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How to Edit Photo Metadata in Linux

Before stepping further about how to edit photo metadata in Linux, you need to understand first what is photo metadata.

In photograpy metadata is a descriptive information about a certain photo you have taken. The information contained in a metadata can be ISO range, timestamp, shutter speed, focal length and a lot more. There are three common standard formats of photo metadata in photography. They are IPTC, XMP and EXIF.

EXIF — which is stands for Exchangeable Image File Format — is the most common metadata format that is adopted by most digital cameras, including DSLRs and smartphone cameras. If you still have no idea about EXIF metadata, here is an example of EXIF metadata on one of my photos.

In Linux there are a lot of tools that you can use to edit photo metadata. Whether it’s terminal-based tools or GUI-based ones. In this article I am going to show you how to edit photo metadata in Linux using a GUI-based tool called XnView.

XnView is a cross-platform app. Aside of Linux the tool is also available for Windows and Mac. Before get started to edit EXIF metadata of your photos sure you need to have XnView installed on your computer first.

Install XnView in Linux

There are two kind of files that are offered by XnView for Linux platfrom, DEB and TGZ. I am a Ubuntu user so I choose to download the DEB file instead of TGZ. If you use other Debian-based distros such Linux Mint, SteamOS or Debian it self you can download the same file. On other hand, if you use other Linux distros you can download the TGZ file to install the XnView.

To install XnView in Ubuntu please follow these steps.

  • Download the DEB file of XnView here.
  • Open your terminal and go to the folder where the downloaded DEB file of XnView is located using cd command.
  • Type the following command to install to install XnView.
sudo dpkg -i XnViewMP-linux-x64.deb

Start editing the EXIF metadata

Now you can start editing the EXIF medata of your photos. Just launch the XnView app on your Ubuntu. Select one or multiple photos in XnView’s file browser and right click on them and select Edit ITPC/XMP. You will have the following dialog.

As you can see, there are several tabs that you can use to add parameters over your photos. Once you done adding parameters you want, just click on the Save button. If you often doing the same task with your photos you can also set a template to make everything easier and quicker.

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