12 Replies Latest reply: Aug 3, 2012 11:47 AM by léonie
HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)



I have some old legacy non-digital photos that I scanned to include in my aperture library.

As a consequence the camera brand is unknown.

i would like to modify the empty EXIF data, specifically camera brand , camera model, and lens, to reflect what i used at that time, but could not find any editing options in aperture. Any advice or alternative exif editor ?



Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 2x2.66 dual core xeon
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,722 points)

    You'll need to do that before importing the images into Aperture. Aperture does not allow modification of the EXIF data.


    EXIFTool is a command line EXIF data viewer and editor. It is very powerful and can be a bit intimidating at first but is worth the effort to learn it if you plan on doing a lot of work on  EXIF data. I believe there are some GUI front ends, Google will let you know.


    There are other programs out there again Google will do a more through job of listing them then I can.


    Note it may be possible, if the originals (masters) are referenced to modify the EXIF data after an image is imported into Aperture. Never tried it so dont't know if the modified EXIF data will be read by Aperture. It would be an easy test to perform.



  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Hi Frank


    Thanks for your answer. Since my photos have already been imported in Aperture, and not referenced, I understand I would need to delete them, then reimport in Aperture. Meaning, it is not possible from another software to edit EXIFs of pictures inside Aperture database. Am i correct ?

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,722 points)

    As I wrote previously I'm not sure if a master's EXIF data is modified after the file is imported if Aperture will recognize that the data has been modified and use the new data. 


    It would be an easy test to run, covert a master to referenced and modify some EXIF data and see if the modification is reflected in Aperture.


    If the modification is picked up by Aperture you would not need to re-import the images and if you didn't want to leave the masters as referenced you could move them back into the Aperture library once you were done.

  • léonie Level 10 (90,815 points)


    I tested this previously with changing the GPS coordinates using GraphicConverter. Relocating the originals, editing the EXIF tags longitude, latitude, altitude in GraphicConverter, then consolidating again definitle worked. The changes to the master/original were duly reflected in Aperture.


    So I have high hopes that your fix also should work with with the camera make.



  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Hi Franck


    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "convert a master to a refrenced". Is it the same i was suggesting ( exporting the photo, deleting it in aperture database, then reimporting it ) ? Or is it something else?


    As I said, all my photos are inside the Aperture database currently, and as such i suppose they are not accessible to EXIFTool.

  • léonie Level 10 (90,815 points)

    I think, what Frank meant, was to turn your managed original image file, that is inside your Aperture library into a referenced original image file. This is done by selecting the image and using the command "File > Relocate original/master" from the main menu bar. This command will move the original image file to a folder of your choosing outside the Aperture library, so you can access it from the Finder. After youapply your changes, you can move it back using the "File > Consolidate originals" command. Whether the command will refer to masters or originals will depend on your Aperture version. What is your Aperture version btw.?

  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Thanks Leonie


    It's clearer now. However, I don't understand the distingo between "original" and "master".

    I have aperture V3,3,2

  • léonie Level 10 (90,815 points)

    However, I don't understand the distingo between "original" and "master".

    That is question of the version of Aperture that you are using: Master and original are the same.


    In the older Aperture versions (till Aperture 3.2.4) the original image files are called "Masters", since Aperture 3.3. they are called "Originals".


    And that makes it very difficult for us to refer to them and to the menu entries, if we do not know the Aperture version that a poster is using

  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Thanks Leonie


    So I did that. Download Exiftool (in fact I've had already done it), give up on GUI tools that do not seem to exist for that purpose on Mac, move my entire pic directory , then launch 3 cmd line in Terminal (that do work in batch):


    exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -preserve "-Make=Canon" /mydirectorypath

    exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -preserve "-Model=Canon EOS 100" /mydirectorypath

    exiftool -overwrite_original_in_place -preserve "-Lens=Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM" /mydirectorypath


    then consolidate database.


    I am now confronted with something strange:

    All pictures have been modified (as stated by exiftool and checked with Preview: the original exif has been modified) but in Aperture, for an unknown reason only a third of them appear to be.


    It seems that the finder did record a modification date on the files only on nearly a third of them, and these are the ones that Aperture sees as modified

  • léonie Level 10 (90,815 points)

    I just tried the following, given your observation:


    You can force the OS to change the modification date with the "touch" command, as you probably know.


    Type into your Terminal window

         touch thepathtosomefile


         touch /mydirectorypath/*.tiff


    to change the modification date of all tiff-files in /mydirectorypath/

    Replace "tiff" by the extension of the format of your image files that you want to change in that directory.


    After "touching" the original files, Aperture (3.3.2) recognized the  changes to the camera make made by exitool.


  • HugoMe Level 1 (25 points)

    Leonie, you surely are a truely helpful person. I did what you suggested, un unknown hint to me, and now everything is OK. Strangely i had to do it in two steps as in the first one a few photos managed to escape Aperture recognition.


    Very happy to have now my old camera recognized as a proud contributor to my Aperture library !

  • léonie Level 10 (90,815 points)

    You are welcome, HugoMe. Glad to help.

    Your question made me finally start to tag my old scans as well, mostly Nikon F2 and Praktica slides.


    Have a nice weekend!