Metadata is important for many reasons. Luckily for us, all digital cameras record all sorts of data from the settings we use to capture images.
For all the information on the types of metadata why its important, read our article below.
What Is EXIF Metadata?
Exchangeable Image File metadata embeds itself within all images captured with a digital camera.
This metadata contains all the information about the settings you used to capture any given scene.
So, if you capture a landscape using ISO 100, f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second, EXIF data stores this. It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting using Auto or Manual modes, or others between.
If your camera has a GPS feature, then the metadata will store its exact location.
What Is IPTC Metadata?
International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) metadata is another metadata format. It was adopted by old media outlets and agencies to streamline information.
The IPTC section of an image contains lots of information about an image. Here, you’ll find Title, Description, Keywords, Photographer’s Information, Copyright and much more
Photo agencies need more information as the images here are shared to a huge audience. Copyright is necessary here. This information is great for storing and accurate searching.
What Is XMP Metadata?
Extensible Metadata Platform metadata is a recent format, adopted by Adobe. It essentially incorporates all the information from IPTC metadata.
It also allows more information to be stored within an image.
When you use Adobe Lightroom, any editing you use on your images stores in an XMP file.
This means that if you send someone your jpeg, they won’t see any edits unless you send the XMP file that goes with it.
Why is Metadata Useful?
Metadata is useful for many reasons. First, it provides the photographer with a great way to learn. When you capture an image and you want to see why it works (or doesn’t), the metadata will help.
Metadata provides you with all the information about the settings you used to capture the image. Now you understand that your shutter speed was too slow, and that is why it is blurry.
EXIF data does this automatically. When you check this metadata, you see every parameter that makes up your image. For older images, you can see what settings were previously used.
On top of this, you can use EXIF data to look at images from other photographers. If you like a shot from another photographer, you can find out what settings they used and where they were.
But, you may find that some of this information might be missing. This can happen for many reasons. Some image editors erase this information, or the photographer could strip it themselves.
Luckily, most photographers don’t know about EXIF data, so they don’t do anything with it. Lightroom is my favorite program to add metadata in a simple way.
IPTC metadata can be very useful for copyright protection. Many digital cameras allow you to set your copyright name, saving it to every image you capture.
You can also add this information on your computer. This can be beneficial in protecting your image from illegal usage.
IPTC metadata can also be useful when you need to search through a large database of images. You get to add titles, descriptions and keywords, and these are all searchable.
If you get into the habit of assigning this information to your image, it will be easier to find later on.
The final benefit comes when you sell your digital images. Most stock agencies use the IPTC format, so if you include this already, it can cut down on the submission process.
Photo Mechanic is a front-end image tagging and browsing tool that allows extensive IPTC metadata.
How To See and Edit Metadata?
- Camera – You can check your metadata on your camera’s LCD screen. Do this through the ‘info’ or ‘menu’ features.
- Computer – On a computer, locate the image and right-click. On Mac, go to ‘Get Info’. On PC, go to ‘Properties’.
- Post-Processing – Most of, if not all editing software allow you to view and add metadata. My favorites are Lightroom and Photo Mechanic
- Internet Browsers – Most browsers have available plug-ins that allow you to see the metadata just by right-clicking on it.
Things To Consider
- Date – If the date isn’t set correctly on your camera, then the EXIF data will record this. You may notice that many of your images were taken in 1970.
- Privacy – Many people are unaware that cameras that have GPS enabled record this information in your metadata. When people check these images, they can see where you are or where you took the image. This is more important if photographing at your home or work.