Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tip Tuesday #9: EXIF

Have you ever taken a really great shot, and wondered later, Now how did I do that?

One of the great things about digital is that is records the camera settings and other relevant information, like time and date, for each photo. This is called the exchangeable image file, or more commonly, the EXIF. It's sort of attached to the jpegs or RAWs that come out of your camera.

How to find it
If you have a favourite photo editing/viewing program, check the manual or help file to see how to view your exif information. If it doesn't reference EXIF specifically, look for the term metadata - pretty much the same thing.

You can also get handy tools called Exif Readers that can be used to view the information while browsing your file folders, or as a plug-in to various internet browsers. I use IExif by Opanda. It's free, and it's a matter of right-clicking on an image and choosing to view the exif information, either in Windows Explorer or in Firefox. I don't think it's compatible with Macs, but a quick google search will likely turn up several that are.

Anywho, here's what you can see when you use it:

So you can see that you can check all of your settings for any given photo. Even cameras that don't allow you to change much in the way of settings record all this information.

Why should you care?
Even if you're not "into photography" per se, you might be interested to know that the exif contains the timsestamp for your images. Which means, for one, that you can get rid of the orange date and time printed on your photos. I have also seen Windows mess up the "Date created" and "Date modified" info it displays, giving inaccurate dates. The exif, however, remains in tact, and you can get the proper date from there. This might be handy if, say for example, your two daughters look remarkably alike and the only way you can tell whose baby picture you're looking at is by the date. I'm not saying that's happened to me... pfft... I can tell my kids apart... whatever.

If you are "into photography" per se, then as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can review the exif to check the settings on great shots so that you can recreate the same effects. More useful than that, though, is that you can use it to better understand the effect of all the different settings, and the nuances of your particular gear, so that you can plan those great shots more effectively. If you make a habit of really really paying attention to the exif information as you review your shots, over time you'll be able to predict the outcome of your shots better. Make a habit of paying close attention to the setting while you're taking the photos, as opposed to just getting the meter marker in the right spot, and you'll learn even faster.

You can also use the exif file and/or IPTC to ensure that your name is attached to the file as the creator and copyright owner.

Drop me a line if you're a photographer and you want to hang out with some other photographers on Monday June 15 in KW. Nothing intense - just drinks and chatting and whatnot. Shoot me an email at randomaddy@livingproofphotography.ca


Lisa B said...

YES and what a great tool!

Heather said...

I was just talking to Ken about EXIF readers- what great timing! :)
I'll have to check that one out. :)

Amanda Jane said...

I have been using the EXIF reader to help me with my pictures, so I can see, 'just how I did that' Thanks for the tip.. it is very helpful indeed.

I love your baby mixup -reference. I blurted out a laugh!