A Lightroom Tip That Could Save You

If there is one thing that every photographer using Lightroom should do it’s turn on “Automatically write changes into XMP” in the Catalog Settings.

It’s quick and easy to do and could save you a lot of frustration and hassle later on!

You can find it by clicking the Lightroom file menu and then clicking ‘Catalog Settings’.


Under the ‘Metadata’tab you’ll find the option that you can click on and off.

This option automatically saves any changes you make to a RAW file in Lightroom (basic adjustments, crop, B&W conversion, sharpening etc) into the XMP sidecar files that are saved right next to the original RAW files.

What this means is that if Lightroom ever crashes, or your catalog is corrupted all the work you did should be saved into those xmp side car files.

So all you’ll need to do is reimport those files back into Lightroom and you’ll still have all the adjustments you made.

I’ve heard of a few cases of people losing a whole weddings worth of processing because they didn’t have this option turned on!

It might take an extra second to write to the xmp file (or so I’m told) but I’ve never noticed Lightroom to be any slower with the option turned on, and the XMP sidecar files it creates are tiny and take up virtually no space.

It’s beyond me why this option isn’t turned on by default!?

P.S. Sending someone a RAW file and want them to see the changes you made in LR? Send the RAW file along with the matching XMP sidecar file and when they import the file into their library your changes will already be present.

P.P.S. This is also how many color correction houses work. You send them the RAW files and they send you back the XMP files with the information for the corrected files. You simply add the finished XMP files to your RAW files, import everything into Lightroom and all the changes will show up!

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photography ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!


89 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Erik Hornung says:

    I couldn't stress this enough myself. Learned my lesson the hard way a couple years ago.

    XMP files. Do it.

  2. THe only thing is that you can't import this into Photoshop right?

  3. Hi Jodie!

    Raw files can't be directly opened in Photoshop. You would need to either export from Lightroom (with the raw settings stored in the XMP file) or open the raw file using Adobe Camera Raw.

    • Christy Houser says:

      Why can’t u open raw files in photoshop? I’ve been doing it that way. Am I doing it wrong?

      • You’ve probably opened them in Photoshop by taking the photo to Adobe Camera Raw first.
        At least, you should.

  4. Would this work if edited RAW files are saved as DNG?

  5. Rob & Lauren says:

    Hey Leo! DNGs are pretty cool, they actually have the xmp info automatically included inside the DNG file – no sidecar file.

    • Just to make sure I’ve got this right, if you convert to DNG upon import to Lightroom then you don’t have to worry about this XMP check box or should it still be checked? Thanks!

      • Hi Daisy!

        You will still have to either select the XMP checkbox or manually save the metadata to the DNG files (by selecting the photos and then clicking Metadata from the menubar and then clicking “Update DNG Preview and Metadata”).

        By converting the DNG you simply won’t have a separate XMP sidecar file when you do save the metadata, instead that XMP metadata will be store directly inside the DNG file.

  6. Nicole Ashley says:

    Thanks for the advice! How important is "write date or time changes" section? The warning scares me a little…what exactly is the reason for it??

  7. Thanks for sharing this tip. You have a great site packed with useful info.

  8. *@Nicole:* Sorry for the delayed response! Just noticed your comment! We actually don't have that option selected, it just was in that screenshot! Sorry for the confusion!

    That option would be useful in case you forgot to time sync cameras, and needed to change the time stamp. But we don't usually do that, so we don't have that option turned on.

    *@Tracy:* You are most welcome! Thanks for the kind words!!

  9. I had no idea this even existed! Amazing, thank you!

  10. So If I save the xmp file, would I be able to see any change I make on Lighroom if I open the image directly in Adobe Raw?

  11. Hi,
    thanks for posting this, it happends that precisely now my LR5 crashed and i lost 7000 adjustements for a wedding .. i’ve just checked out and the XMP option was not activated.. Do you think there is any other way to get back all my work (the pictures are still on computer,, only the editing and adjustements are lost) – more that 3 days of work ! Thanks a lot !!
    PS : it was jpegs, not raw files.

    • Hey Luzz! You might be able to just re-start Lightroom and get the adjustments back (though I’m sure you already tried that?). Did you check to see if you have any Lightroom catalog backups? We have our catalogs set to backup each time we exit Lightroom (but sometimes we don’t close Lightroom for days, so if you’re like us you might not have a recent LR catalog backup).

