If you’re a wedding photographer who uses a second shooter, you probably know how it feels if you forgot to sync the time on your camera and your second’s camera before the wedding. It’s frustrating when you open Lightroom to edit and you realize your images and their images are in the wrong order!
Since I photograph weddings with two cameras, I often have this happen to me just with my own cameras. Luckily, I know a great trick to sort the photos in Lightroom so the timeline appears correctly.
In this post, I’ll show you how to fix the time for different cameras in Lightroom so that everything is synced up perfectly and in order. Read on to learn more!
1. FIND A “CONSTANT” AND A “VARIABLE” IMAGE
It’s not really that hard to sync the time on images from multiple cameras in Lightroom. It may seem like a lot of steps, but I promise once you get the hang of it it’ll get easier and easier!
This is a lot easier if you have all of your photos from this particular wedding or shoot in its own catalog. To start, open your Lightroom catalog and make sure all filters are turned off.
You’re going to find two photos that were taken as close to the exact time as possible. One that has the correct date & time, and one that doesn’t. Decide which photo you’ll use as the reference photo (the one with the correct time, if you know it). We’ll call this photo the “CONSTANT“. The other photo, the one that needs the time corrected, we’ll call the “VARIABLE“.
These example screenshots are from a wedding that took place on May 30, 2021, and I had a second shooter with me. I flagged the example photos in red just to make it easier to see them.
Select the CONSTANT photo and look at the exact time it was taken in the Metadata panel (in the right panel). If you don’t see the time, click the “Customize…” button and check “Capture Time” under Camera Info.
Write down on a piece of paper the EXACT date & time the constant photo was taken. Ex: 5/27/2022 12:47:05 PM.
SHOW ONLY THE PHOTOS WITH THE INCORRECT TIME
First, in Library mode & grid view, click on “All Photographs” in the left panel under “CATALOG”. You should see all the photos in the Lightroom catalog. If you don’t, check to make sure all filters are turned off.
Then you want to use a filter to show only the photos that have the incorrect time.
You can filter the grid view based on the camera model, the lens that was used, or other information that will separate the photos you want to change the time on. You can do this using the filter menu at the top of the grid of image previews.
TO FILTER PHOTOS BY…
Camera model: Metadata > Camera
Lens the images were photographed with: Metadata > LensOther options to filter the grid are available in the filter menu in the dropdown on the right side.
Since my second shooter and I were using different camera models, I’ll filter by camera model to show only her photos. If it was just me (I use two Nikon D750’s), I would filter based on lens or focal length (I use a 35mm on one camera and an 85mm on the other). If you’re dealing with multiple lenses, you can create a Lightroom collection for each different lens or camera model and use them to sort the images.
Once you’ve applied the filter, double-check to make sure you see ONLY the photos with the INCORRECT time in the grid.
HOW TO SYNC THE CORRECT TIME IN LIGHTROOM
Now in your grid, with only the photos that need to be adjusted, find the VARIABLE photo and select it.
While it’s still selected, press CTRL/CMD + A (on your keyboard) to select all photos in the Lightroom catalog. You should still see your VARIABLE photo highlighted (a little brighter than the others).
Now select “Metadata > Edit capture time” in the top Lightroom menu.
In the window that pops up, make sure “Adjust to a specified date and time” is selected. In the “corrected time” field, enter the exact date and time you wrote down for the CONSTANT photo.
DOUBLE-CHECK BEFORE YOU COMMIT CHANGES
Once you change the time, it can’t be undone! Write down the current (incorrect) date & time for the VARIABLE photo just so you have it in case you need to re-set the original time.
If you’re sure you’re only changing the time on the incorrect images to match the correct ones, go ahead and commit the change by clicking the “Change All” button. This will change the metadata for the time captured on ALL the selected images in your grid and they’ll magically be sorted in the Library!
DID IT WORK?
Unselect all the photos (CTRL/CMD + D) and turn off all filters to check if your photos are in order now.
IF YOUR PHOTOS STILL APPEAR OUT OF ORDER…
Try adjusting the sort order:
Click on View (top Lightroom menu) > Sort > Capture Time > Ascending
If you notice your adjusted time is off, you can always try this process over again, and use your judgment to correct the time plus or minus a fraction of time to see if the photos appear in the correct order.
I hope that this tutorial was helpful for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly as possible. And if you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it with your friends and followers. Have a great day!