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Photography

Quick Tip: Syncing and Correcting Camera Time

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It’s easy to forget to keep your camera’s time set properly. This quick tip will show you the importance of syncing the time on your cameras, and will help you fix it in Lightroom in case you forgot to.


The Importance

If you’re a wedding or event photographer, you probably know about the importance of getting the camera time right. Shooting with multiple cameras or second and third shooters is great for increasing the number of images you capture. But if the time code on these images is wrong, editing can be a real headache as your shots can be wildly out of order.

set_date_time

If you're involved in shooting with multiple cameras or assistants, always put “sync cameras” on your to-do list before starting the day. This will help to address the problem before it begins. But what if you’ve forgotten or are editing for others?


Syncing in Lightroom

If you didn’t set the time correctly in-camera, you can easily correct the problem in Lightroom. The program makes it easy to adjust all of your incorrectly timed images at the same time.

Step One: Calculate

To get started, first load all of your images into Lightroom. Next, you’ll want to step back and calculate how far off your images are if you don’t already know. If I’m editing a wedding, I find two “reference” images that are clearly taken at about the same time (like during a wedding) and then calculate how far apart in time they are.

The hardest part of this process is determining how far apart your images are. Putting two side by side with compare view (press "Y" on the keyboard) and comparing the capture times (press "I" on the keyboard) will help you compare capture times.
The hardest part of this process is determining how far off your incorrectly timed images are. Put one side by side with a correctly timed image in Compare view (press "C" on the keyboard) and view the time/date code (press "I" on the keyboard to overlay it) to help you compare capture times.

Step Two: Filter

After you determine how far off the two cameras are, you'll want to select the incorrectly timed images. For this, I use the Library module's filter. Usually, my second shooter and I have two different cameras, and I'll select just his images to correct. I filter to the images shot by his camera and then select all images in that set.

To filter to the images that need correction, use the Library module's filter to do so. Choose View > Show Filter Bar (or press " \ " on the keyboard) to add the option to select just one camera's images.
To filter to the images that need correction, use the Library module's filter to do so. Choose View > Show Filter Bar to add the option to select just one camera's images.

Step Three: Correct

After you've selected the images that need correction, the Library module has an easy option to correct the time. To open the option, choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time from the menu. A window will pop up with several options for time correction.

To set your images to a specific time, choose the first option on the "Edit Capture Time" dialog and choose the time to set your images to.
To set your images to a specific time, choose the first option on the "Edit Capture Time" dialog and choose the time to set your images to.
Another option is to adjust all images by a given amount of time. This is great for large batches of images, and is especially helpful when you don't change your camera's time following the Daylight Savings Time change in the United States.
Another option is to adjust all images by a given amount of time. This is great for large batches of images, and is especially helpful when you don't change your camera's time following the Daylight Savings Time change in the United States.

Wrapping Up

Having the correct time in the image's metadata is a must when you are editing multiple camera setups. If you've forgotten to set the time in your camera correctly, this fix in Lightroom is easy to implement.

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