Scanned Photos in Picasa – Use This Tool!

While Picasa is a wonderful tool – it does have one flaw.  It sorts pictures by the date in their exif header.  If you keep the date on the camera correct, this isn’t a problem.

However – I have two sets of pictures that give me problems.  I have been scanning my old 35mm film at home for a couple years in my spare time.  I have also sent away some APS film that I wanted to have scanned before it became totally obsolete.  When these pictures are scanned, the date in the exif header is the date that the film was scanned. (The scanner creates the exif header)

Even if I file them in folders for a particular date – I still have scanned photos from the 1980’s showing up in 2009 under picasa.

To fix this you have to modify the date in the exif header.  The best tool I have found to do this is jhead.  Luckily – jhead works on windows, mac, and linux.  Now to set the dates for a whole series of pictures in a particular directory I can just do this:

jhead -ds2000:12:25 * (set the exif dat to Christmas 2000)

You can even set the filestamp to the date in the exif header with

jhead -ft *

This may not seem like much – but it might be the only tool I’ve found that can do this.

If your image doesn’t have any exif data – you can even create the header:

jhead -mkexif *

Now these pictures will show up in the correct chronological order in Picasa – and finding the ones I want is much easier.  I suggest you check out the documentation page for all the options available.  But I have found this to be one of the critical tools in my Linux Photographer Toolbox.  And all you lucky PC/Mac users get to use it too 🙂

Managing Photo Libraries in Linux – A Simple Method.

I use my Linux machine as my primary machine for photography.  I import my pictures with a card reader, edit them as needed with GIMP, and then file them.  For backups I created a simple shell program with rsync which backs them up nightly to another disk.

I take about 1500-2000 pictures every year.  I only delete the absolute mistakes.  Right now I have about 12,000 pictures on my system.

I have been though several programs to manage my pictures.  On my mac I tried Iview Mediapro – which was then bought by Microsoft (and recently abandoned once again.)  I must admit – having used computers at home since 1987 I’m not too willing to surrender myself to a single program.  I’m sure that every year since I have owned a computer I have had to worry about migrating my data either because of the operating system, the computer, or the program.  This has influenced how I manage pictures today.

I use a simple directory structure to store my pictures.  For example – suppose I take Easter pictures on April 20th of 2010.  I will put all those pictures in a folder that describes them: “Easter_at_Bunny_House”.  Then that folder will be put into my overall picture directory – and will look something like this:


  • /storage is my storage folder at the root level
  • /storage/primary is a dedicated disk mounted at that point (I actually have a /storage/backup as well)
  • /storage/primary/photos – I store other stuff
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated – I have other photos which might be categorized (a clip art collection perhaps).  I also have others where I don’t know the correct dates yet (collections from relatives.)  Although I try to get everything into the ‘dated’ directory – there are other spots for some photos.
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated/year_2010 – Each year has it’s own folder, and within each year are 12 months (I copied a few years into the future so I wouldn’t have to do the months by hand)
  • /storage/primary/photos/dated/year_2010/d_Apr – I have the months listed alphabetically – so you will see “a-jan, b-feb, c-mar” and so on – just to keep them in order.

Why I don’t use IPTCIPTC is a great standard.  Unfortunately, many of the popular programs don’t use IPTC. Iphoto didn’t before.  I don’t know if they do now.    Here is a list of programs that work with IPTC.   The problem is simple.  Adding keywords to programs is a lot of work!

I find that by naming the folders correctly I can often find the pictures just through memory or a simple search.  This works a majority of the time.  When it doesn’t, I use Picassa for Linux.   I poiint this to my photo directory and can scan my photos quickly to find the one I want.

I have about 12,000 photos.  I am not dependent on a particular program.  I can move my files easily to another system.  If you have fewer photos a photo program might work for you (although good luck migrating in the future.)  If you have many more pictures a professional implementation might be worth your time.  For me – the simple method seems to work best and I am quite happy with it.

KRename is a Linux Photographer’s Best Friend

Or – at least – a really great tool to use.

If you are anything more than a casual Linux-based photographer you know that Linux provides its own set of challenges when dealing with your pictures.

Although all photographers don’t do this, I like to rename my pictures as soon as I have downloaded them to my hard drive.  Although some people simply manage their pictures through keywords, metadata, or IPTC standards, I still prefer picture names that give me a little idea of what they contain.  Who wouldn’t prefer “Puppy_first_birthday_22Apr2010_001.jpg” to “DSC1097.jpg“?  Now I don’t need specialized photo software to know what I’m looking at.

If I were really good in Linux I would have written myself a nice script to rename the files from one version to another.  I’m not that good.  But I did find a tool that works great!  KRename.  I’ve attached a couple screenshots of the program.

First, here is what you see when you start up the program – Just drag and drop:

KRename on opening

KRename on opening

There are several options for what you can do with your files:

What you can do with KRename

What you can do with KRename

Finally – you can figure out the new names for your files – including incrementing numbers!

Renaming your Files

Renaming your Files

I did a little looking, and KRename looks like it is in the Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora repositories.  If you can’t find it, you can go to to get the latest version. I have probably renamed over 2000 files with this program (about 20 at a time) – and never had a problem.  I highly recommend it!

Goodluck with your pictures 🙂