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exif_tagname> <exif_imagetype
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012

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(PHP 4 >= 4.2.0, PHP 5)

exif_read_dataReads the EXIF headers from JPEG or TIFF


array exif_read_data ( string $filename [, string $sections = NULL [, bool $arrays = false [, bool $thumbnail = false ]]] )

exif_read_data() reads the EXIF headers from a JPEG or TIFF image file. This way you can read meta data generated by digital cameras.

EXIF headers tend to be present in JPEG/TIFF images generated by digital cameras, but unfortunately each digital camera maker has a different idea of how to actually tag their images, so you can't always rely on a specific Exif header being present.

Height and Width are computed the same way getimagesize() does so their values must not be part of any header returned. Also, html is a height/width text string to be used inside normal HTML.

When an Exif header contains a Copyright note, this itself can contain two values. As the solution is inconsistent in the Exif 2.10 standard, the COMPUTED section will return both entries Copyright.Photographer and Copyright.Editor while the IFD0 sections contains the byte array with the NULL character that splits both entries. Or just the first entry if the datatype was wrong (normal behaviour of Exif). The COMPUTED will also contain the entry Copyright which is either the original copyright string, or a comma separated list of the photo and editor copyright.

The tag UserComment has the same problem as the Copyright tag. It can store two values. First the encoding used, and second the value itself. If so the IFD section only contains the encoding or a byte array. The COMPUTED section will store both in the entries UserCommentEncoding and UserComment. The entry UserComment is available in both cases so it should be used in preference to the value in IFD0 section.

exif_read_data() also validates EXIF data tags according to the EXIF specification (», page 20).


Windows Me/XP can both wipe the Exif headers when connecting to a camera.



The name of the image file being read. This cannot be an URL.


Is a comma separated list of sections that need to be present in file to produce a result array. If none of the requested sections could be found the return value is FALSE.

FILE FileName, FileSize, FileDateTime, SectionsFound
COMPUTED html, Width, Height, IsColor, and more if available. Height and Width are computed the same way getimagesize() does so their values must not be part of any header returned. Also, html is a height/width text string to be used inside normal HTML.
ANY_TAG Any information that has a Tag e.g. IFD0, EXIF, ...
IFD0 All tagged data of IFD0. In normal imagefiles this contains image size and so forth.
THUMBNAIL A file is supposed to contain a thumbnail if it has a second IFD. All tagged information about the embedded thumbnail is stored in this section.
COMMENT Comment headers of JPEG images.
EXIF The EXIF section is a sub section of IFD0. It contains more detailed information about an image. Most of these entries are digital camera related.


Specifies whether or not each section becomes an array. The sections COMPUTED, THUMBNAIL, and COMMENT always become arrays as they may contain values whose names conflict with other sections.


When set to TRUE the thumbnail itself is read. Otherwise, only the tagged data is read.

Return Values

It returns an associative array where the array indexes are the header names and the array values are the values associated with those headers. If no data can be returned, exif_read_data() will return FALSE.


Version Description
4.3.0 Can read all embedded IFD data including arrays (returned as such). Also the size of an embedded thumbnail is returned in a THUMBNAIL subarray, and can return thumbnails in TIFF format. Also, there is no longer a maximum length for returned values (not until the memory limit has been reached)
4.3.0 If PHP has mbstring support, the user comment can automatically change encoding. Also, if the user comment uses Unicode or JIS encoding this encoding will automatically be changed according to the exif ini settings in php.ini
4.3.0 If the image contains any IFD0 data then COMPUTED contains the entry ByteOrderMotorola which is 0 for little-endian (intel) and 1 for big-endian (motorola) byte order. Also, COMPUTED and UserComment no longer only contain the first copyright entry if the datatype was wrong.


Example #1 exif_read_data() example

echo "test1.jpg:<br />\n";
$exif exif_read_data('tests/test1.jpg''IFD0');
$exif===false "No header data found.<br />\n" "Image contains headers<br />\n";

$exif exif_read_data('tests/test2.jpg'0true);
"test2.jpg:<br />\n";
foreach (
$exif as $key => $section) {
    foreach (
$section as $name => $val) {
"$key.$name$val<br />\n";

The first call fails because the image has no header information.

