Lightroom Tips

5 Common (or Potential) Lightroom Slip Ups

It seems every article these days has to have a number attached to it. You know what I mean right? The 5 Most Common Something-or-others. 10 Reasons Not To Do Something-or-other. 25 Websites That’ll Make You Something-or-other 🙂 So I figured I’d join in with a few FAQ’s and little slip-ups that I’ve seen from fellow Lightroomers lately. Here goes:

1. Moving photos while not in Lightroom
This is by far the biggest slip up that I see or hear about. If you move, reorganize or do anything to your photos outside of Lightroom then you essentially break the connection that Lightroom has to them. If you want to move your photos to another folder or hard drive, then do it from within Lightroom. It keeps things intact and keeps Lightroom in the know about where your photos live. If you want some more info on the topic, then watch a video I did about folders and hard drives a while back.

2. Reimporting your JPG exports
Here’s one that, for some people, makes sense. But for most of the Lightroomers I run into, it just tends to confuse things. When you export your JPEG photos from Lightroom there’s an option to reimport the JPEGs back in to your catalog (watch a video to see how). If you absolutely need a fast reliable way to be able to send a client exactly the JPEGs that you sent them the first time then maybe this option makes sense (barely though). In reality though, you’re pretty much polluting your catalog with a bunch of stuff that just gets confusing. If you don’t fall into a category where you constantly wish you just had those same exact JPEGs you exported a while back, then a good Collection workflow along with the File > Export dialog should keep you from having to worry about the final JPEG files. They don’t need to be in your catalog because they’re just a click away if you ever need to create them again.

3. Resetting a photo’s settings just to see it in a different way
This one sounds a little weird I know. Bus I’ve see a lot of people develop a photo a certain way in the Develop module. Then at some point, they’ll want to see it with a different effect or as a black and white (or some other “look” than what they currently have). So they undo or reset the photo and apply the effect. But what they really want are versions. They want to see their photo one way, and then maybe as a B&W and maybe even as a sepia tinted photo or something similar. In that case, Virtual Copies are the key and really easy to use. Here’s a quick video where I show Virtual Copies and a really cool way to use them.

4. Not using collections
Folders are where all of your photos go when you import them. Collections are where your good photos should end up. And the fact that Lightroom 3 now has the Collections panel in all of the modules makes them a no-brainer. Use Collections to sort your best photos. Trust me. It’ll make life a lot easier. Here’s a quick write up that Scott Kelby did that talks a little more about a good Collection workflow.

5. Thinking that Lightroom has a color space you can change
Lightroom’s color space is ProPhoto RGB. Plain and simple. You can’t change it. That’s the way it is. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with ProPhoto for everything. You can of course choose what color space you want (sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc…) when you head over to Photoshop. Check this video out if you want to learn more about it. Don’t forget, you can also choose what color space you want when you go to File > Export to save your photos as JPEGs.

Bonus: Not deleting your backups.
I could have named this “6 Common Lightroom Slip Ups” but 5 just sounds cleaner 🙂 So here’s a bonus. If you’ve got Lightroom’s auto backup setting turned on then you may likely have a ton of backups in the LR backup folder. But do you need all of those backups? Probably not. They’re really just there in case of an emergency and if that emergency need ever comes up, you probably just want the most recent backup right. Sure, there are probably people who may want a backup from an exact certain day, but that’s the minority. So go into that Backups folder periodically and delete the old ones.

If you’ve got any others to add (or feel particularly strong about one above) feel free to post it here as a comment. Thanks 🙂



  1. Dwayne Blango 3 February, 2011 at 15:35 Reply

    My problem is twofold:
    #1. Do you need to work with catalogs? I just import my images and away I go, I make collections. Somehow though I end up sometimes with a lot of extra images that I don’t know where they came from, just duplicates and triples and I’m not sure if they are virtual copies or not, I haven’t really looked to see if I can tell somehow. I think that it’s in all photos is where I see the duplicates. This may be a dumb question, but as I don’t need so many can I delete some and save the originals and will the originals be easy to recognize?
    #2. Deleting from backup, do you have a video on that? Organization is one of my very weakest areas. Can you help me?

