How To: Geotag photos in Lightroom 4 w/ phone GPX track

Lightroom 4’s new map module is great, it makes it really easy to geotag your photos, view them all on a map and search through your library by location. Here’s a really nifty way of automatically geotagging photos, all you need is a smartphone with GPS. Check out the video then see below for more detailed instructions.

What you’ll need

  • Any digital camera with a clock
  • A smartphone (I use iPhone but most should be fine)
  • A gps tracking app for your phone that can great gpx files
  • Lightroom 4 – An amazing piece of software for mac or windows and well worth buying anyway! You can get a 30 day free trial here

Step by step guide

Click the thumbnails for instructions


It might seem like a lot of extra work at first, but if you get in the habit of doing this with every trip, and make it a part of your workflow, it will help you build up a rich geographic library of your images!

  • Artourter

    Nice article. I have been playing with this now for a while and it is a very nice and easy way of geotagging photos without the need of a dedicated GPS unit for the camera.
    For Android, I would recommend the free My Tracks application by google (

  • Elmar

    Really helpfull, thanks! Got a problem, though because Auto-tag x photos tags nothing but brings up the message “No matching photos”. Tried various tracking software, always the same result. The GPX-files actually are 2 hours early on each point but played around with timezone-settings also doesn´t fix the problem. No idea what else to try – do you have any more suggestions?
    Interesting enough the “other feature” (select all photos, drag 1 of them onto the exact position where that photo was taken on the tracklog – the other ones are played as well) works.

    • ianegner

      I’m surprised that the timezone settings doesn’t fix it. That’s interesting, so did it place all photos accurately for you?
      I’ve been going through my library and manually dropping photos onto the map, wish I’d been using tracking as it’s so much quicker!!

      • Elmar

        thanks for thinking into this… In fact last night I found the problem. As usual it was sitting in front of the monitor. Before starting my experiments I set the camera time to match the one my GPS-software on the phone was showing. While doing that I obviously must also have changed the date to 2011 (yes, that´s embarassing;-)) Now I´m an expert in ExifTool and bulk-changing dates and filenames of what is already imported into LR;-)
        Bottom line: The feature works perfectly. And now as I´m only half way through dropping all my old pictures on the map I also know one thing: I´ll never go out on a photo walk anymore without some kind of GPS-tracking device…

  •  Yep, Android’s Geotag Photos free version is quite useless for this (you have to acquire full version first). My Tracks definitely is more helpful here and it’s completely free.

  • Brian

    Nice Blog! 
    Geotagr is one such app from Galarina. It’s $4.99 and pretty comprehensive, but I’ve barely scratched the surface. When you open the app, it gives you a time to sync your camera with. It’s a GMT for me, but I’m GMT anyway right now, so I’ve not ascertained if it’s GMT for everyone. GPS records in GMT anyhow, but it can be disconcerting for time offsets…:-)

  • Michael

    YOur article is very informative..My question would be where do you have to keep your phone? can it be buried in the backpack or in your pants pocket? Will it find the GPS signal? or do you have it out on your belt or in a jogger’s arm band?Thanks

  • Stellar information. Thank you! I just tracked most of my trek up Kilimanjaro on my Android using GPSlogger (great app for battery life). I’m surprised how easy it was to load in the tracks into lightroom. Now if only I had managed to sync my phone to my camera time 😉