Develop Badge without Adjustments


Today’s Question: I have quite a few images in Lightroom Classic that have develop adjustment icons (badges) on the grid, but the photos only have import and exports and no develop adjustments [in History]. Do you know why the development adjustment badge is being shown?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This scenario means that the images in question were either edited prior to being imported into Lightroom Classic or had a Develop preset applied during the process of importing them into Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Badges in Lightroom Classic are small icons that appear on thumbnails for photos to indicate a particular status. For example, the Develop module badge is an icon showing a plus at the top-left corner and a minus at the bottom-right corner, indicating the image has been adjusted.

However, the Develop badge does not necessarily mean the image has actually been adjusted within the Develop module in Lightroom Classic. It is possible that the adjustments occurred either before or during the process of importing photos into the Lightroom Classic catalog.

For example, if you processed a raw capture in Adobe Camera Raw via Bridge or Photoshop, the adjustment settings would be preserved in an XMP sidecar file for that image. Those adjustments are exactly the same as those available in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic, and they are compatible. If you later import such a raw capture into Lightroom Classic, the image in Lightroom Classic would reflect the prior adjustments, and the image would have a Develop module badge, even though the history would not show any adjustments from the Develop module.

Similarly, you can use a Develop module preset to apply changes to the appearance of photos during the process of importing them into your catalog. This is done by selecting a preset from the Develop Settings popup in the Apply During Import section on the right panel in the Import dialog. In this case the adjustments reflected in the preset would apply to the image, the image will display the Develop module badge, but there won’t be any Develop adjustments shown in history.

Note, by the way, that the history can be cleared for an image in Lightroom Classic without removing or resetting the adjustments related to the history steps. This is done by clicking the “X” icon to the right of the History heading on the left panel in the Develop module. Clearing history in this way will not alter the image, so it will retain its current appearance. In addition, clearing the history will not remove the Develop badge from an image.

However, in this case the Import history state would also have been removed from history, which is why in the scenario addressed in today’s question it is obvious that the issue was that adjustments had been applied prior to or during import, not that the history had been cleared.