  2. Santi 17 January, 2011 at 05:53 Reply

    I have a question. I have a lot of images that I processed using Lightroom 2. Now I have Lightroom 3 and every time I open the images that was under the LR 2 program is being asked to be converted to LR3 so I click okay but all my images disappear or it can’t be located and opened. What step am I missing or are those images gone. Thank you, Santi

  3. manda 21 December, 2010 at 02:11 Reply

    I have multiple lighroom catalogs. It is getting impossibly hard to find the one that i am looking for. Is there a way to combine them all? That would be awesome.

  4. Stu 26 November, 2010 at 19:58 Reply

    Thank you for “the 6th tip”! Really … from the bottom of my heart! (Okay, I looked for this answer in a Scott Kelby book before coming to your blog tonight.)
    I back up my LR3 catalog daily. I use LR a lot more than I ever figured I would, and I just learned I have 39 GB of old catalog backups. Nobody ever seemed to say in print it was okay to get rid of the old ones.
    Thank you!

  5. Gayna 11 November, 2010 at 13:44 Reply

    I cannot see the stars on the individual photos in the library gird view. (or any other view for that matter) I know that there are rated ones. I can filter for starred photos, but I no longer see the grayed out little dots to click on that used to show up or the stars for rated ones.

    I upgraded to Lightroom 3 yesterday and I still don’t see them. It’s annoying to keep having to switch the filter on and off to see if I have rated a picture.
    Is there a way to get that star rating visible again?

  6. roslijalil 28 October, 2010 at 22:45 Reply

    I have LR3, the problem is lately it show the the title on the top left conner exp: DSC 123_ 38

    it seem border me heheh i will send via email the screen shot..

    p/s i like to remove it

  7. Charles Reed 19 October, 2010 at 16:28 Reply

    I have Lightroom 3 and save my data on an external hard drive and a second copy to another external hard drive. I was recently told that when I got more than 100,000 photos in lightroom, it would begin to loose or mix up photos. True or not?

  8. Richard Rendle 24 August, 2010 at 05:36 Reply

    I am using LR2.7 when I have photos in develop the colours are fine. When I go to print the print preview it is completely different to the photo in develop, and the printed photo is like the preview and not like the photo in develop. Why is this

  9. Slim 18 August, 2010 at 09:48 Reply

    Right after the first monitor calibration (Eizo S2431W) by Spyder3PRO (Datacolor Co.) everything in Lightroom 2.6 changed into colorless/grey frames ONLY while background data remain intact.

    Spyder 3 deinstallation brought no change.

    Apparently known however infrequent issue.

    1. how to get back to colorful pix?
    2. how to prevent “disappearance” after next Spyder3 reinstallation and new calibration round?

    Simple trick, isn’t it? But who knows it?

    • Slim 21 August, 2010 at 10:59 Reply

      Problem settled by 1) removing all traces of Spyder3 from the memory disk and
      2) installing very latest installation update for Spyder3 provided by Datacolor.
      Their fast hands-on approach much appreciated.
      Pix and wonderful colors returned to Lightroom Catalog.
      Close file, removal suggested.

  10. Sergio Matta 29 July, 2010 at 23:52 Reply

    Does anybody know what does that mean? Lightroom was unable to locate the selected file at /Volumes/My Book/Gallery/IMG_306701February 06, 2010-Edit-Edit-Edit01February 05, 2010.jpg.
    It will not be opened for editing.
    every time i try to edit my photos using silver efex or color efex, it says i can’t. i use a macbook pro

  11. Sergio Matta 29 July, 2010 at 23:47 Reply

    Does anybody know what does that mean? Lightroom was unable to locate the selected file at /Volumes/My Book/Gallery/IMG_306701February 06, 2010-Edit-Edit-Edit01February 05, 2010.jpg.
    It will not be opened for editing.
    Every time i try to edit my photos using silver efex or color efex, it says i can’t. No matter what version…Please help!!!

