How To Sync Multiple Cameras On A Wedding Shoot

By JasenkaG / March 5, 2019

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If you shoot weddings, you surely know that working with a second shooter has many advantages. For instance, you can cover more moments or get a different perspective on the same moment. However,  one thing can be troublesome when working in tandem with another  photographer! If you don't sync your cameras to the correct time, you can end up with the wrong order of images in Lightroom. This means that the shots taken at the reception can get intermixed with images from the dance floor.
In order to avoid this chaotic experience and use your time efficiently, you should know how to sync multiple cameras on a wedding or similar photo shoot. The following two methods will help you achieve this. You’ll never have to go through hundreds or thousands of photos and sort through them one by one.

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Setting The Time On Camera

The easiest method to sync multiple cameras is to have each photographer hold his/her camera, get into the camera menu and set a specific time. It’s fairly easy to do so. For instance, on Nikon DSLRs you can change time via Setup Menu>Time Zone And Date or Setup Menu>World Time>Date and Time.
You and your second shooter(s) should set an exact hour, minute and second and press the OK button at the same time. The idea is to have the time set exactly the same across all cameras so that shots appear in proper order in Lightroom. As long as all cameras have the same clock time, the images will appear in the correct order and make your post-processing easier.
The downside of this method is the fact that everyone needs to be together (main photographer and second shooters) when setting the time. If you have more than one second shooter and you're in a hurry, you might find this method troublesome.

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Photo by The Creative Exchange

Photographing A Clock

Another useful method is to photograph a clock that displays hour, minute and second. In this case, the precise settings don’t matter –  you just need to point each camera at the same clock and take a photo. You will have a photo of the actual time in every camera so that you can readjust the recorded time in post-processing.
For instance, you can take an image of the clock on your cell phone with every camera you plan to use. In case your clock doesn't have a seconds counter, you can download a clock app or use worldclock.com.
The following list includes some of the most popular clock apps:

Android

iOS

Photo by Sonja Langford

After taking an image of the clock, you should sync the images from each camera to their respective time from within Lightroom. In order to do this, you should open Lightroom, view your images in the grid mode (keyboard shortcut is G), click the metadata filter at the top of the screen and choose to sort by camera serial number. You need to select a single camera.
Once you have done this,  you have to select the image of the clock and then press Ctrl+A. This will select the clock image along with every other image from the same camera. It’s really important that you have only one camera selected while doing this. If you make a mistake and select another camera too you can accidentally change the time for the wrong images.
After you completed this step, you need to change the time. This is an easy task! You should simply click Metadata menu option from the top left corner in Lightroom. Then you should click Edit Capture Time.
The pop-up window will open and you should make sure that Adjust To A Specified Date And Time is selected.  Then you should enter the time displayed in the image of the clock (you will see this image in the preview window).

Photo by Domenico Loia

Repeating The Process For All Cameras

In case you don't see the image of the clock, you did something wrong and you should repeat the process until you get it right. But since this method is fairly simple, you probably won’t have any issues. You should repeat the same steps until all the cameras are synced to the correct time. Doing this will allow you to get a precise capture time for every image you took during a wedding shoot.
This method is quite useful because all you need to do is tell your second shooters to take an image of their cell phone clock at some point. You can even do it together while at the reception before you start shooting.
Since weddings photo shoots tend to be stressful and you need to give your best to avoid any technical issues, knowing tricks such as syncing multiple cameras comes in handy. No matter which of these two methods you choose for syncing cameras, it will certainly make your editing routine easier and more enjoyable.

Photo by Beatriz Perez Moya

In case you want to learn more about wedding photography and syncing camera times in Lightroom, feel free to check out the following links!

Further Resources:

  1. How To Photograph A Wedding – A Technical Guide
  2. Six Practical Tips For Presenting Wedding Photos To Clients
  3. Creative Use Of Off-Camera Flash And Ultra-Wide In Wedding Photography
  4. Multi-Camera Shooting
  5. Editing Capture Time In Lightroom
  6. Using 2 Cameras? Make It Easy: Sync The Time

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About the author

JasenkaG

Jasenka is a passionate photographer with a background in design. You can find out more about her on her website, see some of her stock images at Shutterstock or get to know her better here.

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