      If you’re on a Mac another solution might be to check Time Machine (assuming you have Time Machine set to backup your computer and your Lightroom catalog is on your computer’s hard drive). You might be able to roll back to before the LR catalog crashed.

      Sorry to hear about the crash, hope this helps!

      • jay skolnick says:

        so how do you use the back up file ? I am just learning that i need to turn on the xmp file saver — but I have lots of back up files from long ago on a computer i am about to trash — How do I save all those files so I can access them later from a different hard drive?

  12. So is there any reason to keep the LR catalogs then? I have just switched to LR from ACR in which the xmp files are stored with the original folder of images. If I am done editing a shoot, why should I keep the catalog around if I have the xmp files? Seems like LR might run faster if I purged my catalog each time I am finished editing.

    • Hi Michele!

      If you’re just using Lightroom strictly for editing and saving the XMP files with the original photos then it’s not necessary to keep the catalog. We operated that way for a long time. However, we’ve changed strategies and now use a Lightroom catalog to keep all our images organized. It’s just a lot easier to look through your photos in Lightroom than trying to browse through folders on your computer.

  13. Bronwyn King says:

    Hi Rob
    Great info – thanks! I wonder if you can please help me. During a 2 month photoshoot in the Australian tropical north I produced many thousands of photos stored on an external drive. I’ve already tagged them all :( but when I move my storage to my main computer the tags don’t show… Can I save the tags automatically retrospectively or do I have to manually save metadata to file so they can be seen on another machine? cheers Bron

    • Hi Bron!

      You mentioned that you already tagged all your images? Maybe you tagged them on a laptop running Lighroom that you brought along with you? You should just need to plug the external drive back into that Laptop, open up Lightroom, select all your images in the Library module and then hit CMD-S on Mac or Ctrl-S on Windows to save the metadata to file.

      They you should be able to plug that external drive into main computer, and copy the photos and .XMP metadata files over. The tags should then show up when you import those photos. You could also copy over just the XMP files (you don’t need to copy over all the photos again, and XMPs are much smaller in file size)

      • Bron King says:

        Thanks Rob! This will be very useful as I move files between computers.

      • jay skolnick says:

        this is the problem i am having — i do my work in lightroom on one computer (raw files reside on an external drive now full and i need to add another) the raw files and exported jpegs are great but everytime I open lightroom the only computer that can make changes or see the changes to the image is the original computer they were worked on (i did not have auto xmp checked for years so loads of photos) I want to be able to open lightroom on any computer in my work room (there are three of us) and have any one of us be able to work on images and then any one of us see that work or continue that work from another computer in the “office” I am getting a bigger external drive for all of us to share on my network — if I am auto saving the xmps will all the computers see all the changes ?? or will each one have to import the photos into each lightroom on each computer??

        • Rob Lim says:

          Hey Jay,

          I feel your pain! It’s super frustrating that Lightroom Catalogs cannot be opened over a network – It would solve so many problems.

          The way we’ve dealt with this problem is to have one computer (computer #1) with all our photos and a master catalog. Then we have a second computer (computer #2) with a “throw away” Lightroom catalog. The purpose of this “throw away” catalog is to allow computer #2 to edit the photos on computer #1.

          To do this you need to import the photos on computer #1 into the Lightroom catalog on computer #2. (I think this is what you’re suggesting?)

          Now one tip: when using multiple computers and Lightroom catalogs you should turn off the auto save xmp function. If both catalogs are set to auto save XMP, that can create file corruption if both Lightroom catalogs are open at the same time and both computers are editing the same photos.

          When editing the photos on computer #2 you’ll want to read metadata from file, and when you’re finished working on the files then save metadata to file.

          Then go back to computer #1 and read metadata from file – the changes computer #2 made to the photos will now be shown in the photos in computer #1

          This isn’t the most elegant sounding solution, but it works reasonably well.

  14. Hi there

    I dont know whether this is the correct place for me to ask this question or not, but I hope you could help me out with something.
    I own lightroom 4.4 and using a canon 5d mark III (Shoots both CR2 and JPEG).
    When I import my CR2 files into lightroom, and try to develop/edit my raw files, somehow LR automatically change my settings so the color – white balance – and other settings change before I even start to edit the picture.
    Therefore the viewed picture in LR and the JPEG file is different.

    Do you know why this is happening?

