Photos: Change Date/Time Taken

by JL Beeken on 10-29-2012

As we approach the time to change back to Standard Time, it’s also time to remember to change the Date/Time Taken on our cameras.

Cousin Sam called me the other night with a photo crisis.

She renamed one photo in a folder of over eight hundred and every other photo was mysteriously renamed exactly the same way.

I didn’t know this was possible. Maybe it is or maybe it’s only possible on Sam’s computer.

So she wanted to know how to replace the now mis-named photos from her backup drive.

While we were at it I thought I might as well mention that there’s an easier way to name photos than how she’s been doing it.

Sam names her photos, one at at time, like this:

2012 09 24 A
2012 09 24 AA
2012 09 24 AAA
2012 09 24 B
2012 09 24 BB

I don’t know at all what the AA, B, CCC and so on stand for because I’ve always been afraid to ask.

As I tried to explain, since these are all digital photos they can be sorted by Date/Time Taken and then renamed with a simple template. For instance, 2012-0001, 2012-0002, etc. with only a click or two. I use XnView or GeoSetter, whatever’s handy.

I also mentioned, since we were in the midst of this, that I sometimes get photos from her where the Date Taken and the name on the photo is different. At which time she interrupted me to explain the reason for this.

When her children or grandchildren send her photos, she mixes them in with her own and has to rename them to fit. For instance, if her daughter sends her photos two weeks after they were taken, and Sam has run out of letters for that date, she fudges the date by a day or two to fit them into her system.

So a photo taken on September 19th according to the camera-embedded metadata could be renamed by Sam to ’2012 09 22 DD’. Because, as Sam says, at her age she has better things to do with her time than care exactly when a photo was taken.

(I cringe.)

She also mentioned that a lot of the photos she gets from other people don’t have a Date/Time Taken. And she is madly sending me proof.

Now I have to wonder who/what is taking the date and time out of digital pictures. Please stop.

Second point. Sorting and renaming photos by Date/Time Taken only works if the cameras from which they came have their internal clocks set correctly. As I’ve found a lot are not because people buy cameras and don’t even think about it.

Which also brings me to Daylight Savings Time. Next weekend, when you’re setting your clocks back, remember the one in your camera.

And I know this can be tedious but if you’re traveling across time zones you should change your camera date/time to fit. When a friend visited me from the other side of the country last year and later I tried to merge our photos together it didn’t work without adjusting the time stamps.

And then if you’re using Windows Live Photo Gallery who knows what might be happening. I’m still repairing the date/time damage from 2010. For this, I’m using GeoSetter. The difficulty is that only some of the photos had their time changed so I’m having to pick through them one at a time. Projected end-date for this project: 2025.

GeoSetter, change date-time-taken

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