Many times these days, digital photos come without metadata. Image metadata contains the date when the picture was taken along with useful location information. However, images downloaded from Facebook, Pintrest or messaging applications on our phones do not have any original metadata. This is normally a good thing since we don’t want GPS location information to appear on the internet tied to our pictures. However, if someone texts you a picture, especially containing family members, you would want to know the date when the picture was taken and maybe the location. Well, it’s not there…so you need to fix it yourself. Read on to learn how to change a photo’s date and time.
Where is a digital photo date and time?
Before learning how to change photo date and time, you need to know what a digital photo date and time stamp is. Every camera records when a digital photo has been taken. This information is being recorded in the EXIF metadata saved with a JPEG photo.
There are several dates inside the EXIF metadata associated with a photo. The most important field, and the one you need to check is Date Taken. Other dates like File creation date, or digitization date, or others are not important when it comes to photo management software. All photo managers look for the field called Date Taken, inside the EXIF portion of image metadata.
One easy and free tool to edit EXIF data is XnView MP. You can download XnView MP from here.
Verify existing photo date and time with XnView
Before we can attempt to change a photo date and time, we need to know what metadata is present in this photo. With XnView MP it’s easy to check.
Here is how to verify EXIF image metadata you already have.
Check the EXIF metadata using XnView MP
Change photo date and time with XnView
Edit EXIF Date Taken with XnView MP
Here are the steps for editing a photo’s timestamp with XnView MP.
- Select the thumbnail of the image ( don’t double-click)
- Go to the menu toolbar and select Tools / Change timestamp
- Check the checkbox to generate EXIF record,
- Choose specific date and enter the date
- Select the fields you want modified. My suggestion is to select all the EXIF fields so they would all have the photo creation date. I would leave the File: Modified date unchecked as that is a file system property and not an image property.
- Press the Write button as in my screenshot.
Verify your corrected photo date and time
Now that you have created the missing EXIF record and inserted the correct date and time, you should have the Date Taken field in your photo’s EXIF metadata. But, it’s always good to verify. So, let’s check if we fixed our digital photo’s timestamp.
Verify the EXIF Date Taken is correct in XnView
As you can see, this picture has Date Taken now. This means that if you upload this image to Google Photos, or Photos, it will be displayed correctly according to when the photo was taken.
Change photo date and time with Adobe Lightroom
Lightroom also allows you to change a photo’s date and time.
The process for changing a photo’s Date Taken field with Lightroom is easy:
- Make sure you are in the Library module.
- Select the photo you want to change
- Click the edit button next to the date field in the metadata panel on the right
- Choose your new date
- Press Change.
How to change photo date stamp in Adobe Lightroom
In Adobe Lightroom, once you change a photo’s date and time stamps, the information appears immediately in the same place you started editing. This way you can immediately verify the changes you made to a photo’s date and time.
With Adobe Lightroom you can also select multiple photos and change all selected photo date and time in bulk. Just select multiple photos and follow the same procedure.
However, it looks like that a change in time is applied only to the first photo in your bulk selection while the date is applied to all selected photos.
Change photo date and time in Mac Photos
On MacOs you can also change EXIF date and time using the included Photos application.
Start by selecting the photo you want to change. Then follow these steps :
- Press the “i” bottom on the top right. It stands for “information”.
- Double click the date and time field.
- Change the date and time in the Adjusted field.
- Change GPS location information if it needs correction.
- Press the Adjust button.
Change photo date and time in Mac Photos
These changes to date and time will be available when you choose to move pictures from Photos and export them to a folder outside the application.
Change photo date and time with Windows Explorer
Windows 10 (and Windows 7) also allows you to change the Date Taken field on a digital image. The process is simple as well.
It all starts by selecting the folder containing your photo. Then follow these steps:
- Select the photo you want to change, right-click the photo and choose Properties
- Click the Details tab
- Under Date Taken you can simply enter the date or click the calendar icon. Notice that you cannot change the time.
- Press Apply
- Press OK
How to change photo date stamp in Windows Explorer
Once changed, you can easily verify if the date taken is correct by right-clicking on the image again, choose Properties and verify the Details tab that the Date Taken field has the correct date.
With Windows Explorer, you can also select multiple photos and change all selected photo date in bulk. Just select multiple photos and follow the same procedure as listed above.
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I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.
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