Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency

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Use optimal settings in Lightroom

Note: Catalog files cannot be stored on network drives but you can store your photos on a network drive. However, network drives hard disk accessed over a network have slower data transfer rates. Therefore, it can take more time when switching modules or when switching from one file to another in Lightroom. Working with too little free hard-disk space can cause poor performance. See Lightroom system requirements to find out the minimum amount of free hard-disk space you need for your version of Lightroom.

Be sure to keep the graphics driver software up to date. If you run Lightroom in bit mode, it has access to more than 2 GB of RAM, which is the ceiling for bit operating systems. Lightroom operates in bit mode automatically if it is installed on a computer that is 64 bit capable and running a bit OS. You can verify that it's running in bit mode by doing the following:. Drawing to the screen can be slow when Lightroom is using the entire screen of a high-resolution display.

A high-resolution display has a native resolution near x , and is found on inch monitors and Retina MacBooks. To increase performance on such displays, reduce the size of the Lightroom window, or use the or views in the Navigator panel. Lightroom uses previews to display photo thumbnails in the Grid view, the Loupe view, and in the Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules. When you import photos, you can choose from three types of previews of progressively higher quality:.

They are the fastest type of preview to create. They use the Camera Raw engine for processing. So, they sometimes appear different from minimal or embedded previews, especially if you have applied adjustments in the Develop module. You can specify the size of the Standard preview you need, based on the display you use. Standard previews are used in Filmstrip and Grid view thumbnails, as well as in preview and content areas of the Slideshow, Print, and Web modules.

When Lightroom generates previews, it also generates minimal and standard previews, so all three are available to the program as needed. Because so much data is being processed, previews can take a significant amount of time to create. Any time you zoom to or higher in the Library module, Lightroom uses previews. To display and work with photos, Lightroom requires a standard or preview, depending on the task. This process hinders performance. To increase your productivity and reduce this disruption, manage when and how you render your previews.

Render them on import, or set aside time to render them manually. To render previews on import, use the File Handling panel of the import window. Although generating high-quality, previews on import slows the import process, it makes Lightroom more responsive when you start to work in the Library module. An alternative, if you want a speedier import process, is to render minimal or standard previews on import.

Let Lightroom process the images before you start to work on them. Keeping standard previews small also helps reduce the size of the preview file cache, which speeds performance and saves on hard disk space. To make standard previews small, specify the appropriate the size and quality in the Catalog Settings dialog box:. For Standard Preview Size, choose the amount that is closest to the longest edge of your screen resolution, but not shorter than it.

Note: The larger the monitor you use and the higher resolution , the more work Lightroom does to calculate previews and update pixels when you make adjustments. Because previews can quickly eat up disk space, Lightroom gives you the option of discarding them regularly—every day, week, or month. As long as disk space is not an issue, keep previews as long as possible to optimize performance.

Note, however, that the file that contains the previews, the [ Catalog name ] Previews. This file is in the same the catalog file. If this option is set to Never, and you experience low hard disk issues, check the size of this file. Delete it if it's too large. If you move the catalog file or store it separately from the cache, then Lightroom has to regenerate the previews. So keep them together. For the default location of the catalog, the preview, and other Lightroom files, see Preference file and other file locations.

By default, changes you make to files in Lightroom—adding keywords or fixing red eye, for example—are stored with the photo in the Lightroom catalog. However, for other applications, such as Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw, to recognize those edits, they are saved as XMP extensible metadata platform data. This data accompanies the image file. In Lightroom, edits can be saved to XMP automatically or manually. Saving changes automatically, however, can significantly degrade Lightroom performance. Changes are still saved in the catalog, and when you print or export photos from Lightroom, the changes appear in the output.

Even if autowrite XMP is turned off, you can manually save metadata changes to individual files at any time. For more information, see Metadata basics and actions. Lightroom is constantly writing changes to the catalog file. Optimizing the catalog instructs Lightroom to examine the data structure of the catalog and make sure that it is succinct.

These processes take a little time but can help keep the catalog operating smoothly. Every time you view or edit raw images in the Develop module, Lightroom generates up-to-date, high-quality previews. It uses the original image data as its foundation, and then updates the preview for any processing or adjustments that have been applied.

