Saturday 14 November 2009

Exporting metadata from Lightroom

For further photography-related information check out my tips for photographers.

I used to publish a selection of photos from every wedding with associated EXIF data but had to give up as I was doing it manually and it took ages. I subsequently received many e-mails from people asking if I could reinstate this feature so have been looking at a more efficient way of doing it.

I quickly found a method for doing most of what I wanted to do with Apple's Aperture. Using the wonderful Automator software that comes with the MacOS it's easy to extract some of the metadata from shots in Aperture's database. However, this doesn't include the lens used to take the shot nor the flash exposure compensation - even though this data is accessible in Aperture under extended metadata. Shutter speed also comes out as a decimal so I had to export it to Excel to convert it. Not very slick.

I really wanted a method that works with Lightroom, my software of choice, but couldn't find anything. I therefore contacted Jeffrey Friedl, whose Export to Facebook plug-in I use, to see if he knew of anything. He pointed me in the direction of The Photographer's Toolbox which features plug-ins written by Timothy Armes and includes LR/Transporter which is exactly what I required.

It only took a couple of minutes to set-up and get the output looking like this:

1/1250, f/1.6, ISO 200, ‒ ²⁄₃ EV, Did not fire, 85 mm, EF85mm f/1.2L II USM

Unfortunately there's a small gremlin currently corrupting the exposure compensation data (it should read -2/3 above). I've contacted Timothy and am waiting for a response.

The only data I get regarding flash is did fire/did not fire as Lightroom is unable to extract flash exposure compensation. Please add this feature Adobe!

So at the moment some manual input is still required but it's a lot quicker than it used to be. As a result, I'm steadily working my way back through blog posts and adding EXIF data and some shot analysis.

I've already received lots of positive feedback on this so I'll continue!

My website: Wedding Photographers in Kent


Anonymous said...

Hi David, I always find looking at EXIF data useful and interesting, so thanks for taking the trouble to post it - but given the amount of post processing we all do (tweaking exposure, contrast, brightness, adding vignetting etc etc)I'm interested in what you and others think about how accurately it relates to the finished image we see published? Can we learn anything about an image from the EXIF if we only see the finished image and not as captured?



David said...

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the comment - an interesting thought.

For me, starting with a good exposure is still absolutely fundamental - no matter what happens subsequently. If you don't know what you're doing when shooting a wedding it's very easy to get an exposure so out that the image cannot be rescued with any amount of post-processing.



David said...

I've finally resolved this problem.

For some strange reason TextEdit and Microsoft Word for Mac are unable to read the UTF-8 fraction characters that Lightroom outputs for exposure compensation data.

A free piece of software called TextWrangler by Bare Bones Software can, however:

It's also incredibly useful for manipulating text files.

All the best,