I’m confused

Lightroom: How to finalize/save images in Lighroom?

I'm a Lightroom beginner. Let's just get that out there. ;-) Having said that, I've really tried to grasp this on my own. Watched the Adobe videos on saving metadata to photos (and how to automatically do so) and know that Lightroom writes it's changes to a database of sorts, but I must not really "get it".

I shoot in JPG, not RAW. The only changes I see in Windows Explorer (without doing an export) are the addition of keywords, and not visual edits: color adjustments, cropping, etc. The changes are reflected in Bridge, so I know it's saving visual metadata to some extent.

However, since "visuals" are technically part of the metadata and since I'm working with JPGs, I expected that when I auto save metadata to the files, my visual changes WOULD in fact also apply to the original files. But, it look as though this isn't the case and that my only way to save all changes to the actual file on my hard drive is to do an export.

Is this correct? Or am I overlooking something? (If I missed this exact question being asked already, please point me in the right direction!)

fwiw, I am not a professional photographer and would prefer my changes be autosaved, for convenience sake and to take the extra step out of the equation.

Thanks for your time and expertise!
Cathy
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    Metadata = non image data. Thus saving metadata doesn't save the image data.

    Lightroom is non-destructive. It won't affect your original image data. You have to export to create a modified file.
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  • Thanks for confirming. I guess that the video's they've produced make it seem like that's not the case, but after trial and error I assumed this was the case.

    Ok, so now your opinion. What's the best way to export images so that Lightroom catalogs stay all nice and neat?

    What I prefer is to Export and select the "overwrite original files" option, however, it will not let me and instead I get a prompt that say it couldn't do it because it would overwrite the original file. :/ Why have the option on there if you can't actually do it?

    I have exported by renaming the files, but then I essentially have two copies of the same image and I no longer want the originals. Then, when I delete the originals on my own, it messes up my Lightroom catalog, right?

    Tips on a better workflow?
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  • You can't overwrite originals with Lightroom, nor would I ever expect them to add such functionality. It's a non-destructive tool. Overwriting your originals is like painting or cutting up film negatives. You don't do it.

    The whole idea is to keep the originals permanently, keep the Lightroom metadata in the catalogs and/or XMP data, and only write out new files when you actually need to export your images for some final use such as prints, web, or slideshows.
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  • No offense to you, but just to comment on this topic. I actually find this to be a limitation of the software. It makes sense to have it not be the default setting (especially because professionals are the primary users), or maybe even not something that can be done until you execute a command, however, in the end, if I desire to overwrite my originals, then I should be able to do that, in my opinion. The fact that it appears they are giving you that option in the export dialog box, and then not allowing you to when you run the prompt, is absurd. I suppose at this point I have no other choice to save to a new folder and then go back and manually delete the originals, which is what I was hoping to avoid.

    Thanks for your help in clarifying. It really is much appreciated!
    • Yeah, overwriting jpeg originals is *generally* a bad idea, on the other hand, I did help a friend/client create a plugin to do just that. He had special needs for his elderly (computer illiterate) father to use Lightroom too, and wanted to be able to remotely update his fathers jpeg catalog without any action on his fathers part - overwriting the original jpeg with an exported jpeg was the chosen solution. I can not offer this plugin to you, since I started it and he finished it, not me, and it was a hired job. But, he may read this post and chime in...

      As much as I hate sounding like John Beardsworth, this may be a case where you really don't want to do what you think you do(?)
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  • There has been occasional discussion about this in the past and it always comes down to doing no harm, and overwriting the originals is doing harm so it'll likely never be allowed. You shouldn't do it either. Honestly. I've done it a few times and always ended up regretting it later.

    I don't know of an overwrite originals option in Export. There's an option to overwrite existing files (previously-exported files) but not originals that I'm aware of.
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  • CHAMP
    I’m me.
    Cathy, what works for me is:

    I use Lightroom to manage *originals*, then keep a parallel tree of exports sync'd up (for consumption outside Lightroom) which I manage with ACDSee, and serve via DLNA, use as screen-saver, slideshows, projects, ...

    You can keep a flat set of files sync'd up using native hard disk publishing, but if you want the tree structure to be maintained, then you need a plugin. Feel free to contact me directly (using the forum's private messaging system) for details if you want to....

    Cathy - consider making an FR/Idea: "Lightroom to automatically create updated copies of all files in a parallel tree (or same tree) in the background - basically a tree publishing function with an auto-update, instead of manual only. Could be forcefully initiated too, but otherwise would wait until idle for x-minutes or something. I think a lot of people would like this feature. (I would still recommend *not* overwriting the original, but it would accomplish the same objective I think)
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  • I actually want to overwrite because I do keywording for businesses where no change is made to image only keywords added, so I dont want to duplicate the file. Confusing as the 'overwrite' option is given but wont work in some instances!
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