Today’s Question: Does the “Automatically write changes into XMP” feature also save any editing I’ve done in the Develop module such as exposure, clarity, lens correction, etc.?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, adjustments you apply in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic (or with Adobe Camera Raw) are preserved in the XMP sidecar file as long as the metadata is saved to that sidecar file either automatically or manually.
More Detail: When you save metadata to the source image files in Lightroom Classic, for the most part only standard metadata fields are preserved. Features specific to Lightroom Classic such as collections and virtual copies (among others) are only saved in the catalog and can’t be saved to the source image files.
However, adjustment settings are saved to the source files along with standard metadata, which in my view is a pleasant surprise. If you have enabled the “Automatically write changes into XMP” option on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog the metadata will be saved automatically whenever you make changes in Lightroom Classic. If that option is not enabled, you can still save the metadata manually by selecting images and choosing Metadata > Save Metadata to Files from the menu.
One of the reasons I prefer to enable the option to automatically save metadata is that it provides something of a last-ditch fix should you somehow lose your catalog and all useable backups of the catalog. In that (hopefully unlikely) scenario you could simply create a new catalog and import all existing photos, and all standard metadata along with the adjustment settings from the Develop module will be included with your photos upon import.
For Photoshop users who aren’t using Lightroom Classic, the same basic concept applies, with the difference that the sidecar file will be created or updated automatically when you process an image using Camera Raw. This does not apply, however, to the Camera Raw filter within Photoshop.