Understanding Digital Files Meta-data in Photography
If you’ve just started out with photography, chances are you have come across digital meta-data quite often. So let’s get onto with it right away and see what is digital meta-data and how it can be helpful to a photographer.
Meta-data at its simplest translates to ‘data about data’, what this means is meta-data holds information about digital images. As you may already be aware, digital images can be stored in multiple formats such as PNG, TIFF or JPG. What meta-data does is stores data about these digital images so that its different data points are classified. Metadata is created every time a photo is captured or a new digital image is created on photo-manager platforms like Photoshop. It is created automatically, while can be created manually as well. Automatic creation of meta-data is where information regarding the location, file extension, size and other parameters are stored. Aside from this, the user itself can input information that he/she finds suitable for meta-data such as copyright information or other relevant keywords and descriptions that can help him/her and other parties locate the images easily.
Why do you need meta-data?
So, the obvious question is how can meta-data be of help to a photographer? Meta-data allows for portability of digital files. Even when a digital file travels far and across through email or other online conversations the meta-data that you create remains attached to the file. This allows the digital image to be easily recognized in terms of where it was captured, who took the photo and other specifications, no matter where it goes. So why is this necessary? Think of all the numerous galleries, sites and storage platforms where you may have shared your images.
Anyone who gets their hand on these images can make use of it, and chances are you will be unaware of it. But when you include personal information under EXIF data for copyright purposes, it becomes easier to prove the claim on these images of being rightfully yours. You can find the images by typing in the meta-data associated keywords on a search engine, and immediately locate these images. Even when it comes to organizing all your digital files, meta-data makes it simple. You easily find a specific image from thousands upon thousands of digital images, saving the trouble of having to go through individual entries. Meta-data allows for flexible search capabilities based on various parameters such as title, date, copyright, size, content and other keywords. With all these information rendered to the digital files, it also becomes easier for prospective clients to find you.
Simple tips to manage your meta-data
- Use descriptive keywords that can be understood by a general audience when you optimize your meta-data
- Relevant data regarding the location, date, people, event and so on can help in easily identifying file
- Avoid using special characters or random names, and use consistent naming conventions while manually inputting the meta-data
- Do not forget to input information on copyright, creator, and the likes, as it is crucial if the images will be circulated online
Make sure you input your meta-data adeptly the next time you are using a photo-manager software!