removing metadata

Started Apr 20, 2011 | Discussions
Julian500 Contributing Member • Posts: 780
removing metadata

hello all, I have a need to strip the metadata from a very large batch of files. I've looked around and found a few programs that looked good but were unfortunately for windows, and a couple programs for mac that didn't do the trick quite right (little problems).

I want to figure out a way to make an action for this in photoshop: select all, copy, close, new document, paste, save. but I can't find a way to be able to save as something new like a sequence number. so if I ran that on a bunch of photos they would all save as "Untitled-1" replacing each other with every save. I tried to use this type of action along with the "batch" from bridge using the 'save as' with sequence number, but it wouldn't save the new document.

does anybody know of a good way to achieve this? just to simply wipe out all the camera metadata.

thank you very much

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Bernard D Contributing Member • Posts: 700
Re: removing metadata

Lightroom would allow you to do this, and it's available for Mac.

Bernard

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,536
Re: removing metadata

FastStone Image Viewer for Windows will do this quickly and easily. Under Tools there is the option, "Remove JPEG Data". Select all files you want to remove the metadata from, use this tool, and you have the option to strip everything from your JPEG images.

http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

Perhaps you can copy all the files to a portable disk and use a friend's Windows OS computer to strip out the metadata for your files.

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OP Julian500 Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: removing metadata

oh wow didn't think it would be that easy. thank you very much! I'll get my hands on it and try it out.

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Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,687
EXIFTool works on Macs and Windows

Julian500 wrote:

hello all, I have a need to strip the metadata from a very large batch of files. I've looked around and found a few programs that looked good but were unfortunately for windows, and a couple programs for mac that didn't do the trick quite right (little problems).

does anybody know of a good way to achieve this? just to simply wipe out all the camera metadata.

The only catch is it is a command line program. But I think that the options to do what you want are simple.

Download it from
http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/

(You want the 'Mac OS X Package' version, not the one listed at the top of the page.)

From the docs on
http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/exiftool_pod.html#writing_examples

exiftool -all= dst.jpg
Delete all meta information from an image.

This deletes the EXIF meta data from a single image. I think that

exiftool -all= *.jpg

would delete the EXIF info from all the JPEG files in the directory you are running it in. (I haven't tried it.)

It is prudent to copy images to a separate directory when experimenting with EXIFTools, and work on the copies.

I'm not a Mac user, so I can't give you specific instructions on how to do this. You can do the file copying however you normally do that. Then open a terminal window and change to the directory where the images are (cd directory_name I think) If there are spaces in the directory name, you need to delimit the directory name with quote characters. I think either single or double quotes will work. (The preceding is based on my Linux experience. OS X is based on UNIX, so I think the command line works somewhat the same. Heck, MS-DOS was partially copied from UNIX, so it isn't that much different than UNIX.)

Maybe a Mac user can step in with better hints on how to run a simple command line program. It is really easy once you know the few things you need to know to open a terminal window and change to the correct directory.

Wayne

Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,657
+1 ExifTool. And there are GUIs available...

...but I would use the command line option instead of the GUI. Much more reliable and much more control.

Exiftool is also great for bulk Geotagging if you have a tracklog. Remarkable tool. Understands a wide variety of EXIF data.

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Sammy.

My forum postings reflect my own opinions and not those of my employer. I'm not employed in the photo business.

kb2zuz Veteran Member • Posts: 3,203
Re: EXIFTool works on Macs and Windows

I agree a command line tool like exiftool or imagemagick would work the best.

create a folder with just the images you want to remove metadata from
in terminal cd to that folder
then:
exiftool -all= -overwrite_original .

similarlly you can use ImageMagick's strip command
convert -strip .

These should kill everything: IPTC data like document title, creator, copyright info, etc and EXIF data like camera make/model, lens, ISO, aperture, etc.

If your images are not already in sRGB, I recommend converting them to sRGB prior to stripping metadata (as many programs will assume an image is in sRGB if no ICC profile is embedded)

Going back to the Photoshop method, DO NOT include the "Save" in the action itself (just have it close the image you copied from). When you choose "Batch" to run the file you can set your destination to be "Folder" (not "Save and Close") then you can adjust the File Naming options. So you could put the first field as "NoMeta-" then pull down the next field to "4 digit serial number" then pull down the third field to be "extension" then you'll end up with a bunch of files NoMeta-0001.jpg, NoMeta-0002.jpg, NoMeta-0003, etc...

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~K

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Richard Katris Veteran Member • Posts: 4,611
Just curious...why would you

want/need to do this? Space? file sizes? secrecy? testing?

Since exif data has a purpose in showing ownership and source info....why would you want it removed in bulk from images?
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Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,687
Re: Just curious...why would you

Richard Katris wrote:

want/need to do this? Space? file sizes? secrecy? testing?

Since exif data has a purpose in showing ownership and source info....why would you want it removed in bulk from images?

Particularly, note that with EXIFTool you can change or delete any fields you want. i.e., you can use EXIFTool to put data showing your ownership in multiple fields, just to make sure that nobody will overlook it unintentionally. (There are a bunch of different "comment" and "owner" fields.)

EXIFTool is also handy for dumping all the EXIF data, so that you can see exactly what is being stored. Look at the first few examples in this section of the EXIFTools docs:

http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/exiftool_pod.html#reading_examples

I find that dumping meta data with EXifTool is a lot handier than jumping around CS5's multiple dialog boxes (I don't use Lightroom.)

Wayne

Sammy Yousef
Sammy Yousef Veteran Member • Posts: 4,657
Why would you want to edit EXIF?

1) Add data not recorded by the camera. Classic example is geotagging. You can marry photos using data/time with a GPS track log and insert into the photo.

2) Privacy. Removing Geotagging data so people don't know exactly where you've been, can't go to that secret hunting, fishing, photography spot of yours etc. Or maybe you just don't want someone to know what cameras you own if you do own an expensive pro model.

3) Correct incorrectly recorded data. Focal length with a teleconverter. Copyright message attributes it to you when your wife took the photo. etc.

4) Protect proprietary techniques. I don't necessarily agree with this one but some people don't want you to know what settings they used taking a photo (usually in fear others may be able to match or outdo them)

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kb2zuz Veteran Member • Posts: 3,203
Re: Just curious...why would you

The size reduction for a full size image is negligible... metadata generally takes up a fraction of a percent of the file size. But for small thumbnails, the percentage that metadata takes up is greater. For thumbnails, the size reduction is worth-while (especially in situations where there are hundreds of thousands of thumbnails).

Sometimes people don't want to show what camera or lens they were using in a shot. Sometimes going through several versions of a file, the metadata can kinda have weird artifacts from different programs putting the data in different places. Sometimes people steal someone else's work and want to hide that fact. When dealing with images from multiple sources the metadata may be formated differently and sometimes it can cause problems with other programs. The metadata may also contain a thumbnail of the image... there was a situation that happened a few years back with a minor web celebrity who posted some "headshots" of herself to her blog, however some people looked at the files and saw the embedded thumbnails showed that the original shots were of her topless, and they were later cropped to just be headshots. Because of concerns like this and the privacy threat of exposing GPS data, many large websites that host images for the general public (like facebook, not sites like this one that cater to photographers) might find it advantageous to strip all metadata.

Also watch your terminology... generally ownership and source info are recorded in IPTC and XMP. Some creator data can be stored in EXIF, but most of EXIF is data like date created, camera make and model, etc. Even though the program is called Exiftool (because when it was originally written it mostly dealt with just EXIF) the latest versions of the program can now edit XMP and IPTC as well.

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~K

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