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"Fuzzy" dates for scanned images

Participant ,
Oct 19, 2023 Oct 19, 2023

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How you deal with scanned images in Lightroom where you don't know the exact date of the month of an image?  Or even the month of the year?  Or even the year?

 

Almost all my slides were processed by Kodak, and there is always a date code on the slides.  But that date is the month/year when Kodak processed the slides.  Or what about an old family photo with just a year written on the back, or no year at all?

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Community Expert ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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What is the problem that you're trying to solve?

Lightroom doesn't need to know the capture time, it will use the time of import for scanned images as capture time.

If you're looking for ways to easily find particular photos, use keywords and/or collections, or give folders meaningful names.

 

You can edit the capture time if you like, by going to Metadata > Edit capture time in Library.

Select several images to give them the same capture time,

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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One approach may be a convention of first day of the (perhaps guessed) month when you don't know the exact day, and 01 January or 01 July of the (perhaps guessed) year if that is as close as you can get.

 

I would also set some metadata that makes it clear this is a scan, and thus clarify that the date does not refer to the file creation.

 

One gotcha (let's call it a "feature") with Edit Capture Time, which will make it hard to rely on imposing any very distinctive date such as 01 Jan: for a single image the feature works simply. But when applied onto multiple images together,  the current date and time differences between these photos are maintained, without any method provided AFAIK which would ignore those differences.

 

Hence if you select images scanned across a period of weeks, that you think were all taken in summer 1956 - and try to change them all together, to 01 July 1956 - this exact date goes onto the active image. The other images follow as a cluster around this. An image which happens to have been scanned 2 days later than the active image was, when included in this same group change, will duly receive a date of 03 July 1956.

 

If it's really necessary one may be able to jump through some hoops and force a lot of images to share the same capture date as each other. But better IMO to remember that with a scan, the capture date is often a guess anyway, so to relax about this aspect. Where shooting sequence is important that can be imposed within a Collection using a custom sort.

 

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Community Expert ,
Oct 20, 2023 Oct 20, 2023

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One idea: after scanning and before import to the Catalog one can use the OS (or perhaps the scanning software) to set, say, 01 July 1956 as the Creation date of the file. Typically such files do not have any separately filled Capture ("date taken", whatever the OS calls it) metadata; though if 'scanning' with a camera macro setup, they will of course. At import to LrC in the case they do not, the Catalog looks at the file creation date and presumes that as the date of capture.

 

Furthermore: the Edit Capture Time feature can be told to discard any current capture time info and adopt whatever the Creation Date says for each image, instead. But that Creation Date info would I think need to have been manipulated before import to LrC, not after.

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