A niche custom metadata thing…
I’m a big fan of formal image competition as conducted by the Professional Photographers of America. Their competitions give serious photographers the opportunity to show off their best work and have it evaluated by trained jurors. Unlike a typical photo contest with 1st/2nd/3rd place rankings, PPA-style competitions1 use a framework known as the Twelve Elements of a Merit Image to evaluate each piece of work.
Depending on the competition, the image will sometimes receive a numeric score, or sometimes will simply be classified as being worthy of a PPA merit (or not).
As an entrant, I wanted to be able to record competition results in Lightroom Classic, where I manage my images. A Google search didn’t turn up any results for doing so, and hence I spent some time over this past weekend creating a solution for myself.
Here’s what I now see in the Metadata panel:
How to Record Image Competition Scores in Lightroom
My plugin was designed (as you see in the screenshot above) to records scores for the associations where I compete (OPPA, PPW, and PPA). You may want yours to show more, less, or different names.
Unfortunately it’s not very user-friendly on how to create a custom metadata plugin, but here’s how you can do it by combining my plugin as a starting point along with some customization instructions.
Unzip that file, then save the resulting .lrplugin item to a location on your hard drive where you want it to live. Note that if you double-click the .lrplugin file, Lightroom will attempt to install it. You don’t want to do this yet.
For instructions on customization, take a look at this writeup from Jeffrey Friedl which explains how to open up the plugin files and edit the custom fields. To change your fields to show different names than mine (or to add additional fields), the file you’ll be editing is the CustomMetadata.lua file.
If you’re into PPA (or other) competition and want to keep your results with your images, this image competition Lightroom plugin is a way to do that. I hope this is helpful for some of you.
This Lightroom plugin allows you to record PPA-style image competition scores as metadata with your photos: https://t.co/QZpqcSO1zt
— Aaron Hockley 💉😷 (@ahockley) May 3, 2022
- Many state and local PPA affiliates hold competitions as well, with most adhering to the same scoring framework as PPA. ↩