How to Bulk Update the Timestamp on Photos in Adobe Lightroom

How to Bulk Update the Timestamp on Photos in Adobe Lightroom

When we travel, I often use more than one camera. I almost always use my smartphone, and then sometimes I use a GoPro, and sometimes I use my DSLR camera. My phone always has the correct time, but sometimes the other two are incorrect. Most recently, on our road trip from Darwin to Perth, I forgot to change the time on my DSLR to Australian Central Time until after the first day, that meant it was half an hour out. Then when we crossed the Western Australia border, I forgot to change it again, putting it out by another hour and a half.

Changing the timestamp manually on each photo is a huge headache, especially when there are hundreds of them. Fortunately, Adobe Lightroom includes a tool that can bulk update your photo time stamps in three different ways. Perhaps the most useful of those ways is a bit confusing though. So let’s update our timestamps and explain what each option does!

Open the Timestamp Update Tool

The first steps to open the timestamp update tool are the same for all three methods.

  1. Open Adobe Lightroom
  2. Navigate within your library to the folder containing photos that need updating. Make sure you stay within the library tab and that you are not in the develop tab.

    Adobe Lightroom library tab
    Adobe Lightroom Library tab
  3. Select one photo and have a look at the metadata on the right. You will see the timestamp with a little button beside it. Take note of the time and how much it needs to be changed by (e.g., -1 hr or +2.5 hrs).

    Adobe Lightroom showing the photo capture time
    Adobe Lightroom showing the photo capture time
  4. Select all the photos that need updating by the same amount and then click the button beside the timestamp in the metadata.

    Click the photo capture time button
    Click the photo capture time button

Now you will see the three options for updating the timestamp:

  1. Adjust to a specified date and time
  2. Shift by set number of hours (time zone adjust)
  3. Change to file creation date for each image

So how do they work?

Option 1 – Adjust to a specified date and time

Adjust timestamps to a specified date and time
Change timestamps to a specified date and time

This option lets you modify the photo time stamps to a particular time. Now, just from the name, it sounds like if you were to mass update multiple images, it would set them all to be the same date and time, but that’s incorrect. The way this method of updating works is that it looks at the first image in your selection. It shows you the current date and time, and then when you set a new date and time for it, it looks at the difference. Applying that time difference to each of the selected photos allows Lightroom to maintain the integrity of the timestamps and you keep your photos all in order.

So let’s say you are moving the first photo forward 3 hours and 42 minutes. Each following photo in your selection will then be moved forward 3 hours and 42 minutes as well. This option allows you to change every photo by unusual time amounts, for example, if your camera is out by 3 hours and 42 minutes, just a few minutes, or even a few days.

Adjust timestamps to a specified date and time by changing the time in the appropriate fields
Adjust timestamps to a specified date and time by changing the time in the appropriate fields

Option 2 – Shift by set number of hours (time zone adjust)

Adjust timestamps by time zone in Adobe Lightroom
Change timestamps by time zone in Adobe Lightroom

The second option is the one that makes the most sense when you travel across time zones and forget to update your camera time. You just select the number of hours to go forward or backwards from the drop down list. That’s it. Lightroom then adjusts every photo selected forward or back the set number of hours.

Select the number of hours to add or subtract from the drop down
Select the number of hours to add or subtract from the drop down

The only problem with this option is that some time zones are only a half hour apart. This option only allows you to change photo times by hourly amounts. So when you have a half hour time zone to change you need to use option 1 and change the time by a half hour that way instead.

Option 3 – Change to file creation date for each image

This option is questionably useful in my opinion. It is perhaps best for resetting your metadata. The way it works is by looking at the creation date of the file which can be different to the timestamp in the metadata. Usually, this will be the photo capture time and date, so assuming that is correct, you can reset your photos to that time and date by using this option, say if you incorrectly updated their metadata timestamp.

There are no options to set when changing the timestamp to the file creation date
There are no options to set when changing the timestamp to the file creation date

The caveat here though is that the file creation date isn’t always correct. Your camera date may have been wrong anyway, or the file creation date may have changed in the past. There is always that occasional irksome file that has been transferred between different computers and says it was created on a different date to the actual capture time.