The process is a little faster if the original image data is in the Camera Raw cache. Lightroom checks the cache for the original image data and can skip early stage processing if the image data is cached. If you increase the cache size, it can store more image data, which in turn speeds the generation of previews of those images.

Some Lightroom users find that increasing the Camera Raw cache to 20 GB or more can dramatically speed performance in the Develop module. To increase the Camera Raw cache size, do the following:. To further speed the cache, keep it on a fast hard disk. To specify the location of the Camera Raw cache, do the following:. In the Camera Raw Cache Settings area, click Choose and navigate to the location where you want to store the cache.

If your image contains many hundreds of localized adjustments, consider using a pixel-based editing application such as Photoshop for that level of correction. If you have many corrections, check your History panel. The History panel has no limits, and it isn't deleted unless specified. If you've been creating many local or spot corrections, your history could be long, which can slow Lightroom's performance as a whole.

Note : Performing spot healing first improves the accuracy of the spot healing, and ensures the boundaries of the healed areas match the spot location. This suggestion applies especially to local corrections. Each slider you've changed when applying local corrections or the gradient filter is applied to that entire correction. And, each option uses resources and can affect performance. When applying local corrections and gradients, make sure that you need all the corrections you've selected.

How to use Lightroom: A beginner’s guide to Adobe’s photo editing software

If you do not need a brush stroke or gradient to perform a certain type of correction, set its slider to zero. Also avoid using unnecessary global corrections, especially options that use resources, such as Noise Reduction, Sharpening, and Lens Corrections. Some sliders default to a value that turns them on by default. For the more resource-intensive options, zero does disable the slider. If the Fit and Fill zoom options are slow, try using the , , or options in the Navigator panel. Process Version does take more resources than Process Version , so in some cases it could be slower.

However, it's necessary to balance the performance gain with the editing and image quality available with Process Version Although it's rare, sometimes one or more of the following issues can occur, and if they do, you may need to delete your preview cache file:. The file that contains your thumbnail and preview data is called [Catalogname] Previews. Your thumbnails, small previews, and full size previews are kept in this Previews.

Lightroom's preferences have the option of when to delete the largest previews, the previews. When you delete the previews, the size of the Previews. If you don't delete previews, the previews file can get very large. The default setting for when the large previews are deleted is one week. The size of the preview file is reduced when these large previews are deleted, but the entire file isn't deleted unless you manually delete it. The file doesn't become huge unless you rarely or never delete the previews, but whether it affects your hard disk depends on your available hard disk space.

Note: Do not confuse the Previews. If you delete the Previews. If the option to Automatically Discard Previews is set to Never or After 30 Days, your preview file can get very large.

It can take up many GB of space. If your hard disk suddenly gets full, check the size of this file. You can then delete the file. You may get an error in Lightroom that indicates a problem with the cache; this is another time you'd want to delete your previews. If your images display with artifacts, such as colored lines, colored dots, or areas of unexpected colors, then your preview file may be corrupted, and the only way to fix this is to delete the previews. Note that if you included previews of images in your catalog from images that you've archived, you'll lose these previews as well.

If deleting the Previews. It boasted some pretty fantastic features, and seemed similar, yet somehow different than Photoshop. Photoshop is a pixel based image editor. Pixels are the tiny dots that make up photographs. When you use Photoshop to edit your photos you have ultimate control—right down to the individual pixels. Photoshop excels at retouching. Photoshop works on the principal of layers imagine the way cartoons used to be drawn.

You can create layers of different adjustments and control their opacity the intensity of that layer. For instance, you could create an action that automatically duplicates the current layer and then adds a curves adjustment layer to create contrast. Actions can be quite complex and an entire industry has sprung up around creating and selling them. Did you run into a blinker in a group photo? No problem with Photoshop! You can copy a pair of open eyes from one image, and paste them into the blinking image! This magic is possible because Photoshop is a pixel based image editor. Content Aware Fill is a magical feature of Photoshop that can be used in a couple different ways.

