As photographers, we’re always interested in how other people edit their photos to achieve a certain look. Pixel Peeper is a new website that can take a JPEG and tell you exactly how it was edited in Lightroom, along with the camera model, lens, and settings — as long as that info is found in the file’s EXIF data.
You may already know that JPEG files contain not only the image data, but also textual information that is embedded as EXIF data. Unless stripped from the file, this means that many JPEG images contain information such as the data and time of the photograph, the camera settings, model, and lens, copyright information, and others.
What you may not have already known is that Lightroom embeds information about all of the edits made to an image, unless you choose “Remove All Metadata” when exporting a JPEG. This uses a similar format to EXIF called XMP.
This information is just sitting in the file waiting to be read, and that is where Pixel Peeper comes in. This app created by developer Piotr Chmolowski takes an image and spits out the Lightroom settings used to edit it, along with the normal EXIF data about camera model etc.
This could be a great way to see how your favorite photographers process their images. Note that Facebook and Instagram strip metadata when images are uploaded, so it will not work for images uploaded to those services and others that do the same.
The website also has a hidden feature: you can add .lrtemplate to the URL of any uploaded image to get the edits as a Lightroom preset. For for example, the edits to the image in the screenshot above can be downloaded at https://pixelpeeper.io/99tfpywf.lrtemplate. Though we don’t recommend just applying someone else’s edits and calling it a day, it can be an interesting way to see the way settings affect your own images.
Pixel Peeper looks like a handy tool to bookmark for the next time you’re wondering “wow, I wonder how they did that…”. It also serves as a reminder to those of you who want to keep this kind of data private – make sure to strip it from your JPEGs on export.