Synchronizing Capture Times

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Today’s Question: I recently shot a wedding with two Canon bodies and did not think to make sure the time stamp was synchronized for each camera till after the fact. Is there a way in Lightroom Classic to change the time stamp of the slower camera to advance by 5 minutes to every image from that body?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can most certainly make this correction in Lightroom Classic. All you need to do is filter the images for the “slower” camera, and then use the Edit Capture Time command to shift the capture time for all photos by the amount of time necessary (five minutes in this case).

More Detail: When you neglected to synchronize the clocks on your cameras before a photo shoot, fortunately you can correct the issue relatively easily in Lightroom Classic.

The first step is to determine the precise amount of time adjustment that is necessary. A common scenario is when a camera is off by a number of hours due to not setting the camera’s clock to the right time zone. In this case you will need to determine as accurately as possible the exact number of minutes and seconds you need to adjust by, such as by looking for photos captured at about the same moment from each of the cameras. In this case let’s assume that amount of time is exactly five minutes.

Next, you’ll want to filter the images so you’re only seeing the photos from the one camera that you want to adjust the time for. In this case, for example, you can filter based on the “slower” camera. In the Library module you can press the backslash key () to bring up the Library Filter Bar if it isn’t already displayed. Then choose the Metadata tab, and set a filter for the camera you need to adjust the capture time for. That might be as simple as choosing the applicable camera model from the “Camera” category, or you might need to change that column to Serial Number to identify a specific camera if they were both the same model.

Once you’ve established a filter, I recommend setting the sort order to “Capture Time” using the Sort popup on the toolbar below the grid view display. Then scroll to the first image and select it. Next, choose Edit > Select All from the menu so that all photos based on the current filter are selected.

To actually change the capture time choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time from the menu. In the dialog that appears, choose “Adjust to a specified date and time” from the “Type of Adjustment” popup. The original time will be shown for the image you initially selected, with a preview of that image shown for confirmation. Use the Corrected Time field to correct the time for that photo by the amount you determined. For example, in this example you would make the Corrected Time value be five minutes earlier than the Original Time value.

You can then click the Change All button, and the time for all photos will be adjusted. Note that the capture time for all selected photos will not be changed to the same single value you entered for Corrected Time. Instead, the difference between the Original Time and Corrected Time for the photo you initially selected will be used to calculate the same adjustment for all selected photos.