Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Tutorial: Creating a timestamp on photos/timelapse

Draw a timestamp on your time-lapse

EXIF timestamp on photo created by script
I think its nice to be able to see how much time has elapsed during a time-lapse video. To do this, a timestamp has to be drawn on each image. This can be done with batch processing in some photo editing software, but I did it using python scripts. Its free (apart from Windows) and more customizable. Here's a tutorial on how to do it.

Software requirements: Windows, Python, PIL, (Aggdraw)

Analog clock timestampTo run python scripts, you need to have Python installed. To be able to draw on photos, you also need the Python Imaging Library (PIL) which is only available for Windows. For drawing a nice anti-aliased clock you also need Aggdraw. Make sure all packages have the same version number, eg. 2.6.


Now you need a script which opens each photo, take the EXIF date/time information and draw it on the photo. Below are two scripts you can use. Save it as a .py file and put it in a folder with .jpg files. Click on the .py file and the script should run. Done! Your images are now saved in a new subfolder.

  Basic timestamp (no Aggdraw required)

Grasshopper in Florida, USA

Analog clock timestamp

Download script




Creative Commons License This work by startgrid is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Hey
    I can't find your email, so I had to ask through here. I wanted to use your timer in one of our videos.
    I have been trying to make one myself but I honestly couldn't get the hang of it so I found yours and just decided to use that.
    I couldn't find anything that would allow me to give you a reference so if I just referenced your video in the description would that be ok?

    This is the video.

    Kind regards
    Dan Wigmore

    1. I can sort anything out so that it's to your liking.