How To Find Out How A Photo Was Taken

Ever come across a fantastic image on the web and wondered, ‘just how did they take that shot’? Well, with the help of this free nifty tool, now you can find out!

It’s called ‘Jeffrey’s EXIF Viewer‘ and all you have to do is enter the URL of an image you find on the web (meaning, you don’t have to download the image – just copy and paste its unique location – such as ‘http://www.example.com/examplephoto.jpg’), and it will instantly return all the data of just how that photo was taken – things like the camera make/model, which lens was used, what focal length, shooting mode, shutter speed, aperture and so on.

All of this data can really help you see just how the photo was taken, and thus it’s a fantastic learning tool.

As an example, I recently came across some great wedding photography on Marianne Taylor’s Photography Blog, and I was interested in just how she achieved some of her shots. So, I simply right-clicked on the photo I was interested, chose ‘Copy Image Location’, visited Jeffrey’s EXIF Viewer, and pasted the image location (URL) into the tool. Et voila! Up came all the details of how the photo was taken, part of a screenshot of the result below:

(I use Firefox as my web browser, by the way, so if you use Internet Explorer you’ll need to right-click the image you want to find out about, choose ‘Properties’, and then copy and paste the URL into the EXIF tool.)

So I instantly learned that the photographer used a Canon 5D Mark II camera, with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. She was shooting in manual mode, and chose a shutter speed of 1/800 sec, an aperture of f/2.8, and ISO 100 to get the exposure. I’ve only chosen the basics to report back on here, the tool actually gives even more in-depth info. Fantastic!

It really is a great tool to further your learning. One caveat, though – it won’t show you data for every single photo out there, because if a photographer/webmaster has chosen to ‘save for web’ in photoshop, then the EXIF data is stripped out (if you use Flickr, and ‘save for web’, that is why the details of how your photos are taken are not showing, by the way), and this tool will thus not work. But for many, many photos, it will work, and show you just how that pic was taken – very useful.

Why not try it out for yourself?



One comment

  1. Wow, this is a nifty bit of software. I can;t help but feel it’s a bit of a violation to access another photographers metadata.
    But I can certainly see how it would come in handy.

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