Synchronizing Capture Times


Today’s Question: I shot a wedding with a second shooter and she forgot to sync her time with my camera’s. The capture time in all her photos is 2 hours and 45 minutes earlier than mine. I tried to fix this in Lightroom Classic. For what I understand the “change capture time” options are either to put in the correct time individually for each photo or add or subtract the number of hours of your choice, but I don’t have an even number for the correction. Do you have any suggestions for doing this an easier way?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can synchronize the capture times for all photos captured by the second camera in this case by using the option to adjust to a specific date and time, which actually makes it possible to adjust by a specific amount of time not just set the capture time for all photos to the same time.

More Detail: I imagine the most common correction for capture time is a time zone correction, as I have most certainly neglected to update the time on my camera on more than one occasion when crossing time zones. However, it is also possible to correct capture times by a “random” number of hours and minutes in Lightroom Classic.

The key is to first determine what the actual correct capture time would be for one of the photos, so you can determine the offset to use for the capture time correction. For example, with two photographers you may be able to find a photo captured at about the same moment and use the capture times for those two photos as a reference. So here, for example, the photographer has determined that the correction is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

You can then filter the images captured with the camera requiring correction, sort by capture time, and then take a look at the very first photo from that camera. Using the example from today’s question of 2 hours and 45 minutes difference, let’s assume that the capture time for the first photo was precisely 12:00pm (because that makes the math here a little easier for me).

Based on this, you would know that the correct capture time for that first photo would actually be 2:45pm. Let’s further assume that the second photo was captured at 12:05pm, and all the remaining photos were of course captured at later times.

Select all of the photos that need to be corrected, with the first photo in the sequence being the active photo (the photo you see in the loupe view display for example). Then choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time from the menu.

In the dialog that appears, first choose the “Adjust to a specified date and time” option under the Type of Adjustment heading. Then set the Corrected Time to the correct value. In this example the Original Time will show the date and 12:00:00pm, so I would set the Corrected Time to 2:45:00pm.

When you click the Change button to update the capture time, you won’t actually be changing every selected photo to be set to a 2:45pm capture time, even though the wording in the dialog makes it sound that way. Rather, you’ll be updating the capture time to the value you enter for Corrected Time for the active photo, and all other photos will be corrected based on their relative capture time.

So here, for example, the first photo will of course be corrected to a capture time of 2:45pm, and the second photo will be updated to 2:50pm, and all other photos will be updated with the same time shift, which in this case was 2 hours and 45 minutes.