Lightroom Q&A

Its time for another round of Lightroom Q&A’s. Keep the questions coming.

Q. When I export images sometimes I export to 640 x 480 for web viewing. The problem is that the images that were shot using a vertical orientation are exported as 360 x 480 instead of 480 x 640. Is there a way to export a ‘mixed’ group of photos to a custom size yet retain the original aspect ratio?

A. That’s because by setting 640 x 480, you’ve essentially set a max size for the height of the image at 480 right? So it couldn’t do 480×640 because that would be going against what you’ve set as a max height. So if you want 640 to be the max width and 640 to be the max height, then set both width and height to 640. Lightroom won’t give you square images (640×640) but rather use 640 as a max setting for each side.

Q. Do I have to leave the Develop preset file on my desktop after I import it? Or is it saved in another location?

A. I gotta admit, I’m surprised this questions hasn’t been asked before. I always tell people to download the presets to their desktop and then importing them from there. So do they live on the desktop then? It does, after all, make a little sense that they would but they don’t. When you import them into Lightroom they actually get copied to Lightroom’s preset folder. So its safe to delete them from your desktop.

Q. Are you going to do a bootcamp for the Lightroom ACE Exams at KelbyTraining.com?

A. Probably not. There haven’t been many of requests for it. But hey, things can change.

Q. I have now started experimenting with DNGs in Lightroom. One problem though the files end up twice the size of my raw file. Is there a setting in Lightroom I am missing?

A. Yup. I wrote a DNG post a few weeks back and talked about the whole DNG thing. Basically, there’s a setting in Lightroom’s Preferences dialog (Lightroom > Preferences on Mac / Edit > Prefs on PC). If you go under the Import tab, there’s a setting to Embed Original Raw file. If you choose that then your files will double in size rather than get smaller. Just uncheck that option as its redundant and you should be good to go.

Q. This one came from a post about the Lightroom 2 Exam Aid, the other week. “If I’ve gone through the Lightroom classes on Kelby Training and have read Kelby’s Lightroom 2 book… would the Exam Aid still be a benefit or would it be fairly redundant”?

A. Here’s the thing about Adobe ACE Exams (I’ve taken many so I can fairly say this). They tend to test you on what they WANT you to know about a product, rather than what you know about a product. Now I’m not saying that’s bad. They have to be complete if you’re going to get to call yourself an ACE after it. You need to know your stuff, but as authors (of books and DVDs) we don’t have to be complete. We feel our job is to try to distill Lightroom down into what we think you need to know. Otherwise, we’d create a reference book which we don’t. So going through some one’s book or DVD means you’ve learned their workflow and what they use – but not everything. That’s where you’ve got to download the free exam bulletin from Adobe and at least look through it. If at that point you feel you need more help, then I’d turn to the exam aid.

That’s it for this time. Have a great day.

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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40 Comments

  1. When exporting for the web, I just check “resize to fit: long edge” and enter 640 pixels in the box. That way the orientation doesn’t really matter.

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  2. Is there a way to manually inter GPS data from a hand held GPS unit in to Lightroom?

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  3. Would you or Scott know if Adobe is even idly entertaining the idea of making a version of Lightroom for the iPad?

    I’m guessing the odds are pretty much nil, but my need for portable Lightroom is the ONLY thing keeping me from getting trading in my netbook for an iPad so it can’t hurt to ask.

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  4. Matt is there any place to get all your presets in one download

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  5. Matt,

    Thanks for answering my question! Much appreciated. I think a “Lightroom 2 ACE Exam Bootcamp” video at Kelby Online Training would be a great idea. Whether people are wanting the certification or not, it would still be a great resource. Is there anyway to check interest more fully? Maybe through this site or even with subscribers to Kelby? Just a thought.

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  6. Matt –

    I would agree with Mike. Thanks.

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  7. As Donna said – do it the easy way.

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  8. Hi Matt,

    thanks for the Q&A. I wasn’t sure where to submit questions, so I am adding one here. I struggle with a good workflow between Lightroom and Photoshop. I know some people export to jpegs from Lightroom and then work in Photoshop, but I tend to work on everything in Lightroom and then one by one take them into Photoshop and then back into Lightroom when I am done. I then export the final product from Lightroom to jpegs. Have any suggestions for a best practice workflow between the two software programs and the final image?

    Mara

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  9. Ditto Mara – where the heck is the link for questions?
    Question – sometimes LR 2 won’t let me move photos along the bottom strip, other times it does. Why?

