I use Photo Mechanic to ingest, select and manage metadata before editing in LR. During games, I don't have enough time to tag photos. I file low-res photos during the game that are suitable for social media, not high-res for other uses.
Once the game is over, I update the metadata, usually player names, in Photo Mechanic because it's faster and easier. The problem is that I can't get these updates syched up in LR. I get a message in LR that the meta data has been updated and only have two choices: overwrite the data with what's already in LR which means losing the "persons present"; or import from Photomechanic which undos all the editing I've done.
Is there some setting I'm missing between the two programs to make this work?
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No you're not missing anything. This is unfortunately not possible. The metadata you can write to disk from Lightroom is considered a backup. Only choice you have is to overwrite the settings as you found out. Lightroom Classic is unfortunately not really written to play well with other file organization programs. You probably want to use Bridge and Camera Raw instead to do the editing and ignore Lightroom. That will play well with metadata edits in PM and gives you the exact same editing tools.
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Both LR and PM use standard metadata and are designed to play well with other applications. A lot depends on the exact sequence of what you're doing, and I'm not totally clear from your description.
If you do something in LR such as face recognition, then something in PM, what you need to do is save your LR work before you switch over to PM. Then when you return to LR and read in the metadata added in PM, LR will read in its own metadata such as people and other editing, as well as stuff done in PM.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. Here's the sequence:
Step 1: ingest photos using Photo Mechanic, select the few photos to be immediately filed without tagging individual players (just not enough time) and export to LF for editing and then export for filing with the client. These are web-resolution photos. I call these in-game images.
Step 2: After the game, review all the photos from the game, identify photos that will be filed with the client as High-Res images, including the previous in-game photos. Tag ALL the identified photos, including those that were filed as in-game images.
Step 3: Export ALL photos into LR for post-processing. The in-game photos are not re-exported to LR as I have the setting not to import apparent duplicates. So only the additional photos are added to LR.
Step 4: Edit everything for final filing. It's at this point that LR points out that the metadata has changed for those files that are the in-game files that now have the player tags added. I get a prompt that offers me two opions: Overwrite what Photo Mechanic has with what LR has, which means I lose the tag but keep the edits. The other choice is to import the new settings (the player tag) but I lose the edits.
Greedy me wants to keep the edits AND keep the updated metadata - the tags.
A colleague uses Capture One and apparently this is not an issue for him.
I've gone through the settings on both pieces of software and cannot find a setting that supports this. Perhaps LR can't do what Capture One does as it relates to this issue.
Thanks for any insights you, or others, can offer.
If you want to keep Lightroom in your workflow, what you need to do is to after step 1 to write metadata to files from Lightroom to those few you imported to send to the client at web resolution. Then before step 4, make sure to from Lightroom to "read metadata from files". Lightroom will complain you might lose edits but they are actually already written into the files after step 1 and all that will happen is that the changed keywords will get added to the images that were involved in step 1.
Since you are not actually using Lightroom as a DAM but are actually using PM to do ingestion, on disk organization, and keywording I would question the value you are getting out of it and you might be far better off just using camera raw (call it from Bridge or from Photoshop). Camera Raw just uses the xmp metadata files to store edits contrary to Lightroom that stores the edits in its catalog file which is the fundamental cause of your issue. Lightroom Classic really is just camera raw with a DAM wrapped around it and a few bells and whistles added. If you're not using the DAM part to organize and keyword, and are really just using folder organization, there is not much point to Lightroom.
Thanks for your detailed reply. I will experiment with it. I actually use LR as a DAM (as I understand it). I rely heavily on the star ratings to easily see what I need to see. But I will give Bridge a go in an experiment to see if it can work as well.
This is what I was saying here
"If you do something in LR such as face recognition, then something in PM, what you need to do is save your LR work before you switch over to PM. Then when you return to LR and read in the metadata added in PM, LR will read in its own metadata such as people and other editing, as well as stuff done in PM." So Metadata > Save Metadata before going back to PM, Metadata > Read Metadata from File afterwards.
