Although your computer is good at storing your digital images you will have to devise a system to store and to keep track of any information relating to the file. A digital image consist of data called Metadata. Traditional film photography, there is only one original – a negative or slide.
Metadata comes in several forms – which includes the name of the file, size, and its format. This information is part of the file, it is not lose if the file is moved or copied, it is displayed by the computer in any list or directory of files. A date is part of the file metadata, although it may the date the file was added to the computer.
Digital cameras can save captured information – Each file whether it is a JPEG, a TIFF or proprietory camera raw format, has an internal data block, separate from the image’s pixel data, that the camera uses to write and save the specifics of each frame. A camera can save the aperture and shutter speed, time and date, ISO settings, lens focal length, metering mode, camera brand and model, and GPS location for each exposure. This camera related metadata is kept in a standard form called Exif (exchangeable image file format), and each different category of information is called a tag or a field.
Metadata can be added later – IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) fields are intended to hold metadata about the photographer, the subject, and the image use. Applications like image editors, browsers, and image database manager let you view information in these fields, add to it or change it. IPTC data are displayed by one of these programs. The IPTC Contact Panel has fields for the name and contact information of the file’s creator. IPTC metadata can be added to a group of images at once. As soon as you download a shoot from your memory cards, tag each photograph with your email address and copyright.
Metadata stays with the image – when you make a copy of a file, make a derivative version, its metadata is transferred to the new file. This is great if you post your images on a website or send it to a stock agency, your copyright and contact information stays with it, anyone who downloads it is warned that the image can’t be reused without permission and has a way to reach you to negotiate for use.
Keywords and ratings are metadata – Files can be tagged with descriptive words that make finding the digital images easy. A rating which are stars, or a label which are colors can be applied to the photograph to distinguish from other images that are similar. There are numerous programs on the market to help with organizing the metadata on digital images and that lets you search by keyword and ratings.