Did you create a metadata template? You can apply that when you import your images.
Seems you're going at it a bit backwards with trying to trick LR into loading an XMP file that really isn't connected to any image via renaming them similarly.
More info on Metadata presets here: Lightroom Help | Advanced metadata actions
Let us know if you're still having trouble,
Thanks for the email.
Yeah I created the same template I would have done in lightroom 4. I usually save it and then apply it automatically to all images upon import but it simply wasn't attaching anything to them.
I even tried syncing it across from other photos and it wouldn't copy.
Do you have any suggestions or even a guide on how to make the iptc template from scratch?!
I'm not shooting this weekend because I don't have it sorted yet but have a rugby match next weekend and the north east derby (Newcastle vs Sunderland) so need to sort it by then or I'll need to get photomechanic which I don't want to do!
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Thanks very much for your help - not quite sure why it wasn't working but is now!
Excellent customer service