Friday, June 06, 2008

Image Metadata Reveals Some Details

If you've ever viewed images in Adobe Bridge you may have seen a Metadata panel (some online photo sites display this information as well). There's a section in Adobe Bridge labeled "Camera Details (EXIF)" which identifies equipment and camera settings used to take the image. This is great information when you're learning photography and when you're attempting to recreate an image. However, the information only tells part of the story. Some very important details that are missing (that you might want to keep track of) are:
  • Filters

  • Portion of image used for spot metering

  • Flash settings

  • Modification(s) to flash units

  • Presence/location of reflectors or diffusers

A couple of nights ago I was choosing images that were representative of my style to upload to a portfolio for a class I'm taking. As I was reviewing images, there were differences between photos shot in the same location only seconds apart (different Canon 30D body but identical set up). Luckily I was able to quickly scan keywords that I'd added to see what was causing the difference - choice of filters. Both images were shot outside in the late afternoon. One image was taken with a lens that used a Skylight filter in addition to the basic Hoya Pro1 Digital Filter Protectors I use on all my lenses. The only reason I could determine why the two images were different was because I had added a keyword category with the name of the filters used. [When I upgraded to Canon's "L" series of lenses, I also upgraded and expanded my set of filters for the lenses. As each filter has different characteristics, I wanted to be able to track and compare performance. Now, after I upload my RAW images I add keywords that identify which filter(s) was used.]

How do you annotate your shots? Do you keep a separate notebook (I used to do that when I shot film)? Do you add keywords to your images? Or do you put the shot annotations in your description?