7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2018 6:39 PM by dj_paige

    Recovering Missing Edit History

    vincer3159181

      I have read numerous web articles about missing edit history.  It is often stated that the edit history is lost when reimporting photos.  I have found that not to be true.  Here is the scenario.  This is using Win 7 OS.

       

      Imported photos from a particular folder within My Pictures.  We'll refer to this as Folder A.  This folder also contained a sub-folder of photos, which will be called Folder B.   Attempted to import just the photos within Folder B, but also imported photos in Folder A.  Even so, edits were made to a number of photos within Folder B.  It was then decided that Folder A should be removed from LR.   Folder B was also removed at the same time.  LR was then closed.  Folder B was separated from Folder A outside of LR so that reimporting Folder B would not include Folder A.  The separation of Folder B from Folder A was done within the Win 7 OS.  LR was then reopened and the photos contained within Folder B were imported.  This change was successful.  That is, only Folder B photos were imported.

       

      Believing that the separation of Folder B from Folder A would wipe out all the edits previously done to the photos within Folder B, it was quite a surprise to see that the edits were carried over to the photos after reimporting them.  The edit history was certainly removed with history, only showing the import information.  How can that be?  Several attempts have been made trying to recover the history of edits made to the photos, but to no avail.  More confusing, from what has been read from several websites and posts about the loss of history, and presumably the edits, it is surprising to see that the edits to the photos did not disappear form a re-import.

       

      Looking forward to enlightenment.  

        • 1. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
          JohanEl54 Adobe Community Professional

          Very simple. You have ‘Automatically write changes to XMP’ checked in the preferences, so the edits were written to XMP sidecar files. When you imported the images again, Lightroom could read the edits from the XMP sidecar files.

           

          The list in the History panel is not written to XMP however.

          • 2. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
            vincer3159181 Level 1

            So the edits to a photo are written to the XMP sidecar file.  Presumably, if this choice is not selected in "Preferences", the edits are not retained in the photo.  Is this correct?  So can the edit history be retained and be recoverable under any circumstance?  It seems somewhat shortsighted on the part of Light Room to not retain edit history in some fashion, it would seem.  The more I learn about LR and how it functions, the less I like it's file management system.

            • 3. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
              JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              If you have written changes to XMP, you can read the settings from those XMP files after the files have been imported again. That means that whatever the Lightroom settings were can be reinstated, but the history that led to those settings will not be included. All you will have is the last actual settings that were recorded in the XMP file. That's because the history is a function of the Lightroom catalog. The XMP file is storing information in EXIF Fields that are standard fields that can be read by Lightroom as well as other software applications.

              • 4. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
                dj_paige Level 10

                I agree completely with JimHess , but I would like to add that any workflow that involves importing, editing, removing the photo from the Lightroom catalog and then re-importing is one to be avoided. There are a number of things you lose by removing a photo from Lightroom and re-importing later; you have found one of them is the edit history.

                 

                So no removing photos from Lightroom and re-importing.

                • 5. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
                  vincer3159181 Level 1

                  Not to belabor the issue regarding retaining the edit history of an image, while also being able to remove and reimport an image, what's the point of even recording an edit history if it becomes so easily lost from just a minor operation?  It seems somewhat shortsighted to treat image history in such a cavalier fashion.  Maybe someone can provide some insight into the thinking behind the loss of edit history upon re-importing an image.

                   

                  I also use DXO PhotoLab.  It's method of folder/file management is much simpler and less error prone.

                  • 6. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
                    JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    The catalog is the key file in Lightroom. It stores the edit history as well as all of the changes that you make to your images. The files are untouched, literally. When you remove the files from the catalog that clears any history for that file from the catalog. That's the way it works. It makes no sense to remove the files from the catalog, ever. There's no reason to do so. The catalog is essential to the operation of Lightroom, and is central to long-term integrity to your library and to the history of all your work.

                    • 7. Re: Recovering Missing Edit History
                      dj_paige Level 10

                      vincer3159181  wrote

                       

                      Not to belabor the issue regarding retaining the edit history of an image, while also being able to remove and reimport an image, what's the point of even recording an edit history if it becomes so easily lost from just a minor operation?  It seems somewhat shortsighted to treat image history in such a cavalier fashion.  Maybe someone can provide some insight into the thinking behind the loss of edit history upon re-importing an image.

                       

                      I also use DXO PhotoLab.  It's method of folder/file management is much simpler and less error prone.

                      It is not Lightroom treating the edit history in a cavalier fashion, it is a misunderstanding by the user who performs a destructive act of removing the photo from Lightroom that causes the edit history to be lost. As JimHess explained, all your work is stored in the catalog file, and only some can be stored outside the catalog file, and removing the photo from Lightroom removes the data in the catalog, including the data that is not stored anywhere else. Any workflow that involves removing a photo from Lightroom and re-importing it later is a poor workflow because it is destructive in some ways, as you have seen. I never remove photos from Lightroom, and Lightroom has maintained my edit history on all photos back to the first day I used Lightroom. If you really want a workflow that allows you to "remove and reimport an image", then Lightroom is not the software for you; it was not designed for this.

                       

                      As far as DXO method of folder/file management, it is certainly true that Lightroom is different. If you try to do things using a DXO workflow in Lightroom, you will be disappointed in the results, and not using Lightroom effectively. As far as I'm concerned, the method of folder/file management in Lightroom couldn't be any simpler, and never causes me problems or errors -- but you have to do things "Lightroom's way".