Every week, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at email@example.com.
This week’s tip is a software pick, and it came about when I was trying to to figure out how to get rid of hundreds of duplicate images from my library.
I set about writing my own scripts for detecting duplicating images on my drive based on the images’ EXIF metadata, which is embedded by the camera into the RAW or JPEG file it produces. I was about to start writing the logic for the script when I the thought occurred to me that someone, somewhere, must have done this already.
Since I use both Lightroom and Aperture, I set about trying to find solutions for both applications. Turns out, there are neat add-ons for both apps that make the task of finding and removing duplicates a lot easier.
First, for Lightroom users, there’s the Duplicate Finder for Lightroom plugin.
I liked this plugin because it did more than just look for duplicate filenames. It actually looked at the files’ metadata and used that to determine whether an image was a duplicate or not. Furthermore – and this is even cooler – it recognizes that Lightroom can write metadata back to the file, your operating system can look at two files and even though they’re completely alike, it may think that they’re different because they have different “Last Edited” dates.
Duplicate Finder uses metadata like camera model and serial number, lens, ISO, and more. Betcha didn’t think your camera stored its serial number (and the lens’ serial number) in the file’s metadata, did you?
The plugin then brings the duplicates into a smart collection for you to review and edit or delete as you see fit.
Duplicate Finder is available for sale for about $15 from their website. It’s a UK-based company, so the price fluctuates a bit, depending on the exchange rate.
The app to do something similar for Aperture comes to us via Joseph Linaschke of ApertureExpert.com. He’s got a great series running right now, called Ten Tips to a Clean Aperture Library, and tip #4 was about how to get rid of duplicates in Aperture.
The app Joseph recommends is Duplicate Annihilator – Aperture Edition. The company also makes an iPhoto version for those using iPhoto for photo management. Like the plugin for Lightroom mentioned above, the app goes above just comparing filenames to find duplicates in your library.
The algorithms un Duplicate Annihilator use the metadata embedded in photos to help find duplicates. It also uses other characteristics, like filename and file size, as well as electronic checksums, which are like digital fingerprints for a file.
Once it finds duplicate files, it assigns a keyword to them that you define in the preferences. You can then edit or delete those files as you need to.
That’s it for this week’s tip! As always, feedback and questions are welcome in the comments below.