Remember when cameras used film? If not, ask your parents. It was a magical time, full of real artists, capturing things in camera, and the quiet solitude of the darkroom. Unicorns and dragons roamed the land, and rainbows were truly made out of Skittles. At least, that’s what I’m led to believe by those proponents of film.
What I remember is waiting for a week to find out that the roll of film I took was bad, that there was a problem with the camera that caused the images to be out of focus, and the headaches caused by spending too much time around the noxious chemicals I was breathing in a tiny, dark, claustrophobia-inducing space. I also remember boxes full of prints, slides, and negatives, and how easy it was to lose things in an analog state.
The good ol’ days? No thanks.
I’m much happier managing my library digitally in Lightroom, and that includes those images taken in the dark ages of photography. I’ve sent huge batches of images to the scanner for processing, but the problem is that the images all come back with either no metadata set or with the capture time set to the scan date and time, which isn’t really useful for cataloging and searching.
Fortunately, Lightroom provides some key functionality that I leveraged to bring those scanned image in to the digital age and include them cleanly in to my catalog. Using the steps below, I was able to neatly organize my images in to folders by date and make identifying and locating my scanned images much easier.
Disclaimer: If you’ve made other changes to scanned images in Lightroom, such as in the Develop module, this tutorial is likely not for you. This tutorial is intended for those with fresh, unprocessed scanned JPEG images that they simply want to change the capture time on so Lightroom will group them in to folders by date. Always back up your catalog first and proceed with caution. For more information on what is stored in the XMP side car files, read this post.
1. Import your scanned images in to Lightroom.
The first step is to simply import all of your scanned images in to Lightroom. At this point, all of your scanned images can be in one folder, as I’ve done below.
2. Use Lightroom to manipulate the capture date for each of your images.
Refer to my earlier post for how to manipulate the capture time. For this tutorial, I modified the capture date for the first three images to 8/1, 8/10, and 8/20, respectively. The remaining images have a capture date of 8/30.
3. Remove the folder and scanned images from Lightroom.
You won’t be able to re-import them if they are already in the catalog, so remove the folder by selecting it in your library and clicking the – to remove the folder.
4. Import the images back in to Lightroom.
The next step is to re-import the modified images.
Click File > Import.
By default, Lightroom will try to Add the images in to the catalog, and you won’t see the Destination tab. on the right Since we want to import them in to new folders organized by date, we need to click the link at the top of the import page to Move the files in to the new folders.
Once you do that, you’ll see the Destination tab on the right, and you can select the parent folder and select By Date from the Organize drop down, and Lightroom will create the folder structure using your modified capture time values. As you can see, I’ve got a folder for 8/1, 8/10, and 8/20, along with the 8/30 value used by the images that I did not edit.
If you don’t see the folder structure that represents your new capture dates, the most likely culprit is that you forgot to save your metadata changes after you made them. Unfortunately, you’ll need to make the changes again, save the metadata changes manually, and re-import.