Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Modifying EXIF Image Metadata using ExifTool

Sometimes it is necessary to change the EXIF metadata of an image file. For example, in the old days, everyone is familiar with the confusion that results when taking pictures on an older digital camera that just had new batteries put into it, and the date was never set. All the photos show up with a date that is totally inaccurate.

When you have a bunch of photos that have inaccurate dates, it makes your photo library disorganized and confusing, especially when you're trying to search for images from a certain date. Google Photos, for example, uses the EXIF metadata of your uploaded images to organize your photos.

I’ve found that Phil Harvey’s ExifTool, while daunting and somewhat tedious, does exactly what I need it to do to modify EXIF metadata on images.

To change the metadata date on a file using ExifTool, use the following command:

  exiftool "-filemodifydate=YYYY:MM:DD HH:MM:SS" file.jpg

If the EXIF data in the file doesn't respond to the above command, you may need to first enter the following two commands to fix the metadata:

  exiftool "-alldates=YYYY:MM:DD HH:MM:SS" file.jpg
  exiftool "-filemodifydate=YYYY:MM:DD HH:MM:SS" file.jpg

You can also use wildcard characters to apply these operations to multiple files matching the criteria you enter, for example IMG_44* would apply the operation to all files beginning with "IMG_44". And, if you get stuck and need help, the author, and the great community over at the ExifTool forum are super helpful and friendly.

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