I recently started using Lightroom. I am now aware that you are supposed to manage images within Lightroom, but unfortunately I moved a bunch of directories in Finder and synchronized them via Lightroom. I've now lost all my raw development settings. Is there a way to get them back? I see Lightroom doing a backup sometimes when I start.
Lightroom generally stores the changes you have made and the history of changes you have made in the lrproj file. If you have moved the images, it is still possible to use your existing project, however you must first tell it the location of the new files.
When you view the catalog in your original project, it should show little question marks overlayed in the corner of the thumbnails for the images that were moved. Click this question mark, select the new location. It should automatically detect any other files that were moved to the same location after you do the first.
Lightroom backs up your catalogue in a database file. The changes to development can be saved to a sidecar file (xmp) or directly in the image.
If you have xmp sidecar files enabled, you should still have them in that folder in finder. If you are gettin "?" next to folders in your catalogue, you can just tell lightroom where those folders are.
It is important to keep your folders and files organised, by copying to your library, and if necessary, duplicating to a backup drive when you import.
In the end I ended up importing two backup lrproj files Lightroom had made automatically into my current project. This resulted in up to 3 duplicate virtual copies, but it also restored all of my development adjustments. I then created a new smart collection that filtered all virtual copies without adjustments. Steps can be found here.
This allowed me to remove all the duplicates I had not applied development adjustments too. The rest I can manually remove if I ever revisit the adjusted files.
I screwed up and moved my catalog without having the XMP data backed up. Was at a loss for answers but stumbled across this free Lightroom add-on that rips adjustments from JPEG files. Thankfully, I had exported my images to JPEG to post to a website. So I only had to load each photo and rip the data for each one. It doesn't reset your rotations or crops, but heck... it saved me from starting at zero.