There are a number of websites that let you tag people in photos, such as Facebook and now flickr, but is there an EXIF standard for tagging who is in a photo, and where they are?


Adobe's XMP metadata standard supports information defined by the Metadata Working Group (MWG), which includes a definition of how to store face tagged data. See:

Adobe XMP: http://www.adobe.com/products/xmp/standards.html MWG: http://www.metadataworkinggroup.com/ where you can click on the specifications, download the PDF, and then look at page 51 onward.

So while this isn't "EXIF" per se, it is metadata stored in the image. I'm just starting now to explore how widely supported this is.

  • 2
    Great answer! Thanks for the contribution and welcome to photo stack exchange!
    – dpollitt
    Oct 25 '11 at 2:50

There is not. IPTC, another image metadata standard, also does not contain a "People" field. There's a Contact field, but that is used for contact information for the photographer.

Most people I know will store people as keywords. The main debate is whether or not to include spaces (would a photo of me be tagged as aaronhockley or as "aaron hockley"?). I don't use spaces since that simplifies things at times, but it's pretty subjective. I think the main thing is consistency... pick one method and stick to it.

  • 9
    I love standards ... especially since there are so many to choose from <grin/>
    – David G
    Jul 15 '10 at 21:29
  • 1
    A comment about spaces....or perhaps better stated, separate keywords for first and last name. By separating the two, it makes it easier to search for everyone in a family. For example, if I want to find all of my family, I simply need to look for the keyword "rista". Trying to do the same with joined first and last name is a bit tougher and slower. However the reverse, searching for both a separated first name and last name individually, is pretty strait forward and does not require more complex forms of string searches.
    – jrista
    Oct 25 '11 at 3:06
  • In a very varied collection, mere names are inadequate. For a collection mostly limited to a historically European cultural context, it may help to enter names like many do in the bibliographic software BibTeX: "{von last, jr, first}". This will facilitate searching by the value that we tend to call last name and the value that we tend to call first name.
    – minopret
    Dec 13 '12 at 17:06

I don't think there is ... you can take a look at the EXIF specifications at http://www.exif.org or http://www.jeita.or.jp/cgi-bin/standard_e/pdfpage.cgi?jk_n=47

EXIF is a technical standard for images files ... not the content / subject of the image.


The MetaDataWorking Group, section 5.9 (face regions), is the best standard going forward for managing people tags. Right now Picasa, MS Photo Gallery and Fotobounce support this standard. Hopefully Adobe will jump on board since they are on the committee for this standard...


The only metadata field to store the people inside the file as metadata at the moment (according to MWG and XMP standards) is XMP:Iptc4xmpExt:PersonInImage

MWG also assumes to describe and store people faces as Randy said above.

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