30 January 2014

Importing iOS 7 filtered photos into Lightroom without losing filters or metadata

iOS 7 lets you non-destructively edit your photos, and if you import them into iPhoto, you can continue to non-destructively edit them. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, if you import your images into Lightroom, you lose the edits. If you export the images from iPhoto, you lose the metadata. And if you export your movies from iPhoto for import into Lightroom, you lose your capture dates and exif metadata. Thanks Apple.

Submitted for your approval, a solution for OS X.

  • Install Homebrew
  • In Terminal, install exiftool:
    • $ brew install exiftool
  • Import your iPhone photos into iPhoto as a single event for Lightroom to consume.
  • Sort the photos photos by date.
  • Export the photos from iPhoto:
    • For the first export, select Originals from the dropdown and export them to a folder on your Desktop named Originals.
    • For the second export, select Current from the dropdown and export them to a folder on your Desktop named Edited.
  • Open Originals, sort by type and delete any movies you find (mp4 and mov). We'll handle those last.
  • In terminal:
    • Copy exif data for all photos, excluding rotation:
      • $ cd ~/Desktop/Originals
      • $ find *.jpg -exec exiftool -tagsfromfile {} -all:all --Orientation ../Edited/{} -overwrite_original \;
    • Copy timestamps:
      • $ find . -exec touch -r {} ../Edited/{} \;
  • In Lightroom:
    • Import Edited
    • Select all files
    • Run: Library | Previews | Build Standard Sized Previews
  • If you have videos:
    • Go into the import event in iPhoto, select a video, reveal it in Finder.
    • Import those videos from Finder directly into Lightroom.
  • Confirm everything looks right in Lightroom, then trash the event in iPhoto and clear out your iPhone.