• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • The May 2019 Lightroom updates are now available. There's a brand new slider called Texture, available across the whole family of apps. Lightroom Classic includes a new tool called Flat Field Correction. Lightroom (cloud-based service) has lots of big improvements including cloud trash, invitation-only web galleries, improved chromatic aberration removal and more. The Missing FAQ and Edit Like a Pro eBooks are already updated for the changes. You'll also notice the CC's have disappeared off the end of the names, so we've updated the forum names to match.

Change capture date without losing edit history

Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
6.14
Operating System
Windows 10
I have many old pictures in my collection that were scanned from paper photographs (upto early 1900). I'd like to properly date these with the estimated date taken. In that field now is often the scanned-date. Is there a way that I can change that date without losing any edits (metadata) in LR? I know it's possible outside LR but then the picture is labeled as "having changed metadata" and I can choose to either discard and keep LR edits or read the new data from the file but lose my LR edits. I guess I need to find a way to do this inside LR.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
181
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
In the Library module, menu Metadata>"Change capture time". It can be applied to unique photo or to a group of photos.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Yes, I knew that. Sorry, I now realize that I did not formulate my question correctly (I do apologize).
The fact is that my files DO have the right name: they start with YYYY MM DD (or YYYY MM, or YYYY) based on how much I know. I'd like to find out if I could use that information somehow to facilitate / semi-automate the renaming process... Any ideas?
 

Johan Elzenga

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
8,582
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
You can change the file name of an image in the right panel of the Library module. I don't see how you could semi-automate this however, because if I understand you correctly you want to use the date that the picture was supposedly taken (could be as early as 1900), and how on earth is Lightroom going to know this date? The only thing Lightroom knows is the scanning date, which could be a century later...
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
181
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic 7
If I understand correctly, you're looking for a batch that would extract the date from the filename and put it in the exif metadata. In my knowledge, LR has no way to do that, you must do it manually.
I think this should be possible by writing a script that would extract the date from the filename then call exiftools to insert the date in the exif metadata.
 

johnbeardy

Senior Member
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
4,986
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
EXIFtool is only relevant if LR itself has failed to read the correct date from EXIF. A simple LR script would be easier.

Often a script is needed to do complex file renaming within LR and not to lose edit history (see this method Complex File Renaming). My Search and Replace plugin could batch copy the filename to the capture date field, but you'd probably need to copy it to another editable field (eg Headline as in above article) and then manipulate that field to produce a strict date format that can be copied into capture date field.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
"You can change the file name of an image in the right panel of the Library module. I don't see how you could semi-automate this however, because if I understand you correctly you want to use the date that the picture was supposedly taken (could be as early as 1900), and how on earth is Lightroom going to know this date? The only thing Lightroom knows is the scanning date, which could be a century later... "

Because the real date is in the filename (I put it there :))
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
EXIFtool is only relevant if LR itself has failed to read the correct date from EXIF. A simple LR script would be easier.

Often a script is needed to do complex file renaming within LR and not to lose edit history (see this method Complex File Renaming). My Search and Replace plugin could batch copy the filename to the capture date field, but you'd probably need to copy it to another editable field (eg Headline as in above article) and then manipulate that field to produce a strict date format that can be copied into capture date field.
Right John, indeed if I'd do this via Exif tools, that would be a change external to LR and I'd lose my edits. I actually purchased your Rename Plug-in a few years back (it's great and helped me a lot) and thought I could do it with that but it seems that the right fields are not supported.
I guess, I could live with reading the first 4 (positions) digits (YYYY in my case) from the filename and inserting these in the "capture date field" in LR (all from within LR).
If that works, it woul dbe even nicer if I could do a second run where I could read the first 7 (YYYY MM) and insert these for another part of my pictures where I know not only the year but also the month.
Finally, in a third run, I could read 10 positions (YYYY MM DD) and enter that for those where I know the foll date.
The 2nd and 3rd run would be an extension of the 1st obviously and doing only the 1st for all scanned pictures would already be great.
Now if your tool could do that... ;)
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
OK, I transfer the filename to HeadLine. Then in "Search & Replace" I select "Chars", then 11 to 500 and replace with nothing.
That turns a test file with name "1929 01 02 Test.TIF" into a headline reading "1929 01 02". So far, so good.
Now I go back to "Transfer" and go from "HeadLine" to "Capture Date". Can't find that last one but I selected "Date Created". That seems to change the "Capture Date" field. When I click "Transfer", the date becomes "February 22, 2015 21:02:39" (which was. I'm guessing the original scan date).
So next I try with the first 4 chars (the year only); result is "January 1, 1929 00:00:00"; that seems OK but the date in my Library Filter still show "1" and Feb 22nd, 2015".
Last I tried with YYYY MM, with result the same as the full date...

