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How to Use EXIF Tags for Photos in WordPress Media

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Many people will use WordPress to show off an image portfolio of their photographic abilities. It makes for a great method to market oneself as a professional photographer. Using a photos EXIF data can add a bit more interest to those images.

When you use EXIF tags for photos in WordPress, you add a bit more engagement by displaying various information about the image itself. It’s also beneficial if you’re creating a tutorial or how-to photography website.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you an easy way to add that metadata to your WordPress posts and pages.

What is an EXIF Photo tag?

The exchangeable image file format, or EXIF, is data most new cameras store within the photograph. This can include data about the date, time, various settings, shutter speed and more regarding individual photos.

And if you use a mobile device, even the GPS location may be included in these tags.

Why Make EXIF Information Available?

Using EXIF metadata in your content displays a variety of information for the photo. You can show off various aspects of the shot to give visitors further details regarding the image.

For instance, perhaps you’re showing visitors how to take the perfect photograph of the Grand Canyon during a certain time of the day. You can let WordPress use the photo metadata to show various settings such as shutter speed, date and time.

Another aspect to consider is how you can add copyright information to the EXIF metadata as well. This can help keep your photos from being spread without your permission.

Using Exifography

Today, I am going to feature the Exifography plugin. It’s an easy tool that lets you pick and choose what metadata to include in your posts including customizing HTML layout.

Plus, you can include a Google Map to show others where you were when taking the picture.

Install and activate, “Exifography.”


Go to Settings and click, “Exifography.”

Exifography Settings

Default EXIF

Choose the default EXIF information to display. Simply check the boxes of all the elements you want to use.

Default Exif Info

This is the information the plugin will use to show details in your WordPress posts or pages. If your camera supports any of these options, visitors will see the data you choose.

Auto Insert into Post

Choose whether to auto insert EXIF data for the first image added to your content.

Auto Insert EXIF Data

This option is best suited when most of your content will use the EXIF metadata of photos, such as building a photo gallery or online portfolio.

Custom HTML

Customizing the HTML of the layout is purely optional. By default, Exifography will display the metadata in a table within your content. However, you can add your own elements to fine-tune the coding if you wish.

Customize HTML Table Exif

This information includes link to Google Maps, zooming in, map width and timestamp format you want to show.

Adding Google Maps API Key

Exifography gives you the opportunity to add Google Maps to your website according to photo metadata. If you want to expand what you can offer, add your Google Maps API key for this project.

Google Maps API Key

Using Google Maps is an optional setting. You don’t really need this when showing EXIF data for WordPress images. However, it does add engagement if you’re highlighting a specific location in the photo.

When you’re done with fine-tuning your settings, click the “Save Changes” button.

Save Changes

NOTE: Google Maps now requires an API key and a billing account. However, you get a $200 credit on the account which gives you quite a few page loads per month. This helps smaller websites as it keeps the price within reason.

The map will not show in the EXIF metadata without having an API key from Google.

Now let’s add an image to the website.

Adding an Image to WordPress with EXIF Data

Let’s open a new WordPress post or page. You can also just open a post or page you already have on your website.

New WordPress Post

Add a new image to your content.

Add Media

Every image will now have a shortcode available to show any metadata you selected above. Copy the Exifography shortcode before inserting the image.

Copy Exifography Shortcode

Paste the shortcode after the image. If you are adding more than one image to a post, it’s a good idea to include the EXIF metadata after each to reduce confusion.

Paste Exifography Shortcode

After publishing or updating the post or page, the EXIF data will show under the image.

Show Exif Metadata

Take note of the “Location” portion of the EXIF metadata. It will display the geographic coordinates unless you use a Google Maps API key.

Opening Location in Google Maps

If you want to turn the coordinates into a clickable link that will open Google Maps, go back to Exifography’s settings and click the option to “Link GEO EXIF to Google Maps.”

Link GEO Exif

The GEO location is now a clickable link that will open Google Maps on a device and show where the image was taken.

Link To Geo Location

Show Off EXIF data in WordPress Images

Exifography is one of the easier WordPress image metadata plugins to use for displaying the information. If you choose not to show the data, simply don’t add the Exifography shortcode.

However, using the EXIF data has a wide range of possibilities for photographers. For example, you can compare image quality of various cameras while taking a picture of the same subject.

What kind of graphic add-ons do you use to engage your website visitors? Do you find your own photos perform better for engaging traffic as opposed to stock imagery?

Updated on August 26, 2019

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