It is a tragedy to not make a picture because you don’t want to deal with post production. Yet, many photographers have exactly this feeling–that photography has become a burden. Here’s an idea to help make using two or more cameras less burdensome.
Why Two Cameras?
Just the other day I had a shoot that would take a full 9 hours, but I wasn’t sure that was enough time, so I was seeking ways to save time and maximize my efficiency. One thing I know about myself is that if I have to change a lens to make a wide angle picture or a telephoto, then I’m a lot less likely to do it, and switching lenses takes up valuable time, too. I put the wide angle lens on one camera body and the telephoto on the other. Now I can drop one camera onto my Spider Holster and pick up the other and I’m ready to make more pictures with a fresh view. Many sports and wedding shooters also use two cameras with wide and long lenses.
But have you ever tried to manage pictures from multiple cameras? It can be a disaster. Lightroom can sort pictures by camera model and even by serial number, or by lens used, but the easiest method is to sort by Capture Time so all your pictures show up in order as things happened. At least, it’s easy if you synchronize your cameras before the shoot, and I know three ways to do it.
1. Use the Menu
The traditional way to sync is to go to the menu and set manually set the same time and date on each camera. Don’t forget that if you have a second a shooter you need to synchronize her camera with yours, too. The good news is that once you’ve synchronized, it should stay synchronized for the next shoot.
The only trouble with using the menu to synchronize is that minutes are the most precise number you can choose. If I shoot with another photographer at a wedding, and we’re both shooting the first kiss, then those pictures need to show up in Lightroom in precisely the right order, and being 15 seconds off is a big difference. So, get both cameras to the same menu setting together, and press ok at the same time to sync as closely as possible.
2. Use the App
If you’ve got a newer camera, you can connect to an app on your phone. The Panasonic App allows me to synchronize my cameras with my phone’s chronometer, which is precise and accurate. I simply connect the phone to the camera’s wifi, and then use the geo-tagging menu to synchronize the time. I connect to each camera in turn, and they are all synchronized to the second. Using this method, all my pictures show up in exactly the right order every time. This is the best way to synchronize; I can’t see any downsides.
3. Use a GPS Unit
You could use a GPS unit, which will not only embed your location, but it will also embed time data. However, you’d need one for each camera, and they are costly. I don’t own one, but it’s my understanding that they don’t synchronize the clock in the camera, just embed the time in the picture, so you either have to maintain synchrony, or wait for it to synchronize each time you power the camera back on. GPS units also drain your camera battery quickly.
Making your workflow easier means making pictures will be more joyful because it’ll be less burdensome. Whether you dial in the time manually, use your camera’s app, or use a GPS unit, synchronize your cameras before your shoot and you’ll have a much easier time managing the photographs afterward, and more enjoyable time shooting.