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Lr FAQ: How do I Backup my Lightroom Edits?

When you make edits in Lightroom, those changes are usually stored in your Lightroom catalog settings.  That’s useful right?  But not always.  What happens if the catalog is lost or damaged?  What about if you want to open a photo up in another application outside of Lightroom?  Well there’s an easy change to fix this.

XMP to the Rescue

Adobe uses XMP or Extensible Metadata Platform to hold information about the file.  This is an open system and it makes your files more compatible with other apps.  It also means you pictures are backed up.

Step 1: Turn XMP on by choosing Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac) or Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows).

Step 2: Choose the Automatically write changes into XMP.  Now future edits will backed up.

Step 3: Select all your images in your library.

Step 4: Choose Photo > Save Metadata to File.  Now metadata will be written to sidecar files for any proprietary raw files or into the file headers for any other image formats like TIFF, JPEG, or PSD.

Step 5: Take a deep breath.  It will take a while for a large library (and a little bit of disk space) but all your current and future edits are backed up.

For more tips like this, see our Lightroom FAQ series.

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