My system is configured to use DD-MMM-YY, would that be the reason this fails maybe?
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
OK, I transfer the filename to HeadLine. Then in "Search & Replace" I select "Chars", then 11 to 500 and replace with nothing.
That turns a test file with name "1929 01 02 Test.TIF" into a headline reading "1929 01 02". So far, so good.
Now I go back to "Transfer" and go from "HeadLine" to "Capture Date". Can't find that last one but I selected "Date Created". That seems to change the "Capture Date" field. When I click "Transfer", the date becomes "February 22, 2015 21:02:39" (which was. I'm guessing the original scan date).
So next I try with the first 4 chars (the year only); result is "January 1, 1929 00:00:00"; that seems OK but the date in my Library Filter still show "1" and Feb 22nd, 2015".
Last I tried with YYYY MM, with result the same as the full date...

My system is configured to use DD-MMM-YY, would that be the reason this fails maybe?
@johnbeardy Any suggestions John?
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Seems like I reached a dead-end here. It somewhat amazes me to see that nobody else is dealing with similar issues. Sure, for photographs taken in the last 10-20 years digitally, all is fine. If one is using LR to collect larger sets including scanned paper photographs and/or slides that could be as old as the late 19th century, updating the 'picture taken' field inside LR automatically based on the LR filename should theoretically not be a major problem.
John Beardsworth's "Complex File Renaming" plug-in comes closest (and to me proves this could be done); I actually purchased this little beautiful plug-in a few years ago and I've been very happy with it. Pity it doesn't do what I'm looking for completely somehow.
I'd appreciate any other ideas or suggestions.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
And to add to my previous post, here's an out-of-the-box suggestion I can think of.. I can write code in ew.g. Excel VBA that reads a folder (and sub-folders) and creates a list with in the first column the filename and in the second column the intended "picture-taken" field content (taken from the file -maybe-; and calculated from the filename).
What I cannot do, is running a plug-in in LR that would process such a file and inject the right 'picture-taken' info into the metadata of each matched file based on the text-file created by (e.g.) the Excel tool...
Would this trigger someone? ;)
 

Victoria Bampton

Lightroom Queen
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
21,199
Location
Southampton, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
If John's Search Replace can't manage this one, I wonder if LR/Transporter could. There's a free trial.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Thanks for the tip Victoria. I did some manual testing and it looks like this might actually work :)

There's one odd thing however... I seem to be able to change the Date Captured field for my pictures. What I'd like to be able to do is use the "Library Filters" to now be able to select files from a certain year in my collection. When I choose "Date" as a filter, it looks like the data displayed / used there is the File-Modified date (and not the "Date Captured" field in my MetaData). Am I missing something now???
 

Victoria Bampton

Lightroom Queen
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Sep 29, 2007
Messages
21,199
Location
Southampton, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Lightroom's always had some odd behavior around dates, so I smell a bug.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
I hope not... thousands of people have been using LR and no one has seen this before? The fact that the date displayed here is a 'file'-date and not a 'picture taken'-date does not make any sense (to me). Sorry Victoria, I'm not doubting your suggestion but it seems so odd that I'm re-checking...
12207
 

Jim Wilde

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
11,476
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
Does it actually have a "picture taken" date? A screenshot of the Metadata panel for that image would be helpful.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
12208

Note that I was wrong: the file modified date is not Feb 22, 2015. In fact if I look at the file properties in Windows, that is the "Date Taken", in LR (see my screen) that is "Date Time Digitized".
 

Jim Wilde

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
11,476
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
I don't recognise that particular Metadata Panel view, presumably you use a plugin to customise the view? Can you show a screenshot using the "EXIF and IPTC" view? I'd like to see how that Capture Date translates in the "Date Time Original" field.

FWIW, I have hundreds of scans which have the Date Time Digitised showing the time/date that I did the scan, as expected. I've subsequently, using LR's standard Edit Capture Time function, changed the "capture time/date" to something closer to the time the image was originally taken, and I find that the date filter in Lightroom works, as expected, on the DTO field. It's only when that field is not present that Lightroom starts using other date fields (often the Metadata Date) when filtering by date.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Thanks. The view is "All possible items" but that could indeed include information from PlugIns I have loaded.
In the "EXIF & IPTC" view I see this:
12211

And below that, this:
12212

No other date locations however.

When I look at the "Edit Capture Time" I see this:
12213

Note however that the information was written automatically using the suggested "LR/Transporter" plug-in.

I tried to run "Edit Capture Time" again and instead of changing anything, I just clicked OK (to make it write the info again); that fixed my problem! Seems like what the Plugin writes is something else and indeed now I see this:
12214

A "Date Time Original".

Guess I need to contact the Plugin author then??
 

Jim Wilde

Lightroom Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
11,476
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic 8
Well, something clearly went wrong the first time you set the date, so it ought to be investigated to try to figure out why.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
I've been trying to contact the author; will update when I know more...
(seems like there's a curse on this, first I believe this should work with John Beardsworth's tool. He suggests me to try. When I do that and run into small problems I get no more further feedback. The same seems to be happening now with the author of LR/Transporter: after initial quick and great suggestions, now that I seem to have a problem all remains quiet; I'll send a last reminder)
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
53
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
OK, no responses from either author. Anyone else with suggestions? Are there more plugins that can do something like this maybe?
 

johnbeardy

Senior Member
Staff member
Moderator
Lightroom Guru
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
4,986
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
I thought I had responded by email, though I was not sure if you understood my reply.
 
Top