Unlock the Secrets of Photo Metadata With PhotoME

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PhotoMe is a free and easy-to use utility that unlocks and organizes the power of your photograph's metadata. Though it is still early in its development--with some important features not yet implemented--it could be useful for a knowledgeable photographer.

Nestled in every digital photo's file is far more information (called "metadata") than just the picture itself. Depending on the specific camera, metadata that may be automatically added to your photo when it is captured include details about how the picture was taken (camera model, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO value, color model, color temperature, lens used, and other settings), where (if your camera has a GPS module), and when. But that just scratches the surface of the treasure trove of valuable information you can save with your picture. Savvy photographers will also use metadata fields to save copyright status, copyright owner, caption, how the picture has been used and by whom, licensing issues, keywords, categories, and much more. Among the more important uses of metadata is how it is used by search engines and photo management programs to help you find your pictures.

If you use a full-featured photo editing program (such as Photoshop) or a professional digital asset management program (such as ACDSee Pro Photo Manager), metadata is easy to access, add to and organize. However, if you use other less expensive (consumer-level) programs, which actually strip out and destroy metadata, you may want to take advantage of the free download of PhotoMe to access, save, and add to your metadata.

The download and installation of PhotoMe is trouble-free, including an automatic update option. PhotoMe supports EXIF and IPTC/NAA (the major metadata standards). At default settings, PhotoME displayed literally scores of fields containing valuable information about our pictures. Adding more metadata fields to the IPTC/NAA or our camera's MakerNotes is simple, with a wide variety of types of information that may be intimidating at first to neophytes. To organize the order of your fields, just click and drag them within each standard. Searching for data within a file is quick and on-the-fly.

Studying the metadata of your pictures can actually help you become a better photographer. In addition to organizing metadata in traditional text fields, PhotoME provides useful visual information, such as displaying single channel histograms (to help uncover exposure and color shift problems) and color gamut (range of colors) based on the picture's ICC color profile.

At present, PhotoME is missing some key features, such as batch processing, editing of Exif-text tags and adding and removing of Exif-tags. However, PhotoME developer Jens Duttke promises they will be implemented in future versions. Until then, PhotoME is already a very useful program to taking control over the power locked up in your metadata.

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