If you have been studying up on photography terms, you may have a question. What is metadata in digital camera photos? The best digital cameras seem to capture metadata, after all. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with all the crucial information you need.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Metadata collects information regarding a visual image, such as the exact location it was taken and who took it.
  • Metadata can be adjusted after the fact via post-processing software and in the settings of some digital cameras.
  • You may want to set your camera to restrict certain metadata properties, so as to protect your privacy.

What is Metadata?

Metadata is information accompanying a photo that can let viewers know who took it, where it was taken, and more. Generally speaking, metadata includes information relayed via the image sensor regarding the image file, and other types of information sourced by GPS and any computers that the camera regularly connects with. Finding metadata in your camera is not as complex as understanding the f stop on a digital camera.

Insider Tip

The amount of storage space metadata takes up on a memory card is negligible, so don’t worry too much on that end.

Why Access or Adjust Metadata?

Accessing metadata can be a great way to get to know what is going on with the digital image you are looking at. Most metadata dumps will feature a details tab, which could illustrate exposure time, file formats, image resolution, image file type, and more.

Why adjust the metadata? If it’s a privacy issue you may want to remove your name, any exact location GPS data, and anything else that could direct back to you as the author of the photo.

How to Access Metadata

Generally speaking, you can access a photo’s metadata by using certain websites or by jumping into some post-production software, such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Photoshop, and others. Some cameras will also allow you to access this information on the LCD screen.

How to Change Metadata

The process here will differ depending on your camera, so read the instructions thoroughly and dive into the settings menu. You may have to look in the file format settings, keeping an eye out for something called exchangeable image file format. An exchangeable image is basically a digital photo with all relevant metadata attached. Go into these file formats and remove some of the metadata properties, such as location services. There should be a helpful dialog box to get you there. You will also have to do this if you have been wondering whether you should buy a used digital camera.

Warning

Metadata tags can be a great way for would-be hackers to find out private information, so be careful.

F.A.Q.

How do I see if my photos have EXIF metadata attached?

There are many ways you can check on this. Most operating systems will allow you to simply right-click to get some useful information, some of which will include metadata.


How is EXIF metadata useful?

You hear a lot of cautionary tales about metadata, but it does have its uses. It records exposure settings and other settings, for instance, which can help those new to digital photography.


What is EXIF data?

EXIF data and metadata are interchangeable terms.



STAT: Metadata tags are restricted in size to 64 kB in JPEG images because according to the specification this information must be contained within a single JPEG APP1 segment. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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