  15. hi guys, quick question
    Just downloaded and am using lightroom 5. i have a canon 7d. this whole thing is pretty new to me. my photos are saving as a cr2 file, which is a raw file. i do want my photos to be raw but is there a setting that i can use to not have them as a cr2 file as i seem to run into trouble with these photos. so next question is i have exported all my photos that were a kids photoshoot into LR5. They are all cr2 files that have copied through obviously. I have just tried to save the edited photos onto my laptop so that i can burn them to a disk or usb for my clients. If i crop the photos are they still going to be able to printed out in normal photo sizes. sorry for all the random questions. i did the shoot for free as its all new to me and i am learning etc so they are happy to wait. can somebody please help me as to where i am going wrong. cheers in advance

    • Jayde: You’ve asked too many questions to answer in one reply. You need to understand how LR works, and what the difference between a raw file and a rendered image (.jpg, .tif etc) is, among other things. However, if you’re interested you can find links to over 200 websites with LR tips, tutorials and videos here: http://bit.ly/LRTips

  16. i forgot to mention that i have a mac computer too which is driving me crazy as everything is just an extra hassle with it. I thought i loved it when i was at Uni but now that i am getting into photography side of things its just complicated.

  17. Good article, Rob. You should mention that even by saving metadata out to the image files (either .xmp for raw files or to the images themselves for .jg, .tif, .psd, .dng…) there are some things that will Not be saved. These include collections, pick flags and virtual copies. Snapshots in the History ARE saved, so you could create a snapshot using the same history state as the VC. You can read more on LR and metadata here: http://bit.ly/LRFmM


  18. Hey, nice advice. I have a question though. When I select to automatically save write changes into XML in LR5, will that write for all the pictures I have edited in the past or it will do only for the next pictures I edit?

    • I believe it will only automatically write xmp changes to newly edited files. You can of course select any photos in your Library that you want xmps created for and then choose “Save metadata to file” under the Metadata menu in Lightroom.

      • Thanks for your reply! I just realized LR5 writes XMPs for all files when the selection is made. I checked in old pictures and those which were edited got a XMP file. So, I will keep that option selected from now on…

  19. Hi Rob, I was wondering if there’s a way to force LR to write XMP sidecars even for fileformats that are capable of carrying the XMP information within the file container (e.g. dng, tif or jpg) … I want those XMP files explicitely to be created seperately (my dng-files are write protected and I don’t want LR to touch them)


  20. Thank you for the information on the XMP data in Lightroom I am wondering if the data is applied to existing files when it is turned on. Thanks again, John B.

  21. hal myers says:

    One major problem.
    I turned on write XMP data and now ALL my jpg and raw files have been set to the current date in date modified, so i can n longer tell which file was created last. Is there a way to prevent this. I am restoring the files from a backup and turning off xmp until this is solved.

  22. hal myers says:

    Recently I followed some ‘professional” advice recommending I use XMP sidecar files for my raw files if I wanted to move to another program in the future, or if Lightroom were discontinued, it would be a wise move.
    So, I turned on XMP.
    The next day I went to my pictures directory and every folder and file had changed it’s modified date to the prior day – effectively losing any history of sequences of edits, updates etc.
    Why is this not a HUGE warning in lightroom?
    It took me days to retrieve backups and re-adjust my folders and files

    • Stephen Cornwell says:

      Files have both a Modified Date and a Created Date, there should have been no need to restore backups. I would strongly recommend against using a file’s Modified Date as any part of your workflow.

    • olivier dulac says:

      there is a faster way, that KEEPS the modifications you made and just restore the date and time ! Download “TotalCommander”, and in the left panel, open the starting path of your backuped files, on the right panel the starting path of your current images. Then in the “comand” menu, choose “synchronize ….” and it opens a pop-up. In that window: I check on the left only ‘Empty directories’ and ‘subdirs’, and leave other boxes unchecked. on the “show” part, I select everything. And then : click “Compare” so it browse each sides and shows you the ones that are the sames, etc. then “ctrl-A” to select ALL of them on the left side (the ones in your backup path, which have the right date), and now right-click and choose “Copy files properties (left to right)…” and choose only “Timestamps”. when you press “OK” all timestamps from left side goes to files on the right side! Then you see both now have equal times : you can if you want now backup this by clicking on top right “Synchronize…” and copying only from Right-to-left. This tool saved me hundreds of hours of work, and have many neat features I can’t go into here. (you can email me at my fullname at gmail, if you need more help)

  23. Just starting with Lightroom 5 and the first thing to master is imprting images into a catalog. So far so good and then I hit a really weird:

    I am having a strange problem in Library view. I have imported the NEF files and it has obviously created previews I can see in the film strip. Also I am using NEF files with XMP turned ‘on’.

