Lightroom Q&A Day

Hey folks! Here’s another Q&A day for ya. Keep the questions coming, I’ve been getting a lot of good ones lately.

Q. Can you go into more depth on what tablet you are using and how Lightroom deals with tablets?
A. Sure. I use the Wacom Intuos 4 medium sized tablet. I have a small size that I travel with but the medium sized one is what sits on my desk. I’ve used tablets ever since I can remember and, in my opinion, there is no other tablet that even holds a candle to the Wacom tablets. I will be honest and say I kinda strayed from using a tablet for a while but the Intuos 4 and all the cool stuff you can do with it got me back into it. When it comes to Lightroom, the tablets will only come into play when using various brush-related tools (Adjustment Brush, Spot Removal, Red Eye). The main one is the Adjustment Brush though. It uses pressure sensitivity to increase or decrease the brush harshness when you paint so you can get a little more fine-tuned control around the edges. Plus you can use your other settings on the tablet to quickly increase or decrease the size of the brush.


Q. Can I filter by focal length? So if I want to know all photos shot at 24mm how would I do that?

A. There is a Focal Length field in the EXIF data but, unfortunately, you can’t search/filter by it in Lightroom (nope, I don’t know why). You could however go to View > Filter Bar. Click the “Text” option and choose Searchable EXIF and type the exact focal length that you want to find.

Q. When using presets, is there a way to layer presets with out effecting the previous preset layer?
A. Well, kinda of. First off, Lightroom doesn’t have layers so you can’t add preset “layers”. Let’s say you add PRESET #1. It was built to change white balance, vibrance, and vignetting. Then lets say you add PRESET #2. It was built to change the white balance and exposure settings. In the end, you’ll have the white balance and exposure setting from PRESET #2 (because that was what was added last), and the vibrance and vignetting setting from PRESET #1.

Q. If I backup to a second external hard drive during import, is that second drive linked to LR automatically?
A. Nope. The backup is literally just a backup of your photos. Lightroom has no idea it even exists. If your primary drive ever fails, then you can right click on a folder in Lightroom and choose “Find Missing Folder”. Then point to the secondary external drive to link Lightroom (and all of its changes to your photos) to those backup photos on the drive.

Q. In my haste to get the camera profiles into LR I didn’t realize I already had them as part of LR 2.3. So I now have both beta and non beta versions. Is there any way to get rid of the beta profiles?
A. There sure is. I covered it a while back here on the blog. Here’s the link on how to remove them.

Q. My camera doesn’t shoot in Raw mode. How can I work with JPEGs in Lightroom? (this also applies to you if you can shoot in raw mode but just prefer JPG for sports or other reasons).
A. No sweat. That’s what is cool about Lightroom – it doesn’t care. Raw, DNG, JPG, TIFF, PSD… they all work the same in Lightroom. For the most part, the only tiny thing you’ll really miss if you’re not shooting Raw or DNG are the camera profiles (I covered them in a previous video if you want to see what it’s all about).

That’s it for this round of Q&A’s. Thanks!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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34 Comments

  1. Question for Q&A or a personal response from you would be nice too. :-)

    Q: I normally copy to DNG and import DNGs, but yesterday I accidentally imported the Nikon NEF (RAW) files instead of the DNGs. I assumed it wouldn’t matter, but I noticed that when I select the image in lightroom to look at it (either in the Library or Develop mod) the picture appears to go from that flat, unprocessed look, to a little pop and boost in the colors and contrast. When I click on a DNG file to view it, it doesn’t do this. Why do the NEF (RAW) files appear to “pop” when lightroom loads the image while the DNG files do not? I feel like my photo is being edited without my permission! Also, the sliders in the develop module don’t change with this “pop”. They remain at their untouched defaults.

    Thanks Matt.

    Post a Reply
  2. when i first used the adjustment brush, it showed me where I was painting and what areas I covered while painting… now for whatever reason.. it doesnt show me that anymore. I’m painting blind and cant tell where I’ve been. Also, the dot or circle that allows me to go back and edit that adjustment is gone.

