How to export Lightroom RAW files with adjustment history

SamSam San Jose CARegistered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins

I am running out of whiskey! I have about 3 plus hours into this and no answer!

After processing RAW files in Lightroom I want to export these images with all the history of the adjustments made so someone else can import these images into their existing LR catalog and continue processing where I left off.

If I export the images as a LR catalog the images will retain all the history, but they are sitting in a separate catalog. I don't know how to move individual images from one LR catalog to another, or even if it can be done.

If I export as individual files they can be imported into another's existing LR catalog and all the adjustment will be applied but the history of the adjustment is lost.

Anyone know how to do this?



  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,592 moderator

    So you want to export the RAW files, not only with the adjustments, but with the history of adjustments? Why is the history important? Folks can continue processing with the current adjustments as you last left them.

    Assuming you don't actually care about the history, the easiest way is to make sure you have XMP sidecars enabled, and then just copy the raw images plus their associated sidecars. When someone imports those images, LR will read the XMP files and voila, they will see your adjustments as you last left them.

  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 5, 2017

    Yes, your right (sometimes) if I copy/paste the image straight from the HD and open on a different computer it will display the image with all (or some of the time only some, or none of the adjustments.), it is inconsistent, but won't show the history. The inconsistency is driving me nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If I export from lightroom to an intermediate HD and then import into a different computer / LR it will show all the adjustments, but no history.

    If I export as a catalog it will keep all the history, but I have no idea how to import / export from two different LR catalogs on the same computer, or how to merge catalogs.

    There are many reasons why it would be advantageous to have the history available. One reason would be the crop. With history, one could go back and re-crop an image but without history your stuck with the existing crop or smaller but not larger, you can't go back to the original and start over either.

    In any case, the recipient may want to start over, or at some intermediate step which is impossible without the history.


  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,185 moderator

    Perhaps I'm not understanding what you're doing with exporting and importing. But you should always be able to re-crop from a RAW file, though not from a JPG that you have exported. As long as you have the RAW file, you can start over. If you also have the XMP sidecar, you should be able to open the file with the last Develop settings showing, including the crop. You can change the crop while leaving the rest alone just by selecting the crop tool again.

  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins

    Hi Richard,

    Forget sidecars I use DNG format.

    Joel just answered the question.

    When you open up a RAW image imported from a location outside of your LR catalog that has previous adjustments made it will display the image with those adjustments applied, but will not have the history.

    What I didn't realize is While the step by step adjustments are not there the history list, LR adjustments can be seen in the adjustment sliders. If you click on the crop tool it will reveal the entire image. Clicking reset will bring the entire image back to the original non-processed state.

    So all is good!!


  • martinjp2martinjp2 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 29 Big grins

    Hi Sam,

    On a MAC the Lightroom command to import one catalog into another is under File / Import from Another Catalog, not on my PC to find location there. I have a 5TB drive where I consolidate all of my Lightroom catalogs into one for archive / backup / search / get them all in one place purposes. Of course, I'm lucky to occasionally find time to add my new catalogs, but when I retire it will be a gold mine. Smugmug is my cloud backup.

    I also copy catalogs and raw files between my work MacBook and PC to work on them at home and the office. Moving raw files and related catalog from one computer to another works great.

    I save staff photos I take at work as DNG's so marketing can go in and pick whichever snapshot of the various crops they want, not they ever do. Downside of DNG's is large file size.


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