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  10. My personal preference for preparing for the Lightroom ACE was to read the entire user guide directly from Adobe. It isn’t the most enjoyable activity in the world, but it definitely gets the job done.

    The nice part is that LR’s user guide is significantly shorter (under 200 pages if I recall) than some of the other Adobe applications. The shorter length makes it realistic to read without passing out.

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  11. OFF TOPIC but has anybody had problems opening LR2.6. Mine says beta has expired and will close application. Yet LR3 beta will open. This is freaking me out. I have a project due before I leave and don’t need this. I will check with Adobe when I have time but in the meantime its CS4 and Bridge I guess unless there is a quick answer.

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  12. Hi Matt –

    I have a tone curve question. Can the tone curve do (most of) what curves does inside Photoshop? Often I get the exposure, blacks, contrast, etc just where I want them in LR, and it looks great, but then if I then open the photo in PS and add a simple s-curve curve adjustment layer, the photo is much improved, with more “pop”. Have you ever noticed this? Any idea what is going on? Obviously I would like to avoid a round-trip to Photoshop if it is not needed.

    Thanks,
    Ken

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  13. Adobe tech support tells me Lightroom 2.6 is losing my files because they are stored on an external drive, which I unplug from time to time (both power and USB cable). Is that right? Lightroom is incapable of finding files on the same external drive and in the same folder and same file numbers from which they were originally loaded into Lightroom? If that is true, it is a ridiculously weak link in Lightroom. Is Adobe going to fix this? With the thousands of raw images I process my computer cannot handle them. I have to be able to work from external drives, and Lightroom must be able to locate the images whose file numbers correspond to the numbers on the files in Lightroom. Comment?

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  14. I just taught a Lightroom class in which several of my students had the trial version installed on a netbook and it was HORRIBLE! In my experience, working with Lightroom on anything smaller than a 15 inch laptop is simply painful…

    Much as I’d love to see some version of it for the iPad, I think it would have to be rather redesigned to be optimized for the smaller workspace.

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  15. Matt,
    I often use your Kelby training videos when I have LR questions. Great resource and they have helped me understand LR a lot. I have recently been in a discussion with my professor on saving changes made in LR to the actual DNG or other files. I think in one of the videos you said using the preset Catalog Settings, Metadata, checking automatically write changes to XMP will save your changes to the DNG files. Hope I didn’t get my mixed up on where I saw this. Anyway my professor states that the only way to save your changes to the file, not just the catalog, is to do a CMD-S. He demonstrates this by looking at the file in Bridge to show if the changes are there or not. So do I have to remember to CMD-S all the time or will the preset save it to the image file and the catalog?

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  16. To everyone – This is the place for questions. Just leave a comment. I read all of ‘em.

    Mike – Lightroom (at least as we know it) on the iPad? I have no idea, but I doubt it.

    Mike(2) – I’ll keep an eye on interest for the Lightroom ACE prep course.

    Mara – check out one of the Before/After videos here on the site. They’ll show you what I do as far as workflow goes.

    Ken – the curve in Photoshop is just more heavy handed which is why you see more of a difference. Try applying a stronger S curve in LR along with the blacks slider.

    James – Sorry but it doesn’t make sense. I store all of my photos on external drives and never have a problem connecting them and LR picking it up.

    Jon H – Moral of the story – don’t use LR on a netbook. In fact, don’t use anything on a netbook aside of a browser and email ;-) This is why I doubt we’ll see LR as we know it on an iPad.

    Harold – Cmd-S will work but turning on the “Automatically Save Changes to XMP” setting in the preferences, will do it automatically for you so you don’t have to hit Cmd-S all the time.

    Thanks :)

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    • I shoot RAW + JPG, but would like to import only the RAW files (converting to DNG) into Lightroom 2.6, because I don’t want to deal with two versions of every image. I can’t figure out how to do this. When I go into Import, Choose, select Details in the View Menu and sort the images by Type, then choose only the NEF files to import, Lightroom still puts both the RAW and the JPG images up on the Preview panel. Is there a work-around?