    What have i done? Did i turn these features off by accident? How do i turn it back on?

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  3. Hi Matt,

    do you use plugins for Lr and PS like Nik DFine 2.0, NIK Sharpener etc. If yes, can you show us how you use it ( perhaps another wonderful workflow-video like you did before ) ?

    Many thanks and best wishes

    Robert

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  4. @Brian, thanks, you’re a life saver, O and H are the ones I’ve been missing all this time. Now i know everything. haha.. j/k.

    @Robert, I am also interested in Nik DFine and Nik Sharpener. I’ve seen the demo videos and it looks interesting.

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  5. @Josh,

    I’m pretty sure the reason this happens is because of the JPG preview that your camera embeds into the Nikon (or whatever) RAW file. I shoot directly in DNG, so I can’t say this 100% but have heard before that many cameras will apply whatever JPG preset (Bright, Natural, etc.) and acts like the Camera Calibration Presets when LR initially displays the preview.

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  6. Regarding the backup – I understand that you can “point” LR to your secondary backup drive if your primary drive fails. Does this work if during import you converted to DNG and your backup files are Canon .CR2 Raw files? Will LR know these are the same photos? Or should your backup also be DNG? Thanks in advance for any help.

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  7. Good tip, Matt, on finding a specific focal length. I can add that you should choose ‘contains words’ and type ‘focal length’ – space- ‘mm’ (70 mm) otherwise it will return any focal length with 70 in it, 270 mm, 370 mm, etc.

    Shots Happen!

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  8. I have a totally different question I haven’t been able to find an answer to anywhere. I have all my photos in a single lightroom catalog. Physically the photos are in folders by date and the date folders are in a folder for each year. However there are now something like 20,000 images and things are getting sluggish. So I decided to hive the early years off into a separate catalog. In Library mode I selected the folders for the years 2001 through 2005 and used export as catalog to create a new catalog called something like “Photos 2001-2005.” However, when I opened that catalog it only contained images from the last folder in the selection, 2005. So I clicked on the 2004 folder back in the original catalog and used export as catalog pointing it at the new catalog I’d just created. However this just created a third catalog with only 2004 images in it. How can I combine the 2004 and 2005 catalogs into a single catalog and add the remaining years to it? And then, is it safe to assume I can simply delete all those images from the original giant catalog? And will the database automatically clean and compress itself, or will I have just created a worse mess? Really appreciate any help I can get on this…

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  9. Im not sure why you say you cant see all pics taken with a specific lens?
    When I select all photos in the library mode- I see date-camera-lens. If I select a lens- I get all pics taken with it.

    Maybe I find it more useful cause I have all primes?

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  10. Hey Matt,
    I have a question. I want to Sort my photos in Lightroom and for some reason the User Order selection is Greyed out? Any ideas why or ways around it?

    Post a Reply
  11. @Casey Figlewicz : you cannot use an userr Order selection if you are in a normal folder of the catalog. But you can use it in any collection or quick collection.

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  12. Richard – I didn’t say you couldn’t filter by specific “lens”. Lens is indeed one of the Metadata items you can filter by. The question was about filtering by a specific focal length (which you can’t do).

    Thanks,
    Matt K

    Post a Reply
  13. For the last question about shooting in JPG vs RAW, Lightroom also handles changing white balance slightly differently when you shoot in JPG. If you go to the pulldown menu to look for white balance presets like cloudy or tungsten, and your file is a JPG, the menu will be blank. I’m supposing that this is because JPG’s don’t really tell Lightroom what the light truly looked like, only what the combination of all your settings at capture time ended up looking like, so Lightroom has no idea how far and in which direction to shift the colors to achieve balance under different preset lighting conditions.

    This may or may not be problematic for you depending on your work flow and there are two things that you can do to minimize the effect it will have on you. One is to check and make sure you are using the right white balance before you shoot. Don’t come indoors from outside and forget to switch your white balance preset to tungsten, and ensure you check on your LCD to make sure you aren’t wildly off. Fixing the white balance afterword can be little better than guesswork.

