Symbiostock automatically imports metadata from new images when they are added. This refers to the title, description and the keywords. This only works with images that are able to store metadata, such as JPEGs and certain types of videos (MP4, etc).

Metadata reading and writing requires that your server support the exec() and shell_exec() functions. These functions are sometimes disabled for security purposes, in which case you may have to alter your Symbiostock settings to use a simplified method or ask your host to enable them. This method will not always work, and cannot be used for writing metadata to media. 

Metadata is used mainly by agencies to auto-populate fields when you submit media to them. This way you don’t have to manually enter keywords and titles with every image as the image itself stores that data within it.

Editing metadata is generally not an easy process as few editors standardize the fields they use. Symbiostock is therefore a great standalone and free meta editor as it populates the EXIF fields in a way that allows agencies to find the exact information they want.

Editing metadata using Symbiostock is easy. All you have to do is edit a product and click ‘Yes’ on the ‘Update Metadata’ option. Then, when you save, the title, description and tags will automatically be saved into the original, raw image.

Note: This is a powerful tool – if you put the wrong data in, it will overwrite your previous metadata.

You can also optionally use the ‘Short/Meta Description’ field on your product edit page for the metadata description. This allows you to have a longer, richer full description for your Symbiostock store, and a cut down version of it for the metadata.

Note:  Symbiostock automatically strips all formatting from your text when entering metadata.

You may optionally change the global settings on metadata updating through your Symbiostock > Settings page. If you enable this, all images will automatically save metadata every time you edit them. This will only apply to images that have the ‘Global Default’ setting checked under their ‘Update Metadata’ option. You may override the global default by manually checking ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for any image.

Note: If you update an image with a new one, the new one will have metadata automatically overridden when it is imported if you have enabled metadata saving for that image.


Symbiostock Pro reads metadata for the main fields in the following order:

title: Headline, Title, Caption, ObjectName

description: Description, Caption-Abstract, ImageDescription

keywords: Keywords, Subject


Symbiostock auto-marks images as editorial, exclusive, model released, and property released if those keywords are found in the EXIF tags during import. The tags are: ‘exclusive’, ‘editorial’, ‘model release’, ‘illustration’, and ‘property release’. They are exact – if you misspell, or forget a space, it will not read it correctly.


Symbiostock will read the ‘SupplementalCategories’, ‘SupplementalCategory’ and ‘Category’ metadata fields to populate the categories within Symbiostock. If a category does not exist, Symbiostock will create it.

Custom fields

If you navigate to your Symbiostock > Settings > Media tab, you will see additional settings relating to how metadata is saved and extracted from media. One option is Read Extra Metadata, which allows you to instruct Symbiostock to extract custom fields from your media and store it in WordPress. You can then use these custom fields for other uses within your plugins or themes.

Forcing fields

If you have a unique field that you use for the titles, descriptions, or keywords for your media, you can arbitrate these via your Symbiostock Settings. Just input the exact (case sensitive) name of the field you wish Symbiostock to use, and it will then try to use that in preference to the regular fields it uses.

If you have any questions or issues with metadata reading and writing through Symbiostock, post your query in our forums.