EXIF Data Explained

What is EXIF data?

Exif Data

Sample Exif Data

A lot of you may be wondering, what is EXIF, what does it stands for, and what does it have to do with photography? “EXIF” really sounds like a very complicated and highly technical term, but trust me, it’s not.

EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format. There are different descriptions and meanings about the term, but to be simple, it is the data or information associated to an image file and which is stored and embedded within. Basically, it is the information of the photo you have taken using your camera or the data of an image you have created digitally. It’s really quite simple. It can show you the different information of the image like the camera settings, the date and time, descriptions, and copyright information.

The first version of EXIF (version 2.1) was first produced by JEIDA or Japan Electronic Industries Development Association back in June 12, 1998. Since then, there have been couple of revisions. On April 2002, JEITA or Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association established version 2.2. And on April 2010, by the joint efforts of JEITA and CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association), the latest version or version 2.3 was released.


To access or view EXIF data in your camera you just need to view the photo first and look for the button that says “info” or “Disp.” If you don’t see these buttons try pressing the menu button of your camera while viewing the picture and look for an option to view information, data, or properties. The EXIF of your camera will usually display aperture, shutter speed, focal length, metering mode, ISO, time and date taken, file size, file name, and the resolution. Other cameras could also display the exposure and color histograms.

In a personal computer, you can simply right click on the picture and left click on “properties.” If you are using a Mac then you just need to click and select “get info.” Alternatively, you can always use a photo editing software to view this information. For example when you are using Adobe Photoshop, you need to open the image file first and then click “File” from the top menu bar and select “File Info”. It is going to open a window and you just need to click on the “Camera Data” tab and voila! For any other software, all you need to do is open the image file first and then look for the option to view the properties or the information of the image file.

Why do we need EXIF data?

There is a vast of reasons why the EXIF data can be useful. EXIF contains different and various information that could be utilized in numerous ways. It’s like the vital signs of our body, the information and utilization of which would depend upon our doctor. So for example you just want to know what time the photo was actually taken, you just need to go over its EXIF data. If you want to compare the ISO of two photos, then you refer to EXIF. Or, if you want to know the current resolution of the photos your camera has been taking and thereby you can adjust it, then you just need to access the EXIF info.

As you’ve probably noticed, one useful aspect of EXIF it to use the data in order to check the settings of how a certain photo was taken and try to learn from the data to improve your photography skills or just to compare between photos to learn.

The possibilities could be limitless. It is really up to you how you are going to utilize the information it holds. Let us know in the comments of other interesting uses for EXIF.

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