You can also use it to artifically stretch or extend an image. Photoshop is designed to work with individual images. Using Lightroom, photographers are able to work through their images from import, to sorting and organization, to processing, and finally all the way to export and sharing on the web. You can quickly make adjustments to settings like exposure, contrast, and saturation. Lightroom covers nearly every step of the post production process. Lightroom has presets, which are similar to actions in Photoshop.

Presets are less flexible in that you cannot easily control opacity like you can with Photoshop actions. It also takes far less time to apply a Lightroom preset to a batch of images than it does to apply a Photoshop action to a batch. Since actions are based on steps, Photoshop has to carry each step out individually, on each image individually. Lightroom is a more global program focused on making adjustments to the whole image as opposed to the the pixel level control found in Photoshop.

Because of this, Lightroom is more straightforward and easier to learn. Lightroom is a program designed specifically for photographers editing photos. See, Photoshop and Lightroom are two very different programs that both offer immense value to photographers. Lightroom helps you speed through your workflow, especially when working with RAW files. Aperture is a powerful program as well and certainly deserves a more detailed review in the future.

Having tried both programs, I found Lightroom to be more effective from a usability point of view. Photoshop and Lightroom are friends, not enemies. Lightroom can handle the majority of editing, helping to create a streamlined workflow. What do you find indispensable about Photoshop or Lightroom?

Optimize Lightroom performance

What do you dislike about the programs? I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! Bring out the best in your photos with this step by step video guide to using Adobe Lightroom. Become an editing guru in just a few hours, or do it at your own pace. I'm fairly new to all this and learning lots from your posts.

However today I'm thoroughly confused. I haven't had any problems opening, editing, and saving them as a JPG. Maybe new versions of Photoshop convert RAW images? I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading. Are you sure your photo opens on Photoshop, or is it Adobe Raw Editor? Cause when I go to open a raw file in Photoshop Raw Editor opens for me.

I am assuming that it came with Photoshop cause I never installed it separately. Happy shooting. Loved your comparison post on both the softwares. I pretty much keep photoshop around because it's so good at formatting, and printing. I rarely need to retouch beyond what LR3 does. It's a bummer that Lightroom can't do that stuff as well.

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Removing Photoshop from my life would be wonderful! Thanks very much for this! I have Lightroom, but was totally overwhelmed by all the products Adobe has to offer! I am glad to hear that elements might be just what I need!! Keep the info coming!

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I'm learning like crazy over here. Sorry for the confusion! The full version of Photoshop is the same way. So you absolutely can open them, but not with Photoshop itself. The advantage Lightroom has over ACR is that it's designed to work with groups of images, making it easier to edit a lot of photos! Hope that makes sense! So when I open my raw files in Photoshop Elements I am actually opening them in a different program? I am also looking over some tutorials on line from Adobe. Both excellent sources.

Thanks for the help Adobe. Great job. You're totally right Jaleen! Photoshop is perfect for those detailed edits, but can't match the speed of Lightroom for large groups of photos! Having both is great! Good post, i like the way you weighed it up pros and cons for both programs. I personally only use adobe bridge, camera raw and photoshop if i need to. I have tried it out lightroom but not used it much.

As I learnt to work on photoshop first this kind of put me off learning it over again on Lightroom but having read this article I would like to try lightroom once again as I think it might speed up my workflow quite a bit. Lightroom having all features as global retouching of raw and to the printing is all you need really. Photoshop is more advanced peace of software and good for playing around with pictures, doing some artwork etc.

Thanks Sondra! We started with Photoshop as well, so I totally understand the hesitation to learn a new way of editing. But Lightroom really does speed things up so much! Photoshop definitely has it's place too, but for different things! Excellent post guys but I don't think this is a battle. On the contrary, LR and PS complement each other very well. I use both all the time. Thanks for the comment John! You nailed it.

They really are complimentary programs! We do the very same thing as you. Lightroom for the majority of the processing, Photoshop for the retouching and detailed work! Hi,just found your website,through a Google search.

