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Definitions

My goal is to eliminate confusion and ensure comprehension.

Definitions & Technical Terminology

The public Meg’s Bytes articles, and the members-only articles on this website include a lot of specialized and technical terminology. Some of the terminology I made up myself. Some of the definitions here are more like brief explanations and are not intended for instructional purposes.

I created this page in the hope of eliminating confusion and so that I can include fewer explanations in articles I write. I am not suggesting that you should use my terminology and definitions, I am only trying to ensure that all readers understand the terminology used on this website.

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Table of Contents

Snap Date

I encourage all professional photo organizers to adopt the term Snap Date. I have coined this term to mean the date the shutter was pressed on a camera to take a photo or record video.

Snap Date is a concept, and not the name of a date field. A Snap Date can be unknown.

While writing articles for this website, I decided I needed to create this new term because existing terminology corresponds to date fields in photo-related applications—date fields that do not always display the Snap Date.

Why not use the term Capture Date? I only use that term in reference to the field named Capture Date in applications like Lightroom Classic, Photo Mechanic, Apple Photos, and Photo Sweeper. The Capture Date shown in those applications can be wrong if a photo does not have proper Exif metadata. Therefore, Capture Date does not always represent the actual Snap Date.

Why not use the term Date Taken? I only use the term Date Taken in reference to the field named Date Taken in applications like Windows File Explorer, Duplicate Cleaner Pro, Tag That Photo, and others. In applications that use the term Date Taken, photos without proper Exif date metadata can still display a Date Taken. Therefore, Date Taken does not always represent the actual Snap Date. In those same applications, the Date Taken field for a photo may be empty. When the Date Taken field is empty, the photo still has a Snap Date, but that Snap Date is not recorded in the metadata and may be unknown.

Snap Date Metadata

See also: Snap Date.

A photo or video with good Snap Date metadata is one that has a matching date and time in two or more EXIF, XMP, or IPTC date fields.

Good Snap Date metadata can be wrong if the date and time on the camera was not set properly. An Undated photo is one without good Snap Date metadata.  

Caption

See also: Description.

Description and Caption are the same thing, but the name of the field varies by application and by whether the IPTC version or the XMP version of the field is displayed. I use the term Description, but Caption is widely used and accepted.

The term Description is more commonly used in applications for PC. The term Caption is more commonly used in applications for Mac.

 

Capture Date

Capture Date is not a date metadata field. Capture Date is the UI label for a date field used by Adobe Lightroom
Classic, Apple Photos, Photo Mechanic, Photo Sweeper and other photo applications for Mac and PC.

Capture Date is intended to represent a photo’s Snap Date but is not reliable. 

While you may have read or heard the expression ‘EXIF Capture Date’, there is no EXIF field with that name. That expression is misleading because it implies that Capture Date represents an EXIF metadata field, but it does not.

Although the Capture Date field is intended to display a photo’s Snap Date, a Capture Date will be displayed even for photos with no EXIF date metadata! If there is no EXIF date Metadata, the Created Date (the date the file was created) or the Modified Date (the date the file was modified) may be displayed in the Capture Date field.

Applications that use Capture Date—like Lightroom Classic and Photo Mechanic—were designed for pro photographers and prosumers who import photos they have taken to the application—photos that are expected to have complete and intact date metadata. Capture Date will be dependable for those types of users.

Professional photo organizers typically work with photos taken over many years, by many cameras, from many Sources. In the collections I have organized, an average of about 5% of the photos do not have complete and intact date metadata, and yet a Capture Date will be displayed regardless.

Capture Date, Date Taken, Date Created, and EXIF DateTimeOriginal are very different.

Collecting / File Collecting

See also: Gathering / File Gathering

File Collecting is copying or downloading folders and files of any type from Sources.

It is a term I created for the Megabyte Method.

File Collecting serves as an interim solution when you cannot gather files at your client’s home, or when you have a limited amount of time to work with your client’s Source devices. File Gathering—careful, thorough, and selective gathering of photo and videos—is done after File Collecting.

Examples:

  • Copying an Apple Photos Library so an export can be done later.
  • Copying all contents of an EHD with many different file types. 
  • Copying any directories and folders from a client’s computer that may contain photos and videos.

Collection Hub​

The drive on which collected and/or gathered files are stored.

The Collection Hub is most often an EHD, but it can be a folder on an internal drive—if your computer has ample storage space available.

Many people use the term ‘Digital Hub’.

Date Created​

Date Created (or Created Date), is the date the file was created. It is a file property. Think of a file as a container for a photo.

A file’s Date Created can change! What makes a Date Created change depends on several factors. I intend to do some testing to discover and understand more factors, but here are a few examples:

  • I copied some photos stored on my computer from Windows File Explorer to an external drive. The Date Created displayed on the external drive changed to the exact date and time the files were copied.
  • I took photos with my DSLR camera. I copied the photos from my camera to my computer using a cable. The Date Created displayed on my computer changed to the exact date and time the files were copied. Then I moved the files instead of copying them. The Date Created did not change.
  • Someone sent me photos by email. I saved them to my computer. The Date Created changed to the exact date and time I saved the photos to my computer.