    I use NEF files and XMP. BUT I have a problem. I click on the image in the film strip, the clouded view comes up on the main screen and also it says “Loading” and I assume it is loading the NEF file for the higher resolution required. But when it is finished loading, I can see that the picture turns dull and likewise in the film strip version, it too goes dull looking, even a bit darker it seems and colours have lost vividness. What is going on here?

    I am at lost to figure out what is going on, is there a setting that I need to apply. Any help appreciated as I feel I cannot move on until this is solved.

    • Hi Hoeras,

      Thanks for your comment. So the problem you’re describing happens because Lightroom is initially loading the raw file’s JPEG preview (as captured by the camera). After Lightroom renders the preview for the raw file you get a much duller look (since the raw files need to be processed).

      You have a few options:

      First, you could try to ignore the JPEG previews that Lightroom is extracting from the raw file. Reminding yourself that the raw files don’t look as good out of camera will help you avoid disappointment.

      Second, you could also create a Develop Preset that you can apply on import to all the photos you’re importing. So you might want a general preset that bumps adjustments like contrast, vibrance, clarity, etc. This will help your raw files look better as soon as you import them.

      Third, you could also create a custom camera calibration profile for your camera (using Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel, and Adobe’s DNG profile creator). This will allow you to create a custom profile for your camera that nearly perfectly matches your straight out of camera JPEGS. Then you can create a preset that applies the custom profile right on import.

      I’m sorry that none of these solutions are really fun or easy – it would be fantastic if Adobe expanded Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel making it easier to select from different camera manufacturer’s built in picture styles.

      Hope this helps!


      • Thanks Rob, for your comprehensive reply. I am gradually coming to grips with Lightroom 5 and I realised too that what I was seeing was something embedded in the Nef files that applied the camera’s settings, and mine was set to Vivid anyway, and I also noted that lens correction, such as barrel distortion with Wides, also changed when then image went flat. So that was the clue I tricked onto, because the D810 does lens correction because it has been turned On in the settings and I am using Nikon lenses exclusively.

        So I am finding my way and dealing with it – the main thing is to understand what’s going on and not scratching my head and exlaiming “WHAT is going on” – if I know what causes the behaviour, then I can find ways to deal with it, the worst thing is being in the dark and stumped and not able to make progress. But I am making good progress and once again I say thank you for confirming what I sort of thought was happening.

        Lightroom is a monster when starting out, but I am now well on the way and comfortable with my progress – last night prepared 362 images taken over a five weeks trip to Europe (out of nearly six thousand shots) and exported them as 90% Jpeg and used a 4K 65″ screen. Other than too much contrast compared to my calibrated screen and slightly week greens… I need to sort that out, but I now know how to do a major job and can only improve. It is the Library module that is more daunting in the beginning than Develop module. Cheers, Hoeras.

  24. Hi Rob,
    When I edit an image in LightRoom5 and open it in the Mac ‘Preview’ (before exporting as a jpeg) should it show the edited image or as I’m getting a very dull image with quite strange colors!

  25. Thanks very much Rob! (I couldn’t fine the catalogue settings in file though, they are in the edit menu.)

  26. So this auto write into xmp option turned on is just replacing a manual save that you can do every so often while working on a catalog by selecting all images and saving, is that correct, or is it something more?

  27. Hi Rob,
    Hope you are having a good holiday.

    I’m hoping you can diagnose this problem i’ve encountered. I have been using Lightroom 4 for the past year, and generally it’s gone ok. I recently noticed lots of images (from my Documents folder) uploaded to my LR catalog that I never imported. Many of these are images/graphics (large files) that if i were to view them, it would be in Photoshop, not in LR, as most are not even photographs. Can you think of how this happened?! I did a Disk Inventory and can see I have 22GB in Preview Document and don’t know if it is linked to that. (i’d like to free up that space)

    Second question: I often take photos with raw and jpg simultaneously (i have Nikon 7000D) and then import to LR. If i want to delete the raw photos (jpg is sufficient) on computer, how can I relink the image in LR to the jpeg version as well as nearby images in the same collection, without doing them one by one?