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I actually searched for the difference between Lightroom and Elements. Elements is so much cheaper. What does lightroom do that Elements can't? Also can rash be removed from a baby's cheeks with either of these programs? And sharpening just a certain area of a photo? Those are the things I would like to edit,but so far can't figure out what program would do those things. Hopefully this makes sense. Thanks so much! Super helpful! I've been using been Aperture but have found it super s-l-o-w. Ordered Photoshop Elements and plan to use it with Aperture for now but I think Lightroom may be calling my name….

You can make adjustments to exposure, contrast, colour very quickly and easily, and then make the same adjustments to a bunch of photos with one click. Very fast! Both Lightroom and Elements can get rid of redness from cheeks. If it's a bad rash you'll probably find tools in Elements easier to use for that kind of retouching.

And both can do sharpening in just one area, though Elements will have more control. Hope that helps! We love Lightroom! I found it to be way too slow to use on my White MacBook. Thanks for the insight, Heathcliff! It certainly makes a difference what your needs are. For editing multiple hundreds of photos for a wedding, opening each and everyone one in Adobe RAW would take forever.

We use both but my primary is Photoshop for graphic creations. Impressed with your blog. Keep up the good work guys. Do I need to retouch a photo in photoshop before importing into Lightroom? Or retouch after completing adjustments in Lighroom? Hey Surjith! Thanks for commenting! The new features in Lightroom 5 also make retouching a lot easier cloning and healing like Photoshop.

This obviously defeats the purpose of scanning at higher bit rates for better quality. Would this be the same in Lightroom and or Aperture?? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for a quick reply. Theoretically, it also supports TIFF formats in 16bit and 24 bit, etc. Thanks again for responding to my question. Excellent information.. The photos come out pretty good. So far, Its been a good learning tool,for all the special effects you can do. Oh my goodness, this is just what I needed to read! However, I was starting to feel guilty about not using my Photoshop program all the time too.

Thank you for breaking this down! I have thousands of elements, all categorised for PSE but cannot use the search feature in PS or Lightroom for example — paper, blue, distressed, floral pattern would return the tagged items. Might have to cancel my subscription. I never really learned to use Lightroom but rather learned to bring all my raw photos into Bridge where I can do a lot of basic processing before I even import them into Photoshop.

Funny huh. Normally when people ask me I say. An article like this takes on totally different meaning depending ont he DATE. If this is an old article then the touching up blemishes strength of PS is meaningless since LR 5 does it just as well. As time goes by, things in PS and LR will change but this article will continue to show up in a Google search. The point, dear author, is DATE your articles! I hope that opinion will change soon. Most of my experience has been with Ps, and I consider my skill level very high — as I am able to accomplish so many types of edits and effects… and then translate them into working finished files that I can apply for creating printed graphics, printed textiles, etc.

I am learning LightRoom, and it does offer some special tools like the adjustment brush and the gradient tool which I think are great — but LightRoom would never ever replace Photoshop, at least in my opinion. By the way I am running Lr 4. I am always open to new programs and products, of course… and enjoy learning from the viewpoints and experiences of others. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this web space. I feel so overwhelmed choosing a program.

I am a brand new to photography and purchased my first DSLR and have been learning and snapping away. My goal is to honestly just be able to shoot pics of my kids and family have a very large family with new babies being born all the time. I want to be able to edit my photos like the photographer that I used to pay 1k for pics once a year too where I can remove a blemish or a toy in the background etc. Today i know the basic difference between these two.

Now i can change editing preferences according to their merit and demerits. I took a large pano roughly 60 images , and neither Lightroom or Camera RAW can handle stitching the images. However, what I end up with is a merged image made up of several image layers. Is it still possible to utilize Boundary Warp when stitching photos this way? Comparison PS and LR is like comparing apples and bananas, both together, and a few different fruits, make a nice fruit salad!

Both products complement each other. Thank you. I am an amature and did not know what program would be best. I have Elements 9 and want to upgrade to either Photoshop or Lightroom. I do a lot of touching up. Your solution of getting both Elements and Lightroom see perfect for my situation. I would like to know if Lightroom or Elements 14 perform layering for focus and exposure? I understand that panoramic photos are not possible with this set up.

Is there a program that would accomplish that?

Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency
Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency
Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency
Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency
Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency Inside Lightroom 2: The serious photographers guide to Lightroom efficiency

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