EXIF or Exchangeable Image File Format is a standard that specifies the formats of sounds and images. Developed by the Japan Electronic Industries Development Association, EXIF is used by most camera manufacturers. So, why does EXIF become relevant for regular people? The answer is EXIF data. Also known as metadata of pictures, EXIF data consists of various details of a picture stored at the time when it is taken. This data includes:
The Date and Time When the Picture Was Taken.
- Details of the device you used to capture the picture – manufacturer name, model name, etc.
- The device settings in use at the time of taking the picture. These may include aperture and shutter speed, ISO speed, white balance, focal length, and even the lens type.
- Camera orientation details – EXIF data also records whether you turned your camera sideways or not!
- Geographical location details – upon examining EXIF data, you can find GPS data of an image. This particular detail makes metadata of photos precious to digital marketers.
- Author details – if you’ve entered details about yourself into the device, chances are that your name will show up in the EXIF data.
- Title of the picture and its description.
A picture in itself may not tell us much, but the EXIF data of that same picture can reveal a lot. Thus, in our highly digitized world, metadata is in itself a valuable commodity.
What Makes Metadata So Valuable?
Data in itself is very valuable, and the epidemic of data leaks by hackers is a testament to that fact. However, to make use of image data, you need to be able to access it. If you’re Windows, you can access an image’s metadata by right-clicking on it and clicking on its properties. In the properties window, switch to the Details tab. There, you will be able to find the metadata of an image.
Mac users have to access the preview option of an image and select tools. Once there, select ‘Show Inspector’ and then click the ‘i’ tab. There, you’ll find a tab named ‘Exif.’ You’ll be able to find the complete metadata of the selected image there.
There are many uses of an image’s metadata. Below, we have listed some ways you can make use of it.
- Photo Comparisons
When two photos are almost identical, you might not be able to differentiate them. That’s where the metadata of an image comes in. You can access the metadata of both images and compare them. You’ll find that even if two images look very similar, they might have differences in their field of depth, aperture settings, and a lot of other aspects.
Professional photographers use metadata to determine which image suits their purpose. Some websites like Flickr even share the metadata of images with their users to gain a piece of in-depth knowledge about a particular image. Professional photographers’ metadata becomes even more valuable as amateur photographers use it to improve their craft. By accessing the metadata of an image, you can figure out what makes an image so aesthetic.
- S.E.O. Purposes
It is a well-known fact among S.E.O. experts that images with metadata help in search engine optimization. They are considered more credible, and search engines like Google prioritize images with metadata compared to those without it.
Google’s policy is that they reserve the right to use the metadata of an image, and thus, the engine prefers images that are not stripped of their metadata. In Microsoft Windows, the option to remove metadata is named ‘Remove Properties and Personal Information. Mac and iPhone users can deselect the option ‘Include Location Information for Published Items’ located on the EXIF tab.
The Question of Privacy
In our increasingly transparent digital world, privacy is becoming harder and harder to attain. Of course, there is no such thing as complete privacy on the internet. However, you can make some efforts to conceal personal details when you decide to share images on the internet.
You can strip images of their metadata to protect the privacy of individuals. To remove metadata from your images, you can access it using the methods outlined above. From there, you’ll find that there is an option to remove metadata from images.
There is always a risk of your data being breached on the internet if you’re not careful enough. In some cases, it is almost impossible to avoid. However, there are many ways to make use of the internet securely. Removing EXIF data from photos before uploading them is one of those ways.