You have incredible power in your hands if you use any of the relatively new, DSLR cameras. All these cameras, even the inexpensive ones, record metadata. The post-processing software you use, whether it be Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, iPhoto, etc., will allow you to to store all the data about your data (yeah I know that sounds weird) that you will ever need.
If you don’t think metadata is important, you could be missing out. Here are three reasons why.
1. Metadata is crucial to getting good search results, both online and on your own computer. Regarding the latter; if you can’t find a certain photo you made five years ago, if you properly tagged it, your chances of finding it are much better. Regarding online; Search engines love metadata and if you’re building websites and blogs that take advantage of the metadata in your images chances are better someone else will see your work.
2. Metadata makes it easier to for you and other photographers to study the results of your photography. Most cameras record details such as the lens you used, the aperture, shutter speed, file format, crop ratio, etc. Sometimes, by studying this data (in context) it is possible to see trends, spot mistakes, etc.
3. Metadata makes it easier to prove authorship of your photo/Copyrights and also makes it easier to track down image theft. FIlling out the Copyright and contact information can help you prove both for DMCA purposes and for Copyright infringement prosecutions in court, that you are the maker and Copyright holder for any given image.
So now that I’ve given you three reasons why you should care about metadata, I’ll give you three tips for using it well.
1. Make sure to program your camera to record as much metadata as possible, including your name, Copyright info, contact info etc. Read your manual to find out how to accomplish this.
2. Repeat step one with regard to all your post-processing software. Make sure you build templates, presets, etc., that apply all your Copyright and contact info to each image.
3. To save time using your post-processing software, try to IMPORT your images with as much metadata as possible, rather than taking time later to fill in each data field by hand. Typically, if you’re importing images from a specific job, shoot, workshop, day, etc., there will be enough commonality that you can simply batch import the data and make minor corrections later, rather than the other way around.
Give metadata a chance. It sounds scary and all, but it’s no big deal and can really be valuable.