Sunday, August 09, 2009

How to Automatically Rename Photos With Dates They Were Shot

You know the feeling that comes to us all one fine day. You open your pictures folder and see a graphical stew of pictures which you have never bothered to rename and arrange. In this cluttered mix, you can’t tell between the snap you took of your birthday party last year or this year. During these driven up the wall moments, you wish that you had been a bit more systematic from square one – systematically renaming the photos when you transferred them from the camera to the PC.
The second scenario will work you up even more. Imagine the commonness of having more than one camera in the house. Each, lending to the graphical stew of your pictures folder. Of course, your exasperation can be easily cured by the timely habit of renaming photos when you transfer them. Arranging photos chronologically (according to dates) also makes retrieval a snap.
Today, most digital cameras have an internal clock which tags the photos with the exact time when it was clicked. This information is embedded as meta-data (meta-data is data about the data) in the photo itself.

The EXIF (Exchangeable image file format) and DCF (Design rule for Camera File system) standards are specifications for this meta-data. EXIF, in simple terms, defines the camera and image information in the files. DCF defines standards which ensure compatibility between different recording media like a camera and a printer.
It is this photo information that software programs tap into when they read the pictures. And using this information makes arranging photos by timestamps as easy as clicking them.

Automatically rename photos with the date they were shot with Namexif

When we say ‘Namexif’ aloud, it sounds like a blend of ‘name’ with ‘fix’ and also ‘exif’ (a portmanteau). The free software does exactly that. Namexif batch-renames photos with the dates they were shot. This helps to ease the chronological assortment within your pictures folder. Of course, photos compulsorily must have the EXIF data.
Namexif is a lithe 700MB batch renamer with a simple interface. The timestamp software is a standalone executable. It runs on Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP and Vista. Namexif works snappily in three steps –
  • Run the program – select and add the individual files or the folder where the photos are stored. Click Next.
  • Add-Files-Screen
  • On the next screen choose the date format you want from the three pre-sets given. In case of high speed shooting mode, where the times may differ by sub-secs, the format adds dashes (-) to tell filenames apart.
  • Settings
  • You have the option of keeping the original name or adding your own name as a describer. In case the camera (or photo) does not support EXIF standards, then the original name is kept intact.
  • Renamed
Namexif is a simple no frills app for a necessary task. It does not require an install and can be carried around like a portable app. My only other demand would have been an option for a custom timestamp and a way to edit a photo’s embedded date. If you like lightweight, self running simple software then you can give this a shot.

Automatically timestamp photos with Stamp

Stamp is another free software which renames image and video files chronologically. It can also batch process entire folders and add a timestamp to the beginning of each filename. Stamp is an improvement over Namexif on several fronts. It can directly transfer photos from most cameras. It batch renames audio/video files too.
Also, unlike Namexif, Stamp saves the renamed image files in a different folder (gives an option of copy or move) thus preserving the originals. Some of the other power features include -
  • Stamp gives the choice between five different file formats which fall across – DCF convention, History Data formatsCustom format.
  • Stamp_Main
  • Custom format is handy for generating long or short filenames with descriptive information like location of shoot.
  • Stamp_Custom-Format
  • Stamp comes with various filters which lets the user control the processing by including certain files and excluding others.
  • Stamp_Filters
  • Stamp features extra options for file handling like preview function which displays a summary of predicted results and an error reporting log.
  • Stamp_Preview-Optios
The Stamp user guide is exhaustively detailed in its help with the software feature set. The 2MB free software is supported by 95, 98, 2000 and XP.
Of course, there is a tool like Picasa which in itself is a complete photo management application. It also automatically renames photos by date. Renaming photos by date is quick and simple with these two little file renamer alternatives. After a few gigabytes of photos we will find that arranging photos chronologically rather than by name is easier for instant recall.
You can also try out the cross platform JetPhoto which Jeffry has written about in a previous post.

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