Resolving Mysterious Metadata Mismatches


Today’s Question: A ton of my images in Lightroom Classic have appeared with the upward arrow and the following message: “The metadata for this photo has been changed by another application. Should Lightroom import settings from disk or overwrite disk settings with those from the catalog?” I have not knowingly done anything to the image to provoke this. How can I correct this, preferably in bulk?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you’re certain that you haven’t made any updates to metadata outside of Lightroom Classic, you can use the option to overwrite the metadata for the images based on your catalog. This update can be performed in batch for a group of selected photos.

More Detail: If you update the metadata for photos outside the Lightroom Classic catalog, you’ll see an icon at the top-right of affected photos indicating that there is a mismatch. You can also view the status with the Metadata Status field available by selecting IPTC view option from the popup to the left of the Metadata heading on the right panel in the Library module.

If you updated metadata for photos outside of Lightroom Classic, such as by adding keywords using Adobe Bridge, this would obviously lead to a mismatch. However, even opening a raw capture in Photoshop via Camera Raw will cause a metadata update that can trigger the message you’re seeing.

If you’re confident that the Lightroom Classic catalog represents all the correct metadata for your photos, you can update the files on the hard drive to match the catalog, which will cause the metadata mismatch message to go away.

You can select multiple photos to update all at once, including selecting all photos in the “All Photographs” collection in the Catalog section at the top of the left panel in the Library module, if you want to update every photo in the entire catalog. Select all the photos you want to update (you can even select those that don’t have a mismatch), and then click the button to the far right of the Metadata Status field in the IPTC metadata within the Metadata section of the right panel. In the dialog that appears you can click the “Overwrite Settings” button to update the metadata for the files on the hard drive, so there is no longer a mismatch.

Note, by the way, that I recommend turning on the “Automatically write changes into XMP” checkbox on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog to ensure that all standard metadata updates in Lightroom Classic are saved to the source image files as well.