    I hope you understand my questions and that you can provide some feedback. Thanks.

  28. Hi, I am new to Lightroom and find the whole filing thing most daunting. I am getting this slowly. When I import I use the dng option. i also have an external hard drive connected.
    My question is, should I be deleting any files from LR after I have used Lightrooom/PS to edit?
    I am concerned about saving these hig res files all over the place. Help!

  29. Rob I’m a complete idiot when trying to understand this process. I shoot in RAW so can I send these images unedited to an external harddrive without converting them to JPEG ? The images are in Lightroom and my laptop has windows. I tried sending a RAW image to the external harddrive and it went through, but I couldn’t open it to view the image. What is the best way for me to store these images on an external harddrive? Then when I want to transfer them back into Lightroom can the image be put into RAW for ease of use? HELP!!!!
    Thanks Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      You don’t need to convert your raw files to jpeg in order to save them to an external hard drive.

      Depending on the version of Windows that you’re running its possible that it isn’t able to preview the raw files (at least thats the way it works on Mac. Sometimes it takes Apple a while to release an update that allows you to view raw files from new cameras).

      The best way to store the raw files on an external hard drive is just to copy them over to that external hard drive.

      It’s best to keep in mind that your images aren’t actually stored inside Lightroom. Lightroom is basically just database program (like a spreadsheet). It keeps track of where the photos are stored on your computer. Check out this blogpost for more info: http://photographyconcentrate.com/where-does-lightroom-store-your-photos/

  30. Christy Houser says:

    Ok I am feeling a little dumb right now I just got light room so I don’t know 1 thing about it. I sure can’t find the Metadata tab the only tab I see is right at the top however there is nothing that says catalog. How do I get my photos to load somewhere else besides LR. I’m having a hard time finding them in bridge? Thank you for your help and for all the work u put into helping all of us :)

    • Bron King says:

      Hi Christy Being new to LR seems daunting at first. I did a course online run by Phil Steele and found it to be excellent. It takes you step by step through the program and if you don’t understand any aspect you can re-watch and practise until you’re brilliant! I don’t have any other connection to Phil Steele but recommend him highly.

  31. Where do you find this in Lightroom CC? Also does this change photos you have already edited? If not, is there a way to make it so?


  32. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for posting – this seems like a helpful tip! I have a growing knowledge of Lightroom and currently use it to clean edit my photos and then edit in Photoshop to create my final image.

    I am using Lightroom 5 and found the Catalog Setting options under Edit, not File in my version. I only mention this because I want to make sure we are talking/looking at the same thing. When I go to Metadata, my pop up looks a little different than yours, it lists:

    -“Offer suggestions from recently entered values” – which is checked
    -“Include Develop Settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD” – which is checked
    -HOWEVER, under “Automatically write changes into XMP” (this box is currently unchecked) there is another line item in italics that says “Warning: Changes made in Lightroom will not automatically be visible in other applications”.

    I did not see this warning on your screenshot and wonder what is applies to before I check the “Automatically write changes into XMP” box. I want to make sure that the changes I make in Lightroom pass over to Photoshop when I select “Edit in Adobe Photoshop 5”.

    Thank you for your help.

  33. Yikes! This is crucial. Don’t waste your time by forgetting to save this precious data!

  34. Hi Rob,

    I have moved all my Lightroom photos to the external drives by creating a folder within Lightroom. However I noticed all the photos lost the editing work from Lightroom. How do I revert back?? I’m so confused. Hope you can help. Thanks bunch

    • Hi Anneth,

      I’m not sure what might have happened. It sounds like the photos might have been moved outside of Lightroom.

      What you could try doing is restoring your Lightroom Catalog from a previously backed up catalog. This should restore the edits – but you might need to re-link photos if you’ve moved them.

  35. I’m puzzled, cos Scott Kelby who is also LR expert specifically recommends in one of his LR tutorials to have this feature switched off.

  36. I may be a little late to the game but using the digital negative (DNG) file format should solve the issue and save hard drive space without compromise of image quality, correct? Sorry, just a noob still.


  37. I had to do a shoot today and I have been asked for my edited images to be supplied as a raw no smaller than 60mg. In camera raw it captures about 28mg I bring it into Lightroom and make adjustments then to save as original with adjustments is ok but the file size is not large enough also to save as dng from Lightroom it’s not large enough bit when I take it into ps and back into Lightroom then export as dng it seems to take the file size up to 70mg+ but I’m not sure if the original file adjustments from LR are within the data.
    Can anyone please advise how to edit images in or and export as raws larger than 60mg.