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      • Honestly an IPAD Lightroom wouldnt have to be anywhere near a full fledged app. I’d just want something that will view the raw files (Not make seperate Jpeg’s) and make some BASIC Raw edits like exposure, maybe saturation, etc. Basic stuff, including picks & deletions (I cant seem to delete pics from the pictures app), and then it would be nice that when you plug in your Ipad you can import your pics straight from lightroom “Lite” to full lightroom with those basic edits & pics. This would be nice aswell so that if I cant download the pics to the laptop right away because I’m on the go I can make at least exposure fixes to the pics before showing, and then the detailed stuff on the laptop/desktop

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    • After exporting LR3 worked on files, Exported files changes org dimension .Limit File
      is left unchecked and Quility slider is set at 100%. (3872×2592 changes to 571×800 Vert
      606×800 Hoz) Want org dimension of all files. Driving me nuts -Help!!!
      THANKS
      Jimmy NAPP Member

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  17. Well everybody thanks for the help on my LR2.6 problem :<). I fixed it myself by reinstalling the 2.6 using setup.exe. Evidential I had a test version with a expiry date of yesterday and that trumped my real legal version. Thought I had done everything right back then but somewhere I must have done a "bone headed" move …again. All is well.Contact me if anybody else has this problem. OUT

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  18. If I am going to have my images printed at, say, MPIX, which requires them to be in SRGB color space, does it make any sense for me to continue to shoot in Adobe RGB?

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  19. I have the snow leopard loaded and am using lightroom3b
    when I load the pictures from the flash card I get a thumbnail outline of the picture , numbered but the picture is not visible instead a grayed outline appears with the following ” Preview unavailable for this image”

    I am trying to load a raw file from the D3s

    I can do this procedure using Bridge

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  20. I’m learning a lot from your Killer Tips videos in the iTunes store. Here’s a Library question. I fully understand that when I import from a file, the photo itself is not being “imported” again. I’m not getting double copies or taking up twice as much memory. (Thank goodness.)

    Lightroom is making a catalog of sorts. (I use that term reluctantly since I know ‘catalog’ has a specific meaning inside Lightroom.)

    If I’m storing all my photos on an external hard drive, should I be setting Lightroom to store its full catalog of all my imports on the external drive too? The default seems to be to store on the main Mac HD.

    How much space do these “imports” take up? (I’ve been importing in DNG after originally storing the files in Raw on the external drive.)

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  21. More a comment than a question Matt.

    In your recent video on calibration you state that if you use an Epson printer with Epson Paper and Epson ink there is no need for a device that will calibrate the printer/paper combination you can just download the ICC profiles from the Epson Web Site.

    However, as far as I can see, they only have the ICC Profiles for the Stylus PRO range of printers and even those are not available on the UK Epson site, just the US one.

    I have a SpyderPRO and was lucky in that the ColorVision team had just created a profile for the Epson 1400/Premium Glossy paper and kindly let me have a copy.

    …..Tony

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  22. Hey Mark,
    Disregard my question. You answered it in your “Where to story your photos in LR” video podcast.

    Thank!

    Vince

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  23. Maybe this is addressed somewhere but I am finding this site VERY slow and hard to navigate.

    Two very obvious questions that arise with every Adobe beta release across the product line, like the present LightRoom 3 beta, that never seem to be addressed are:

    1) If I install the beta, what will happen as far as conflicts with the previous version that I already have installed, and what will happen at the end of the beta if I don’t upgrade? Will they be a clear easy way to get rid of the beta and will the prior version then still be there and working as it did before?

    2) In the latest podcast there is discussion of updating the Process Version of files when you are using the beta. Again, what happens at the end of the beta if I do that and then don’t upgrade to V3? Will you have files that no longer work in V2? Or maybe they will have settings that are good in V3 but do notwork well in V2?

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  24. Hi,

    First of all, congratulations for your excelent work.

    I have a question about my backups. I use 2 external hard drives. The only thing that remains on my computer is the lightroom catalog that is backed up into one of the external drives. My question is: during my workflow, I edit a RAW file using Photoshop and then it saves the file and adds it to the catalog. But the file is not copied to the backup drive (the second one). Is there a way to automate this?

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  25. Hi Matt,
    Just some quick questions:
    1. If I’m changing the global exposure +1EV, and then locally -1EV why the image is darker then before (in the masked parts)?
    2. Is “b” more destructive then “a” to an image or does it make no difference:
    a.) adding a +1EV to masked area(half of an image)
    b.)Adding +1EV globally and -1EV locally on a negative mask
    2. Is there a way to change the white balance locally?
    3. Whats the difference in adding exposure and blacks vs an “S” shape tone curve? As far as I understand the curve tool gives just more control over different areas(highlights, mids, shadows), and expose+ blacks are more linear?

    I’m sorry If the questions are a bit chaotic, English in not my native language

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  26. Andre
    You can make an action which saves the file on both drives and and use a shortcut to play it.

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  27. Matt, I enjoy your presets and of course the 411 on all of the killer lightroom tips. I am running the beta 3 of LR and can’t wait for the final release.
    I would like to ask or hope to see in the next version, a way to select more than one filter preset for a specified image. Sort of a “contact sheet” or gallery view to get a better idea of what each particular preset would do to an image.

