jhead EXIF editor

I’ve been to a great eurotrip with my friends lately. We got lots of great pictures taken on two digicams. But…

Our big mistake: as we passed on from EET (Eastern European Time) to CET (Central European Time) only one camera had it clock corrected (-1 hour)

Problem nr 1: we had photos taken at one place with several cameras with one hour shift. This creates problems when viewing pictures in a program which sorts photos by date-time picture was taken.
As result, while showing the pics to my family, ones that were taken later appeared before those taken earlier – eg you walking on a ship and then you boarding the ship -> wrong order, harder to tell stories.

Problem nr 2: cameras gave the pictures different names IMG_3456.jpg vs IMG_0037.JPG. As result, pictures from one camera were in front of images from the other in the file manager (a minor problem).

Solution: sort out the pictures with shifted time and find an EXIF editor to correct the time.

The great EXIF editor found was jhead (online man page).

First of all you install it in ubuntu with

sudo apt-get install jhead

or find it in your favourite package manager.

Then, using a terminal, you navigate to folder with photos and run a command to correct the time:

cd Photos/MyTrip
jhead -ta-1:00  *.jpg

This will shift the time in EXIF for all .jpg files one hour back. Refer to the man page for more options.
Move the files back from dump folder. Problem 1 solved!

Regarding problem number 2, you can run

jhead -nf%y%m%d-%H%M%S *.jpg

to change the pictures’ names to match the YYMMDD-HHMMSS.jpg format. This way pictures from both cameras will be renamed by datetime and you can easily sort them by filename in most photo viewers. Of course, you can mass rename by using simple pattern matching:

jhead -nf%y%m%d-%H%M%S Pictures/2008*/*.JPG

Hope this post will help someone, ’cause it took quite a time to find a proper tool to solve the problem 🙂


It seems F-Spot has similar feature – select the photos, choose Edit -> Adjust time … -> Shift all photos by. But that was reported unstable at the moment (see comment #1)

But really (I mean it – RLY) F-Spot get’s sooo much in the way, it’s unbearable. And it saves comments/tags to local database, not the image itself 😦 Look here and here


3 thoughts on “jhead EXIF editor

  1. tnx on reporting that, todd!

    I really disliked f-spot – slow, gets in your way, lacks viewing options and crashes sometimes. But that’s a different story.


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