by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (5)


August 9, 2011

Under the File Setting section of the Export dialog box, one typically chooses to export their files to .pdf or .tif when taking images into Photoshop, or to .jpg if emailing images or posting to the web. However, there are also times when it’s necessary to export files of different file types while retaining their original format. To do this, select “Original” from the Format drop down list – the raw files will remain raw, the tiffs will remain tiffs etc.



  • By Mark Sirota - 8:39 AM on August 9, 2011  

    Yes, but none of the files will get any of the edits made in Lightroom’s Develop module. File format “Original” means the same *image contents* as the original file, with updated metadata.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 10:44 AM on August 15, 2011  

      If you are working with raw files, and use the Export as Original, Lightroom will export the .xmp sidecar file (including any changes in the Develop module) if you choose Metadata > Save Metadata to File and/or check the option to “Automatically write changes into XMP” in the Catalog Settings Metadata tab. I hope that helps, -j

  • By Elisa - 6:05 AM on October 26, 2012  

    Very helpful exchange!

  • By Eric - 7:11 PM on November 14, 2012  


    If I export my images in original form – will the back up of the “catalog” be able to restore my edits? So, for instance, if i lost the drive that holds the working file, and restored from the backup file, would the catalog backup apply the changes? (i may be asking the same question twice… I’ve been thinking about this too much)

    The problem i’m trying to get around is that i have import backups that may contain 5000 images. The edited and final version is 1000 images. I’m now storing 4000 images for no reason.

    I’m trying to figure out the best way to make this happen – either manually or through a third party sync program.

    From your reply above, it looks like i should perhaps have checked the “Auto write changes to xmp”, which i have not. If i check it now, and export, will it work?

    A few questions in there – any help would be appreciated!

    • By Julieanne Kost - 6:48 PM on November 18, 2012  

      I think this video might help explain how LR saves changes to your files:

      Personally, I capture RAW images and apply any necessary changes in Lightroom. Then, when needed, I export JPEG files for clients, blogging etc. Once I’m finished with those JPEGs, I can trash them because I can always go back to my edited images. And by keeping the original raw files, I can also go back and refine any changes to them at a later date if the technology for processing files improves.

      If I need to make changes to the files that goes beyond LR’s functionality (like adding layers, retouching with Liquify etc.) then I expost (or choose Edit in) and make the edits in PS. When done, I save the layerd file as a PSD (or TIFF) and keep that file as well.

      If I no longer needed immediate access to these images (the job is finished), then I can “archive” the images by putting them on another drive (or DVD etc) but don’t confuse archiving the images (to a slower or offline solution) with file redundancy – the need to have multiple copies of your images incase a drive fails.