Lightroom: Only Write Metadata if Out of Date

  • 7
  • Idea
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • (Edited)
When files are selected in the Library panel and Ctrl-S is executed, all files have metadata saved to them even if some of the files selected were already up to date. This behavior changed sometime after v2.5 where only those images out of date would actually have the metadata written to the file. I would like the old behavior back please, or an option to re-write all if I so desire.

The reason for this request is that I use backup software outside of LR to sync copies of my images both to an external drive and to cloud storage. I also use DNG files which store the metadata (like tiff and jpeg files can) inside the actual DNG file. In the old days of v2.5, would select the entire catalog one a week and hit Ctrl-S to save so I could be assured that the most current metadata is in the actual image files. If I do that today, my entire image directory (150GB) would show as changed and have to be backed up in its entirety - not an easy task when sending to cloud storage.

Had this behavior existed prior to my decision to covert all images to DNG, I would not have made the conversion since backing up side-car files is quite fast relative to full DNG files - but there is no turning back now.

A workaround would be a sort or collection ability for those images which have metadata out of date. Then I could just select that collection of images and hit Ctrl-S. That ability doesn't exist at this time. I am using a SQL command and LR Transporter to come up with something similar but always feel uncomfortable using those commands outside of LR.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this enhancement.
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jw stephenson

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Posted 7 years ago

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Photo of Steve Sprengel

Steve Sprengel, Champion

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I think an option to do either All or Out-of-Date should be considered. There should at least be two menu options to select which type to do. As far as what Ctrl-S does, either have a setting to choose which occurs with a momentary on-screen indication of which process has just started up, or use of a second modifier key to do the other, like Ctrl-Shift-S, maybe, and I'd be happy if this one did the Force-All operation, because it's more keys to hold down so it does more.

The prior Out-of-Date-only method would refuse to recreate a missing or at least damaged XMP file as long as LR thought it was up-to-date the last time it had checked, or some situation similar to this. In other words, you could not force a recreation, so Adobe took the conservative route when they modified the behavior. Now that they have, I don't know if they should switch things back, at least not until LR4 when people might expect things to be more different.

As far as what to do as a workaround, now, I think Auto-XMP writing only updates XMPs when the metadata changes, but it is not reliable as far as knowing when it has finished.

And maybe synchronize also only write the XMP data for changes, but you have to do that on a folder-by-folder basis, which may not correspond to the set of images you're working on.if it is a collection across multiple, unknown folders.

In general, smart collections should have many more things you can test for where metadata being out-of-date and metadata-status-unknown, would to two of the useful things, or at least let us use our own queries inside of LR to make a collection off of arbitrary criteria.
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I like this feature request. I have the "auto-save" option turned off and manually invoke the saving of metadata. Every time about 20% of the writes are justified, the rest are unnecessary rewrites of metadata that didn't change (because there is no straightforward way to select those that need their metadata written).

I'm arguing that the default behaviour (invoked by Ctrl-S) should be to write out changed metadata only.

The current behaviour -- forcing all metadata to be written out -- should require some extra effort, such as pressing pressing the "Alt" key as well, i.e., Ctrl-Alt-S.

Under normal circumstances it should only be necessary to write out changed data. Forcing more metadata to be written out should only be necessary in exceptional circumstances and in the latter it makes sense to press more keys.