That’s it

So that’s it, those are the three options for bulk updating your photo timestamps using Adobe Lightroom. If you need to see it in action, I’ve put together the video below where I used the first option to update all the timestamps on my photos by 1.5 hours following a time zone change. I hope you find it helpful, and if you do, please share this blog post or my video!

How To: Export OP1a compliant MXF video files in Adobe Premiere for Channel 7

In Australia, one of the formats commonly used for television broadcast files is OP1a compliant MXF. Channel 7 has very specific requirements for how the file should be formatted for their primary and all their secondary channels. MXF is essentially a container, and inside it is the video content, the audio content, and it can also include the subtitle content. If you’ve never worked with broadcast media before it is a bit of an obscure format that you will probably not have heard of. Fortunately Adobe Premiere makes it extremely easy to export into this format. Below you will find the settings I use that are accepted by Channel 7. I cannot promise that your media will be accepted using the same settings, but I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t be.

Read moreHow To: Export OP1a compliant MXF video files in Adobe Premiere for Channel 7

Rich User Experience – Photoshop Express Editor

Rich User Experience - Photoshop Express EditorOverview

An image opened up in Photoshop Express Editor
An image opened up in Photoshop Express Editor

Adobe Photoshop Express Editor is a free online photo editor based on Adobe’s Photoshop range of desktop image editors that offers a rich user experience through a simple yet powerful Flash based interface.

While it is derived from what is often regarded the industry standard in image editing, Photoshop Express offers a very different experience, which I will be comparing to Adobe’s desktop products, as well as to Aviary’s Phoenix online image editor. I’ll then be looking at the implications this application has, as well as potential legal and ethical issues, and finally, the possible future directions of an application such as this.


The main comparisons for an application such as this are the desktop applications it was derived from, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Elements. There is however, another Web 2.0 application that provides an online image editor, and that is Aviary Phoenix.

Adjusting Saturation in Photoshop Express
Adjusting Saturation in Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is designed with simplicity in mind for the consumer that just wants to be able to do basic photo editing to improve the appearance of their photos. It doesn’t offer image creation or many hands on image editing tools. It is much more like Photoshop Lightroom or Photoshop Elements than Photoshop itself in this way. It gives the user the ability to quickly perform basic operations such as cropping, resizing, perform touch ups or correct red eye. It also allows one click advanced operations such as adjustments to hue, exposure, saturation, white balance, highlights, fill light, sharpen, soft focus, black and white, tints and the sketch filter. An added feature that is not found in the Photoshop desktop application is decorations and frames that can be added on top of the photographs. These include text bubbles, animals, facial features (such as hair or glasses) and more. These are a consumer focused product feature similar to stickers that were once quite popular to put on physical photos.

Photoshop Express performs very admirably at these duties, offering a range of options to choose from for each of these more advanced tools, so a user doesn’t need to know exactly what is being adjusted or how, they can just see the effect it will have and make their choice on what to do from the ribbon interface showing the possible options.

This is in stark comparison to the desktop Photoshop interface many people are familiar with that shows layers, a comprehensive toolbar, a menu bar, and allows fine adjustments to be made to every aspect of the image. Photoshop Express is taking a very different approach and automates the things that users don’t really need to know how to do in order to make the majority of adjustments that a photo may need, including doing away with the visual layers interface. Layers just work, but you don’t see them, instead you just drag different parts of the image around. This allows for a simple interface that can be learned very quickly.

It should be noted that shortcut keys such as delete and ctrl+z also work within Photoshop Express, providing more seamless operation for the user and contributing to the rich user experience. One detraction from this though is that on Apple Macintosh computers that use command+z as the undo shortcuts, you still have to use ctrl+z as command+z is not supported by Photoshop Express at this time.

On a computer capable of running Flash smoothly (such as the computer used to write this), Photoshop Express actually performs common photo adjustment functions faster than Photoshop Lightroom does using the same computer, showing off one of the benefits of moving processing functions into the cloud where possible.

This combination of rapid processing and a simple, responsive interface make for a very rich user experience.

Aviary’s Phoenix in comparison takes a different approach to the user interface. It stays with a style similar to that of desktop applications and is reminiscent of Photoshop or The Gimp. The interface looks remarkably like a desktop application including a file menu, layers navigation, toolbox, and even rulers. Aviary is a fuller featured application, providing for image creation and more specific image editing. Like Photoshop Express,  Phoenix also uses Flash to build the interface, but in attempting to retain similarity to a desktop application, it has lost some of the potential user experience benefits that are seen in Photoshop Express with it’s uniquely simple, yet powerful tools.

