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Time-shift photo dates with ExifTool

By   |  December 31, 2007

How often has it happened that you either buy a new camera or you replace the battery in your existing camera and, after taking a hundred or so shots, you realise that you forgot to set the date? So now all your photos were seemingly taken in January 2000 instead of December 2007. Manually editing the creation date of each photo one by one is a daunting task, especially if you’re a prolific photographer. But doing them all with one single command using ExifTool is a much simpler process.

ExifTool is a Perl script created by Phil Harvey that makes it possible to edit just about every piece of information in the Exchangeable image file format (Exif) metadata associated with photos.

Changing the creation date is as simple as working out how out of date your camera’s date settings are and then instructing ExifTool to adjust all photos accordingly:

For example, say that your camera clock was reset to 2000:01:01 00:00:00 when you put in a new battery at 2005:11:03 10:48:00. Then all of the pictures you took subsequently have timestamps that are wrong by 5 years, 10 months, 2 days, 10 hours and 48 minutes. To fix this, put all of the images in the same directory (“DIR”) and run exiftool:

exiftool “-DateTimeOriginal+=5:10:2 10:48:0” DIR

Of course ExifTool does a great deal more than just changing dates and is worth the time invested in getting to know the script if you’re serious about your photography. But for a quick fix for incorrect dates ExifTool is ideal.

ExifTool is Perl-based so runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux with ease.

Via LWN.Net



One Response to “Time-shift photo dates with ExifTool”

  1. Heikki
    December 31st, 2007 @ 10:20 am

    The default tool for EXIF data manipulations has for long been jhead:

    Jhead is a program for manipulating settings and thumnails in Exif jpeg headers
    used by most Digital Cameras. v2.7 Matthias Wandel, April 29 2006.

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