Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Metadata Can Improve Your Photography

Before digital cameras, photographers kept notebooks of settings and situations to improve their photography. In the digital era information is at our fingertips, hidden in our photo's metadata. Programs like Lightroom let us quickly look at large amounts of data. I wondered if mine held anything of value.

Here's what I found.

I tend to shoot at the extremes of each lens - typically the widest aperture, the shortest focal length, or the longest focal length. Not a lot of in-between.

Then the latent analytical side I don't often admit to kicked in. What did my Photos of the Day tell me? Would the story be the same? Numbers all over? Aversion to using an ISO other than those translatable into film speeds?

I found a few interesting things about my Photos of the Day.

My ISO was almost always 100 to 200, telling me that I was shooting in abundant light for most photos. Runners up? 400 and 800. So, yes, I love my film speed equivalent ISOs.

Most of my POTD's apertures were right at f/4.0. Again with good light, moderately shallow depth of field. I thought this might be because my wide angle lens' widest aperture is f/4.0, but when I looked at the lens used for most POTD it was the 50mm f/1.4.

The abundant light explains why only 3% of my photos were taken with a flash.

Very few of my photos were shot at narrow apertures (above f/8). Most likely driven by available light and a moving subject.

So what do I do with all of this information? I plan to use this to challenge my photography this year. There are focal lengths and apertures and shutter speeds I'd like to try out a bit more. Dive a little more creatively into places I avoid. Stretch myself out of the settings that come so naturally and easily. A few ideas:

  • Work with narrow apertures more often
  • Play with external flash as my light source
  • Slow my shutter speed down a little more often
  • Perhaps ISO 320 now and then?
  • Use my 70-200 lens a bit more
  • Try focal lengths in the middle ranges of my lenses

Are you intrigued? Or frightened by my geekiness? Take a look at yours, see what it tells you.

Quick Steps To Analyze Your Metadata
Open Lightroom
Select Library Mode
Type "G" for Grid View
Select the folder you want to analyze
Select Metadata
Click on each column heading to choose the metadata you want to view

What does your metadata tell you?

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails