Sharing Adjustments with Photo

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Today’s Question: Is there a way to send a DNG file with editable adjustments to someone when I want them to see what edits I have made in Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can export a photo as a DNG (or original raw capture format) and the Develop adjustment settings from Lightroom will be included in metadata. That file can then be imported into Lightroom or opened in Photoshop and the adjustments will be visible (and editable).

More Detail: When you export a photo as an Adobe DNG image or original raw capture format from Lightroom, the Develop settings are embedded in the metadata for the file. In the case of an image exported as a DNG file the metadata will be included in the file itself. If you export a raw capture using the “Original” setting in the Export dialog the metadata added in Lightroom (including Develop settings) will be saved in an XMP sidecar file saved along with the exported image. That XMP file will have the same base filename as the raw capture, with an “.xmp” filename extension.

If you send the DNG file (or the raw file plus the XMP file) to someone else, they can either import that image into Lightroom or open it with Photoshop. In the case of Photoshop that would actually mean the image would be opened via Adobe Camera Raw.

In either Camera Raw and Lightroom, the person you sent the photo to would see your final edited version of the image. The adjustment settings for the image would also be set exactly as you had them at the time the source image was exported. In other words, they would see exactly what adjustments you applied to the photo, and could make changes to those adjustment settings if needed.