Update 5/2012: As I look back at some of my older posts I can’t help but shake my head at them, even more so with this one. Not because removing Metadata isn’t important but because most everything I do now is done in Lightroom 4 and with LR4, Metadata removal is just an option at file export. I dare say easier then Aperture 3 (blasphemy!). Now if you don’t use Aperture 3, LR4 or other programs similar in nature, read on. On second thought, If you you are using such a program, you’re likely not reading this anyway.
You may not realize this but hidden information is embedded in your pictures that you may or may not want public. This information is known as Metadata. The information includes more than just the size and time stamp of your images. Metadata includes things like the camera settings, type of camera, type of lens as well as the operating system and software used. With programs like Adobe Bridge you can even add to the existing metadata ( location, notes, etc. ) Some cameras include GPS data as well. Now for most of us the information being embedded in the image file doesn’t really mean much or even matter. However for the rest of us having full metadata in your image file is like a chef giving out his recipe with every meal. The problem is that metadata cannot be simply deleted. Although Adobe Bridge for Photoshop can let you add to it, it will not delete the metadata. On the other hand, there are a few very simple tricks that I use to remove this info.
In Mac OSX you can view metadata by opening an image in Preview. Under “Tools” select “Show Inspector”.
First is the Apple Mail program….
This trick seems to only works from iPhoto. You will not get the same results if you drag the images strait to Mail. You start by selecting the pictures in iPhoto and click the mail icon in the lower right corner. Make sure “Actual Size” is selected in the drop down menu. iPhoto will then prepare the pictures for Mail. Once the pictures are in the Mail new message window, simply drag the images back to the desktop or wherever is convenient, close mail (no need to save), and you’re done. You will find the metadata to be removed while retaining the resolution and color profile data.
Update For Aperture 3/21/10
Aperture 3 metadata removal is outlined here
Next is the “Save As Save As” trick…
This one is straight forward. Open an image in Preview, save it as a PNG, then save it back to a JPEG or vice versa. Metadata gone.