  12. Amanda 25 July, 2010 at 15:29 Reply

    I have LR3, and it has been working fine until yesterday. When I tried to open it, I get a window that says ‘windows cannot open the program and that it has to close.’ Windows searches for a solution to the problem, but never finds one. I have unistalled and reinstalled the program from my computer…more than once in an effort to fix the problem.Still no luck…any suggestions???
    Thanks, Amanda

  13. Darren D 23 July, 2010 at 15:25 Reply

    Thank you for these tips… I’m just starting to use LR and everyone’s comments are very helpful!
    One thing that might be a slip-up or something that I’m battling now is that my total list of keywords is so long that I’m now only seeing the A-M keywords in the Keywording section. I didn’t know there was a limit, I know all the keywords are there, b/c if I do a search for “r” it will bring up all the “r” keywords, just will not show them in the initial list…

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


  14. scott c 28 June, 2010 at 12:16 Reply

    FWIW, my Lightroom workflow follows thusly:

    1. Copy RAW files off memory card to the “Unorganized Originals” folder on the HD, in subfolders by shoot date (eg “2010-06-12”)
    2. Review and edit RAW photos; delete (move to recycle bin) unwanted files
    3. Add keywords to remaining photos
    4. Select and export remaining photos as JPG; creating new folder from within LR according to year & event (eg “2010 Photos / Easter”), and using “add to collection” option
    5. Delete original RAW files and remove “2010-06-12” folder (saves HD space)
    6. I have a number of Smart Collections already set up to help find photos of interest. Using keywords allows me to easily find photos my Smart Collections won’t (eg, What if I wanted to find all photos with Judi and McKayla in them?)
    7. Occasionally back up D: drive. Regularly back up LR catalog file.

    This way, I can easily find photos using other programs without always having to open LR and individually export what I need.

    I do this for fun – if I got paid for my photography work (ha!) I’d probably do things a bit differently.

    • Jeff 10 November, 2010 at 15:50 Reply


      I’m a “for free and for fun” photographer, too. Just started using LR3. Your workflow makes sense to me, not likely and not because I’m not a pro, but I think it would even make sense to a pro. I’m going to adopt. Thanks for the tips!


  15. jennifer 24 June, 2010 at 22:27 Reply

    After export, the previews of my exported jpegs are half greyed out. (I can open the file in PS, re-save, and then the preview is fine) Anyone have any suggestions on what’s going on? I have lightroom 2.7, I’ve backed up, optimized, and it is still doing it. I’ve also deleted old back up files. Anyone know if I can go into the Previews.lrdata folder and delete some of those files? There are a ton in there but not sure if I should delete them or not.

  16. nick m 16 June, 2010 at 17:40 Reply

    I got the LR 3 and after reading so much… now I’m rely confused.
    I have all my pics on a external drive and I’m afraid to start the LR…I would like to hold everything outside of my hard drive and work all the time on my external drive.
    Also I have not seen how to do selective coloring or soft focus (blurry) on a part of the frame.
    Ant tips would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Kim 18 June, 2010 at 02:21 Reply


      Do you have skype?

      More than just tips, it’s a process.

      I would be glad to walk you thru this. It’s too much to type out and too much room for error, if we skype then i can answer questions for you as we go along.

      Let me know –

      go to my flickr profile – and email me from there. I don’t want to put my email here due to spambots.

      I’d be glad you help you.

      I’ll be around tomorrow (Friday) late morning, early afternoon – then not again until late Friday night. (pacific standard time)



  17. John Martin 3 June, 2010 at 16:08 Reply

    One that has gotten me a few times (never made it to my clients thank goodness) is when syncing images I’ve forgotten to uncheck spot removal. I sync a lot but if I have to do spot removal, even on a series of similar images I always do it manually or I’m really careful to make sure to uncheck the box when I sync again.