The above example will output something similar to:

No header data found.
FILE.FileName: test2.jpg
FILE.FileDateTime: 1017666176
FILE.FileSize: 1240
FILE.FileType: 2
COMPUTED.html: width="1" height="1"
COMPUTED.Height: 1
COMPUTED.ByteOrderMotorola: 1
COMPUTED.UserComment: Exif test image.
COMPUTED.UserCommentEncoding: ASCII
COMPUTED.Copyright: Photo (c) M.Boerger, Edited by M.Boerger.
COMPUTED.Copyright.Photographer: Photo (c) M.Boerger
COMPUTED.Copyright.Editor: Edited by M.Boerger.
IFD0.Copyright: Photo (c) M.Boerger
IFD0.UserComment: ASCII
THUMBNAIL.JPEGInterchangeFormat: 134
THUMBNAIL.JPEGInterchangeFormatLength: 523
COMMENT.0: Comment #1.
COMMENT.1: Comment #2.
COMMENT.2: Comment #3end
THUMBNAIL.JPEGInterchangeFormat: 134
THUMBNAIL.Thumbnail.Height: 1
THUMBNAIL.Thumbnail.Height: 1

See Also

exif_tagname> <exif_imagetype
[edit] Last updated: Sat, 12 May 2012
add a note add a note User Contributed Notes exif_read_data
drpain at webster dot org dot za 13-Mar-2012 11:40
Please note that when resizing images with GD and most image processing scripts or applications you will loose the EXIF information. What I did as a workaround is book this information into MySQL before I re-size images.


// This function is used to determine the camera details for a specific image. It returns an array with the parameters.
function cameraUsed($imagePath) {

// Check if the variable is set and if the file itself exists before continuing
if ((isset($imagePath)) and (file_exists($imagePath))) {
// There are 2 arrays which contains the information we are after, so it's easier to state them both
$exif_ifd0 = read_exif_data($imagePath ,'IFD0' ,0);      
$exif_exif = read_exif_data($imagePath ,'EXIF' ,0);
//error control
$notFound = "Unavailable";
// Make
if (@array_key_exists('Make', $exif_ifd0)) {
$camMake = $exif_ifd0['Make'];
      } else {
$camMake = $notFound; }
// Model
if (@array_key_exists('Model', $exif_ifd0)) {
$camModel = $exif_ifd0['Model'];
      } else {
$camModel = $notFound; }
// Exposure
if (@array_key_exists('ExposureTime', $exif_ifd0)) {
$camExposure = $exif_ifd0['ExposureTime'];
      } else {
$camExposure = $notFound; }

// Aperture
if (@array_key_exists('ApertureFNumber', $exif_ifd0['COMPUTED'])) {
$camAperture = $exif_ifd0['COMPUTED']['ApertureFNumber'];
      } else {
$camAperture = $notFound; }
// Date
if (@array_key_exists('DateTime', $exif_ifd0)) {
$camDate = $exif_ifd0['DateTime'];
      } else {
$camDate = $notFound; }
// ISO
if (@array_key_exists('ISOSpeedRatings',$exif_exif)) {
$camIso = $exif_exif['ISOSpeedRatings'];
      } else {
$camIso = $notFound; }
$return = array();
$return['make'] = $camMake;
$return['model'] = $camModel;
$return['exposure'] = $camExposure;
$return['aperture'] = $camAperture;
$return['date'] = $camDate;
$return['iso'] = $camIso;
    } else {


An example of it's use follows:


= cameraUsed("/img/myphoto.jpg");
"Camera Used: " . $camera['make'] . " " . $camera['model'] . "<br />";
"Exposure Time: " . $camera['exposure'] . "<br />";
"Aperture: " . $camera['aperture'] . "<br />";
"ISO: " . $camera['iso'] . "<br />";
"Date Taken: " . $camera['date'] . "<br />";


Will display the following, depending on the data:

Camera Used: SONY DSC-S930
Exposure Time: 1/400
Aperture: f/4.3
ISO: 100
Date Taken: 2010:12:10 18:18:45

If the image has been re-sized and the information is no longer available then you should receive the following when echoing the same:

Camera Used: Unavailable
Exposure Time: Unavailable
Aperture: Unavailable
ISO: Unavailable
Date Taken: Unavailable

Some cameras do not capture all the information, for instance Blackberry phones do not record an aperture, or iso and you will get Unavailable for those fields. 

I hope you find this helpful.
michael [at[ thisiswilson [dot[ com 20-Nov-2008 09:01
From - darkain at darkain dot com 's example.

If all the data is from the same image - simply

= exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']

$emake =$exif_data['Make'];
$emodel = $exif_data['Model'];
$eexposuretime = $exif_data['ExposureTime'];
$efnumber = $exif_data['FNumber'];
$eiso = $exif_data['ISOSpeedRatings'];
$edate = $exif_data['DateTime'];

will work, I tried using the PEL library, and while pretty cool, I can't for the life understand how to call some things, this is simpler if your system is pretty basic or if you're in a rush.  If you have time, try playing with PEL.  It's not maintained at the moment though..
lincolnzsilva at gmail dot com 26-Sep-2008 04:57
Get some EXIFs fields (easy way):

= exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'IFD0' ,0 );
$emake = $exif_make['Make'];
$exif_model = exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'IFD0' ,0 );
$emodel = $exif_model['Model'];
$exif_exposuretime = exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'EXIF' ,0 );
$eexposuretime = $exif_exposuretime['ExposureTime'];
$exif_fnumber = exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'EXIF' ,0 );
$efnumber = $exif_fnumber['FNumber'];

