Today’s Question: I have long been following your advice with Lightroom Classic to apply a metadata preset upon import to add copyright and contact information to my photos. However, I have now changed my email address. I have updated my metadata preset for assigning to new photos, but how can I update the email address in metadata for all the existing photos in my catalog that have the old address?
Tim’s Quick Answer: You can update the metadata for all (or some of) the existing photos in your Lightroom Classic catalog with a variety of automated techniques, depending on the specific circumstances for the existing photos. A preset, for example, can make easy work of this task.
More Detail: As a general rule I would say that the best approach here is to create a new metadata preset that only includes the email address update (and any other metadata fields you want to update for all existing photos), and then apply that preset to all photos in your catalog.
While there are a wide variety of metadata values you can use to search for specific photos, the email address field is not one of the searchable fields in Lightroom Classic. Therefore, if you change your email address and want to update the metadata for your photos to reflect that change in Lightroom Classic, you’ll likely need to simply apply the update to all photos.
Of course, if you’re using a metadata preset to add your email address to all photos upon import, one of the first tasks is to update that preset. You can get started with that task by selecting Metadata > Edit Metadata Presets from the menu while in the Library module. Choose the applicable preset from the Preset popup and change the applicable metadata fields such as the email address in this case. Then choose “Update Preset” from the Preset popup to update your existing preset with the new changes.
For existing photos in the catalog, however, changing the preset will not change any of the metadata for the photos. If your updated metadata preset for import only includes updates you want to apply to all existing photos in your catalog, you could simply apply that preset to all photos. However, the preset may include metadata values you don’t want to update for existing photos, so I recommend creating a new metadata preset for this purpose.
You can create a new metadata preset in the Edit Metadata Presets dialog, which you can bring up by choosing Metadata > Edit Metadata Presets from the menu. Click the “Check None” button at the bottom-left of the dialog. Then turn on the checkbox for only the fields you want to update, such as the “Creator E-Mail” field in this example. Update the value for those fields as needed, and then choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset” from the Preset popup. Enter a name for the new preset, and click the Create button. Then click the Done button to close the Edit Metadata Presets dialog.
You can then apply this new preset to all existing photos. Choose “All Photographs” from the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. Switch to the grid view display (press “G” on the keyboard) and make sure the Library Filter Bar is set to “None” so that no filters are applied. Then select all photos by choosing Edit > Select All from the menu.
To apply the new preset to update the desired fields (such as email address in this example), use the Saved Preset popup in the Quick Develop section of the right panel in the Library module. Simply select the preset you created for this purpose and the metadata will be updated for all selected photos.