Sync Time & Date - Part 2

Last week we talked about synchronizing the Date & Time metadata that was generated by multiple cameras. By doing this, you can easily find photos of the same moment in time.

Time Sync Multiple Cameras-PART 2-No Match.png

Time Doesn’t Match

But they are shot at the same moment in time.

The example would be to organize images, from multiple photographers, of a bride and groom cutting the cake at a wedding. Or, say you’ve just returned from a vacation and you are organizing images shot with different cameras, including your cell phone. Synchronizing the date and time metadata really helps with organizing photos – especially if you’ve crossed time zones.

Last week we used a photo of the correct time that was shot from each camera. That certainly makes the process of synchronizing the data easy and accurate. But what if you didn’t remember to shoot a photo of the correct time. You can still synchronize all the images but realize that you are going to sacrifice accuracy.

The images above were shot by two different cameras. A Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon 5D Mark III. The one on the left (Mark IV) had the correct time. But, the images shot with the Mark III are all tagged with the wrong time. Without a photo of the actual time (See Sync Date & Time Part 1), I found an image from each camera that seems to have been captured at the same moment in time. Using these two images, I’m going to correct the time metadata on ALL the images shot at that event with the Mark III.

How To Synchronize Date and Time

Display all the images from your event in Lightroom’s Grid view. Make sure your Filter Bar is displayed at the top of the grid. If not, go to View > Show Filter Bar. The shortcut is the backslash key, \.

  1. You need to filter the images so that you only see photos created on the camera with the incorrect time. In our case, we select Camera and highlight the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

  2. Select the image that best matches one for which you know the correct time.

  3. Then Select All. Note that in Lightroom you have one image that is primarily selected – the lighter of the highlighted images – and many other that are selected.

  4. Go to Metadata > Edit Capture Time… In the Type of Adjustment, select the top one, Adjust to a specified date and time. (Remember, this doesn’t change them all to the same specified date and time. It changes the primary image to the Corrected Time and all others are adjusted by the same relative shift in time.

  5. Enter the Corrected Time. This should match the time stamp from the similar images shot on the other camera.

What if… What if…

We could spend all day with “what if” questions. What if both times are incorrect? What if both cameras are wrong and I was in Europe? What if Pinky really did take over the world?

The bottom line is this. Keep your camera’s date and time up to date. If something is wrong, find an image that you know the date and time it was captured. Then, use that image as the basis to adjust all others.

Metadata, like the date and time, is simply another tool that you can use in your workflow. Use it wisely.