    Better yet would be to use a white balance card like a WhiBal ( http://www.rawworkflow.com/whibal/ ) and shoot it frequently, especially in mixed light situations. With this you can simply use the eyedropper tool in Lightroom and get great results using both RAW and JPG.

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  14. Is there a way to filter by size or directory? When I ikmported my old iPhoto files, I got the thumbnails as well and I’d like to delete them to make space.

    Thanks for the great site and tons of info!

    Post a Reply
  15. If you want to filter by Focal Length, Bridge does it.

    We can use Bridge to insert keywords about the focal length used, then switch to Lightroom and find those keywords there. Not the easiest way but it works…

    Thanks Matt for this Q&A :)

    Post a Reply
  16. Hi everybody (this is my first post :p )
    I’m building my wonderful workflow in Lightroom2 and I’d really want to know how do you (and Matt, obviously) manage those filters that must be applied at the beginning of the workflow (like DFine with autoprofile) without creating a new .psd or .tif file for every .dng? If I work on them at the end of Lightroom treatment, contrast adjustments will easily fool the autoprofiling system resulting in an uneven noise reduction…
    The same applies to some pre-crop filters for optical aberrations (PTLens, DxO).

    Thanks to Matt and you all for this infinite vault of knowledge :)

    Post a Reply
  17. Really enjoy all the tips, videos and presets that you share with us. I do have a question concerning saving metadata to the DNG files. I worry that something might happen to the catalog (even though I back up) and I would hate to lose all the adjustments I made to files. Do you save after each image is completed, or do you save once the folder or collection is edited. I would appreciate seeing a video on your workflow that includes this important aspect as I haven’t seen much in the various blogs I have searched to explain thoroughly “saving metadata” There is also something about updated previews as well. Lastly, if you have saved metadata and the history says “reset” I guess going back one step further to “import” would get you back to the original. Thanks for clarifying this and thanks for all you do in educating us on Lightroom.

    Post a Reply
  18. Hello Matt,

    I have also a question :-)

    When I synchronize a folder to update its content, LR does this annoying thing of jumping to the “Previous Import” folder. I have to go back and find the folder again that I’ve just synchronized.
    I know I can go back to the folder by going through my recent sources at the bottom but I don’t want to have to deal with it at all. I just want LR to stay in the folder that I sync. Is there a setting to turn this off? If yes, I must be blind because I looked through all the preferences several times. ;-)
    I have also watched your video about “Synchronizing Your Folders” but haven’t found an answer there either.

    Thank you for this Q&A!

    Post a Reply
  19. Hi,

    Is it possible to re-arrange picture files within a LiteRoom Window?

    How to organize a list of picture files merged from different Windows Folders into a user order?

    This should be an obvious requirement of any SQL Database program.

    How else can picture files from various locations be organized into a correctly formatted order?

    I would hope a simple drag and move option would be available.

    Once the correct order was arranged, a file renaming process would establish that correct order to be used in any application or browser.

    For instance: to produce a list of files to be shown in the Sony Playstation to be displayed on a HDTV in a preferred order.

    Fortunately, Sony did not use a Dos bassed Windows OS when they designed the Playstation 3.

    Nevertheless, everyone else seems to have done so.

    Thanks,

    Howie

    Post a Reply
  20. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all the QA answers. There’s alway something that catches my interest that I haven’t thought of or experienced. I have purchased the Lightroom versions of Niksoftware, and like Robert and Chi would like to see how you use them in your workflow. I know you did a video on using Vesesa, but how and when do you incorporate in your workflow?

    Thanks again for everything!

    Dennis

    Post a Reply
  21. File management in LR.

    I moved a bunch of photos on my computer before realizing that I would lose them in LR. How do I find them/add them again? How should I manage this going forward?

    Post a Reply
  22. How does one change the camera model in the LR 2 Camera Profile panel? the only camera specific model listed in my LR 2 and ACR 4.6, is the Nikon D2X, and I shoot with a D200.

    Post a Reply
  23. Ditto for any workflow on the Nik software in Lightroom. I am using Nik software and it’s great, but there a few fiddly things that I’m sure could be streamlined but can’t find anything specific to Lightroom on the web.

