Metadata Mismatch Symbol

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Today’s Question: I noticed on one of your photos in the slides strip (from your webinar presentation) there was a “flag” with 3 horizontal lines on the left and an exclamation point on the right. I also noticed this on one of my photos. What is this?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The symbol in question is an indication that there is a metadata mismatch. That means that information in the metadata for the photos on your hard drive does not match the information contained within your Lightroom catalog.

More Detail: One of the more important things to understand about Lightroom Classic is that any tasks you perform with your photos (including metadata updates) should be initiated within Lightroom. If you update metadata outside Lightroom, that information will not be reflected within the Lightroom catalog.

When there is a metadata mismatch for an image, you can click the warning flag icon, which appears as three lines with an arrow to the right of them. That will bring up a dialog where you can choose which direction you want to resolve the metadata mismatch.

If you have made changes to metadata outside of Lightroom (which includes, by the way, opening a raw capture via Adobe Camera Raw directly in Photoshop), you will want to bring those updates into the Lightroom catalog. In the confirmation dialog you would click the “Import Settings from Disk” button if you wanted this option.

If you are certain Lightroom contains the latest metadata updates, you can save those out to the actual image files on your hard drive. In this case you would click the “Overwrite Settings” button in the confirmation dialog.

I should hasten to point out that the metadata mismatch icons you would have seen during my recent webinar presentation were due to the fact that I was presenting using a demonstration catalog, which contains a variety of intentional errors so I can show how to resolve various issues. I like to think I have no such metadata mismatches or other issues in my production catalog in Lightroom Classic. I hope!