  18. Doug A 12 May, 2010 at 10:23 Reply

    Sorry, maybe I am being dumb, but I can’t see how the way you/Scott describe using collections is any different to folders. You advocate creating a collection set for each new import and putting all the pictures from that import into it, and then creating sub-collections for the various levels of picks. But you also say folders is where you look for bad photos. But all the photos (good and bad) are in the collections and the folder just the same. It seems that you are replicating the function of folders in a collection, and I don’t get why!! I am sure I am just missing something as there must be a reason for doing this extra work but I don’t get what that is. At present I use a folder for each event (with some parent folder structures) and then just use flags, stars and colour tags to organise the picks/stages of workflow and then filter as appropriate. Is there something to be gained from collections for me?

    On the point of not reimporting jpegs I am really curious as to how people manage their exports. If you don’t reimport them to LR then where do you put the exports? And how do you organise them? And if you need to recreate the export each time you need it then doesn’t that just create lots of copies of the same picture on your harddrive.

    I’d be really interested to hear your/other people’s views on these points – they are vexing me somewhat!!

      • Doug A 12 May, 2010 at 12:47 Reply

        Ok, cheers, that is different to what Scott describes so I suppose makes it a bit clearer. I still don’t see what the advantage to the collections is though – it still appears to be duplicating the folder structure with a filter applied, but ho hum, maybe that is just me.

        Any chance of a view of the exports thing? Do you just have a step in your workflow that you delete all your exported jpegs after you have uploaded/emailed them, or do you have lots of copies of the same photos knocking about your computer, or do you always know where they are and just manage them outside LR (if so then why)>

  19. Walter Silver 5 May, 2010 at 18:48 Reply

    Here’s one that trips me up – forgetting to turn off ‘AutoSync’ right after using it. I invariably have dozens images selected, casually tweak one of them and then realize a few minutes beyond ‘undo’ that I’ve applied the adjustment to all.

  20. jlua 5 May, 2010 at 03:47 Reply

    I am days away to start using “for real” PS CS5 with my Lightroom 2.7 (I won´t use a the Lightroom Beta 3 for real work). My problem/question is this:

    If I “Develop” an image in LR 2.7, with ACR 5.7, and then do the usual “Edit with CS5”, it by-passes ACR 6 on PS CS5, and, since both products use different ACR versions, here´s the problem.

    Is there a way to smoothly work from LR 2.7 to PS CS5, but using ACR 6, with its new features?

  21. idigitize 4 May, 2010 at 20:25 Reply

    thanks for the tips Matt.

    What id like to see help on, or at least other peoples workflows is tip 4.
    I know everyone works differently, but to see a few more pro attitudes to organisation would maybe give us ideas on what could work for us.

    Tip 4 – Collections / Smart Collections. – Scotts linked article

    The article is great, but it misses the biggest most important part in us ‘serious amatuer’ users.
    Where does Tuscany go????
    It’s all very well showing us how to organise each shoots picks and client shots using collections, but id like to know where to keep the master collection.
    How do I find the Tuscany collection in amongst the other 1000 shoots ive done that year.
    I go out with my cam everyday to shoot, sometimes I go on holiday, (even tuscany once 🙂 ) I can go to the zoo 4 times a year, I can visit my favourite landscape areas 20 times a year. I shoot the occasional pro portrait shoot.

    It’s nice to learn how to organise the structure of each shoot using collections, but advice on where to store those collection sets in relation to the Catalog would be great help.
    I find myself going back to storing sets inside sets and think, I might as well just use folders which i really dont want to do.
    Is there a good way for those of us that shoot little and often, and more importantly, quite often at the same locations.

    Many thanks again Matt,

  22. Kim 4 May, 2010 at 18:19 Reply

    @ MATT @ RON – @ anyone else who wants to answer….

    when you relaunch and optimise, what EXACTLY does it do???

    I understand it should ‘speed up’ LR, but – how, and how often should we relaunch and optimise, and what does it do to everything else that may be open when you do this?

    Do you need to close down everything first.

    Anyone want to chime in!? 🙂

    Thanks for being here ya’ll.


    • RON 4 May, 2010 at 21:22 Reply

      Hi Kim,
      when you Relaunch and optimize Lightrooms catalog you are basically defraging your catalog. Lightroom will re=organize the data it uses to refrence each photo.
      Lightroom will usually launch a bit faster and write changes to the XMP file faster because to can find the data faster. In addition I find that Lightroom also operates faster and makes adjustments with more of a smoothness because its not working so hard to refrence the data of where your photo and XMP file is.

