Saturday, November 2, 2013

Analyze statistics from photos in Lightroom

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Mark Twain was probably right when he uttered the phrase above, but just because people have a tendency no disbelieving statistics, doesn't mean that you can't learn from the. Especially when its your own data that is used and its just for you.
I've always been a great fan of pie charts, Venn diagrams, moving means and Delta's and when a application comes along that allows me to visualise my own data, I react by becoming a happy little numberphile.
This time its the Lightroom Plugin "Lightroom Analytics", easy to install and VERY helpful when it comes to analysing your Metadata and find patterns in your picture taking!


How do you see the future, oh wise Oracle?

After installing the plugin which, as it is will all Lightroom Plugins, is super simple, you select the images that you want to analyse and select the menu item "Analyze Metadata", and off it goes. It takes a bit of time to chew through the data, but not as much as you might think. My 2704 test images took about 30 seconds to process, but depending on your processing power, your mileage may vary. I'm running on an average 3 year old desktop, so it might go faster for most people.
As the plugin probably just reads the contents of the Lightroom Catalog, which I understand is some form of SQLLite, it does not need to read the data on the images, which makes it immensely faster!
When the number crunching is done, the plugin uploads your rapport to the Lightroom Analytics website and presents it to you through your friendly neighbourhood Internet browser. It even gives you an option of sharing it!


Give it to me!

The data is presented in a pretty straight forward manner. First part of the rapport tells you about your camera usage, flash usage, what exposure program you usually use and last, what kind of metering you normally use. My data told me that I use Aperture priority or Manual around 75% of the time and that my flash fired around 20% of the time. Also; I use my Canon 5D Mark III way more than my PowerShot G12. Absolutely nothing surprising there.

More interesting was it when I looked at the next part of the graph. Exposure Bias, Shutter Speed Usage, Aperture Usage, ISO Speed Rating and Focal Length.
Apparently I almost always underexpose slightly. Never thought of that, but that is probably not bad, as DSLR's have more detail in the shadows than in the highlights.
My Shutterspeed is mostly 1/60 or faster. Makes sense!
Aperture is usually between 2.8 and 8. Again, nothing surprising.
ISO Speed surprised me. I always feel like I'm juggling between all of the values, but apparently I shoot almost all of images in either ISO 100/200 or 800/1600. THAT was a surprise to me! My camera allows me to shrink down my ISO selections to specific ones, and it looks like I might have to play with that setting, as I apparently only use to ranges! I never would have known!

How can I use this to buy more gear?

The most interesting part of the rapport is the Lens breakdown!

I didn't even know I owned a 18-55mm... Must have borrowed somewhere. Anyway, clicking on a specific lens (in this case my 24-70mm) I get a usage rapport for that specific lens. Aperture Usage and Focal length's.
Looks like I can get rid of my 24-70mm and keep my 50mm. The majority of images shot with my 24-70mm, where in the 37-51mm range, something that my 50mm and a bit of foot-zoom could easily cover!
Looking at my 70-200mm I see something else that surprised me. 70-96mm is what I use on that! Did someone say 'Get a 85mm f/1.2'? Yup! I did! Its not ME that wants to get more gear, but clearly the statistics tells me that I need to!

Drowning in data

All the data is interesting. The report also shows information on White Balance, HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) Development Adjustments, Tone Curves and lots of other information that I'm not going to get into here. For me, the data containing information on my gear usage is the most interesting but its easy to see that the development statistics could be used to see what kind of Presets you might want to make for your images.
And apparently I never applied Grain on any of my test images :)

What am I missing?

Nothing really. The plugin is free and as my grandma always told me; "Never complain, when you get something for free. Except for STD's!". I would, however, like to see that it was being developed more. It only mentions Lightroom 3 and 4 (I pulled data from Lightroom 5, so it works) and it appears that its been dead since 2012.
Also, there are way more data to crunch. Most used keywords, Landscape or portrait, time of day, location, weekends or workdays, number of star-rated and favorites and so forth.
Hopefully there will be more to come! I keep the website in my favorites and check in now and then!

Check it out here:

And go shoot!


  1. Hi Hans, I am the author of this plugin. It's great that you find this plugin useful. I have recently updated the plugin so that all the data remains on your computer. You can also export a csv data file with it so that you can perform more detailed analysis with other programs. Best, Chris

    1. Hi Chris. Thanks for the update. I actually spotted a post on Reddit that said that it was updated. I'll check it out tonight!
      Keep up the good work!