Fix digital images’ EXIF date with a few simple commands – crossplatform solution!

technology.pngI just started using a photo manager (yeah, I know), and I realized my EXIF data was all jacked up. The file dates are (usually) right, but a lot of the extra data had been stripped out.

I have thousands of old digital photos; no way in hell am I manually organizing those into dates/events.

Luckily, there’s a cross-platform tool that does a great job with it. It’s called EXIFTool. The website has instructions for installation with Windows/OSX/Linux – and there’s standalone binaries for Win/OSX.

This guy’s solution is what I essentially ended up going with. It’s important to have at least the first and last lines:

exiftool -v "-FileModifyDate>DateTimeOriginal" *


exiftool -v "-FileModifyDate<DateTimeOriginal" *

The first changes the EXIF metadata to reflect the “last modified” date. The second changes the file date to the EXIF “Taken On” date. Wonderful!

Also – at least on linux – it recursively searches directories, so no need for getting funky. Just run and go. Backups are made in the directories of each file.

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One Comment

  1. December 1, 2011

    You could avoid the need for the second command by adding a -P option to the first command to preserve the original FileModifyDate of the images.

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