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EXIF Data: What It Is & Why You Need It Now

If you are a beginner, taking note of your EXIF data now can be quite beneficial to the development of your skills. Your EXIF data gives you insight that can help you now, but it will also help you later down the road. Here are some ways to help you make the most of it!


Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) is the information embedded into your image file when the picture is made. It contains information such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and focal length. You can also include copyright info in your EXIF data when you register your camera through the manufacturer. And, if your DSLR supports GPS, you can even geotag the exact location of where a photo was made.


Think about it - when you are out shooting, your images look great on your LCD playback, but when you get home and see them large, on your computer, they don't look quite as great as you had initially thought. This happens quite often for beginners, but this is where EXIF data can come in handy.

EXIF data can give you insight into where you could improve next time.

For example, if you realize that you aren't quite nailing focus, the aperture recorded in your EXIF data can be your first clue. If you look at your EXIF data and see that you were shooting at f/1.4 and your subject's eyes aren't sharp (but the bridge of their nose is!) you'll have a pretty good idea of why (too wide of an aperture) and know that next time, you can try a slightly smaller aperture.

On the other hand, you may have an image that you are just absolutely in love with and everything worked out perfectly. In that case, knowing your EXIF data is helpful, because you can look at your camera settings and have a ball park figure of what settings look good to you in a particular situation.


On your computer, without opening your image in Lightroom or Photoshop, you can view an image's EXIF data. On a PC, you can right click, select Properties, then select Details. On a Mac, you can find the EXIF data by highlighting your image in Finder, then pressing Command I.

In Lightroom, you can quickly view the basic EXIF data by pressing the I key twice, and the info will appear in the top right corner:

You can also find the EXIF info in the Library module under the Metadata panel:

In Photoshop, you can find the info under File>File Info:

EXIF data is a great insight into what is working, as well as what is not working, in your images. Like I said, be sure to refer to it when you feel like something is "off," but also use it as a way to remember what settings work particularly well for you!

Do you have any questions about what we have discussed here? We love hearing from you! Please visit us in our private Pretty Presets for Lightroom Facebook group and at the Pretty Forum!

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