Wrong Capture Time at Import


Today’s Question: Can you (and do you) adjust capture time to match local time when downloading photos [in Lightroom Classic]?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Lightroom Classic doesn’t enable you to adjust the capture time for your photos during import, but you can correct capture time later in your workflow. This includes the option to correct the capture time for a large batch of photos for which the camera was set to the wrong time. You’ll also want to be sure that you have enabled metadata updates for your photos so that the capture time correction is not only updated in the Lightroom catalog.

More Detail: There are a variety of reasons you may have photos with the incorrect capture time (or date) in metadata. One of the most common scenarios is when you travel to a different time zone and don’t update the time on your camera along the way.

When you realize the camera was set to the wrong date or time, you’ll naturally want to correct the metadata for your photos. However, Lightroom Classic doesn’t enable you to apply this correction during the import process, so you’ll need to apply the change after the photos have been imported.

You can select multiple photos at once, such as by selecting all photos in the “Previous Import” collection in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. After selecting the applicable photos and making sure you are in the Grid view (rather than the Loupe view) so you can update multiple photos at one time.

Next, go to the menu and choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time. Assuming the issue was a time zone discrepancy, you would want to select the “Shift by a set number of hours” option, and then select the appropriate number of hours (positive or negative) from the popup to the right under the “New Time” heading based on the necessary adjustment. Click the Change button to apply the change to the selected photos.

It is worth noting that by default Lightroom will not apply these capture time updates directly to your source photos, but instead will only be changed within the Lightroom catalog. To enable updates to the actual image files, you’ll first want to go to the Metadata tab in the Catalog Settings dialog in Lightroom Classic. Within that dialog, turn on the “Automatically write changes into XMP” checkbox as well as the “Write date or time changes into proprietary raw files” checkbox. Turning on these checkboxes will ensure that Lightroom Classic updates the capture time metadata in the source image files as well as in your Lightroom catalog.