One of the most effective ways of learning how to take great photos is to take as many pictures as possible. The more you practice, the better your pictures will become. But of course, there is so much more to just clicking the shutter if you want to be a really proficient photographer. You will also need to pay attention to the different settings used for taking each picture. All these bits of information are stored into what is known as the EXIF data.
EXIF or Exchangeable Image File Format is a standard for storing interchange information in image files. Some of the most significant details found in a picture’s EXIF data are the aperture value, shutter speed, ISO speed, white balance, lens type, and focal length. The EXIF data also stores the make and model of the camera used for taking the picture, as well as the date and time when the picture was taken.
These details can be used by photographers in a wide variety of ways. For beginners, examining the EXIF data can be a very effective method for finding out what is wrong with a particular picture that they have taken, and for knowing which settings they should change so that they can shoot a better picture next time.
For instance, if you had taken a rather blurry picture due to a slightly moving subject, the EXIF data might show you that the shutter speed you had used was too slow. By adjusting the speed and making it faster, you will be able to take a clearer shot. Also, if the picture you had taken was relatively alright but you want to make the subject stand out more from the background, you may want to try a different aperture setting that will blur the background and make the subject pop more.
For more experienced photographers, the EXIF data can be a valuable tool for recreating certain pictures that others have taken. However, this would only be possible if the EXIF data is accessible. Some photographers purposely remove this data when uploading pictures online for the purpose of protecting their images and preventing other photographers from imitating their style.
Gaining access to EXIF data is not difficult at all. One of the easiest ways is to install an EXIF viewer add-on, which allows you to directly view the data from any online JPEG image, unless the owner of the image had purposely removed the data. Another way is to first save the image onto your computer then to take a look at its properties. However, this usually only reveals limited information compared to using an EXIF viewer. You can also use apps such as Kestrel GX, which not only allows you to read EXIF data but to edit it as well. In any case, being able to view an image’s EXIF data will definitely help you hone your photography skills.