Coordinating times from multiple cameras using Lightroom

Coordinating times from multiple cameras using Lightroom

Getting multiple photographers to sync their cameras to yours is a bit like herding cats. ("Mine is correct" "No, mine is correct"). Here's an easy way to 'synchronize' the times of all your photos, across all photographers, even after a shoot, using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

  1. With each camera that you wish to synchronize, take a photo of a clock. I use this link because it's very large on my computer screen. http://www.online-stopwatch.com/online-digital-clock/  You'll want other photographers to use the same link.
  2. With the first camera (we'll call it D800 in this example), import the photo into the same Lightroom catalog that you have your Photo Shoot in.
  3. Select the Metadata tab at the top, and filter all your photos by the D800. You should see your photos appear like this:Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.24.28 PM
  4. Next, press the "Information" key (shortcut toggle = "I") until you see the time of your photo in the top left, as shown here:Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.23.14 PM Notice that the time of the photo does not match that of the clock. You will need to change that time from 12:50:51PM to 1:54:55PM, in the next steps.
  5. With the "Clock" photo SELECTED, go ahead and select the rest of the photos that you have filtered for the D800 camera.  I use the shortcut key "Command + A".  You'll see them all selected, with the Clock photo HIGHLIGHTED. Warning: Make sure this ONLY applies to the Camera that you have filtered using the Metadata in Step 3 above.
  6. From the top menu, select Metadata -> Edit Capture Time. A dialog window will pop up.Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.27.48 PM
  7. Adjust the "corrected time" to the time shown in the preview window (as shown in this photo below), then select "Change All".  This will change the time of the Highlighted photo, AND will change the times of ALL other selected photos by the same relative amount.Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.29.17 PM
  8. Now, go back and repeat this for any other cameras that you used.

If you have more than one photographer involved in your shoot, have them use the exact same link as shown above, so they can match their photos exactly.

Done! Happy Photographers !

Note#1: When you change timestamps in Lightroom, you're only changing the timestamp INSIDE that catalog. You are NOT changing the actual timestamp in the raw image... even if you "save metadata to files".... (at least with the default catalog settings). If you DO wish to actually modify the timestamp in the raw files,there is a Catalog Setting that you have to turn on first, and THEN "save metadata to files".

Technical Note:  In step 6, I selected All of my D800 photos for 2014, not just the D800 photos from the one specific shoot. That is because all of my D800 photos happen to be off by the same amount.

Irreverent Note #2: Funny thing about that screen shot of the Time Clock... how do they know that I use Bluehost for my web site, that I recently sent some flowers by FTD, and that I looked up an air schedule for Air Emirates? Scary stuff...