Incorrect Sort Order

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Today’s Question: I just returned from South Africa and spent time at two safari lodges. I typically create a separate folder for each lodge that I visit. On my camera (Nikon D600) the images are in the order that they were taken. But when I download them into Lightroom, they are no longer in that order, making it impossible to figure out at which lodge the images were taken. Any suggestions?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The quick solution is to change the sort order to the “Capture Time” option. You can do so by choosing “Capture Time” from the Sort popup on the toolbar below the Grid view display in the Library module, or by choosing View > Sort > Capture Time from the menu.

More Detail: I suspect in this case the sort order has changed to “Added Time” for example, which sorts the images based on the order in which they were added to the Lightroom catalog. This is sometimes not even close to the actual capture order, depending on how the images were written to the card and how they are read by Lightroom upon import.

However, you might have also selected a different sort order based on different criteria. When you choose the Capture Time sort order, the images will be sorted based on the actual capture time embedded in metadata for each image. This is generally my preferred order for sorting my photos, though obviously there are situations where other options are preferred.

I try to make a point to change the sort order back to Capture Time as soon as I’m done reviewing photos using any other sort order, as otherwise I have a tendency to get confused about why the photos aren’t appearing in the order I’m expecting them, or why the photos seem to be in a random order.

Note, by the way, that you can also filter the images by date, which might be helpful for a situation where you want to view images based on the date (or dates) they were captured. To filter by date, make sure the Library Filter bar is displayed (you can choose View > Show Filter Bar from the menu if it isn’t visible). Then set one of the columns for the filter bar to Date, and select the desired date (or dates) from that column, making sure that any other columns are set to “All” (unless you want to apply an additional filter to the images).