THERE are times that you just want to know where your photos were taken. Sadly there are times that your photos won't have geolocation tags in them. Thankfully though you can kind of hack the geolocation tags into your photos using Google Photos.
But before I lay down the instructions on how to do that, I just want to put it out there and warn you that this will involve you turning on location history on your phone. This might be a nerve-wracking experience for the privacy conscious individuals out there. So if you are uncomfortable with this method, you can just skip on over and look for other solutions.
Also, I recommend doing this for photos that are not taken in the RAW format. I haven’t really triple checked yet if Google Photos will support your camera’s RAW image format but, just to be sure, upload JPEG photos.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's get right to it.
First, you'll need to make sure that your Google Photos account is generally empty or, if not, you have more than enough space left. If you back up your photos to Google Photos in the quality setting that Google wants it to be, you can back up in unlimited quantity. But if you want to back up your photos as is and straight from your memory card, you might need to upgrade your storage for Google Photos.
Second, you'll need to enable Location History on your phone. Why do we need to do this? Because your phone's location tracking via GPS will become your photos' GPS tags in the next steps. I’ll leave it up to you to check on how to enable that on your device whether you’re on iOS or Android. Also, a side note here. Make sure that your camera’s and phone's date and time setting are as close to each other as possible.
Third, you’ll now need to back up or upload your camera’s photos to Google Photos. Of course, you can do this via your computer’s browser. Just go to https://photos.google.com/. Also, you can opt to do this via your device using the Google Photos app. I will, however, suggest that you do this part on your computer. Besides, you’ll probably be transferring your camera’s photos to your computer first than your device. This is the tedious part because this will depend on how fast your internet connection is and how big your photos are.
But after all the uploading is done, give Google’s tech in the background to do its job and after some minutes, you’ll be seeing the location tags of each photo on Google Photos. Pretty neat, I must say.
This happens when Google Photos compares your photos’ date and time stamps with that of your location history. Any photo that matches with the date and time stamps in the location history, they get tagged with that specific location.
It’s a pretty cool solution for when you want to always remember the location of that quaint cafe you found on some corner in some city.
One more caveat here. Those location tags don’t get saved into the photo itself as part of the EXIF data. It’s an unfortunate thing, if you ask the photographer in me. If in future iterations of Google Photos, Google can find a way to embed the location tag into the EXIF data when you download your photos, that, I think, would be a welcome feature.
So there you go. Quick, easy, painless tip on how to put in location tags into your photos without having to purchase a separate equipment just so you can tag GPS info on your photos.