Think you can’t shoot like the photographers on 500px and National Geographic? Or master a complicated tool like Adobe Lightroom? Well, think again. There are many online photography sites and tools that can help you get there.
Pixel Peeper is a nice web app that lays bare the secrets behind great photos. It breaks down a shot into each individual edit applied using Adobe Lightroom.
Upload a JPEG and the site displays each adjustment made with Lightroom. To develop your own skills, you can study these edits and try to “reverse engineer” a photo with similar settings. It looks impressive. The trick is in the two simple technologies that do the heavy lifting.
The Secrets in a Photo’s Metadata
Pixel Peeper uses the hidden EXIF data embedded in a JPEG photo to reveal details like the camera model, lens used, focal length, aperture, shutter speed, time of the shot, Flash use, location etc. Along with the EXIF data, the web program also extracts the metadata embedded by Lightroom in a separate file format called XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform).
As you can see, Pixel Peeper mimics Lightroom’s interface to display each setting. And it only works for files exported with Lightroom (not with Photoshop).
Of course, the program won’t work with photos that do not have any EXIF or XMP data (like Facebook and Instagram photos) or that have been stripped of it with another software.
Does It Make Photography Easier?
Not quite. As most of us know from experience, photography is all about your creative eye. Lightroom presets are the cosmetic surgeons on call. It is also about the process that trails it, and here Pixel Peeper lends a useful hand.
Is Pixel Peeper a good way to experiment with Adobe Lightroom?