The first thing a new camera prompts you to do is to set the date and time, and this is one default that I heartily agree with. I recently borrowed a camera that had the date set incorrectly and it has really screwed up my system. Here are three reasons to take 22.5 seconds and make sure the date and time are correct.


Some people use dates as names for the folders on their hard drives. I think that’s a mistake because Lightroom allows you to search pictures by date at any timethat info is part of the metadata saved inside every picture you make. My folders are named for the event or the place or the client. To me it’s simple to remember that the picture I’m looking for was shot in the Tetons, but it’s not normal for my mind to remember that the image was made on September 25th. However, I’ve often been looking for a picture that was made sometime in December of 2012, and Lightroom finds all of those photographs for me with a few clicks, and I can quickly scrub through and find the right one.


(By the way, if you’d like to make some photographs in the Tetons, I suggest you join Rob Sylvan for the Digital Photography Workshops later this month)

Multiple Cameras on a Shoot

Wedding photographers and videographers know that having multiple cameras synchronized to the second is essential for organization. When you have two cameras on a shoot, Lightroom can show the pictures in order of time taken which allows you to have multiple angles for the same shot show up side by side in the filmstrip. I like to have a parent folder with two subfolders, one for each camera. This way, clicking on the parent folder shows me all the shots in order by time from both cameras, or clicking on the sub folder for the camera shows me all the shots from that camera only. Hint: use your phone’s clock to set the time precisely on both camera bodies.

Personal Photos

In twenty years, it’ll be simple to know that this picture was from my daughter’s second birthday because the metadata says so. In the ’80s, my mom just wrote on the back of a print with a ball point pen (acid-free? Doubtful). In the ’90s, there was that unfortunate period of letting the camera stamp the date on the front of pictures. Now, our dates are secured in a neat little acid-free, invisible, unforgettable metadata packets.

So, go get your camera and synchronize its time with your phone–hey, then even your phone pictures will show up in the right order!