    Post a Reply
  24. @sarah – You will see a little ? in the preview image of the picture that is missing and also on the folder that Lightroom can’t find. Click either, browse to the correct location and select. I prefer locating the entire folder in the folder viewer, since you don’t have to locate the image you started with, but it works either way if you moved a whole folder.

    Going forward, you can use this method to re-locate, or you can use Lightroom’s interface to move things. However, be advised that Lightroom doesn’t “know” about a hard drive or volume until it either creates a folder there or imports a picture from that location.

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  25. @john – I was curious about the same thing. Would Lightroom be able to re-synch with my NEF’s even though I had edited a converted DNG?

    I tested it and was happy to find out that, yes, Lightroom is able to do this. It will ask you, “this file has a different name, is it really the same?” and if you say yes, it will accept the new filename. I was happy that all the edits are applied to the “new” image. I didn’t try it with the “wrong” file, but I’m guessing it would apply all those edits to it as well. Good question!

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  26. This is a very generic question but I am hoping that someone can answer me.
    I am an underwater photographer who has thousands of images. I just started into underwater photography about 2.5 years ago. I have so many images and copies on two computers and a third separate hard drive. In the past I had worked on photos and renamed the same image 3-4 times using different methods. They have ended up in separate folders. Is there any way to pull up all these images in one place (even though they are in separate folders) so I can delete some of them and thin out the ones I need to keep? I might have 6 versions of the same spotted eagle ray in four different folders!.

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  27. @J. Pobiak – I’ve wanted a good solution for that too. Cerious software makes a package for windows called thumbsplus that can do it, but I’ve never seen anything for mac.

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  28. Matt what find of mac are you using with your tablet? I have one of the Uni-body mbp and every tablet I have installed has replaced the touch pad driver so it just stops working. Does any one have a tablet that works with their Uni-body out there?

    Post a Reply
  29. Hi Matt. Is there any way to make Lightroom show the number of keywords in a folder or a catalog or a selection (like Bridge)? So if I’m shooting a team over a season I can quickly see how many shots I have of the goalie or the pitcher or if I have shots of each player. Knowing that I have a ton of photos of a player or a place or whatever in my entire catalog isn’t particularly helpful. Thanks so much!

    Post a Reply
  30. Hey Matt, et al.
    I am also using a Wacom, though mine is generation 3. I love using it and simply can’t imagine working without it. You mentioned that the pressure sensitivity worked in LR. How can you tell that, or better still, how do you set that up or toggle it off?
    Thanks for your help
    (also, I am using PC)
    Cheers

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  31. Hi Matt,

    Love the info. I see others are asking the same question about workflow and other tools.

    My question:

    Say you have the following tools:

    Lightroom
    Photoshop
    NIK Software : Define and Sharpener
    onOne Software : Phototools 2, PhotoFrame 4 and Focuspoint

    I have taken you training course on Kelby Training for Lightroom 2 and learned some killer stuff, but as I increase my skills I see there are other tools to help with post.

    Watched your training course on onOne Plugins.

    Given the list above, how does your workflow change from LR to LR + tools?

    Start with Lightroom, do your WB and Exposure adjustments. This is where I need the advice. How much more will you do in Lightroom given the other tools. Do you still do color correction and or other adjustments in LR or do you move into other plugins for the next steps in adjustments like using Phototools 2 to do color corrections?

    In what order would you suggest using each tool? Trying to make sense how it all comes together in a start to finish process.

    Thanks for any advice.
    David

    Post a Reply
  32. Hey Matt,

    Love the site, the presets are really cool!

    I’m shooting with a D300 and tried shooting RAW+JPG one day, but when I imported my images into Lightroom it only showed one thumbnail per image and when I put my curser over it it said DSC_1234 Raw + Jpg. I tried to unstack them so I could have them side by side, but nothing has worked, and i can’t seem to find anyone who has an answer to the issue.

    I did not convert the files to DNG on import.

    thanks,
    NT

    Post a Reply

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