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 fix photo timestamp.
Where is a digital photo’s time stamp?
Before learning how to fix a digital photo’s date and time, you need to know what a digital photo 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 management software looks 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 your EXIF data with XnView
Before we can attempt to edit a digital photo’s EXIF 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
Edit 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 EXIF 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.