You might see if enabling LR's automatic saving of XMP helps you. So when you do something in LR, it'll automatically be in the XMP, and you'll see that metadata when you next go into PM.
I wouldn't waste your time suggesting Bridge. Like PM, it's just a browser, so a glorified version of Finder or Explorer.
One thing to watch out for with automatic writing of metadata from Lightroom is that it only automatically writes metadata. It does not automatically read it. You'll still have to manually read in the changed metadata before you do anything else in Lightroom or your external changes to the files metadata might actually get overwritten. It throws up a warning before you do but we all know how easy it is to ignore those.
I suggested using camera raw/bridge because it works like a file browser. Lightroom does not and for Lightroom its catalog file is the gospel truth, not what's in any other files even if those files are referenced in its catalog. When people try to use Lightroom like a file browser, it has a tendency to break things or lead to unexpected results. It's really not designed to do that. Hybrid workflows are tricky with Lightroom and it works best if you only work within lightroom, not go back and forth with other programs that change metadata or worse, move files around.
I had the opportunity to speak with the top sports photographer in town about his workflow and he does not use LR. He goes from Photomechanic right into Camera Raw I believe. While I'm not in his league at all, there's much to be learned from those who make their living at it.
I'll need to find some downtime to experiment and practice it so I'm not in a mess in the middle of a game.
Among that group, PM is strong because speed is critical, metadata tagging is important, and adjustment is either not allowed or is limited to correcting, usually colour. LR would come in if the photographer has much need to look at the image later. But for much sports phtoography, the photos may have little further value after a couple of days, at most. Yet others might be working on a project which is more than simply transmitting pictures for immediate usage, and that's when LR and its catalogue comes in. "Give me this season's pictures of player / runner #17 which you've rated at 5 stars" - becomes harder in PM, and when I say I want #18, #19.... the catalogue starts to make light work of that job. And then I say "only show me ones of each competitor at stadium X" or whatever....
So you have to decide where you are on this spectrum of needs.
@john beardsworth that is exactly right! It really is about the workflow needs. Pro sports folks just need it to be fast as their relevance is measured in milliseconds and they don't often need to reach back into older images so a catalog based system is not what they need for their main workflow. PM is really fast but it doesn't lend itself to a reflective workflow. Lightroom is very good at the reflective workflow thing. If you need some of both (fast at the ingest but reflective later on), the one thing to watch out for is that you need a clean handoff between the two workflows. You do not want to go back and forth between the two if you can avoid it as that creates headaches like described in this thread.
Thank you all for the interesting and informative discussion. I really do need the ability to go back into my collection of photos to find something long after the game/season is over.
If memory serves me, I believe that Photo Mechanic is working on this (or it may already be released). Will look into that too.
Thanks again for your insights. I'll consider this question answered.
"If memory serves me, I believe that Photo Mechanic is working on this (or it may already be released). Will look into that too."
It's called Photo Mechanic Plus and my memory is long enough to remember conversations about PM working on a catalogue-driven app way back in 2006, so I was amused and surprised when it was finally released in 2020. I haven't tried it, but I would expect it to be good at what it does.
Again I think one should step back and consider the big picture. What is the value of an application that doesn't display your pictures in their edited state? That's what Lightroom does, and PM+ doesn't. Just imagine pictures taken under horrid artificial / mixed / changing lighting, or others which you needed to greatly underexpose. PM+ is rather like the cataloguing apps such as iView MediaPro that preceeded LR and Apple Aperture, so it shows the uncorrected image from its embedded thumbnail - weird WB, black shadows. But in LR you'll always see each image in its colour-corrected state or with the shadows lifted to show all that interesting detail. The boat for traditional single user DAMs was already sailing away in 2006. But I'm sure PM+ will be good at what it does.
Well, I think my approach was confirmed today. A client contacted me for some photos that I had filed with them a while ago. They don't have digital asset management and can't easily find what they need. I got them their shots in three minutes using LR. It's not the first time that has happened nor the only client. I guess I will stay with LR and live with the tagging synchronization challenge.
Thanks again all for the thoughtful inputs.
Now if Adobe would just make it simpler......Not likely high on a long list of features to consider.