      Matt did a video on Prefrences way back in the day ( lol ) going in and setting prefrences can also help lightroom work smoother by tayloring it to your needs and system. ( i have mine set to discard previews after a week to save on space and datta lightroom needs to read when it launches.

      check them out.


      • Kim 15 June, 2010 at 23:14 Reply


        This is for RON 🙂 (or whoever else can show me)

        How do I change the preferences to discard my previews after a week?

        Can anyone direct me?

        I would really, appreciate it!

        Thanks guys! (and gals)

        Kim –

    • Kim 18 June, 2010 at 02:24 Reply


      I JUST Optimized and it relaunched, unfortunatly it didn’t do a THING to speed up anything. I emptied my cache too. (i don’t know if that helps with LR, I know it helps with Bridge – so, im a bit confused)

      Now, i’m off to trying to decide how to set my preferences!

      On to the videos!



  23. Edwin Bruining (nl) 4 May, 2010 at 17:45 Reply

    About back-ups; The thing you never must do is.. to use a backup after a crash without copy these files to your work folder! I was so stupid that I deleted some backup folders and found out that my most recent database was actualy one of the backup files. And I tought I was working in my working folder. This f**k up was made after the update from LR1 to LR2.
    So if LR3 is out, be aware.

  24. Paulie [eatl/ga] 4 May, 2010 at 15:35 Reply

    The warning I heed is to double-check your Import Dialog before clicking the Import Button.

    A few times I’ve been burned by changing the File Handling setting (let’s say from “Copy photos from a new location and add to catalog” to “Add photos to catalog without moving”) and wondering why Lightroom can’t find an original, or incorrectly added keywords to photos because all because Lightroom retains the settings from your last Import.

  25. Scott Russell 4 May, 2010 at 14:58 Reply

    Matt, love the tip on the Backup folder. I just cleaned up about 5GB of data I don’t really need.

    Another question. What about Camera Raw Cache Settings in LR? What effect does purging the cache do other than give me another 5GB or so of free space?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  26. Paige 4 May, 2010 at 14:56 Reply

    Thank you Dawn or putting things so strongly, I agree completely.

    Still, I wish someone would explain why Matt K. says that “Collections are where your good photos should end up” and he implies that not doing this is a “slip up”.

    • Matt Kloskowski 4 May, 2010 at 15:17 Reply

      Paige – I say it because, well, Collections are where you good photos should end up 😉
      At least in my opinion. The Collections panel is in all of the modules (keywords are not) so it makes it easy for me to always get to my good photos. Folder are now where I go to when I want to get to my bad photos because the good ones have been added to a collection.

      – Matt K

      • Paige 4 May, 2010 at 16:23 Reply

        The implication of using the word “slip up” is that you are missing out on certain advantages, or actually experiencing certain disadvantages. Further, to me a “slip up” isn’t some minor error that is easily worked around or recovered from. “Slip up” to me implies some major problem has been caused; or you are missing out on a major benefit.

        If I understand you properly, the only disadvantage of not using collections for my good photos is that I can’t get to my keywords from any module. Which seems like a very minor disadvantage to me. One keystroke and I can get the full power of the Library Module. Certainly much less severe than the word “slip up” implies to me.

      • Matt Kloskowski 4 May, 2010 at 16:27 Reply

        Hey Paige.

        Quote from you: “The implication of using the word “slip up” is that you are missing out on certain advantages, or actually experiencing certain disadvantages.”

        Yup, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I believe you are indeed missing out on advantages and experiencing disadvantages by not doing it that way.

        No sweat though… we’ll just have to agree to disagree here.

        – Matt K

      • Thorf 5 May, 2010 at 10:06 Reply

        There is a middle ground to this argument: smart collections.

