What were you doing this time last year?

If someone asked "what were you doing this time last year?" you might have some trouble recalling. Luckily, images contain something called EXIF data and is a feature often overlooked. EXIF data (Exchangeable Image File) contains a whole wealth of information, from how your image was shot (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, Focal Length etc) to when and even where it was taken (providing you can geotag your images). Most importantly of all, copyright information is embedded onto each file and can be viewed using this data.

If you use a catalogue system such as Lightroom or Aperture, then you'll probably be familiar with EXIF data already as it's readily displayed throughout the software. Furthermore, catalogue systems often use EXIF data to arrange/store your images, allowing you to then search by specifics. For example, i'm able to select a filter option and display only images taken with a certain lens, on a certain date and at a certain time. Neat.

Below is a screenshot of Lightroom whilst processing an image that was shot today (5th February 2012) and our buddy the photographic snowman with the EXIF data on the right hand side:

In comparison, I thought it would be fun to then look back 365 days and see where we were this time last year. If ever there were two extremes, this is it. Here's a shot taken on February 5th 2011 in South Africa on safari:

If your interested in reading the EXIF data from your photographs, you don't have to use specialist software. On a Mac, simply select your file and hit 'Cmd + I', the data will then be displayed under the 'More Information' heading. For PC users, right click the file and click 'Properties', EXIF data will then be displayed under the 'Details' tab.

Adobe Lightroom Running Slow?

Lightroom plays a large part in my workflow, and recently has started to feel a little bit sluggish thanks to the amount of images in each catalog. With each catalog possessing more than 20,000 images it can start to become a little bit frustrating switching between folders and developing modes. Processing large raw files can take it's toll, but changing a simple setting in Lightrooms Preferences can help dramatically. Bare in mind I am a Mac user so the menu's will be a slightly different for PC versions, head into the "Preferences" menu and select the 'File Handling' tab. At the bottom there is an option for Camera Raw Cache Settings. By default this is set to 1.0GB, but if you actually take a look at your Lightroom Cache then you'll see it's often larger than this. As long as you have a relatively powerful machine and changed it to say a maximum of 10GB, you'll quickly see an increase in performance whilst using Lightroom.

I'm now able to select large folders (for example, each containing 1000+ raw photographs) and render previews quicker than before. Switching between modules is almost instant again, relieving headaches and stress when retouching large shoots! Try it and let me know if you see an increase in performance. :)