Rich User Experience - Photoshop Express Editor
A photo that has been edited in Photoshop Express with decorations

Aviary is also quite fast in comparison to a desktop application, but as it does not provide preset tools it makes it much more complicated for novice users that just want to edit their photos quickly.

Both web applications are free to use, but the differences are quite extensive. Photoshop Express is clearly aimed at a consumer level market for customers who don’t need full functionality, but just want a fast, easy editor. Aviary on the other hand provides more complexity and options, with a much steeper learning curve.

The downside of both applications though is that they both rely on Flash.


Photoshop Express offers consumers a free, powerful application that does away with the need for a desktop based application to perform photo editing on a basic level. However, it constantly hints at being able to do more with Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop, encouraging the user to look at purchasing one of these desktop based options to do more. For Adobe, this is a great sales pitch for their Photoshop range of products, showing off what can be done in the most basic version, enticing users to want to experience more in a more advanced version.

In terms of implications for the web and cloud based computing, Photoshop Express provides a glimpse at the performance benefits that can be had when harnessing the power of the cloud. In my testing for the purpose of this blog, I found that performance on a 512 kbps ADSL connection was nearly comparable to on an 11 Mbps ADSL2+ connection, the main difference being in initial loading time and photo upload/download times. Once the application is loaded and the photo is uploaded, it was just as responsive on the slower connection as on the faster connection. What a benefit this could potentially provide to users that need processor or RAM intensive applications but don’t have access to a computer with it. It really provides a glimpse into just how much can be achieved using cloud processing.

Potential legal and ethical issues

Photoshop Express provides facilities for users to store and share their photos online (up to 2gb of storage is available for free users). Unless a user specifically chooses to though, their photos are not stored here but are simply downloaded back to their computer. So one of the potential issues here, is when data is stored and shared through their facilities, who do the photos belong to?  The terms and conditions of the website make it clear that you retain ownership of your images, however, you grant Adobe a license to use them for the purpose of providing the service.

A clause in the terms and conditions that is worth noting though is that when you choose to share your images, you are also granting other users the rights to download, print, publicly display or perform your images. You also allow them to modify your images, particularly if you use the group album functionality. The only way not to grant other users this license is to not share your images.

This means if you want to retain full control over the licensing and usage of your intellectual property, it limits the full functionality of Photoshop Express.

Future directions

While there is no indication at this point as to whether there are plans to bring the full Photoshop or Lightroom feature sets to the cloud, it does make sense.

There is already a facility to upgrade your storage by paying extra for it, so it would make sense to use a similar model to upgrade your functionality by paying extra for it. Rather than paying a large sum for the desktop applications, or a monthly fee to rent them, a monthly fee for access to specific services online could be charged. This could be implemented over a gradual period of time, like a perpetual beta. Each month a new feature for paid users could be added, or features could be incrementally billed for. Such as $1/month to have layer navigation or $1/month to upgrade from an overall exposure adjustment to an exposure brush. Then users can pick and choose the features they want based on their needs.

It certainly holds interesting possibilities.


Adobe. (n.d.). Photoshop Express Editor. Retrieved April 7, 2011 from

Adobe. (2011). Terms and conditions. Retrieved April 7, 2011 from

Aviary. (n.d.). Phoenix Image Editor. Retrieved April 7, 2011 from

Note: This blog post is part of a series of blog posts that form assessment item #2 for INB347 – Web 2.0 Applications.

Adobe Media Player

Today while downloading the latest version of Adobe’s Acrobat Reader for a computer at work that didn’t have it for some reason, I noticed that Adobe have started to bundle their new Adobe Media Player with it.

From the Adobe website:

“With a broad catalog of videos and shows from the leading media companies and networks, you have endless choices. Pick the episodes you love to watch, and Adobe® Media Player software will track new episodes and download them so you can watch whenever you want.”

It’s the first time I’ve come across it and it sounds like it is intended to be a similar idea to Apple TV/iTunes Store, except that it is taking a slightly different approach by providing it as a software package installable on any computer, rather than using the specific Apple TV hardware component.

Read moreAdobe Media Player