        If you are in the habit of keywording your images with a set of pre-defined keywords, you can create smart collections which bring all your best images into the relevant collections automatically. This can end up being faster than a purely collection-based workflow, and it’s certainly more flexible since all the collection shuffling happens automatically based on your keywording – and whatever other processing you’ve included in your smart collection definitions.

        I use this in my work to keep me sane. I’m in charge of photography at the school I work at, and I’m often asked by a teacher for all the pictures I have of their class. To achieve this, I tag images with keywords for the relevant classes pictured, and as I do this they are slotted automatically into the smart collection for each class – which are further defined by the date the picture was taken, so that I don’t get pictures of class 1A in 2009 mixed up with 1A in 2010. All in all it is much faster than manually picking out all the pictures and adding them to the relevant (non-smart) collection.

        To sum up: collections are good and have their purposes (mainly with subjective non-metadata-based judgements), but smart collections are even better, and more flexible – especially if you make best use of all the metadata options available to you. Keywords can be a great facilitator of smart collections.

    • RON 4 May, 2010 at 21:02 Reply

      Hey paige,

      I think its all about the workflow here on collections. If you have 1000’s of photos ranging from Landscapes to Weddings to Portraits ect.. then you have several ways to access them in lightroom. One way it to go to your Library Module and search for the Original Import Folder or Have Collections Of photos that reflect the type of shoot they are labled into. Example; If all your landscapes are in one collection “Landscape”, then when you go to that collection you will see all your Landscape photos that you have told lightroom to refrence to that collection. By no means do you add more file to your hard drive space, it is just a link to the photo where it resides on your system. The benefit is that you can go to a collection and see all the photos. The disadvantage is that you will need to search several Import Folders to find a photo that you can’t quite remember where or when it was shot.
      Once you find it in the collection you can always choose show in windows explorer/finder (on mac) to find it on your system if needed.


  27. Dawn D. in NJ 4 May, 2010 at 14:02 Reply

    I agree with Paige, that keywords are underutilized. The biggest benefit with keywords is that they are persistent within LR, outside LR, and otherwise. I am learning to make good use of smart collections via keywords, and it seems the most efficient and logical way to organize.

    • Matt Kloskowski 4 May, 2010 at 15:15 Reply

      Good points Dawn. For me personally, keywords don’t serve that much of a purpose. I don’t often have the need to search for my photos based on a word. My Collections are named appropriately and work great for me. As for persistence outside of LR, that doesn’t really do much either. I use LR so I’m OK if its just persistent inside of LR.

      But if keywords work, by all means keep doing it. Its definitely a personal thing.

      – Matt K

  28. Bill Hamilton 4 May, 2010 at 10:16 Reply

    As to the Backups created of the LR Database, if you use Apple’s Time Machine, that has you covered back as far Time Machine has been active. I eliminate most of the backups monthly knowing they will be available in the Time Machine anytime I may need them, which is probably never.

  29. Paige 4 May, 2010 at 08:59 Reply

    “Collections are where your good photos should end up” Why? How is this better than assigning a 4 or 5 star rating to your good photos, you can easily search for them by star rating and keyword. If I want all my 5 star photos from Italy, this is a simple search (or smart collection).

    I am surprised at how little keywords get mentioned. To me, this is a great potential pitfall of Lightroom users, people don’t organize by keywords. To me, this is more powerful than anything you can do by renaming photos/folders.

  30. Seung 4 May, 2010 at 06:38 Reply

    @alfanick So if you use collections and virtual copies in this way, do you avoid large PSD files, or does 5a necessarily have them? I’m still trying to figure out how to keep easy access (from within LR) to photos I’ve processed in Photoshop, without resorting to PSD files. Any ideas?

    • Jorn Kremers 4 May, 2010 at 08:55 Reply

      The easy access is already there: Just select stack with original in Lightroom when editing in Photoshop and LR keeps them neatly together.

      The tip only applies to when you’re done with post-processing and want to publish a photo on the internet or e-mail it to a client. Makes no sense in keepin these files since you already have them in LR, only in a different file format (RAW, DNG, TIFF or PSD).

      I use the stack with original when I go into Photoshop or Silver efex pro, but I never work with JPEG in these programs (JPEG uses a compression and is 8bit only).

