Updating Capture Time


Today’s Question: I am embarrassed to say that I forgot to change the time on my camera during a recent trip, so all of my photos show the wrong capture time. Is there a way to fix this in Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can very easily correct a time zone discrepancy for your photos in Lightroom using the Edit Capture Time command found on the Metadata menu.

More Detail: For situations where the capture time error is simply due to having neglected to change the time on your camera when changing time zones, the correction is quite simple. First, navigate to the location where the affected photos are stored, and then choose Edit > Select All from the menu to select all of the photos in that location.

You can then choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time from the menu to bring up the Edit Capture Time dialog. Choose the second option in the “Type of Adjustment” section of the dialog, which is labeled “Shift by set number of hours (time zone adjust)”. Then, in the New Time section, choose the applicable number of hours you need to shift the images by from the popup at the far right. Keep in mind that you can choose a positive or negative value depending on the direction of the required shift.

When you select a number of hours to adjust the time by, the capture time for the currently active image will be presented, along with the updated time based on the correction you’ve selected. This enables you to validate that you have selected the correct number of hours to adjust the capture time by. When you have confirmed that the setting is correct, you can click the Change button to apply the adjustment. Keep in mind that this action can’t be undone, so if you make an error you’ll have to apply a new adjustment to the capture time to compensate.

It is also worth noting that by default Lightroom will only update the capture time for your images within the Lightroom catalog. If you want to save the changes to the actual image files, you’ll need to enable two options in the Catalog Settings dialog for the current catalog.

First, you’ll need to enable the “Automatically write changes into XMP” checkbox on the Metadata tab in the Catalog Settings dialog, so that Lightroom will save metadata updates to the image files in addition to saving those changes to the Lightroom catalog.

In addition, to enable updates to the capture time you’ll need to enable the “Write date or time changes into proprietary raw files” checkbox so that the metadata for RAW captures will be updated for those files, in addition to updating the Lightroom catalog.