When you take a photograph with a digital camera or edit it with a graphical editor, there will be data embedded in the image file, most smartphones also embed metadata in the pictures they take, this semi hidden data it is called Exif (EXchangeable Image File Format) data, Exif data is not exclusive of image files, it can also be found in audio and video files.
In images, Exif data typically includes the date and time the picture was taken, type of camera and model, software used to edit the image, picture resolution, and if the device used to take the photograph has GPS capabilities, like the iPhone, it will also include the geographic coordinates of where the photograph was taken.
How to view image data in Windows
You can access image file Exif data in Windows locating the image file, right clicking on it and selecting “Properties” from the menu that appears, the “Advanced” tab of “Properties” shows further details, Windows does not show all of the embedded metadata on a file, a proper Exif data viewer will do.
Digital photographs metadata, aka Exif data, can be read by software programs, if you open, edit and then save an image file with software that does not support metadata you risk losing it altogether.
Exif data viewers
Free Photo Viewer: Lightweight Exif data viewer that shows aperture, shutter speed, ISO value, camera model, focal length, time and date, flash settings, etc. IPTC comments are also supported and displayed, you can view all of that in full screen if you wish.
InfanView: This small free photo viewer show Exif/IPTC/comments information from JPG files, the Exif data can not be edited but the IPTC and comments can, IrfanView plugins are available for download extending the photo viewer capabilities.
Programs to edit and modify Exif data
GeoSetter: Image utility that can read and most digital cameras RAW images, it shows existing geo coordinates and tracks on embedded Google Maps, Internet access needed. GeoSetter can change a digital image GPS coordinates, the date it was taken, IPTC data and much more.
ExifDateChanger: It can change a digital image Exif date indicating when it was taken, the changes include minutes and seconds, it can rename files and captions. Exif Date Changer free version is limited to JPG files, if you upgrade to the Pro version many other file extensions are supported for Exif editing.
ExifEraser: Free lightweight software to erase all of your images Exif data, useful if you plan on posting them to the Internet and would like to erase personal details from your photos. Easy to use, lightweight, with no installation needed, it erases digital images EXIF/IPTC/XMP information.
ExifPilot: It views images metadata directly in Windows explorer, you can edit and create digital images Exif, Exif GPS, and IPTC data. It can export and import EXIF and IPTC data to MS Excel, the free version can only edit one photograph at a time, to batch processing digital images Exif data you need to upgrade ExifPilot with a paid for plug-in.
ExifTool: Platform independent command-line application for reading, writing, and editing meta information contained in digital images, audio and video files, it supports supports many different types of metadata including Exif, GPS, IPTC, XMP, JFIF, GeoTIFF, ICC Profile, Photoshop IRB, FlashPix, AFCP and ID3.
PhotoME: Multilingual free metadata editor supporting all of the dominant digital camera brands, it shows information that the camera writes to the image file as well as information that can be calculated from the meta data, it can read ICC profile data, IPTC-NAA tags, Exif tags, GPS data, etc.