  38. This is a long shot, but I thought I would post this issue here in hopes that Rob, or somebody else, might be able to help. I’ve having major issues with Lightroom 6 not applying develop settings/presets. In a nutshell, I’m applying a preset within the Library module to approx 1000 images. For some unknown reason, the settings are not being applied to all images.

    Please take a look through this thread that I posted in Adobe forums and help if you can… http://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-6-3-wont-apply-develop-presets-to-large-batches-of-images?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=new_reply&utm_content=topic_link

  39. Happy New Year!
    Two problems:

    1.- i removed some files from LR and re imported them from the HD. I can see the XMP Card files, Yet they did not import with the original file as I can see in my develop module…. Any way to do this without restoring from the backup?

    2.- I have not come across this one before but editing ORIGINAL DNG and NEF files in Photoshop, some files are showing changes as if they had already been edited but it has a raw file extension and there is no history in LR to remove these changes. Any idea of what could be happening ?

  40. Hi – i’ve just enabled the XMP files but for all the other catalogs/image edits I’ve done previously…
    1. is there any way to force generate XMP files from the current catalogs (retrospectively create the sidecar files),
    2. Where are the catalogs (and their backups) stored? – i’m moving into a massive cloud backup storage solution for allowing up to 10TB of data, and want to make sure I capture all the required folders.

  41. Maybe this was addressed in the thread already…? …but I didn’t see it. I’m using Light Room 5 on a Macbook and Windows 7. Just turned on XMP on both today.
    If I store my RAW images in a folder on Google Drive and edit an image on my Macbook, then go to my desktop Windows 7 and open that image from Drive there, will my edits from the Macbook show up? I tried it and I did not see the edits on my Windows. Hope this makes sense. I like to edit in the comfort of my sofa with the Macbook, but the Windows has a large high res monitor that shows my image in better detail for final tweaking. Thanks for the help!

  42. Danita H says:

    This brings me to another question that I’m hoping you might be able to help with. My original files were stored on an external drive. Edits were done in both LR and PS (CC version.) The hard drive got knocked on the floor and broke… the files are not retrievable… the external drive is toast. Luckily, I don’t erase my SD cards, so I was able to import everything to LR again. However, the “file cannot be found” for anything that was edited, so I have lost all of my edits since last March. LR can’t seem to connect the edits to the newly imported files, even though they were identical to the original file. It’s like it doesn’t recognize that it’s the same photo, to be able to apply the edits. Is there a way to fix that? And would it have mattered if this box that you’re speaking of was checked or not, in this case? I really don’t want to have to re-edit almost a year’s worth of work, and I’m hoping that you can save me from that. Thank you!

    • Hey Danita,

      I think what you would need to do is rename your new hard drive the exact same name as the one that fell on the floor. Then you would need to organize the photos on the new hard drive the same way they were organized on the hard drive that fell on the floor. Then you should be able to reconnect your photos to their edits.

      • You can drag the folder inside Lightroom to move them to organize. Or you click to find the missing pictures and select que current folder. It will replace as a new reference point.
        I hope it helps..

        Now, my question is:
        – How do you backup your raw files with the XMP?
        If I save my pictures on my mac they will have a XMP with the RAW file. But let’s say I edit today a picture from 2 years ago (the XMP will be updated). The backup I have in my hard drive will not match the newer version. So, how do you know and remember which is the correct version of the edited file?

        – How many pictures do you have in one catalog? I’m planing to put everything together because it’s much easier to backup, use presets, organize, search and everything else.
        Did you see any changes in LR speed since few years ago, using it with a lot of images?

        – Is it better to import from the camera to the computer’s drive for more speed? Or should we import straight to the external hard drive? How do you work?

        Thank you!

  43. Hi there,
    I am just wondering if anyone can help me regarding an issue i am currently having with lightroom.
    I have just begun using it on my mac a few months ago and accidentally removed the CR2 images out of the ‘all my files’ folder on my mac and placed them in to a file on my desktop. I presume these are the catalogue images and now the images are not visible in lightroom and i am not able to import them back in, or even open the file in photoshop. The images are no longer a JPEG and now a CR2 file, so does anyone know how i go about getting them back in to my lightroom catalogue.
    Thanks in advance. Amy.

