I’m in the process of adding a batch of scanned images to my Lightroom catalog. I’m doing a longer post about that entire process that you can read next week, but I wanted to lead in to that post with one that focuses on modifying the capture time of an image in Lightroom.
The scanned images, all of which are JPEG, have a creation and modified data and time, but they did not have a capture time. I wanted to use the capture time field to reflect the date and time when the original, non-digital image was taken.
In some cases, I know the actual date, such as when the print itself includes the timestamp. For other images, I needed to make a best guess. Opening Christmas presents, for example, is probably December and in many cases, I remember the year. Obviously, the more accurate I can make those dates, the better, but I’ll see some benefit by even getting close.
Now that I have a basic idea of the capture dates that I want to use, it’s time to make the change.
Disclaimer: Use common sense when doing bulk metadata change operations. It’s always a good idea to back up your catalog before you proceed in case you run in to a problem and need to revert your changes.
Modifying the Capture Time for a Single Image
In the Library module, select an image. Locate the Capture Time in the Metadata tab that I’ve highlighted below in yellow.
Click the Capture Time value. Click the time value, even if you want to change the date.
If you click on the capture date value, Lightroom will apply a filter and only show images that match the selected date. To change the capture date and time, click the Capture Time value.
The Edit Capture Time dialog will appear that will allow you to change the capture time for the image. As the warning notes, this operation cannot be undone. Click the Change button to apply the change.
Easy enough, right? But you’re not done, yet. The metadata change is reflected in the catalog, but the metadata has not been written back to the original file. To do that, click Metadata > Save Metadata to File… or use the shortcut ⌘S.
Click Continue to save your changes.
Modifying the Capture Time for Multiple Images
To modify the capture time for multiple images, start by selecting them in the Library module. When you do that, you won’t be able to click the Capture Time field, so instead you will need to navigate to Metadata > Edit Capture Time.
Now, the Edit Capture Time dialog will references selected photos. Change the value and click Change All to set the new capture time value.
Similar to making the change for a single image, you will need to save the metadata change for all of the images, which you can easily do by selecting the same images and clicking Metadata > Save Metadata to File… or by using the shortcut ⌘S.
Where Are Metadata Changes Saved?
When you make the modification to a non-raw file, such as a PNG or a JPG, Lightroom will save change back to the original file and the change cannot be undone. When a raw file is changed, the metadata change will be saved in a sidecar file. For more information on the sidecar XMP files, read this post.