Photo Metadata Nerding with Excire Foto
Keywords frustrate me too. This will help.
I know I’m in the minority when it comes to applying metadata to photos. Most people don’t want to do it, because tagging is an extra step before you can get to reviewing and editing images—or it’s an extra step later that you may never get back to. But I know first-hand the value of having tagged photos when it’s time to find specific shots later, so I’m not endlessly scrolling through tens of thousands of images trying to remember when the one I have in mind was taken. (My book Take Control of Your Digital Photos is all about this.)
So I was excited to learn about Excire Foto, an app that uses AI to analyze the contents of your photos and automatically build keywords based on that information. It also facilitates reviewing with star ratings and color labels, and then uses all that metadata to help you find the photos quickly.
In the latest Smarter Image column, published today, I take a closer look at the newest version of the software, Excire Foto 2022. Read it here:
One thing to know about Excire Foto is that it’s a stand-alone app. (Excire also sells a sibling program, Excire Search 2, which is a Lightroom Classic plug-in.) If you already use something like Lightroom Classic, it doesn’t naturally fit into the Lightroom workflow. But you can definitely make it work in a couple of ways.
One option is to use Excire as your pre-Lightroom processor. Copy image files from the camera or memory card to a folder on your computer, and then use Excire Foto to tag them. You can select the images and choose Photo > Store Metadata, which saves the tags, ratings, and colors in standard .XMP sidecar files. Then, when you import the images into Lightroom Classic or Lightroom, the apps automatically read the sidecar files and associate the metadata.
Another option, if you import files directly into Lightroom Classic, is to sneakily use Excire Foto on the side. Quit Lightroom Classic, point Excire Foto at the directory where the images are stored, and use it to apply your tags. Store the metadata (choose Photo > Store Metadata) to create the sidecar files, and then quit Excire Foto. Lastly, in Lightroom Classic, reveal the directory in which the photos reside in the Folders sidebar, right-click it, and choose Synchronize Folder.
Option 2 is certainly more labor intensive, but it keeps Lightroom Classic as the central library for your images. From there I would just use Lightroom’s built-in search features instead of Excire Foto’s, unless you’re looking for specific combinations of things that Excire can do, such as finding photos that include two people, one young and one elderly.