a minute to stop over at Jeffrey’s website and try the plugin.  (If you want to register it, you do need to make a donation of at least one penny, otherwise it’s free to use for 30 days.  I gave $2.00)

Got your own neat little add-ons, plugins, or tools that you use in your workflow too?  Feel free to sound off with your input in the comment section!  Until next time, happy shooting!

Problems with Triggers

As mentioned yesterday, the example self-portrait I took had some misleading EXIF data.  The thrust of the post was that EXIF data isn’t always right, and if you read through the comments, you’ll find out most of what was wrong (this is one sharp reading audience – y’all don’t miss a beat! 🙂 ).

What was most glaring though was that the radio trigger didn’t report itself to the EXIF data.  I’d noticed this in the past from the Cactus triggers when I first purchased them.  It could be due to the economical nature of the cirtuitry (i.e. they weren’t very expensive).  Or it could be due to the very nature of the devices themselves.  I’m not sure as I’ve not had a chance yet to test the heftier devices like Radio Poppers, Cybersyncs, and of course, the mecca Pocketwizards!

Here’s the part where the reading audience is more than welcome to chime in!  Do you own any of the above devices?  If so, which ones?  And of course, do they report to the EXIF data in your photos?  Last, but not least – how regularly do they report?  Because one of the things that is very useful in reproducing images (the very mark of a professional) is looking at flash data from one shot so you can repeat those settings again if needed.  So, in this vein, I am not happy with the Cactus Infinity triggers.  Yes, I got what I paid for, and they work well enough for their purpose…but I feel I am starting to outgrow them even more.  Guess it’s time to pony up, eh?  Only question is – to what?

Already, some questions are coming in about what kind of lighting was used, what the lighting EXIF was, and several have also asked about the background – some things I had a feeling would come up, so thanks to all sending in email asking for more details…much more is coming!  I promise!

In the meantime, take a break (or a photo) and enjoy the weekend.  For those of us in the U.S., remember, Memorial Day isn’t just a day of baseball, hot dogs and beer – it’s also a day to remember the fallen heroes that died defending our country…

U.S. Flag
In honor of Memorial Day

Can you trust your meta data?

We all talk about tags, and flags and meta data whenever we are importing our photos into Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, or whatever program you use.  While there are discussions ad infinitum about the value of adding extra tags to your photos like “2010” or “Canon” or “family vacation” or whatever labels you like, there is an underlying set of “fixed” data that contains HUGE amounts of information about your picture, and that is the EXIF data. Read more