I have photos in Lightroom Classic on a Mac some of which I have assigned some colour label attributes.

How can I transfer these colour labels for the select photos to their location in Finder? This will then allow me to easily select photos when sharing them through something like WeTransfer or Whatsapp.

I have tried exporting these photos but that just copies them and wastes a lot of time. The one semi-solution I have is deleting (removing from disk) the selected photos from within Lightroom, assigning colour tags to them in Bin and then putting this all back into the original folder. The problem with this is that the photos are now gone from Lightroom and when I import them again, all attributes they might have had are gone. This therefore doesn't work for larger photo selections and photos with multiple attributes (such as colour and star rating).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting question, I never thought about that, but its a nice and useful idea. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 8:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you want to transfer the colour tag of LR to the Finder tag? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 8:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SaaruLindestøkke yes exactly. LR label colours and Finder tag colours do not have to match obviously. All I care about is the grouping \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


There are multiple ways to do this, it depends on the type of photos (JPEG or RAW) and the desire to automate.


This shareware plugin seems to do what you want. When exporting your images, it assigns Mac OSX Finder labels that match the colour tags in Lightroom.

I haven't tried this myself, but the screenshots seem promising.

Manually convert LR tag to Finder label

An alternative workaround would be:

  1. In LR assign photos with a certain colour tag a certain keyword.
  2. Go to the Library view
  3. Filter all photos with a certain tag and select them
  4. On the right there should be a Keywording panel, fill in the keyword of your choice there:

enter image description here

  1. Depends on file-type:
    • If JPEG: With the selection still active press CMD+S to write the metadata changes into the file.
    • If RAW: export the photos to JPEG's.
  2. In Finder, navigate to the folder with the JPEG's and search for the keyword
    • Plainly searching for the keyword is sufficient, this article describes how you can search for a specific attribute (in this case the keyword attribute).
  3. Assign a Finder label to the photos that are found in step 7.
  4. Repeat manually or automate

Automation with exiftool and tag

If you're slightly familiar with scripts you could take the following rough steps to automate assigning Finder labels based on LR colour tags:

  1. Make sure the LR colour tag is written to the JPEG files (see step 5 in the previous method)
  2. Loop over your images, e.g.: for f in *.jpg; do echo "Check colour tag of $f file.."; done
  3. With exiftool check the value of the Label field of each image, e.g.: exiftool -s -s -s -Label photo.jpg
  4. Based on the value of step 3, assign a Finder label. This requires that you use some kind of command line interface to set the Finder label, e.g. tag.

Below script carries out the automated task for all JPG files in the current directory.
Prerequisites are that you have exiftool and tag installed. Both can be installed via homebrew:

brew install exiftool
brew install tag
for f in *.jpg
    # Get the LR tag name
    lrtag=$(exiftool -s -s -s -Label $f)
    # This sets the tags, replacing any existing ones
    tag --set $lrtag $f
    # This adds tags, keeping any existing ones
    # tag --add $lrtag $f

I'm not affiliated with any of the linked applications.

  • \$\begingroup\$ From reading the page I think this transfers the colour labels along with a full image export - this is something I want to avoid as the exporting can take a while for 100+ photos. Some kind of 'contact' between LR and Finder regarding just the filenames to be labelled/tagged is what I'm looking for without whole image movement/export \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you already have JPEG's my alternative solution should work. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok I see, I've never created a keyword before but I assume I select the given photos in the Library module and then click on the Keyword List dropdown and press +. In the box that opens, I'll assign a keyword but which boxes should I tick: Include on Export, Export Containing Keywords, Export Synonyms, Person, Add to selected photos? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's an option. Just tick the first three and then add the keyword to the desired photos. I find it easier to just type a keyword (new or existing) into the Keywording panel. I've added a screenshot. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your continued help. I have done as you suggested in the keywording panel. My photos are JPEGs so I did not export and went into the folder in Finder. I searched for the keyword in the top right corner but doesn't this just search for filenames? How can I search for the keyword in Finder? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 9:38

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