I have 100+ gB of photos going back 25 years. They are arranged in a directory tree by category, with nested sub-directories.

How can I make a search for all photos taken in a given month, say April, in any of those directories?

I don't think that a Windows search will work as that will probably be the file creation data, which could be a month or two later wen I finally more the files from SD card to PC.

Perhaps searching the EXIF data? Is there a free program which can do that?

  • 1
    exif was first released in 1995 according to wikipedia... so 25 years is a bit too much. How are these photo archived? Is the folder name something like YYYY\MM?
    – Francesco
    Apr 9, 2012 at 11:58
  • +1 good point :-) Ok, I will settle for the last 17 years. They are organized by continent (I worked on 5)/country/subject soem with more sub-directories e.g asia/japan/people/bills_leaving_party No regular pattern and no dates in the title Apr 9, 2012 at 12:17
  • 1
    @Francesco Some poeple (like me) have EXIF'd old film photos; in my case, as far back as 1989, so 25 years is possible Apr 9, 2012 at 13:48
  • @RowlandShaw I am in awe (but I should have known better and not have doubted in first place :-) )
    – Francesco
    Apr 9, 2012 at 16:16

3 Answers 3


Certainly if you have EXIF tags on your photos, either those written by your digital camera, or those you may have added manual to older photos, this is the way to go. "exiftool" is reliable and supports all of the various formats and tags.

For instance, the following command, prints out the creation date of all image files found underneath the 2010 directory.

 exiftool -r -csv -s -t -EXIF:CreateDate 2010

Output looks like this:-

2010/11/13/IMG_4266.JPG,2010:11:13 16:51:25
2010/11/13/IMG_4268.JPG,2010:11:13 16:52:12
2010/11/09/IMG_4234.JPG,2010:11:09 19:08:04
2010/10/15/IMG_4301.JPG,2010:10:15 20:51:54
2010/10/15/IMG_4302.JPG,2010:10:15 20:52:08
2010/10/15/IMG_4305.JPG,2010:10:15 21:01:06
2010/10/15/IMG_4299.JPG,2010:10:15 20:38:58
   49 directories scanned
  625 image files read

You can then use this information to search for files in the dates you are interested in. I believe there is also a graphical version of exiftool for Windows (exiftoolGUI) which might be more friendly to use.


If you use Picasa to organize your collection, you can search by month the photo was taken. For example searching for "November" in the top right search bar shows me all photos taken in the month of November. More info and search options.

  • I am rushing now to check this out. Thanks. I will get back to you asap Apr 9, 2012 at 12:20
  • Sorry, I thought that that would do it, but ... it's still indexing, but there are a lot of photos which it claims were taken today - and were not. Maybe it means they are added to it's album today? Or maybe they are the ones with no EXIF. I had hoped to save time, but now I will code my own Apr 9, 2012 at 13:26

Use AMOK EXIF Sorter program.

AMOK EXIF Sorter screenshot

  • hmm, it looks like it will sort by date. BUT - I have 25 years of images - will it let me wildcard the year and just search for all images taken in April? Apr 9, 2012 at 11:08

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