Shooting two or more cameras generally means you need to ensure the cameras are all synchronized to the same clock time. Unfortunately, my Canon 5D Mark III drifts horrendously when it comes to keeping good time — perhaps even 20 seconds in a week. I found myself continuously having to set each of my cameras before each wedding shoot to ensure images are timestamped in the right order.
After giving it a think, I came up with this handy way to sync my two DSLR cameras using Lightroom and a “Timestamp” trick.
Here’s a short tutorial on this technique:
First, set all of your cameras to manual focusing. You don’t have to but it makes it easier, especially if you are doing this alone.
Then, simply simultaneously shoot a picture on each camera (content not important). These images will have the same timestamp and will serve as your “marker” photos.
Afterwards in Lightroom
After your photo shoot or event, import the pictures into Lightroom as you normally would.
Go to “Library” (Ctrl-G or Cmd-G) and select the 1st marker photo from 1 of the cameras. This image will be the master timestamp. Write this “master” timestamp down, as you’ll need it later. On the filters bar select “Metadata” (if the filter bar is not visible press ‘\’).
Click on the secondary camera in the “Camera” this will filter out all images except for ones captured with the camera selected. Select the 2nd camera’s marker image if it’s not already selected. Click “Metadata” in the main window menu.
Select “Edit Capture Time” from the drop down to open the Edit Capture Time window.
The default option should be “Adjust to a specified time.” Enter the same timestamp you captured from the 1st camera into the “Corrected Time” and click “Change All.”
Remember to select “All Cameras” in the Filter bar to make sure you are showing all the images again. Voila! All your pictures from all your cameras should be in actual chronological order now.
Here’s a short video in which I share this tutorial:
Update: Photographer Trenton Talbot has a great suggestion: photograph a wristwatch for the “marker” photos so you can identify them at a glance.
About the author: Greg Lumley is a wedding, portrait, and lifestyle photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. You can find his work on his website.