workshop session 5 – meta-data and copyright
The first four sessions of the Introduction to Digital Photography workshop have focused on the technical side of photography. With this session, we start switching gears to the creative side. But before delving into the arcane arts of digital developing and post-processing, I want to spend some time talking about ...
- meta-data, and
- copyright and licensing
Meta-data is "data about data".
It is data that is created whenever a computer or digital file is created. Meta-data is data that provides additional information about the file and its contents (eg an image, or music or text). The date and time the file was created, it's file name and file type (.JPG, .MP3, .DOC, ...) are common types of meta-data.
In digital image files, additional meta-data is recorded, primarily of two types ...
- EXIF - technical data from the camera, it's settings, etc, and
- IPTC - context data about the image content, the photographer, and more.
Every time your press the shutter on your digital SLR or on your point-and-shoot digital camera the camera reads the image sensor and records it in an image file, with a file type of either .JPG or a camera RAW variant (.DNG, .PEF, .NEF, .CR2, ...).
Is also records a large amount of detailed information about the camera itself, the date, time and, most recently, GPS or location information, as well as all the camera and lens settings used to capture the image. This is known as EXIF meta-data (EXchangeable Image File) and at a minimum can include ...
|• camera manufacturer||• camera model||• camera software version|
|• lens manufacturer||• lens model||• lens focal length|
|• lens aperture ƒ-stop||• shutter speed time||• sensor ISO|
|• noise reduction||• white balance setting||• image stabilization|
|• exposure||• exposure compensation||• exposure mode|
|• flash used||• flash compensation||• focus mode|
Other EXIF data can include a unique camera identifier, flash and exposure compensation values, colour space, and much more.
In film photography a log book is often carried around to record camera, lens and exposure information; EXIF replaces these old log books for this type of information but logs can still be handy for recording more subjective notes about the image and the shoot it was part of.
Unlike EXIF meta-data, IPTC data is created in post-processing programs like Google Picasa, Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Lightroom, iPhoto, and many many more.
IPTC meta-data is a standard for improved news exchange and is used by virtually every major news organization in the world (AP, UP, ...). the International Press Telecommunications Council is a consortium of the world's major news agencies and news industry vendors. The IPTC was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in the UK – London.
It contains information designed to
- help photographers or digital media artists protect their creative works and
- help publishers find creative works and to credit the work to the creative artist
Some of the fields include ...
|• photographers name||• street address||• email address|
|• phone number||• website address||• copyright status|
|• title||• caption||• keywords|
|• scene||• location||• city|
|• state/province||• country||• job code|
|• status||• instructions||• license|
Both Windows XP and higher and MAC OS X have tools available to both view and set meta-data. As well as being very limited, these tools are best used only for viewing and there are known issues with rewriting some meta-data types.
Windows XP and higher
- Open Windows Explorer to the folder containing the image file
- Select the desired file
- Right-click and select Properties
- In the Properties window select the Summary tab and
- Click Advanced
This screen shot shows the EXIF data recorded by the camera in an LG Dare cellphone.
MAC OS X
- Switch the Finder to Column View
- Browse to the folder containing the image file
- Select the file and
- In the Preview column, click More info ...
- Then in the Info window, click the triangle next to
This screen grab shows the EXIF data from a Canon PowerShot 400 camera.
Obviously these tools are very limited both in what they reveal and in their ability to add IPTC information.
One of the very best tools I have found for both viewing and editing image meta-data is PhotoME. The program is kept current so new camera information is understood properly and as far as I am aware, it reveals the most complete set of meta-data values bar none. Unfortunately is only a Windows program.
Reveal for Windows or Reveal for MAC OS offers reduced functionality.
Google Picasa (Windows and MAC OS) is a bit tricky. It reveals minimal camera data and it's handling of keywords (Picasa calls them "tags") is not intuitive.
Adobe's Photoshop and companion file browser Bridge (Windows and MAC OS) support both EXIF and IPTC data as well as Adobe's Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP).
However, my program of choice is Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom for Windows and MAC OS. Lightroom offers significant meta-data management capacity and functionality, supporting modern digital asset management (DAM) enabled workflows. These workflows allow photographers to manage tens to hundreds of thousands of image files each with full EXIF, IPTC and extendable meta-data support. I would find it impossible to manage my library without Lightroom and at $300US it offers exceptional price performance – well worth the money.
Wrapping it up
Image files contain the art of our photographs
Meta-data describes and augments that art
For most modern digital photographers managing an images meta-data is just as critical to being successful as taking amazing photographs. Some photographers hire staff to manage their assets, which for many successful commercial photographers has a more than significant dollar value – it is their livelihood.
Copyright and Licensing
After discussing copyright and licensing, this sessions assignment on composition forms the base that will be used in the two final assignments in this workshop ... assignment 5
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