Lightroom: Allow users to define custom metadata

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LEGEND ,
May 15, 2011 May 15, 2011

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It has come to my realization that a fair number of feature requests could be satisfied simply by allowing users to define custom metadata *without* having to install a 3rd party plugin.

All too often users want to "make notes" about a photo, or associate photos somehow, or record some photo status... Some use keywords and existing IPTC text fields as work-arounds, but what's really needed is a way for users to define custom metadata dynamically, to include types:

- Text
- Enumerated Set of Values (dropdown lists).
- Boolean (true/false)
- Date/Time
- Numeric

This can be done now with plugins like CustomMetadata (although all items are treated like text in smart collections and library filters - a sore point for me), but I think this needs to be built into Lightroom.

PS - *Please* at least fix the SDK to support all data types.

*** - Maybe an even better idea: package a Custom Metadata plugin with Lightroom, pre-installed in Lightroom, so users have the capability AND have a plugin that will also serve to break the plugin ice, so to speak.

Of course users would need to be able to manage custom metadata fields without editing lua files, but dynamic metadata definition is needed by plugins anyway...

Extra special bonus idea: Allow advanced users to use expressions to created derived metadata types, so users could create pixel-count metadata item from width x height metadata, as example. Maybe pre-program that one into the included custom-metadata plugin so users would also have a ready-made example to follow... aspect-ratio would be another popular derived item (cropped-width/cropped-height).
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26 Comments
New Here ,
May 23, 2011 May 23, 2011

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So, it's 2011, and we still don't have Lightroom metadata support like Bridge. VRA Core 3 and 4 are being supported by major applications across the web. Large institutions and individuals alike are needing to quickly batch edit large amounts of raw scans and export/embed with compatible image metadata. They have already embraced Bridge as a defacto with its custom file info panels but Lightroom still doesn't support that even though it advertises its strong metadata credentials. The fact of the matter is the world just doesn't use only IPTC anymore.

So I'm wondering if Adobe's already standard XMP "Custom File Info Panels" functionality will be implemented in Lightroom v4. If this is confirmed, large institutions can plan on buying Lightroom as a better (future proof) pre-upload (and personal collection) organizer for large sets of images vs Bridge as Bridge relies directly on a file system and the file system can become a very disorganized place. Also, Lightroom is less costly and more functional for Art Historians.

This has been a constant feature request since v1 in 2007. It has been 4 years. Is there a plan to add this in v4 or some functionality like it?

All the best,
Walker Blackwell
University of Vermont
Art History

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Explorer ,
Aug 02, 2012 Aug 02, 2012

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Please add more fields to the xmp metadata. Specifically:
People (list type field)
Session (text field for photographers to be able to group photos without needing to put them into collections first, with the side benefit of freeing up the Keywords field for actual real keyword entries)
Client (Text field for us to be able to write in who comissioned us to take the photos)

And let us be able to create metadata filter panes for these new fields too.

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New Here ,
Oct 19, 2013 Oct 19, 2013

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Please make Lightroom 5 fully XMP compliant. I need to be able to read and write to custom XMP fields and I need it written in the XMP not just in the catalog as the current custom fields option is.
Adobe developed XMP and they haven't made their flagship photo management software fully XMP compliant.
Please add this feature to the Lightroom 5 and the SDK as I need it to satisfy the requirements of my large organisation (DoD). Currently I can do all bar 2 of my mandatory metadata fields in Lightroom. One of which isn't even a custom field, it is #121 Local Caption. I am forced to continue to use another program just for metadata (Fotostation).

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LEGEND ,
Mar 17, 2016 Mar 17, 2016

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You need to add full support for XMP Fields in Search and Smart Collections, so it is possible to set a criteria for all Fields (i.e. all Fields in the Location TAG).

Same with Custom XMP Fields.

It must also be possible to save custom XMP Fields to the XMP sidecar file.

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Explorer ,
Mar 29, 2016 Mar 29, 2016

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Adobe created XMP and the custom metadata concept. Why won't they support it in their own products?

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Explorer ,
Oct 17, 2016 Oct 17, 2016

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There are requests on this forum going back to 2007 for custom metadata fields, per the XMP standard created by Adobe.

What is the Adobe management position on these requests?  Rejected?  Accepted?  (When?)  Under study or future consideration?

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New Here ,
Dec 08, 2016 Dec 08, 2016

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Please add my name to the list of Lightroom users who need extensible metadata capabilities in Lighroom.

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New Here ,
Dec 09, 2016 Dec 09, 2016

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This would be a very useful feature. It would appear that not a lot has been done with the Library module of Lightroom for a very, very long time (even basic bug fixes) - to the extent that I'm getting worried it's not properly supported. Custom fields would be very useful. 

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Explorer ,
Dec 09, 2016 Dec 09, 2016

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D H raises a scary point about Library. Related issue:  A fellow Lightroom user pointed out to me how limited the search capabilities are in Library. 

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 09, 2016 Dec 09, 2016

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Yes. I too am worried that I am backing myself into a corner by continuing to use LR as a cataloging program. I am making use of Rob Cole's custom metadata (Rob started this thread 6 years ago!), and it will be a big hurdle to bring that data along if I have to move to another program.

As far as browsing metadata, Jeffery Friedl's metadata explorer and John Beardsworth's List View handle most of my needs. But wouldn't the world be wonderful if Adobe actually devoted some resources to making Lightroom the best cataloging program on the planet (for small and medium scale use).

