One of the only aspects of digital photography I missed after taking up a DSLR was automatic geotagging. Yes, there are modules which can be attached to a DSLR to add geotagging data, but they are expensive and clunky so I wasn’t interested.
I had just about given up on tagging my photos, which was disappointing as I love to geotag my vacations, until I had a brainstorm while on vacation.
I googled it.
Among the top hits on Google was a video on using a phone GPS and Lightroom to automatically add geotagging data to DSLR photos. A twelve minute youtube video gave me my solution. A $3.99 app called “GeotagPhotos Pro” which runs on both Android and iOS.
GeotagPhotos Pro works by syncing a DSLR’s clock with a smart phone. This takes a bit of practice, but it doesn’t have to be exact for the app to work. It will also require turing on “Background App Refresh” on the phone, which will certainly eat into battery life, but the app allows you to set polling frequency in order to lessen the impact. If you’re strolling at a relaxed pace updating your location every couple of minutes will work perfectly well. If you’re out riding a bicycle or running, updating your location every half minute will probably work better. When not in use, however, I recommend turing off Background App Refresh entirely 1.
While geotracking data can be emailed and synced in Lightroom, the company which makes the app also has a desktop app for Mac, Windows, Linux which will handle the sync process, as well as deal with clock differences should you forget to sync times before setting out on a walk. This desktop app is useful for folks who are using photo organizers which won’t allow geotagging data to be imported and automatically synced, such as Apple Photos.
Shortly after downloading the app I synced my clocks and went out a short, 30 minute, test walk. GeotagPhotos Pro worked perfectly, even in a location where describing my cellular connection “spotty” is a bit of a stretch 2. When I returned from my walk I emailed the tracking file to myself and opened it in Lightroom using the Map module. I then imported my photos, selected them, and synced them with the loaded track. From there I corrected any minor errors by dragging and dropping the pins to the correct location, a painless process.
I’m not certain what level of impact this will have on my battery as I do a full-day walk, but it will be interesting to explore. I also appreciate that my photos will only be tagged when I want them to be tagged. I don’t necessarily want to upload my home’s exact location to Flickr, for example.
For a simple, but effective, way to geotag DSLR photos this is certainly an option to explore.
For a more detailed demonstration of using this app with Lightroom, I’ve embedded the video below.