Adobe Lightroom by default will not write metadata in the image files but only in its catalog database. This is true unless you configure Lightroom to write metadata to your image files. Read on to find out how configure Lightroom properly.
How do you configure Lightroom to write metadata to your image files?
There are two ways for writing metadata to you image files: global and individual.
Lightroom global metadata setting
The first option is to change Lightroom’s global settings. This means that if you change the setting for metadata in global settings, Lightroom will always write your metadata to the image files.
This way I like to configure my Lightroom installation because I want all the metadata to be inside my image files.
- On the top menu bar choose this:
- Edit/Catalog settings/Metadata tab
- Check the option that says: “Automatically write changes into XMP”
Set up Lightroom catalog so it writes metadata to image file
By default, keywords are written to the IPTC section of image metadata, and GPS geotags are written to the EXIF section of image metadata, but this setting ensures that all the metadata is written to the XMP version of image metadata.
Lightroom manual metadata settings
If you don’t want to write metadata to your image files automatically every time you edit your photos then you need to do it manually when you need it.
- Select an image with metadata (i.e. keywords) in it
- On the top menu bar
- Choose the Metadata menu item
- Choose Save metadata to File.
Sync your metadata with your Lightroom catalog
If you modify the contents of a folder outside of Lightroom, you must synchronize that folder with your Lightroom catalog in order for Lightroom to see these changes. Adding or deleting photos as well as modifying image metadata outside of Lightroom will require a folder synchronization in order to keep your Lightroom catalog in sync with your folder structure.
To synchronize the contents of a folder (including photo metadata) with your Lightroom catalog follow these steps:
- First select a folder with images that have new metadata.
- Right-click the folder and choose “synchronize”
- Check “scan for metadata changes” and click update.
Right click on a Lightroom folder and choose Synchronize
Lightroom Synchronize folder dialog
Synchronize local folder with Lightroom Catalog
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I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.
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In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.
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