Photo Date Adjustment in Lightroom 2

Do you have two cameras and have forgotten to adjust one of them to match the other; you’ve consequently used them both on a single shoot and find the dates of the photos off!?

When uploading the photos into Lightroom, the pictures don’t match in the slider. It’s necessary to get them in sync. This will help you to get them adjusted. It should be a no-brainer, but sometimes the frustration of forgetting can overpower the common sense on how to make the actual adjustment.

It’s important to know that there are three options for changing photo dates when using the Metadata | Edit Capture Time menu option:

  1. Adjust to a specified date and time
  2. Shift by set number of hours (time zone adjust)
  3. Change to file’s creation date

Option #1 is the one which we’ll use to perform this adjustment. Important: When you select all photos in the Library module Grid view and make an adjustment to one photo, ALL selected photos will be adjusted by the same difference. Nice trick. Just wanted to let you know.

Changing Photo’s Date and Time

Here are the Mac Lightroom 2 steps to adjust all photos, using ONE photo as the master:

  1. Start OpenOffice and create a new spreadsheet.
  2. Cell A1: type a description of the first camera where the date is incorrect (example: D70s)
  3. Cell A2: type a description of the second camera where the date is correct (example: D300)
  4. Cell A3: type text “Date Difference”
  5. Cell A4: type text “Photo Date”
  6. Cell A5: type text “New Photo Date”
  7. Cell B1: type the current date of the camera with the incorrect date (example: 11:54:58 PM)
  8. Cell B2: type the current date of the camera with the correct date (example: 10:53:20 PM)
  9. Cell B3: type formula “=B2-B1” which will now represent the difference between the cameras. If the first camera date is older than camera two then this difference will be represented with a negative time. In our example the cell will read “-01:01:38”. (Hrs:Mins:Secs) This will be used to determine the New Photo Date.
  10. In Lightroom, select a photo from the incorrect photo set
    1. Change to the Library Module in Grid View (press G as a shortcut)
    2. Show the filter bar: View | Show Filter bar (press as a shortcut)
    3. Click the “Metadata” filter
    4. Choose the camera model that has the incorrect date (example: D70s)
    5. Select all photos: Edit | Select All (press Command-A)
    6. With all photos selected, click on one photo, which becomes the master
  11. Once a master photo is selected, select the menu option Metadata | Edit Capture Time… to open the dialog to make adjustments
  12. Cell B4: type the date of the master photo from the Edit Capture Time dialog
  13. Cell B5: type formula “=B4-ABS(B3)” to reveal the new photo date time; the ABS function produces an absolute value, which removes the negative sign and always makes the date time a positive value
  14. Switch to the Lightroom Edit Capture Time dialog and type the new time and click Change All
  15. Confirm the adjustment is correct
  16. In the Library Filter adjust to NONE, which then closes the Library Filter

These steps will change not only the master photo but all the photos that have been selected using the Library filter. Save the OpenOffice Spreadsheet so in case you have to do this again, the template has been created.

OpenOffice Date Spreadsheet
OpenOffice Date Spreadsheet


Finally, set the correct date on both cameras to be exactly the same, or you’ll be right back here frustrated and need to walk through the steps to make your life easier.

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