- Importance of the image
- Date it was taken
- Who or what is in the photo
- Location of the photo
- What is happening in the photo
Now let's review these.
'Importance' was discussed in Part2 of this series, you can read that at this link.
'Date taken', due to technology, everything has a date stamp, so just make sure your camera has the date and time set accurately. Unfortunately few cameras can calculate daylight savings or international travel, so be vigilant about setting this.
'Who or what is in the photo'. This can be time consuming, but the value this adds to any photo library is immeasurable. In Part4 we will show how to add this information, it can be done fairly efficiently, but technology is moving to make this easier.
Face and image recognition software is improving every year. If you use Google's Picasa, or Apple's iPhoto and Aperture, the software already has an engine that will attempt to identify subjects based on the metadata you add to your photos. So all you have to do is begin, and it will learn and suggest matches. This is a truly valuable asset, and it will become more commonly available in all software.
Google is pushing into landmark recognition, it knows what the Eiffel tower looks like and Uluru, so we can expect this to help in conjunction with the location information.
'Location of the photo'. With the advent of GPS technology, more and more cameras are embedding this automatically. Many point and shoot cameras and all smart phones with cameras already do. It's only the high end DSLRs that are missing out.
There is software that will sync up a GPS device that you run as you shoot with your camera files. It relies on the time stamp, and you to run the images through some software. (http://geotag.sourceforge.net/)
At the very least, you can manually enter the location of the photograph when you are editing the metadata, but it would be great if this was a camera feature.
'What is happening in the photo'. This is the least important piece of the metadata puzzle. However, it can bring great value to an image, so take the time to add it.
All metadata is simple to add as you copy your images off your camera onto your computer. Spending the time just after you've been shooting allows you to ride the wave of enthusiasm you had when taking the images.
If you let yourself get behind, and are facing a large quantity of tagging, or perhaps your memory for the subject has faded, it will be a much trickier job. Actually it will stop you from doing it. It becomes too hard.
Adding metadata is curating. Curating ensures your photos will survive. If you don't take the time to curate your photos, why are you taking them in the first place?
If you think this task is daunting, then shoot more carefully, shoot less.