    Also, where is the submisson area to submit a question in here lol :)

    Thanks again.

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  28. fairly new to lightroom. downloaded some of your presets (thanks!). they don’t show up unless i check the “store presets with catalog” box in preferences. but, when i do that, and try to export a photo, the file naming template options are all gone. am i doing something wrong? thanks.

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  29. Hi There!

    I wish I knew the exact terms for my question, I dont so I will do my best to ask.

    Ok… I take raw photos with my D300. I import into Lightroom and when I switch from Library into Develop and click on a photo, Lightroom applies automatic settings to all the picture previews. I understand that RAW needs some application of initial settings to be previewed/worked on but how to I create an automatic setting that Lightroom will apply so I dont continue to start my editing with Lighrooms settings which cause so much work for me as they always are overexposed, etc. Hope that makes sense, I want to get rid of the auto application of settings such as brightness/exposure, blacks, etc. and replace with my own preferences so I can cut down on editing time. Thanks so much!!!!

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  30. I have a question that I’m hoping you can help answer. Either I’m overlooking something really simple or there has to be someone else out there with this problem too.

    Ok, so it’s about using Smart Collections based on keywords. I tend to keyword all my photos with the names of the people in the photos. I then like to create smart collections so I can easily pull up all photos with a particular person. I’m running into some problems though. I’ll give you a specific example for three people: Jordan Michael Scoggins (me), Rhonda Jordan Scoggins (my mom), Michael David Scoggins (my dad). If I create a smart collection to look for all photos containing Jordan Michael Scoggins it also gives me photos with either of my parents. I can’t very well eliminate last name since my first name is also in common with my mother and my middle name is in common with my father. I’ve tried putting “Jordan Michael Scoggins” in quotes to get the Smart Collection to look exactly for that keyword–but it doesn’t work.

    What DOES work is filtering outside of Smart Collections. I can select the keyword for a name there and it does indeed show me exactly just those photos. I know I can save filter presets but it’s annoying to have certain thing organized with smart collection while others are organized with filters.

    So there are kind of two questions here: (a) Is there a way to make Smart Collections look for an exact keyword that happens to be multiple words and (b) Is there any way to bridge the functionality between filter presets and smart collections? The difference is subtle, but it is important. For example, while you could bring up a filter preset then go into another module, you can’t switch to a different filter preset without going back out of the module). With Smart Collections you don’t have that problem.

    I hope I’ve described this clearly. Let me know if I need to clarify.

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  31. Matt,

    I have a question regarding Lr2, and saving for a desktop wallpaper.

    My Laptop screen resolution is 1280 x 800.

    If I export a photo as a jpeg at the resolution of 1280 x 800 x 96 in the export comes out as a 1280 x 800, but will not fill the right and left sides of the screen, it needs 53 more pixels to fill out the screen.

    If I export the same photo at the resolution 1280 x 1280 x 96 it comes out at the required resolution of 1280 x 853 x 96. Can you explain this difference in pixels for me.

    Thanks in advance,
    George

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  32. Hi Matt,
    I really enjoy your LRM Killertips and read them all.
    However I would prefer to see more LR techique rather than the presets.
    Just a personal comment. Matt, when does LRM 3 beta expire and when
    will the new version be released.
    Many thanks.

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  33. Just completed your three-part Lightroom 3 course at Kelby Training. Based on that set of programs, my questions to you are two:

    1. When do you need PhotoShop? Seems Lightroom can do it all now.

    2. Same with plug-ins. Seems like plug-ins like Define and Sharpening are no longer needed. Even Viveza, Silver Efax Pro, and Color Efax Pro become useful only for special enhancements.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work helping folks like me learn these great programs.

    Charlie

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  34. Can I publish a website page made in Lightroom 2 to my existing website? I’m hoping to change my whole existing site to one made in Lightroom but I would like to make it a page at a time for now.
    Also, does Lightroom’s website creator automatically size the pixels of my images for the web or I do that? Are they automatically reduced to 70 dpi?

    Thanks.

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  35. I have a question I was hoping you could help me with. I am currently shooting with 5D Mark II’s tethered using the Canon EOS and Lightroom 3.
    When I upgraded to LR3, when shooting tethered with EOS software every image open the LR import dialog vs. importing directly into the Develop module as it did in LR2. I am using 3 separate sets and the other 2 work fine. I am not sure where or how to change. I have look all over the web and seen nothing. Any ideas?
    Thanks

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