It’s been more than a month since I came back from Taiwan, and I’m still organizing our photos from our trip to Asia. In Taiwan, Matt and I had CDs burned with my photos and some of his. And then a couple of weeks ago, Michael gave me a DVD with photos from him and John, and some of Matt’s. And then I just downloaded the rest of Matt’s photos from his server.

As you can imagine, the resulting collection was a mess. The photos all had different names. The timestamps of the files were useless. The EXIF timestamps recorded by the camera were better, but most of us forgot to change the time on the camera until one or two days into the new time zone. (I never changed mine, because I knew I’d forget.) So I amassed a collection of useful software tools to plow through and organize the photos and video clips.

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements not only lets me view, organize, and tag photos in general, it also makes it easy to shift the EXIF timestamp of a bunch of photos by any number of hours. Although it took me a while to figure out which photos needed to be shifted, once I did, I asked Photoshop Elements to advance the timestamp of those photos by 16 or 17 hours. Bam!
  • However, that didn’t change the timestamps of the files themselves, and having them match the EXIF times makes it more convenient to view them in Windows Explorer. So I wrote a Python script to do just that, using an EXIF Python library I found called, for reading the timestamps.
  • That worked fine for photos, but videos don’t have EXIF data — I had to change the timestamps of those files manually. So I wrote another Python script that allows me to shift the timestamp of the file by any number of hours.
  • Finally, I wanted to give all of the photos a consistent naming convention. Renaming over 1900 files by hand was a non-starter, so I found a free batch renaming program for called THE Rename.

At last, I have over 4.5 GB of photos and videos renamed, re-timestamped, organized, and ready to show off. (Although I still need to finish captioning them…)