You share photos every day on your website, in Facebook posts, and via other social media, but do you really know how much information you’re putting out there? As experts in online reputation management, we’re here today with tips on how to protect your data and privacy.

All digital photo files include EXIF data, or metadata, which can include what camera you used, where the image was taken, and more. Just right-click on your photo and select “get info” or “properties” to see what we’re talking about. You won’t find all the information filled out every time, but we prefer to play it safe, not sorry.

Here’s an example. Cute baby photo right? (Darn right!)

Under “More Info”, you can see that the photo was taken with an Apple iPhone 6, you see a bunch of nonsense about the exposure and camera settings, and then you see the latitude and longitude. Plug those numbers into Google Maps and boom, anyone can see where you were.

Do you take a lot of photos at your house? On the job? At your child’s school? Now a tech-savvy stalker has more than enough information to find you.

There are several things you can do to remedy this situation.

From your smartphone:

Before you snap any photos, the best thing you can do is turn off your Location Services in your phone settings. For some Android owners, turn off GPS tagging options in your camera app.

This might not always be the most convenient process for you though. We understand that you need your GPS while you’re traveling or to run other apps, so if you (accidentally) leave the settings on, but still want to text a photo to a friend or post it to social media, take to your computer before sending.

From your PC:
Windows lets you click “Remove Properties and Personal Information” when you view the photo’s properties. The option is under the “Details” tab.

From your Mac:

There isn’t a built-in feature in Macs to remove these properties, but you can download ImageOptim for free from the developer. Download at your own risk, although we didn’t have any issues with it.

Open the Image Optim window and drag image files into the field to start the process. You’ll see a green arrow next to the file when it is completed. The program saves over the top of your file, so there aren’t duplicates everywhere, but go to your trash if you want the original back.

Happy private picture taking to you all!