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Capture Time to Exif

How to use

4 key steps

  1. Select the pictures in Lightroom's Library
  2. Run the plug-in with the menu item Library > Plug-In Extras > Capture Time to Exif
  3. Wait a few moments
  4. Use the built-in menu command Metedata > Read metadata from files

In more detail

The plugin can use dates entered in Date Created and send them to the EXIF fields

  1. Select the pictures in Lightroom's Library
    • Grid view is best
    • DNGs, JPEGs, TIFFs, PSDs can be processed
    • Raw files can too, but they can be tricky because of xmp files and the difficulty of writing to proprietry file formats
    • The plugin will ignore video and other file types
  2. Run the plug-in
    • Use the menu item Library > Plug-In Extras > Capture Time to Exif
    • Enter the date to apply to the photos
      • You can enter if manually
      • Or you can use dates entered in Date Created
    • Generally, leave the Automatically run Lightroom's Save Metadata enabled
      • This is an undocumented way to run Library's Metadata > Save metadata to Files command
      • It's important so you don't lose any metadata and adjustments in step 3
    • The plugin follows Adobe practice and writes directly to DNGs, JPEGs, TIFFs, PSDs and to xmp sidecars for raw files
      • You can enable writing directly to raw files
    • Press OK to close the dialog box and run the Exiftools command
    • Please wait a short while because, depending on the size of the files which are being updated, Exiftool may continue working after Lightroom appears to have finished.
  3. Read metadata from files
    • Use Library's Metadata > Read Metadata from Files command
    • This is needed because LR doesn't let a plugin update EXIF data directly, so in step 2 we wrote new EXIF into the file and in this step we read it into LR
    • This step is the one that people usually forget and then ask why the plugin isn't working. It's nice to hear from users and fix the problem so easily, but it is an important step.


Advanced use

Command lines

jb Capture Time to Exif uses Exiftool to write to the files and it is - quite rightly - strict about the syntax of command lines. As shown in the screenshot, you need to enter a "tag name" preceeded by a "-" and followed by "=". Then enter the value in doble quotes. Also avoid non-ASCII characters - my own preference is to avoid all non-alphanumerical characters in metadata.

To see an example of the syntax, choose "Sample command line" from the "Preset" drop down box.

Raw files

If you want to use the plugin to update raw files, the Write Directly check box tells the plugin to do so. However, this can conflict with saving LR's metadata to xmp files and the Read Metadata command may be confused by the presence of the xmp file since LR considers that a raw file would not normally change and any metadata changes would be in the xmp. So Read Metadata would prefer the xmp file metadata and fail to re-read new metadata in the updated raw file.

This may be handled better in a future update, but in general:

  1. process raw files before making adjustments or adding IPTC metadata
  2. don't enable Save Metadata
  3. ensure that there are no xmp files in the folder


Save the command file and use it for debugging

When the plugin appears to be functioning but nothing appears to be happening to the metadata, the first question to ask is this - Have you remembered Metadata > Read Metadata?

The next question is whether the plugin has been installed in a "special" folder where the operating system may restrict Exiftool from running. For example, some people install the plugin in a folder inside the Lightroom program file which can mean that the dialog box displays but the OS prevents Exiftool running. I prefer to install plugins somewhere less-special like Documents or Dropbox.

In genral, if nothing appears to be happening, the problem may be running Exiftool or with the images, for example that they are read only. To help you find out what is going on, the plugin can save the Exiftool commands as a text file. You can use this to call Exiftool directly and run it in its interactive mode which displays messages about its activity and any problems it encountered:


  1. Run the plug-in with the "command string" or "log" check box ticked. This saves the text file in Documents / My Documents / jb Capture time to Exif
  2. In Notepad or TextEdit, remove any text like "01/11/2011 23:09:54 TRACE Remove trailing quote and add -k switch : "
  3. The command should look like the first item preview in the dialog box (below)
  4. At the end of each line is -m" . Remove the double quote " and add -k, so the end of the line reads -m -k. This -k tells Exiftool not to close when it is finished and is helpful for debugging.
  5. Save the file - what to do next depends on your operating system



In Windows, I think the easiest way is to change the log file's extension to .bat, and it will then run as a batch file.




On Mac I prefer to cut and paste into a Terminal window.

Pricing and Payment

You may download and try the plugin for free, subject to its trial limitations. To unlock the full functionality you will need to purchase a copy.

Payments may be made via Credit Card or PayPal, and are securely processed via our payment partner - Paddle.


Note that VAT will be added for European customers.


US $11.38
UK £8.66
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