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Photo Tips > Metadata

What's Metadata?

Metadata is data about data.

In photography, metadata is the information about the photograph, such as the camera settings, date and time of creation, and so forth.

You can add information to a metadata file, such as captions, key words, and copyright and contact information.

When you press the shutter release, two files are created: a photography file embedded with a metadata file.

Photographers used to put their metadata on the backs of their photographs.

They'd stamp their name, contact information, and copyright, on the backs of their prints.

For example, Weegee's stamp included the headline, Weegee the Famous.

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The original format is IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council).

IPTC is used in newspaper publishing.

The IPTC file stores captions, copyright, comments, contact information, tags, and the like.


The next format to be be developed is EXIF (Exchangeable Image File), created by the Japan Electronic and Information Industries Association.

The EXIF format is used to record camera information.


More recently, Adobe created the XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform)

XMP incorporates the IPTC file format.

Viewing, Editing, & Printing Metadata

You can use most of the programs to edit IPTC files (captions, etc.), but not the EXIF files (camera information).

A few of the programs allow you to edit both the IPTC and the EXIF files.

Some of the programs allow you to print the metadata.


To view the metadata using Windows, right click on a file.

Go to Properties > Summary > Advanced (XP), or Properties > Details (Vista & Windows 7).

 iPhoto - Mac

Go to Photos > Get Extended Photo Info.

Picasa - Windows & Mac

Go to Picture Data : Viewing EXIF Data.


Click More Properties on the photograph's page.

Other Programs

You can also use use the programs below to view the metadata files.

Photoshop Elements

Go to Metadata & Photoshop Elements.

Disappearing Metadata

Metadata can be stripped, removed, from the photography file.

Sometimes, this is intentional and it's beneficial.

Go to Metadata Removal.

Unfortunately, metadata is often stripped when you transfer a photograph from one program to another.

Or, the metadata may be intact, but it isn't recognized by a subsequent program.

Test for metadata stripping when transferring your photographs from one program to another for the first time.

If the metadata is stripped, transfer copies of your photographs only.

To view the metadata, you'll have to return to the primary program.





EXIF Date Changer Free, Greg Driver

ExifPro Image Viewer

IrfanView Free, download the plug-ins as well

Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2 Free

PhotoME (Photo Metadata Editor) Jens Duttke

Review Bob Johnson

PowerExif Free trial

Time Stamp Modifier for JPEG Files Free, Zdenek Martinek

Command Line Utilities

The programs below are for advanced computer users.

ExifTool Phil Harvey

ExifTool GUI Makes above program easier to use


jhead Matthias Wandel



ExifTool Phil Harvey, for advanced computer users

EXIF Viewer Free, Ali Ozer

iMagine Photo