Export files with keywords - to re-import files

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Aug 22, 2009
Loire Valley, France
Hi all, I'm running into a problem. I wasn't sure if I should post here or in Workflow, but as it deals mainly with export - I'll post here.

I have vintage image scan Photoshop documents that I have keyworded in Lightroom. I need to export these to my assistant to retouch in Photoshop and then re-import them.

My problem is that when I re-import them, the keywords are gone! Even if I check "include all metadata". I spend a lot of time keywording and I don't want to do it twice!

I also have the problem that I need to export layered files and there doesn't seem to be an option to include metadata. If I check export as Photoshop, it flattens the file. If I export Original, it only gives me the option to export with "write keywords as Lightroom hierarchy" which isn't working either. By the way - my keywords are checked to include on export.

This is really a headache. I know Lightroom isn't the ideal workflow option for working in teams, but other shared solutions are extremely expensive.

OK - so the big question is - how do I export layered files and keep the keywords with the file so that when I re-import the documents the keywords are still there?
If you export them and re-import them, you get duplicate files. Is that what you want? If not, just export the original, and when it comes back, don't import it, but overwrite the original with the edited file (outside of Lightroom). When you launch Lightroom, it will see that the file has changed, generate a new preview and you're done. All the metadata will still be there, because they are in the catalog, not in the file.
"If I export Original". This is what I would choose and I've tested this just now. When I choose Original, and include All Metadata, immediately afterwards I can see the keywords when I review the exported file in Bridge.

"When I re-import them" - could you be applying a metadata preset that clears the keywords? Or could your assistant be doing this?

I would make a conscious decision if you wanted to make sure you kept an origin untouched PSD as well as the retouched PSD, to ensure you always have an original. If I wanted to keep the inital scanned PSD, I would export as original into a subfolder (maybe called PostProcessed), maybe adding a ref to the filename. When I get the psds back I would import them to the sub folder, overwriting the existing files. In that way you can see both files in Lr and always have the original scan. On the otherhand.... you may have an agreed set of standards (eg preserve certain layers) with whoever is doing the editing which means you do not have to keep the original.
Whatever method you use, John is right that if you choose 'Export Original' on a layered PSD, you don't really export an untouched original, but the original with embedded metadata. Assuming that the assistant does not strip those metadata somehow, they must get stripped when you re-import the files. A likely explanation is that you always apply some metadata preset on import, and you don't realize that this preset actually strips those metadata that were added later.
Thank you all so much for your input!! It turned out to be a preset that I usually apply to everything I import that has my contact and copyright info. It didn't occur to me to turn off my metadata preset for re-importing files. Also I never thought of using a folder that I keep files that I export and then over-writing. I've been making collections instead and then I have to find the original, delete it and replace it with the re-imported file. Over-writing makes more sense.

You all really saved me a lot of time. I'm so grateful. :)
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