  44. What if I have already uploaded and exported a lot of photographs without knowing this? I just clicked it on. Will it apply it to the already existing files?

  45. jade sayers says:

    Hi Rob, I stupidly deleted some images that I loved the edit on and now have to continue with that edit for a wedding. I have the xmp file but have no idea how to copy that into lightroom, can you do such a thing? I’ve reimported the new file but it stays like that. Ideally I would like to be able to copy the settings onto a new image, is it possible? Thanks

  46. Herman Verbaeten says:

    Hello Rob,
    I did the test for some of my maps with cr2 files and Xmp files.
    Unfortunately after deleting de maps in my catalog in LR and reimporting them, the only thing Lightroom did after importing was repairing the crop settings. No white balance, no highlights…etc.
    And before i did all this i verified if the tick in front of “safe changes to xmp file” was there . And it was.
    Is there something i did wrong? Does LR automatically apply every change that has been stored in the xmp file when you reimport? And can you see these changes in the slider positions?
    Thanks for you advice.

  47. Is there a quick way to delete orphaned xmp files if I deleted some raws out of lightroom?

  48. Marguerite says:

    Does this take up more room on your hard drive?

  49. Hi there
    I recently had this crash problem. Thank goodness I had the xmp files saved in my dropbox. But here is the small problem, although I have all the changes, it did not import my star and colour ratings? I work with a series of ratings that are very important for me…. now they are gone and I have to figure out what rating each photo has… any idea why the ratings are not in the meta tags of the imp?

  50. Hi Rob. This comment feed has carried on for a very long time. It’s very relevent though. There were a few questions posed that weren’t answered which were the questions I was seeking.
    I have a more advance question relating to hypathetical situations I want to prepare for. I’ve been writing all my xmp to a side car for almost all my time as a photographer. As I send raw files with the xmp to friends so they can import it into LR. I haven’t yet personally experiemented. Keep in mind these photos are not edited just out of camera.
    Question 1- Do they even need the xmp sidecar since there are no LR edits done by me to import? I’m thinking they don’t need it and they can just import the raw file and begin their own workflow.
    Question 2- In the future if I want to edit these photos I have in another program, have you found other programs recognize the side cars or will I need to Move the xmp data from the sidecar into the Raw file? (I guess question 2.B. is it even possible to move xmp data from a sidecar into the raw file in the future?
    Question 3- Relating to Mikes additional input about metadata. All those flag picks, Virtual Copies, Keywords, they have nothing to do with the file right…Aren’t those just a feature of LR and therefore saved to the catalogue? I assume so but Keywords are something important, can those be saved to the metadata?

    ~Mikes Comment from above~
    Good article, Rob. You should mention that even by saving metadata out to the image files (either .xmp for raw files or to the images themselves for .jg, .tif, .psd, .dng…) there are some things that will Not be saved. These include collections, pick flags and virtual copies. Snapshots in the History ARE saved, so you could create a snapshot using the same history state as the VC. You can read more on LR and metadata here: http://bit.ly/LRFmM

  51. amelia witman says:

    Hi Rob,
    I hope you can help me I am not very computer savvy. In lightroom 6 I have checked off : Under the ‘Metadata’tab you’ll find the option that you can click on and off. This option automatically saves any changes you make to a RAW file in Lightroom (basic adjustments, crop, B&W conversion, sharpening etc) into the XMP sidecar files that are saved right next to the original RAW files.

    however when making adjustments to a photo in lightroom 6 and move the photo to the desktop the adjustments do not show. Please help me

  52. I am switching from windows to mac
    My problem is that i have 2000 images which i have already imported in mac with .xmp file these are not showing changes which i made on windows.
    now if i export all images from windows with different names and import it in MAc it shows correction which i made in windows

    the problem is that i don’t want to rename all images…

  53. Thanks, Rob. Really a big help. Working on wedding photos now and was wondering how come the changes I made did not transfer when I copied the files to another drive. Glad I came across your tip.

  54. Oliver Vornberger says:

    How can I export the content of a XMP file into a plain human readable text file ?

  55. I noticed that with the settings above, the information will be written also into JPEG files. Is there any possibility to avoid this as I don’t want any changes on the orgiginal files.
    XMP will also help to keep the data when moving from Lightroom to another alternative application. I consider this as I don’t like the abo model from Adobe.

  56. Wouter van Caspel says:

    Nice tip! Thank you.

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