Distributing camera raw files along with their development history from Adobe Lightroom

This content is 14 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

I’ve written previously about how Adobe’s photo management applications such as Bridge and Lightroom use Sidecar (.XMP) files to store details of raw file edits without affecting the original image (and how that doesn’t quite work for JPEG or TIFF images).  On my system though, I found that there were no .XMP files because I had been storing the history inside my Lightroom catalog (I’ve since adjusted the catalog settings to automatically write changes into XMP) but it’s easy enough to generate an extensible metadata platform (.XMP) file for an image by either, exporting the image and selecting Original as the format in the file settings (this will save the .XMP file alongside the raw image), or, by selecting Save Metadata to File from the Metadata menu.  Either way, the resulting .XMP will be available for use in other applications (e.g. Bridge) and can be distributed with the raw image file if further processing is to be carried out on another computer.

One thought on “Distributing camera raw files along with their development history from Adobe Lightroom

  1. I love adobe lightroom. I like having the .XMP file sitting right next to my raw files. It means when I back up the raw files, I back up *my* work as well.

    It also simplifies the restoring process. When I restore my raw files, I don’t have to hunt down ‘which catalog’ I was using back when I worked on those raw files. I simply re-import the raw files and Lightroom automatically picks up the latest work I did right out of the .XMP files.

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