$exif_iso = exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'EXIF' ,0 );
$eiso = $exif_iso['ISOSpeedRatings'];
$exif_date = exif_read_data ( $_FILES['photo']['tmp_name'] ,'IFD0' ,0 );
$edate = $exif_date['DateTime'];
darkain at darkain dot com 28-Jul-2008 11:33
I wanted some quick and easy functions for computing the shutter speed and f-stop.  I couldn't find any anywhere, so I made some.  It took some research :

function exif_get_float($value) {
$pos = strpos($value, '/');
  if (
$pos === false) return (float) $value;
$a = (float) substr($value, 0, $pos);
$b = (float) substr($value, $pos+1);
  return (
$b == 0) ? ($a) : ($a / $b);

exif_get_shutter(&$exif) {
  if (!isset(
$exif['ShutterSpeedValue'])) return false;
$apex    = exif_get_float($exif['ShutterSpeedValue']);
$shutter = pow(2, -$apex);
  if (
$shutter == 0) return false;
  if (
$shutter >= 1) return round($shutter) . 's';
'1/' . round(1 / $shutter) . 's';

exif_get_fstop(&$exif) {
  if (!isset(
$exif['ApertureValue'])) return false;
$apex  = exif_get_float($exif['ApertureValue']);
$fstop = pow(2, $apex/2);
  if (
$fstop == 0) return false;
'f/' . round($fstop,1);
wdierkes at 5dollarwhitebox dot org 04-Sep-2007 06:20
Using the exif methods to read WINXP data returns unexpected results unless both exif and mbstring are compiled statically.  Please reference the following bug reports:

Bug #31980
Bug #23105

Specifically, the last comment on #23105:

"[8 Apr 2003 4:26pm UTC]

This cannot be fixed due to the fact that mbstring has been removed from PHP core (it has been 'unbundled') and the rest of core files and other extensions cannot use mbstring functionality when it is compiled as a shared library (dll).

If exif is compiled statically (--enable-exif) and mbstring compiled as a DSO module (--enable-mbstring=shared) then exif_read_data may only return a single character rather than the entire string.

Compiling both exif and mbstring statically (--enable-exif --enable-mbstring) resolves the issue.
mafo at mafo removethis dot sk 08-Aug-2007 01:57
some cameras (most higher models) have position senzor (gyroskope?) and taking-position is wrote in EXIF, here is simple script for automatic rotating images

= exif_read_data($filename);
$ort = $exif['IFD0']['Orientation'];
1: // nothing

2: // horizontal flip
3: // 180 rotate left
4: // vertical flip
5: // vertical flip + 90 rotate right
$image->flipImage($public, 2);
$image->rotateImage($public, -90);
6: // 90 rotate right
$image->rotateImage($public, -90);
7: // horizontal flip + 90 rotate right
$image->rotateImage($public, -90);
8:    // 90 rotate left
$image->rotateImage($public, 90);


$image->rotateImage() is inspired by example of
$image->flipImage() is inspired by (thank you)
05-Mar-2007 11:50
When reading EXIF information from the 'WINXP' group, you may need to change used encoding from the default "ISO-8859-15" to "UTF-8". This can be done in php.ini or in your code:

('exif.encode_unicode', 'UTF-8');

$exif = exif_read_data('TEST.JPG', 0, true);

Useful documentation about EXIF:
See also comments next to XPTitle and XPAuthor.
09-Aug-2004 10:11
I've just released the "PHP JPEG Metadata Toolkit" which allows reading, writing and displaying of EXIF information, and does not need the --enable-exif option in PHP4.

It has been tested on 466 different models of digital cameras!

It can decode the following EXIF makernotes:
Agfa, Canon, Casio, Contax, Epson, Fujifilm, Konica, Minolta, Kyocera, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax (Asahi), Ricoh and Sony

Additionaly it can decode IPTC, XMP, Photoshop IRB and many other types of JPEG metadata

Try it out, and download it at:
gimpster at gimpster dot com 17-May-2004 04:24
I've written a library in pure PHP5 for editing EXIF tags. It deals with both reading and writing EXIF tags, and can be downloaded from
noway at nowaysoft dot com 23-Feb-2004 08:44
Exif is very unstable under php4.1.2

If you have some problem, (the function didnt return anything, like a blocking call) try this:

$file = './image.jpg';
getimagesize ( $file , $info);

$exif = array();
if (isset($info)) {
    foreach($info as $key => $val) {
        if ($key != 'APP1') { $exif = read_exif_data($file); break; }

-- Sharp
pekka at photography-on-the dot net 19-Nov-2003 05:50
For reading EXIF from XMP data embedded by Adobe Photoshop CS, see

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