Upload your old photos to Flickr

I use Flickr for all photos I would like to share with everyone and (a locked down) Picasa album for family events and other more personal things.

I have been using different online photo tools the last couple of years. Everything form building my own, to Gallery, WordPress, Picasa and Flickr. But the last year I have been using Flickr more and more. Instead of having all my favorite photos scattered around the web I wanted to upload them to Flickr. It was a pretty massive job. Here are the steps I took.

Update EXIF data on my oldest photos

I had about 100 (of my oldest) photo folders without EXIF-data. The most important missing fields are the fields that tells when the photo is taken. Without this Flickr would show it as it has been taken the same day as it was uploaded. I didn’t want that.

I looked around a bit for tools that could write EXIF-data and lastly I decided that the command line tool ExifTool would be the easiest to use.

My photos are sorted in folders like 2001/010101_A-beautiful-winter-day-in-the-snow. I opened a command line window and added the ExifTool binary to the path. Then I went through the 100 folders and executed the following command (should be all on one row) for every folder. Don’t forget to change the three date fields.

exiftool -Make="FUJIFILM" -Model="MX-2700"
-ModifyDate="2001:01:01 12:00:00"
-DateTimeOriginal="2001:01:01 12:00:00"
-CreateDate="2001:01:01 12:00:00"
-FocalLength="7,6mm"
-FocalLengthIn35mmFormat="35mm" 
-Artist="Ola Lindberg" 
-copyright="Ola Lindberg" *.jpg

The day is the most important. I didn’t care so much about the time. I added some extra camera information since I knew what camera I had used for the different shots. An hour later I had my first years properly EXIF-tagged.

Export the photos from Picasa

I’m using the Picasa program for my photo management. So I started from 1998 and took one year at the time. I starred, adjusted and exported the photos I wanted. Then I sorted them to folders by years when they were taken. I ended up with folders from 1999 to 2009 with between 5 & 50 images in each.

To be sure that I wasn’t missing any EXIF-data I looked through all exported photos in Windows Explorer where you can see the Date taken property. If it says Specify date taken you have no EXIF-data. By now most of my photos had the date in that field. I completed those that didn’t (both on the original file and the exported file).

Uploading to Flickr

I used the Flickr Uploadr tool to upload all photos. I tagged, added to sets, added titles and descriptions to all photos. Then I uploaded it one year at the time. I put them in one set for every year.

I ended up with sets from 1999 – 2009 with my old / new photos.

Re-sort the Flickr stream

Flickr sorts all photos by date uploaded. While it’s ok I didn’t want all my old photos to be on the first page in my Flickr stream. I could just have waited a while and it wouldn’t be a problem but I wanted to have them in an order more like date taken than date uploaded.

It’s strange that Flickr doesn’t support any way to re-sort you photo stream. But I found one third party tool (Flickr photostream update) that changes the upload date to the same as date taken. I ran it one set at the time and it worked fine.

There are one limitation though. You can never set the date taken to an earlier date than when you joined Flickr. I joined Flickr 2005-05-17 so my photos from 1999-2005 could never get the right upload date. Instead I changed the date for all photos from 1999 to 2005-05-20. All from 2000 to 2005-05-21. All from 2001 to 2005-05-22. And so on.

I looked for tools edit date uploaded in a batch for all photos in one set. I found one tool that I tried but it didn’t work. I didn’t have that many photos in these old sets so I just edited them one at the time in Flickr. It didn’t take more than 20 minutes so I was pretty happy. You could probably find a tool for this. Or even write your own.

Result

I uploaded about 400 of my old photos to Flickr. All in all it took two days. I ended up with a collection of my best of shots with sets for each year. And I’m very satisfied with it!

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Ola

Mångsysslande doer & klätterentusiast. Jag driver varumärket Sten & bloggen Klätterbilder. Jag konsultar inom IT & Marknadsföring samt undervisar inom webb på Folkuniversitetet. Jag älskar att fota. /// Doer & climbing enthusiast. I run the climbing brand Sten & the blog Klätterbilder. Consulting with IT & marketing & teaching at Folkuniversitetet. I love to take pictures.