Organizing Images From Multiple Cameras/Shooters with Lightroom

box_lightroom2_150x150Have you ever shot with a second camera or used a second shooter and then when you imported the images into Lightroom only to find out that the time on the different cameras was way off, making it difficult to edit the images in order? There is actually a very easy way to solve this within Lightroom that once you learn how to do it, you will never worry about having to time-sync the cameras before a shoot.

Yes, sometimes it IS who you know

I had heard there was an easy way to organize images from multiple cameras but I had poked around trying to find it but I never really figured it out. Of course, the actual answer was far simpler than I had thought and had thus overlooked it several times. I was recently talking to my good friend Rick Miller who is a solution specialist for Adobe, and had mentioned I thought there should be an easier way to accomplish this. Rick, not wanting to be stumped by a Lightroom question helped me look for the answer and sure enough, there it was…sort of.

Metadata is your friend

metadata1This is going to be so simple you may wonder how come you didn’t accidentally run across it yourself. When you are in the Library module, make sure you are in Grid mode. At the top of the Grid you should see the Library Filter bar, if you don’t, just hit the key. Next, click on Metadata on the Library Filter bar. Right here you will see that the images are group by camera model. If the different cameras you are using are all separate models, then you are set, just select the Camera model to filter all of the images associated with that camera.

If you were using different cameras but they were the same camera model, fear not, we just have to go through one more small step. At the top right of any of the columns you see there is a small icon, click on that and add a new column, now click on the blank column title and select Camera Serial Number. Now you can filter by the individual camera.

Timing is Everything

edit_buttonNow that we know how to sort on the images, we now need to have a reference point so that we can adjust the time on what set of images to match the time on the rest of the images. Now if you haven’t done the shoot yet, the best thing to do is have everyone take a picture of something like their feet. Even if you are shooting alone, just take one shot with the first camera, then swap cameras and take a shot with the second camera, there is no need to try to do them at the same time.

If you are editing an existing shoot, you need to figure out the time difference. With multiple shooters there is almost always a shot from each camera at the beginning, if you didn’t pick up your second camera until the middle of the shoot, this can be a little more tricky. But play along and let’s see how to do it anyway.

Let’s say our sync shot was taken at 1pm, and the second camera is off by 20 minutes. All we have to do is filter by the second camera, go over to the Metadata block and select the edit icon next to Capture Time. At this point a dialog box will come up with several options for time adjustments.

The problem here isn’t that the functionality we want (to adjust by 20 minutes) isn’t here, the problem is the text for the option isn’t very clear. If you read the description at the top of the dialog box it actually tells you that it will adjust the time of the image that is displayed and all of the other images that are selected will be adjusted by the same amount of time. So if we are seeing the first image, and we set the time to 1pm, all of the rest of the images will be adjusted accordingly and all of the images from both cameras will now be in complete time sync.


Video Demo

In the following video, Kerry Garrison shows how to adjust the time of your images to all sync up together.


Kerry Garrison lives in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife and two dogs. With 10 years of experience shooting products and 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, Kerry brings a good deal of technical know-how and can explain topics in easy-to-understand terms.

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9 Responses

  1. retouching says:

    Lightroom is a great resource which certainly speeds up my retouching work.

  2. tranquilpictures says:

    Thanks so much for your information!

  3. frank says:

    Great tip! I have one suggestion to add to the steps. Each shooter take a picture of their cell phone time at the start or anytime in the shoot {do this with all cameras}. Then when in lightroom go to the image with the time and adjust accordingly. This should work since cell phone time is adjusted to local time {except for some 'smartphones'}.

  4. matt s says:

    Great tip. Saved me a bunch of time. Thanks for the video.

  5. matt s says:

    Great tip. Saved me a bunch of time. Thanks for the video.

  6. gisnap says:

    Its really cool, I came to know this really worth visiting, just bookmarked your site.
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