Today’s Question: You recently addressed a question about changing the capture time during import to Lightroom Classic, indicating that you had to wait until after import to change the capture time. Don’t you think it would be better if it was possible to apply this change during import when you know the camera was set to the wrong time?
Tim’s Quick Answer: While in theory it is best to correct capture time as early in your workflow as possible, I actually would not want to apply such a correction during the process of importing photos into Lightroom Classic. That is because I would rather review the photos and make absolutely sure of the time correction required, and that the same correction is needed for all photos.
More Detail: The best time to correct the capture time for your photos, of course, is before you actually capture the photos. In other words, it is best to set your camera to local time as soon as you cross into a new time zone, and before you capture any photos. This would prevent the need to apply a capture time correction after the capture.
Conceptually the next best time to correct capture time would be during the process of downloading the photos from your camera or memory card. However, even if this option was available in Lightroom Classic (which it isn’t), I would prefer to wait until after the photos have been downloaded before applying any correction to the capture time.
The reason for this is that if I’m going to apply a correction to capture time, I want to take the time to double check how much correction is necessary, and which photos actually need the correction. For example, if you changed the time zone on your camera partway through a trip, you would only want to correct the photos that were captured before you changed the time on your camera.
When I realize I have neglected to correct the time zone on my camera during travels, I typically wait until after I’ve downloaded the current batch of photos to correct the time on my camera. That will help avoid confusion in terms of which photos need a correction and which do not.
In addition, before applying a correction I prefer to review my photos to double-check the adjustment that is required. I’ll often, for example, check the capture time in metadata for a photo that was captured around sunrise or sunset. By confirming the actual time of sunrise or sunset, this review enables me to easily confirm the number of hours required for the time zone correction.
Because I prefer to review the metadata for my photos before applying a time zone correction, I would tend not to apply a time zone correction during import into Lightroom Classic even if that feature were available, saving that work for right after the photos have been imported and I’ve had a chance to review the metadata for those photos.