PetaPixel

How to Shift the EXIF Timestamps for a Large Batch of Photos

Here’s a friendly public service announcement: remember to time on your camera before and after Daylight Savings Time (which just ended yesterday in the United States) — unlike cell phones, digital cameras generally don’t adjust their own time. If you accidentally forgot and now have a bunch of photos with timestamps that are off by an hour, there are some programs out there that can help you set things right.

Adobe Lightroom (Windows/Mac)

Adobe Lightroom has a feature for editing the photo capture time in your metadata. It’s found under Metadata->Edit Capture Time. In the dialog box that pops up, you’ll be able to adjust your photos to a specific date and time, shift by a certain number of hours, and change the Capture Time to the File Creation Date.

Picasa (Windows/Mac)

Photography StackExchange user Rabarberski writes,

Using Picasa […] it’s very easy to either shift or set the date of a batch of photos. And it’s cross-platform (Windows, OSX and Linux) and free. And no terminal fiddling… Open Picasa. Select your photos. Click Tools > Adjust Date and Time. Fill in as required.

JHead (Windows/Mac/*nix)

JHead is a powerful command line tool for editing EXIF data. While it’s not as user friendly as other GUI-based options, it allows you to apply date and time offsets to large batches of photographs.

-ta<+|-><timediff>

Adjust time stored in the Exif header by h:mm backwards or forwards. Useful when having taken pictures with the wrong time set on the camera, such as after travelling across time zones, or when daylight savings time has changed.

ExifTool (Windows/Mac/*nix)

ExifTool is another popular and powerful command-line EXIF data editor.

Say for example 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

Exifer (Windows)

Exifer is a free Windows program that allows you to do a quick and easy time offset adjustment to a batch of photographs through a user-friendly GUI interface.


P.S. Here’s a trick for making sure the timestamps in your photo library are correct when you travel between time zones (it’s not as useful for Daylight Savings Time): whenever you’re in a new time zone, simply take a photograph of a clock that’s correctly set to the local time. This allows you to easily figure out the time offsets and correct the files using the tools listed above.