If Apple’s iPhoto seems to take over your photo collection and organize it in such a way that takes up three times more space on your hard-disk than it has to, or if you simply have a whole lot of photographs on your computer still in their DCIM folders in no order whatsoever, then Exiftool is for you.
Exiftool is an command-line (AKA command prompt) basedapplication that allows one to read, write, and edit meta information stored in the EXIF data of every image. EXIF data can retain every single piece of information about a photograph taken with a digital camera including date, time, lens, focal length, shutter speed, ISO rating, camera name, camera owner name, last edit date, and much more.
My favourite use for this program would have to be its ability to automate a folder of images into new folders determined and labeled by date, or to automate different labels for each image file by date, or what-have-you. Depending on one’s knowledge of command-line environments like Terminal the options are virtually endless.
In fact, Exiftool does much more than help you organize your photographs, and there are probably a ton of features that I don’t even know about just yet. The fact remains, this application is robust with features and is pure gold for anyone trying to manage their photographs and for anyone who wants to edit, write, and read meta information.
A simple, command-line based application, Exiftool is a little difficult to jump into, or rather, it can be. Command-line interfaces are never the most accessable, but for photographers that don’t mind learning a little bit, the Exiftool webpage is actually a tremendous resource.
Installation on Mac OS X is as simple as most programs, but running it is a little different in that you must open a Terminal window and find the directory that contains your photographs, and then implement Exiftool using the commands found at the Exiftool webpage. Getting into all of the commands within this post would surely make this very lengthy so I recommend you visit Phil Harvey’s Exiftool webpage and take your time going through the various sections so that you can get a good understanding of how it is implemented.
While I don’t own a PC, the installation instructions for PC are straight forward, yet they could be a little unfamiliar to those used to just double-clicking an install file. Again, with this it is very important to take your time and read what’s relevant to your platform (be it PC or Mac).
If you are absolutely clueless about command line interfaces and are on a Mac using OS X then check this link to learn more. If PC is your platform and you are also in need of some command-line information then check this link to learn more on that.
In scoring this program for a rating, I have docked .2 simply because there is no GUI (graphical user interface) which would really make this program accessible to everyone. Still, for an open source power house of an application, no GUI and all this ability is okay by me.