Sometimes you look at a series of images of the same subject and you wonder what were the conditions that made one image in the series look better than the others. You might wish that you had been taking notes on what the camera settings were for this particular image. Fortunately, your camera was taking notes for you and it is very easy to access this information. Most images taken by a digital camera contain lots of information about the camera and how it was set at the time the image was taken. Lets see how easy it is to see this information.
While viewing an image on your computer hold the cursor over the image and click the RIGHT mouse button. A popup menu will open and the bottom item in the menu list should be Properties. Click on Properties and the Properties window will open. Select the Summary tab and then select Advanced. You should now see a long list of information about that image. Image size and other general information will be near the top. Lower down in the list will be the exact settings of the camera at the time the image was taken.
Here is an image of famous nature photographer Dennis Curtin getting up close and personal with a turtle.
Here’s what we see when we look at the Advanced Properties Summary of this image.
This detailed information, known as EXIF data, will not be found in all digital images. But you should be able to find it for any image taken by a recent vintage digital camera so long as the image format has not been changed from the original. The steps above show how to access this EXIF information from Windows. You can also get to the same information from most imaging programs like Photoshop™ or Photoshop Elements™.
Use a “Pre-Flight Checklist” or Photography Log Book
Yo can use a formal digital photography log book or create your own checklist on a pad of paper.
This checklist, or log, will help you to improve your photography. The purpose is to help you to recall the lighting conditions, equipment, and settings used for a particular image. This information is invaluable when recreating a certain image at a later date or when reproducing an effect long after the original shot was taken. Use it to review the conditions that led to “good” or “bad” images. Even if you don’t fill in a log for every shot, a log is useful as a pre-flight checklist to ensure that you’re paying attention to everything that will have an impact on your shot.
The settings and conditions listed have a significant effect on the quality of an image.
Remember to have fun with your product photography too, so you don’t always see it as just a chore!