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If prior to starting to use Lightroom to manage your images you were using Adobe Bridge, you might be a little bit confused when you import images and your Color Labels seem to have disappeared. Well, not exactly disappeared, but actually changed in color. For example, these images, had a Red Color Label assigned to them in Adobe Bridge, but that Color Label appears as white in Lightroom. The reason is that Lightroom and Bridge, have different definitions of what those Color Labels should be.
Fortunately, it's relatively easy to change those definitions so that you can get your Color Labels back, if you assigned them in Bridge previously. The trick is to go to the Metadata menu, and then choose Color Label Set. You'll notice that there are Presets for Bridge Default and Lightroom Default. I'm going to click Edit to bring up the dialog where we can change the definition of these Color Labels. In Lightroom, by default, the Red Color Label has the word Red assigned to it, yellow has Yellow, etc., pretty straightforward.
The problem is, Bridge used a different structure, if we switch to the Bridge preset you'll see that red was select, yellow was second, green is approved, etc. Those words are what actually get stored in metadata for your images. So in Bridge, the Red Color Label just meant the word Select was embedded in Metadata. Lightroom didn't understand what Select meant in the context of the Color Label, so it showed a White Color Label, just indicating that there had been some label assigned, it wasn't sure which color. As you can see though, by switching to Bridge Default, those Red Color Labels are red once again.
So if you've been using Bridge to manage your images, I strongly recommend, before you start assigning color labels in Lightroom, that you change the settings in Lightroom to reflect the Bridge defaults for Color Labels. I'll go ahead and click Change, but notice that on the Metadata menu you could have also simply chosen Metadata > Color Label Set and then Bridge Default. With a Lightroom default you will see the Color Labels disappear, but with Bridge default I get my Color Labels back. This obviously can be a little bit alarming if you just imported images you previously worked on in Bridge.
But as you've seen, it's fairly easy to solve this issue.
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