Many people think that Date Created represents the date the photo’s Snap Date. It might be the same as the Snap Date, but even if it is, it can change if the file is copied or moved.

In Finder (Mac) there is no available column for displaying a photo’s Snap Date, but there is a Date Created column.

Date Created, Date Taken, Capture Date, and Exif DateTimeOriginal are very different.

Date Created / Timestamp (Mylio)

In the application Mylio, just to confuse things, it seems, the UI label for the date field reads both Date Created and Timestamp.

I have not yet completed testing to determine exactly what EXIF, XMP, and/or IPTC date fields it reads to determine what date to display in that field. I have verified that if a photo has good Snap Date metadata, the field displays the Snap Date accurately.

Like Capture Date, the field is intended to display a photo’s Snap Date, but a date will be displayed in that field even for photos with no EXIF date metadata! Therefore, the date displayed is not entirely reliable.

Date Modified​

Date Modified – or Modified Date, is the date the file and/or photo was modified. It is a file property. Think of a file as a container for a photo.

A photo or video’s Date Modified can be changed by:

  • Renaming the file.
  • Adding or editing the date the photo was taken.
  • Cropping, editing, or resizing the photo.
  • There are other factors that can change a file’s Date Modified.

Date Taken​

Date Taken is a Windows property that is supposed to represent a photo’s Snap Date. Date Taken is not a metadata field.

Windows File Explorer, Directory Opus, Duplicate Cleaner Pro, and other PC applications display a Date Taken field for photos.

Date Taken is not completely dependable, as some photos can display a Date Taken that does not represent a photo’s Snap Date.

While you may have heard the term ‘EXIF Date Taken’, there is no metadata field with that name.

Date Taken, Date Created, Capture Date, and EXIF DateTimeOriginal are very different.

Description​

See also: Caption.

Description and Caption are the same thing, but the name of the field varies by application and by whether the IPTC version or the XMP version of the field is displayed. I use the term Description, but Caption is widely used and accepted.

The term Description is more commonly used in applications for PC. The term Caption is more commonly used in applications for Mac.

Duplicate Photos​

See also: Identical Duplicate Photos, Similar Photos, and Sequential Photos.

Duplicate photos are photos that originated from the same photo.

Duplicate photos can be created by editing, copying, sharing, or exporting, which may result in differences such as:

  • Pixel dimensions.
  • File size.
  • Aspect ratio (due to cropping).
  • Date (any metadata date or file date).
  • Colour (due to editing).
  • Filename
  • Folder name
  • Keywords, ratings, and other added metadata.

EXIF DateTimeOriginal (EDTO)

EXIF DateTimeOriginal (EDTO) is a key date metadata field that stores a photo’s Snap Date.

Not all image formats support Exif date metadata. PNG, BMP, and GIF are common image formats that do not hold Exif date metadata.

EXIF DateTimeOriginal, Date Taken, Capture Date, and Date Created are very different.

File Management​

File Management is a general term for working with files in a client’s collection. 

It is a term I created for the Megabyte Method.

File Management tasks include:

  • Moving files.
  • Copying files.
  • Converting files to other formats.
  • Removing excess folder levels or empty folders.
  • Merging folders.
  • Separating files by type.
  • Separating out Undated photos.
  • Separating out very short videos.

These tasks (and many more) make other tasks—like duplicate removal—more efficient.

File Management is an essential part of the Megabyte Method.

Gathering / File Gathering​

File Gathering is selectively copying, downloading, or exporting from a Source only the photo and videos to be organized.

During File Gathering, only the photos and videos (and perhaps other file types) you will be organizing should be copied, downloaded, or exported from your client’s Sources.

The Megabyte Method configuration file for Directory Opus Pro includes filters for gathering only the photos and videos that should be included in your client’s organized collection.

Identical Duplicate Photos​

See also: Duplicate Photos, Similar Photos, and Sequential Photos.

Identical Duplicate photos are copies – every pixel is the same.

But Identical Duplicate photos may have other important differences including:

  • Filename
  • Folder name
  • Keywords, ratings, and other added metadata.
  • Date Created (file Date Created)
  • Date Modified (file Date Modified)
  • File size differences – a small tolerance is allowed by some applications.

Megabyte Method​

The Megabyte Method is my proprietary system for organizing digital photo and video collections.

It is the result of many years of researching, experimenting, and testing different software, methods, and workflows. Every aspect of the Megabyte Method has been developed to help professional photo organizers work smarter, not harder, and be more successful.

Mastery of digital photo and video organizing is only possible with applications that allow you to view, sort, and filter by important metadata fields that are difficult to access in many applications—like EXIF DateTimeOriginal, QuickTime CreateDate, and many more. The Megabyte Method relies on Directory Opus Pro, and Duplicate Cleaner Pro.

Visit the Megabyte Method page.

Metadata Management​

Metadata Management is a general term for working with photo and video metadata. 

It is a term I created for the Megabyte Method.

