I love metadata. It's like exercise, not fun but the results are great. I am by no means a metadata nazi or anything. I do just enough to get by. If I were a stock shooter I would do more - a lot more but I am not so I can get a way with it. This is another in my series of Aperture 3 super simple stuff posts and I figured I would blend in some creative ways to use the super simple stuff.
The reason I love metadata is how much you can learn about your own shooting without doing any work. It's useful for boring real work to, or at least making boring real work faster. I wanted to take a moment to show just one thing you can do with creative use of metadata searches and smart albums. Say for a moment you shoot with a bunch of different cameras with different sized sensors and a bunch of different lenses and you want to get a sense of what you really gravitate to in terms of angle of view an perspectives with what subjects.
This one is easy - just use the EXIF data. You don't even need to type it in, it's already there every time you take a shot with your digital camera. The really cool thing is the focal length (35mm) field. The vast majority of camera makers provide this 35mm equivalent focal length field in the EXIF. Here is what I do with it.
Create a top level folder and call it focal length.
Inside that folder a create a bunch of smart albums that look for the 35mm equivalent in ranges. Like this. I happen to use super-wide, wide, normalish, and tele for my own purposes. Since I have done this more than once I make smart albums. Jamming them in a folder is nice to keep them out of the way. Make sure you click on the "Library" at the top of the search criteria so that your search will be in the context of all of your photos.
This kind of stuff is not only fun to understand your shooting habits but it's practical as well. Say you are wondering if you should by the kit zoom or the normal 20mm prime on your GF1. Understanding your shooting history on all your other zooms in the normalish range can help. Wanna see some stuff you NEVER do just do a search inside your wide smart album for other stuff like keywords for portrait or something. Wow, there are none, nice exercise you need to go shoot some wide angle environmental portraits. This can help in more creative ways than I can explain.
You get the idea. Have fun. I use this for all sorts of crazy stuff like overall color keyword searches - yes I keyword my images for overall color in the image. Whatever my initial impression is. Like "red". You wouldn't believe that strange juxtapositions I get with searches on things like that. It actually gives me new shooting ideas as well. Metatdata is so boring if you only use it for finding that picture of your aunt-in-law that you shot in oregon.