About metadata and XMP

Metadata is a set of standardized information about a photo, such as the author’s name, resolution, color space, copyright, and keywords applied to it. For example, most digital cameras attach some basic information about a file, such as height, width, file format, and the time the image was taken. Lightroom also supports the information standard developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to identify transmitted text and images. This standard includes entries for descriptions, keywords, categories, credits, and origins. You can use metadata to streamline your workflow and organize your files.

File information is stored using the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) standard. XMP is built on XML. In the case of camera raw files that have a proprietary file format, XMP isn’t written into the original files. To avoid file corruption, XMP metadata is stored in a separate file called a sidecar file. For all other file formats supported by Lightroom (JPEG, TIFF, PSD, and DNG), XMP metadata is written into the files in the location specified for that data. XMP facilitates the exchange of metadata between Adobe applications and across publishing workflows. For example, you can save metadata from one file as a template, and then import the metadata into other files.

Metadata that is stored in other formats, such as EXIF, IPTC (IIM), and TIFF, is synchronized and described with XMP so that it can be more easily viewed and managed.

Specify where to write metadata changes

Lightroom automatically writes adjustments and settings metadata to the catalog. You can also instruct Lightroom to write the changes to XMP. In order for changes made in Lightroom to be recognized by other applications, metadata must be written to XMP.

  1. Choose Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac OS).

  2. Click the Metadata tab, and then do either of the following:

    • To write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP, select Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

    • To write adjustments and settings metadata only to the catalog, deselect Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

If you don’t write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP automatically, you can select a file and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File.

Save metadata changes to a file manually

To manually save metadata changes to a photo in Lightroom, do one of the following:

  • Select one or more photos in the Grid view of the Library module and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File(s), or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS).
  • Click the Metadata File Needs To Be Updated icon  in a thumbnail in the Grid view of the Library module, and then click Save.
  • If you’re working with a DNG file, choose Metadata > Update DNG Previews & Metadata to save metadata changes to the file and also generate a preview based on the current raw processing settings.

View photo metadata

In the Library module, the Metadata panel displays the filename, file path, rating, text label, and EXIF and IPTC metadata of selected photos. Use the pop-up menu to choose a set of metadata fields. Lightroom has premade sets that display different combinations of metadata.

  • With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, choose any of the following from the pop-up menu at the top of the Metadata panel:

    Default

    Shows the filename, copy name, folder, rating, text label, and a subset of IPTC and EXIF metadata.

    All Plug-In Metadata

    Displays custom metadata created by third-party plug-ins. If you don’t have any plug-ins installed, filename, copy name, and folder are displayed.

    EXIF

    Shows the filename, file path, dimensions, and EXIF camera metadata such as Exposure, Focal Length, ISO Speed Rating, and Flash. If your camera records GPS metadata, the information appears as EXIF metadata.

    EXIF and IPTC

    Shows the filename, size, type, location, metadata status, as well as all EXIF and basic IPTC metadata.

    IPTC

    Shows the filename and basic IPTC metadata: Contact, Content, Image, Status, and Copyright metadata.

    IPTC Extension

    Shows the filename and IPTC metadata for model and artwork releases and other types of licensing rights.

    Large Caption

    Shows a large caption edit box and the copyright box.

    Location

    Shows the filename, copy name, folder, title, caption, and location fields, including GPS coordinates.

    Minimal

    Shows the filename, rating, plus Caption and Copyright metadata.

    Quick Describe

    Shows the filename, copy name, file path, rating, and the following EXIF and IPTC metadata: Dimensions, Date Time, Camera, Title, Caption, Copyright, Creator, and Location.

    Note:

    In the Metadata panel, if an IPTC metadata field displays an arrow, clicking the arrow is a quick way to find and view all photos containing the specific metadata.

    If multiple photos with different metadata settings are selected, the metadata fields display <mixed>. To show the metadata for the photo that’s targeted (active) within the selection, choose Metadata > Show Metadata For Target Photo Only. If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, the Metadata panel displays metadata only for the active photo.

Add and edit IPTC metadata

Metadata is added to photos by entering the information in the Metadata panel. Premade metadata sets make it easy to make all or only a subset of the photo’s metadata available for adding or editing.

Note:

Choosing a metadata preset, copying and pasting metadata from another photo, and synchronizing metadata are quick ways to add metadata to photos that will share the same metadata.

  1. With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, choose a metadata set from the pop-up menu at the top of the Metadata panel. See View photo metadata.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • To add metadata, type in a metadata text box.

    • To add metadata from a preset, choose a metadata preset from the Preset menu.

    • To edit metadata, overwrite an entry in a metadata text box.

    • To perform a related action, click the action icon to the right of the metadata field. For example, to view all photos with the specified label, click the icon to the right of the Label field.

      Tip: Separate fields are available for sending e-mail and for jumping to a website link. By clicking the link to the right of Website, for example, you can open the browser to the specified website.

If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, the metadata is added only to the active photo.

Change the photo capture time

Sometimes you need to change the capture time for your photos. For example, you might need to change the capture times if you traveled to a different time zone and didn’t change your camera’s date/time setting before you started photographing, or if you imported a scanned photo into Lightroom, the photo would contain the creation date of when it was scanned, rather than when it was taken.

In order to save an edited capture time to a raw photo, you must enable the option in the Catalog Settings dialog box. See Customize catalog settings.

Changing the capture time changes the Date Time Original EXIF metadata in the Metadata panel. For most cameras, Date Time Original and Date Time Digitized are the same, so Date Time Digitized changes, too. The Date Time metadata indicates the last time the photo was updated and is not affected when you change the capture time.

Note:

The Edit Capture Time command cannot be undone by pressing Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac OS). You would need to use the Revert Capture Time To Original command.

  1. With one or more photos selected in the Grid view, or with a single photo selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, do one of the following:
    • Choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time.

    • In the Metadata panel with EXIF information displayed, click the arrow in the Date Time field.

  2. In the Edit Capture Time dialog box, select the type of adjustment:

    Adjust To A Specified Date And Time

    Changes the capture time to the date and time you specify.

    Shift By Set Number Of Hours (Time Zone Adjust)

    Changes the capture time by the number of hours you add to or subtract from the original time.

    Change To File Creation Date For Each Image

    Changes the capture time in the camera EXIF data to the file creation date. If you select this option, skip step 3.

  3. In the New Time area of the dialog box, do one of the following:
    • If you selected Adjust To A Specified Date And Time, type a new date and time in the Corrected Time text box. You can also select the date and time values and then use the Up or Down Arrow buttons to increase or decrease the values.

    • If you selected Shift By Set Number Of Hours, choose a value from the pop-up menu to adjust the time forward or back.

    Note:

    If more than one photo is selected in the Grid view, Lightroom changes the capture time for the active photo by the specified adjustment. (The active photo is previewed in the Edit Capture Time dialog box.) Other photos in the selection are adjusted by the same amount of time. If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, the capture time is changed only on the active photo.

  4. (Optional) To revert the capture time back to the original, select the photos in the Grid view or the Filmstrip and choose Metadata > Revert Capture Time To Original.

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