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Batch Edit EXIF Date w/ ExifTool

We recently returned from a trip to Japan. And, while looking through my photos I realized that I forgot to change the time settings in my camera to Japan time. The whole 2 weeks we were there, all of my photos were being stamped with Chicago time. Since Japan is 14 hours ahead of Chicago, plus the 1hr daylight savings mistake, I had a need to add 15 hours to the “Date Taken” on 1000+ photos.

I did not want to buy an app that I would only use once a year, so I searched a little to see if there were other options. After a few minutes of looking around I decided to go with Phil Harvey’s ExifTool. It’s free and it’s extremely robust.

The only downside for me is that it’s a command line tool and it’s got a vast number of features. It took a few minues to figure out what to do, and I’m sure I’ll forget next time I use this. So I thought I’d document it for myself and for other mac users with similar needs.

Install ExifTool.

I used the .dmg file and ran the installer, it takes about a minute. Once it’s done, open Terminal and type in


If the install worked, you should get something like this:

Edit Time Stamp

Next you will need to run the command to update the EXIF time stamp.

For my case, I had all my images in a folder called “japan” in my desktop, organized by date (subfolders). So I had to do something a little different.

  1. First I point Terminal to my desktop. I do this so I don’t have to type the long directory location later when I run the command. To do that, type in:
cd ~/desktop

2. Once in my desktop, I run the command to edit all of the images inside the “japan” folder.

exiftool “-DateTimeOriginal+=0:0:0 15:0:0” -r japan
  • “0:0:0 15:0:0” stands for “years:months:days hours:minutes:seconds”. For my case, I was only concerned about the hours.
  • “-r” is needed to apply changes to all files inside the subfolders. If you do not have subfolders, then -r is not necessary.
  • “japan” is the name of the folder, for my case.

3. It’ll take a little time depending on how many images you have. When it’s finished you should get a confirmation that looks something like this:

4. One last thing, when ExifTool is done, it will generate a bunch of .jpg_original files. This is just a backup of the original files, you can just delete them.

A nice side-effect I found, was that it also updated my video time stamps. Thanks to Phil Harvey for puting ExifTool together.