"The metadata for this photo has been changed by another application"... but it hasn't...

Explorer ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Seeing the above metadata external change/conflict message on a great number of my photos. However, I'm hesitating about which option to choose (metadata from file/overwrite with LR settings) as none of those photos have been through any other applications. So I'm a little concerned there's been possible corruption within my LR catalog - is this possible?

 

Some background:

- I just clean installed MacOS (Big Sur 11.3.1) after a repair, and replacing the SSD.

- LR Classic is a new, clean installation also, latest version.

- Prior to replacing the SSD, the LR Catalog was backed up to an external HDD. This was then copied over to the internal SSD yesterday after installing LRC.

- The raw files themselves, though, were always on an external HDD. They still are. So the LR Catalog was reading from this HDD when these metadata conflict messages occurred.

- The raw files haven't been used with another program, copied, moved, etc. The folder/file structure is the same as it always was, and hasn't been moved around externally either.

- There doesn't seem to be any discernable pattern in which files now have this warning, and those which don't (e.g. developed/not developed, some of a particular shoot but not others, all cameras affected/not affected, no particular month/year/day, etc. etc.)

- I haven't yet re-installed any 3rd party presets. However, having checked through the develop settings of these files, not many had any presets applied, although a few did, so I don't see a correlation there either.

 

Would greatly appreciate thoughts/guidance from any experts on this, before doing anything which might mess things up.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Test one image by selecting Metadata with file and if the information is as you expect use that setting on the rest. In 9 times out of 10 I choose Metadata with file as a rule I dont want to change that information. As always there are exceptions to the rule but test it yourself to see if that is the best way to go with your images.

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Explorer ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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quote

Test one image by selecting Metadata with file and if the information is as you expect use that setting on the rest. In 9 times out of 10 I choose Metadata with file as a rule I dont want to change that information. As always there are exceptions to the rule but test it yourself to see if that is the best way to go with your images.


By @cmgap

 

Thanks, do you mean overwrite LR catalog data with the data on the files?

 

In terms of the information being as I expect, to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm looking for, or expecting to see? Also, I don't know whether what I'm seeing currently is what's stored in LR or on the file?

 

Sorry, quite an advanced user in terms of image editing, but my catalog skills aren't as well developed, and this is a completely new one on me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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No I didn't mean to overwrite with Lightroom data - I meant choose metadata from file. Read this Adobe article for more information on xmp side car files: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/metadata-basics-actions.html

 

If your Lightroom catalog file is ever corrupted, deleted or lost in a hard drive crash, then all the edits that you’ve done to your RAW files, selections, star ratings, will not exist anywhere else. Having all of your data in your XMP sidecar files will save you a ton of work if you need to rebuild a catalog or start over. I always write changes to XMP sidecar files. The files are a tiny insurance policy that uses minimal storage space. You can also convert your images to DNG files and that will encapsulate all of your edits. You should always keep a few current backups of your catalog on an external disk.

 

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Explorer ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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Thanks.

 

In the past I've let just the catalog store the changes and don't know how the auto-write to XMP setting got checked - must have done it accidentally in an off moment.

 

I always keep multiple backups of my catalog so still not sure how useful XMP sidecar files are in my workflow.

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LEGEND ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Seeing the above metadata external change/conflict message on a great number of my photos. However, I'm hesitating about which option to choose (metadata from file/overwrite with LR settings) as none of those photos have been through any other applications. So I'm a little concerned there's been possible corruption within my LR catalog - is this possible?

 

If you are convinced no other application has touched your metadata, then select overwrite with LR settings. There are other explanations than possible corruption of the catalog ... but, you do have recent backups of your catalog file, don't you?

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Explorer ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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Nothing apart from LR has had access to those raw files. Certainly no other image editing software has.

 

I used the raw files on my PC while the MacBook was being repaired (just before I replaced the SSD). This was running the latest LRC, with a copy of the same Catalog. However, I didn't use a copy of that PC catalog when I reinstalled to the Mac SSD, just the one I had copied to the PC beforehand.

 

I don't recall messing around with any metadata on the PC, though, just finding a few images - I'm not sure under what circumstances LR changes metadata...?

 

In fact, if this is the issue, that LR has changed metadata on raw files, I've been working all these years under a false assumption - my understanding was that LR didn't do anything to the raw files or write anything to them, I thought they were always left as they came out of the camera, and any and all changes were either stored in LR, or in XMP sidecars, if that were selected in options. If this isn't the case, and LR does write information to raw files, I would have been a lot more careful before opening up on another PC re: making sure the catalog was the latest version, etc.

 

I have two backups, yes, but they are recent copies of the masters on this particular disk, so if anything were corrupted at the file level, they would likely have this issue as well, I guess?

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LEGEND ,
May 20, 2021 May 20, 2021

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LrC does not change the image portion of your original files. NEVER, ain't going to happen.

 

LrC does not, by default, update XMP data in your original files or sidecar files. LrC updates the metadata in the XMP sidecar files (or if you have JPG or TIF, in the XMP portion of the original files) when you tell it to do so. You can tell it to update the XMP by either selecting photos and then menu command Metadata->Save Metadata to File, OR there is an option to do this automatically.

 

I think the most likely cause of your problems is that Lightroom is not updating the metadata in the files, even though you have performed an edit on the photo. You need to either make sure you use the menu command as needed, or turn on the option to update the metadata automatically. (Maybe this option has been turned off accidentally?)

 

I think it is much less likely that the catalog is corrupted, as usually corrupted catalogs will not open.

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Explorer ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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OK I think, with you guys helping me and prompting me to look at certain settings, etc., I've worked out what happened.

 

Somewhere along the line the setting to automatically write changes to XMP has been checked. No idea how, as I've always avoided it and never had XMP sidecar files in my media folders before, but they're there now.

 

In any case, what that meant is that when I moved back to the MacBook but used the 1 generation older catalog with the latest generation files, I got the mismatch error. I still find this slightly curious, as I made no edits or metadata changes when I was using the PC in the interim - clearly LR accesses the XMP files even if no user changes are made, and changes something, even if it's a change to the time they were last accessed by the system, or something (?) which is then enough to flag up a mismatch if a different version of the catalog is used?

 

The solution was to copy over the later version of the catalog from the PC, where those XMP files would have last been read, and use this in the MacBook. These metadata conflicts seem to have gone now.

 

Moving forwards, if I don't want this sort of thing happening, can I uncheck the XMP preference and delete those XMP files? If so, are all changes just logged in the catalog itself again?

 

Many thanks, once more, for helping me get to the bottom of this, and increasing my understanding of how LRC works in this respect.

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LEGEND ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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Yes, you can change the setting of any option you want to change. That's why they are "options".

 

You do not need XMP files. Lightroom Classic works perfectly well without them.

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Explorer ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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For sure, but I guess my question is, if they're not needed and clearly can cause LR to get confused, why have the option; in other words what is the benefit of having XMP files as well as the catalog tracking the same changes?

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LEGEND ,
May 21, 2021 May 21, 2021

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Lightroom Classic does not get confused by this for most people.

 

The benefit of having XMP files is that you can share your edits and metadata with other software that is produced by Adobe (or other people who have the necessary Adobe software). This is how LrC communicates with Photoshop or Bridge. A secondary benefit is that these are a partial backup of your latest work, in case the computer crashes or the power goes out, and the catalog file hasn't yet been updated, your latest work is stored in the XMP file.

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