Metadata Management tasks include:

  • Copying date metadata from one field to another.
  • Adding or correcting date metadata.
  • Renaming files using metadata.
  • Adding date metadata to a file by using the date in a filename.
  • Converting meaningful folder names to individual Keywords.
  • Renaming videos to include words from meaningful folder names or filenames.

I have created commands and presets in Directory Opus Pro to automate the tasks listed above—and many other tasks.

Project Completion

Project Completion tasks prepare a photo and video collection for delivery to the client. 

It is a term I created for the Megabyte Method.

Project Completion tasks include:

  • Choosing the folder structure and folder name format/pattern.
  • Moving files into folders.
  • Formatting the external hard drives that will hold the collection.
  • Copying files to the external hard drives.
  • Creating a ‘Collection User Guide’ to help you client navigate and enjoy their collection.

I have created many customizable presets in Directory Opus Pro to automate moving files into different types of folder structures.

Organizing (Photo and Video)​

I use the term ‘organizing’ very loosely. Organizing a photo and video collection involves many different tasks.

When I use the word organizing, I may be referring to the entire project, or some part of the project that involves more than one specific task.

Sequential Photos

See also: Identical Duplicate Photos, Duplicate Photos, and Similar Photos.

Sequential photos are photos taken with the same camera, one after another. If the time difference between photos is very small, I may also refer to them as Similar Photos.

If the time difference is not small, sequential photos may have a very different appearance.

Sequential photos will have sequential filenames—assuming no filenames have been changed.

Similar Photos​

See also: Identical Duplicate Photos, Duplicate Photos, and Sequential Photos.

Similar photos are those that look alike but were created by different clicks of a camera’s shutter.  

Similar photos can sometimes appear to be identical to the naked eye – especially if a very fast shutter speed was used and there was no movement in the scene captured. Those are also referred to as ‘burst’ photos.

Similar photos will have sequential filenames—if no filenames have been changed.

Source​

Any single device or account from which files are collected or gathered—anywhere photos and videos may be stored.

Sources (Devices) Include:

  • Computers
  • Mobile phones
  • External Hard Drives (EHDs)
  • CDs/DVDs
  • Thumb Drives/ Flash Drives
  • Memory Cards
  • Tablets/iPads
  • Network Attached Storage devices (NAS)

And more! There may be other devices which hold a client’s photos and videos. I once copied photos from a Sony PlayStation.

Sources (Other) Include:

  • Apple Photos Libraries
  • iPhoto Libraries
  • iMovie Libraries
  • Aperture Libraries
  • Cloud Gallery Services.
    Examples: iCloud Photos, SmugMug, Flicker, Forever, Google Photos, Amazon Photos etc.
  • Cloud Storage Services.
    Examples: Dropbox, OneDrive, Sync, pCloud etc.
  • Photo management catalogs/libraries and the files connected to them.
    Examples: Lightroom Classic, On1, and ACDSee Photo Studio.
  • Social Media Accounts (Facebook, WhatsApp et.)

Sources May Be Found Within Other Sources:

  • Apple Photos Libraries (.photoslibrary). Old versions.
  • iPhoto Libraries (.photolibrary). Old versions.
  • iMovie Libraries (iMovie). Old versions.
  • Migrated Libraries (.migratedphotolibrary). An iPhoto Library that was upgraded to be a Photos Library.
  • Aperture Libraries (.aplibrary). Old versions.

Source Folder​

A folder created for holding files gathered from a single Source. One Source folder for each Source.

Tag

There are two different definitions for Tag. The first definition is the one most commonly used.

  • To ‘tag’ or to do ‘tagging’ means adding standard metadata like Keywords, Rating, Titles, or Descriptions to photos. It can also mean adding non-standard metadata like flags or colored labels to photos.
  • In Windows File Explorer and Directory Opus Pro (and perhaps other applications), the word ‘tag’ is used for what would be called a Keyword in other photo applications.

Undated​

See also: Snap date, and Snap Date Metadata

I use the word ‘Undated’ even though every photo or video of any file type will have at least 2 reliable dates displayed: The date the file was created and the date the file was modified.

The Megabyte Method places great importance on separating out Undated photos and videos. If you do not separate out Undated photos and videos, they will be displayed by the date the file was created or modified in whatever application or service your client uses to view their photos and videos. 

Undated Photos

An Undated photo is one that does not have good Snap Date metadata. The only way to be certain that a photo has good Snap Date metadata is to view several different EXIF, XMP, and IPTC date fields for a photo.

An Undated photo may still have a Capture Date displayed in most photo applications. That is why many photo organizers don’t realize there may be Undated photos in the collections they organize. Lots of Undated photos!

When using an application that displays a Date Taken field, that field will be empty most of the time for Undated photos. Date Taken is not completely dependable, as some photos can display a Date Taken that does not represent a photo’s Snap Date.

Undated Videos

An Undated video is one that does not have what appears to be a reliable date displayed.

A reliable date is a date that: 

  • Seems to be correct because it corresponds to other information in folder names or filenames.
  • Is consistent between 2 or more date fields, like Media Created Date (Windows) and either file created date or file modified date.