Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Chronologically sorting pooled photos

Have you ever you pooled a load of digital photos from an event with a friend’s snaps of the same event only to find at least one of you forgot to set the correct time/date on your camera so you can’t sort them in chronological order?

Today a colleague was embarking on sorting around 360 photos taken during a week on two cameras by manually renaming them. The file created date was wrong so I suggested sorting them by the EXIF date taken stamp. However this didn’t work because the camera clocks were an hour or so out of sync.

Googling came up with this very useful guide for offsetting the EXIF timestamps in batches using a piece of "nearly free" software called Exifer. Once the times are corrected you can also use Exifer to rename the pics so you can keep them in order wherever they end up, be it a CD, slideshow or online gallery.

The following instructions are mainly taken from Olly Stedall’s original article with some additions by myself.

Exifer can be downloaded from:

1. Make a copy of your photos so you have a backup!
2. Install Exifer and run it. Browse to the folder containing the photos from one camera.
3. Select all the photos by Ctrl-A then right-click on an image and go to ‘EXIF/IPTC’ and click on ‘Edit’.
4. Click the ‘EXIF data’ tab at the top of the window that opens. Then click the ‘Date tab below it.
5. You can then specify the number of days/hours/minutes to adjust all your photos by. Select the amount and click okay to adjust your photos.
6. Check the times are correct, now you can merge the photos with the set taken on the other camera.

Renaming and changing the file modified stamp:

7. In Exifer browse to the new folder with the photos merged.
8. Select all again with a Ctrl-A, right-click and select Rename/redate and copy.
9. In the mask for the rename enter <date_taken> - %o or similar which will prefix the current filename with the EXIF date and time.
10. You can also check the “Redate (by EXIF date fields) at this point to change the file modification date.
11. Click OK and you can now sort and view your photos in chronological order.

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