digiphotog 102 – time/date settings

after seeing a lot of digital photos taken by other guys recently (the moe bunch is a photo-crazy group, they just snap away on their digicams and we end up posing like 7 times for the same picture) and refusing to partake in it for the most part (i just grab copies from those who bother to share), i’m a bit dismayed that some of them did not bother setting their camera time and date. so as a continuation to my digiphotog 101 i talked about last time, here’s an explanation of why (in my opinion) it is a very good idea to set your time/date correctly.

most digital cameras these days save some extra information (known as some exif crap… dun really know the syntax to use it in) saved together with the image file.

just right-click the file, click properties, click advanced, and there you go!
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one of the properties in the long (mostly useless for average users) list is the ‘date picture taken’, which i find extremely wonderful and useful. here’s why i think so, plus some other general tips on the exif data.

1) remember the old film cameras where the date the picture’s snapped is burnt onto the picture? it’s a great way to conveniently date your pictures, but unfortunately sometimes you end up covering your girlfriend’s face or your own one or just some nice funky thing which you’d have liked to keep fully visible.

well, this digital information provides a good alternative, particularly since it can even keep track of the exact time the picture’s taken, while keeping the image wholly intact.

2) you can order your pictures in a folder based on the date the picture was taken. ever renamed all your files and found that the sequence is all mixed up? well, just some rightclicking will allow you to view them in the proper chronological order!

2a) more on how to do this. the main step is just to rightclick anywhere in the folder area, select ‘arrange icons by’, then ‘picture taken on’.
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in case you don’t see that option, you’ve gotta activate it. to do this, choose ‘view’ from the menu bar, select ‘choose details’, and tick ‘date picture taken’. after that you should be able to sort the pictures by date.
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2b) the main problem with not setting your date/time properly is that in the exif data, ‘date picture taken’ is registered as something crappy like 1 Jan 2001 which, as you can imagine, totally screws up the ordering process. and for someone as (surprisingly?) anal as me about the order of my photographs, this is highly irritating. which is why i even came up with this guide in the first place =P

3) if you ever take photos with other people (of the same event) and agree to share photos later, it might be a good idea to synchronise your camera date/time settings. it’s no big deal for small gatherings, but if it’s like a vacation and you have 300 photos with screwed-up timing, it’s no joke. one of my cousins’ cameras was 2h off (melbourne time maybe? she was studying there previously) and it was just weird seeing pictures from an earlier event suddenly jut in when you’re trying to view the pics sequentially.

4) if ever you do get photos with screwed-up data and wish to edit it, you’d have to go and edit each picture’s exif info. i don’t really know the easiest way to do this on windows, but the first program i managed to download which does this would be AttributeMagic Pro. i’m not going into a tutorial on how to use it because i barely know how myself, just figured out enough to change the date information.

4a) i (obviously) can’t remember the exact date/time every picture is taken, but usually i cheat and just set some rough value so that the pictures at least appear in the correct sequence. it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing.

i didn’t really talk about how it’s done on OSX because i’m not too familiar with the system yet, but it seems to me that OSX doesn’t play with photos as well as XP does natively. however, iPhoto (bundled with new macs) does pretty ok in this arena, and even allows you to edit some parts of the exif info (like date/time) directly. so for mac users, just play around with iphoto a bit, i’m sure some of you are even further ahead than i am.

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Posted on August 11, 2005, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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