What is EXIF Data And How Can I Read It?

EXIF is an important term used with photographs. EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format that contains data of a photograph. When you capture a photo from a digital camera or phone, it saves the photo into the device’s storage along with additional bits of metadata associated with the photo. This metadata includes the date, time, camera settings, location,  shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, camera model, make, lens type, focal length, and possible copyright information. This metadata is the EXIF data associated with the photo. You can add more EXIF data by using photo processing software.

See the sample data below. I captured the photo using iPhone 11 Pro and processed using Instagram Filter. EXIF data reveals all those things about the photo along with camera settings.

Photo Exif data

Mobile phones or cameras with GPS capabilities, also add EXIF geolocation metadata. This helps photo-sharing websites tag photos with a location.

Why is EXIF data important?

EXIF is important data that reveals technical things about the photographs. Newbies who are trying to learn photography can take advantage of this to understand what camera settings to use for capturing a photograph. By learning from the data, the beginner photographer can use this data to replicate a shot.

An experienced photographer can also use this to analyze his mistakes and correct them while capturing future shots.

How can I see the EXIF data?

1. Photo Sharing Websites

If you are using good photo-sharing websites such as Google Photos or Flickr show image EXIF data. See the data revealed by Google Photos for a photo. These sites just reveal limited information.

See the data revealed by Google Photos for a photo.

Google Photos Exif Data

Your operating system allows you to check the EXIF data. These only show limited but useful information.

2. Desktop tools to view Exif Data

See EXIF in Windows

In Windows, right-click on the photo and select properties. In the details tab, it shows the EXIF data.

EXIF in Windows

As you can see in the snapshot, you also have the option to remove the EXIF data.

Along with this native option, you can try these softwares in Windows to view EXIF data

See EXIF in MacOS

In macOS, right-click on a photo and select ‘get Info’ to see the EXIF data.

See EXIF in MacOS

In macOS, you need third-party software to remove or change EXIF data.

See EXIF in Linux

Linux users can access the data easily. If you are GNOME user, Just right-click on the photo file, choose Properties, and then the Image tab to display the data. If you are using KED, just right-click, and select Properties and Meta Info to access the EXIF data.

3. Online Tools to View EXIF data

Along with these native options, there are various desktop or online tools to view or edit the EXIF data of photos. If you are looking for a good EXIF viewer to check all possible metadata information, I recommend Jeffrey’s Image Metadata Viewer I have tested it with different photos and it gives accurate information. The best thing about this tool is that you get all possible metadata information available in the photo.

Along with this nice tool, there are a few others:

4. Browser Extensions

FireFox Add-ons  to View Exif Data

If you are using Firefox, you can use these two Firefox add-ons to add the context menu option for viewing EXIF data of photos.

Chrome Extensions to View Exif Data

Similar kinds of extensions are also available for Chrome. If you are using Google Chrome, you can try any of these Chrome extensions

Final Words

I hope this article explains everything you want to know about EXIF data. I have explained EXIF and also covered the ways to view EXIF data of a photo. By using the EXIF data, you can find what camera and camera settings were used to capture the shot. It will not just help new photographers, but will also help to verify claims. A few months back, Huawei was caught lying about the photography of its flagship phone by showing an image captured with a Canon DSLR. So, EXIF data can be used for many more things. You just need to understand how to use it.

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