Lightroom: Metadata Conflict

Some photographers like to live on the bleeding edge of the technology, and some other photographers like to wear both belt and suspenders. I'm more on the belt and suspenders side than on the bleeding edge. That's why I like to have the metadata stored in both the Lightroom catalog and the XMP files: Edit > Preferences > Metadata > Automatically write changes into XMP.

The problem is that sometimes Lightroom screws up, sometimes it's the user that screws up by not giving enough time for Lightroom to write the metadata to the XMP sidecar. Sometimes the user uses some other software that reads and writes the XMP sidecar.

I have created a smart collection called : “Metadata conflicts” to search for the photos with this problem. In this case, I have four photos.

Lightroom Metadata Conflict Smart Collection

Lightroom Metadata Conflict Smart Collection

By clicking on the 2 or the 3, you will be presented with the dialog box:

Resolve Lightroom Metadata Conflict

Resolve Lightroom Metadata Conflict

I usually use the Lightroom default: Overwrite Settings, meaning to overwrite the XMP sidecar with the Lightroom metadata. That's, unless I know that I used some other software that updated the XMP sidecar.

  • Lightroom doesn't know how to merge the sidecar metadata with its own metadata. So you have to choose it's either the metadata from Lightroom or the metadata from the XMP sidecar. Your choice.
  • The definition of Metadata is “data about the data.” It is data that describes the data inside the file.