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Explorer ,
Dec 09, 2016 Dec 09, 2016

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There are standalone DAM programs for small and medium-scale use.  iMatch is single-use, Windows only.  Photo Supreme is Windows and Mac, single-use and workgroup.  Daminion is also Windows and MacOS, single-use and workgroup, They all have their quirks, and none of them are as "smooth" as Lightroom.  I have personal experience with Photo Supreme and recently stopped using it because the interface is so abstruse and because the documentation is utterly lacking.

Only Photo Supreme claims any custom metadata support, and the level of support was recently downgraded to text-only fields.  Jeffrey Friedl recently released a Lightroom plug-in that provides text-only custom metadata support.  However, such fields cannot be written to XMP files, because of a limitation in the Adobe SDK (I believe).

In short, Lightroom's DAM is probably the best available for single-use situations.  Of course, the competitive bar is pretty low.

Phil

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 23, 2017 Jan 23, 2017

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The only workable solution for the lack of custom metadata in lightroom appears to be overriding other metadata fields for which I have no *current* use.  So "Status Title" becomes "main subject scientific name", etc.  This is a pretty inadequate solution fraught with 'this is going to bite me in the ass at some point' vibes to it.

Could we please have first class metadata support, with custom fields?  As libraries grow, and images are in use for all kinds of use cases, it is critical that we have metadata support to make those use cases possible and also future proof.

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Explorer ,
Jan 23, 2017 Jan 23, 2017

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Adobe really needs to step up to the plate on this issue as a way of increasing its strength in enterprise/academic-museum markets.  Almost any specialized area of knowledge could benefit from custom metadata.  If you think about it, the PLUS metadata is just one form of custom.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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Phil I completely agree, even outside of the enterprise/academic spheres, personal projects also benefit greatly from being able to define your own metadata.

Is this forum even monitored, or are we just talking to ourselves?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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Yes it's monitored.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of the Lightroom Missing FAQ & Edit Like a Pro books.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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Thanks Victoria!

Any way to get some transparency about feature roadmaps?  I'm considering what to do for my own needs, and the lack of custom metadata is starting to be a roadblock that I'll need to find a way around soon.  Or switch to something that will remove that roadblock.

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Explorer ,
Jan 24, 2017 Jan 24, 2017

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John,

A few years ago, I spent a fair amount of time with the technical and "organizational" issues around custom metadata.  i think the issues about widespread adoption of custom metadata are more organizational than technical.  There is at least one DAM-only product, Photo Supreme, www.idimager.com, that supports/supported custom metadata.  (However, I'm not recommending Photo Supreme.  It's powerful, but Lightroom is sufficient for my needs .)

I think that Adobe would have to take a leadership position here, and that would involve the future strategy for Lightroom.  I think, done right, support for custom metadata would be a real positive for Lightroom business.

Is Adobe's reluctance a deliberate decision, or simply an unwillingness to provide industry "leadership?"  Dunno.  I would be happy to explain to Adobe my ideas in depth.  I live in northern California, maybe 20 miles/35 km aware from their headquarters.

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Explorer ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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Have there been any recent developments in custom metadata?  I would love to be able to define my own custom metadata with my own labels.  Currently I am using Rob Cole's RC_CustomMetadata plugin but I heard that Rob Cole is no longer with us.  Also, his labels are fixed and I'd like to change them to my own meaningful definitions.  It would be wonderful if this was something built into and supported by Lightroom.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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No, no change whatsoever.

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Explorer ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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That's unfortunate.  It seems like there was wide demand for this feature either built into Lightroom or as a comprehensive plugin.  I'm a retired software developer with over 40 years experience but I wouldn't know where to begin on something like this.

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Explorer ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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Jeff,
If you do decide to write a replacement for Rob Cole's plug-in, I would be happy to collaborate with you.  I retired recently after a 40 year career in software product management, so I know how to write "requirements" or "user stories" that define the user problem, not the actual features, and I had many successful working relationships with developers.  I also have a hobby interest that just cries out for custom metadata.  A professional organization in this hobby area actually uses Adobe Bridge for keywording, because Lightroom is not up to the task for them.  That's an absurd situation. 

As just one possibility, forgive me for suggesting a solution here despite what I just wrote, but could the metadata features within Bridge be called seamlessly from within Lightroom?


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Explorer ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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Hi Phil,

I would love to collaborate on a custom metadata plugin.  I pretty much know what I want.  However, my technical background doesn't include the skills for this type of development.  Also I don't know enough about Adobe Bridge to answer if the metadata features could be called from Lightroom.  To develop a custom metadata plugin would require the skills of someone who has actually developed plugins for Lightroom.  Since Rob Cole is no longer with us, I'm thinking of someone like John Beardsworth who probably has the relevant experience.  If anyone could develop this plugin, it would need to appeal to enough people so the developer could make some money from it.

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Explorer ,
Jul 31, 2020 Jul 31, 2020

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Jeff,  For now let's do some offline or private messaging.  I can't seem to find a private message function on this forum.  If you can't find it either, please send me an email at philip-b@comcast.net.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 01, 2020 Aug 01, 2020

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I do have (and use) an unreleased plugin along these lines and added nice features like read/write to custom xmp namespaces (modelled on a great feature in Extensis Portfolio) and generating Bridge panels. But I have chosen not to develop it for release it because of so many potential complexities in this area. Just imagine if I couldn't support it Sorry!

Jeff, did Rob encrypt his plugin? His coding ability was way above my head (back then and probably still!) but maybe he put the field definitions in a file that you can edit in a text editor. I happen to call mine Metadata Definition.lua and his might be equally obvious.

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New Here ,
Jan 03, 2021 Jan 03, 2021

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Rob Cole's plugins (not encrypted) can be found here:

Dave Burns GitHub repositories

 

 

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