  31. alfanick 4 May, 2010 at 06:23 Reply

    Great post!
    #4 Everybody has his own way to use collections. I love collections and collections sets! Let’s assume “Vilnius, 2010” collection set – some can just use “Vilnius, 2010” as collection and put there all photos from the session, but I’m doing it other way. That’s how I divite “Vilnius, 2010” collection set:
    “1. Originals” – *all* RAW files
    “2a. Partly Filtered” – Originals with removed moved and over-/underexposed images
    “2b. Rejected” – “1. Originals” – “2a. Partly Filtered” 😉
    “3. Masters” – Removed all that bracketing stuff from “2a”
    “4. Best versions” – Best captures, best moments, angles
    “5a. Work” – Virtual copies of “4. Best versions” and all copies made in Photoshop, Viveza… All that stuff that I’m working on
    “5b. Point-and-Shoot” – Virtual copies of “4. Best versions” with applied some point-and-shoot-like preset, for fast publishing
    “5c. Modified” – Shots modified in “5a. Work”
    “6a. Picked” – General picks for publishing
    “6bcdefg. Picked for …” – Picks for special publishing
    “7. Top Photos” – Very best shots
    I really like my workflow – it is kinda structurized and clean 😉

  32. Matt Sanderson 4 May, 2010 at 05:02 Reply

    Great tips, for people new to Lightroom.

    It took me a while to get my head around the library, and the best way of sorting and filing photos. My method is thus:

    I copy my photos from CF card to HD using the Lightrom importer, into a folder structure relative to the date and time. 2010 > 05 > 01 would be photos I took on 1st May 2010. All photos are renamed according to the date and time they were taken: 20100501-100158 would be a photo I took on 1st May 2010 at 10:01 and 58 seconds.

    Once they’re in Lightroom, I stick them into Collections relative to what they are: Bands/Weddings/Events/Portraits > Band/Couple/Bride and Groom Name > Shoot date and description.


  33. Daniel N. 4 May, 2010 at 04:47 Reply

    I often reimport my jpeg exports. Mainly because if I shoot 200 pictures and 5 are really great, I don’t want to keep 195 raw files that I will never touch again (with Photoshop). So I can export the 195 raw files to jpg and save about 1.5 gb of disc space.

    But I don’t synchronize the exports folder. Instead I export them in the original folder and then delete the raw files. Afterwards I synchronize that folder again to import the jpgs.

    If anyone knows a faster method, such as a convert-raw-to-jpeg-then-delete-raw-files-and-import-jpgs-to-catalogue-plugin I would be glad to know about it 😉

    • Rob Davies 11 May, 2010 at 07:55 Reply

      I’m with you here. I do:

      Select all RAW->Export to Jpeg (with the ‘add to catalogue’ box ticked’) then after export (to same folder) your selection IS the original RAW files. Hit delete and you’re done… as your JPegs are already there 🙂

      Does this save you a step?

      Remember kids…. be sure you want to delete those RAW files!

  34. Seung 4 May, 2010 at 04:28 Reply

    Question on #2. I sometimes reimport jpegs that I’ve sent to Photoshop as a copy, worked on in Photoshop and then saved as (rather than simply saved) as a jpeg. I do this because I don’t want my harddrive to fill up with the much larger PSD files that can result if I simply save. Is there a way that using collections can help me achieve my goals: have easy access to differently processed versions of the same photo, including some that are processed in Photoshop, but without having large PSD files.

  35. Glyn Dewis 4 May, 2010 at 04:13 Reply

    Hi Matt.

    Great post and I’m sure that some of your list items especially #1 and #2 are the main reasons that some people move away from LR; how can I say that? … well, because they’re why I very nearly did a couple of months back.

    Re #1: From day 1 of using LR I’d imported photos off my memory cards and at the same time imported them onto an external hard drive as a back up. Well eventually after quite some time of using LR I noticed that my hard drive on main main machine was becoming rather full so I decided to move them onto another hard drive to free up space and just point LR to them. Well what seemed to be a good idea wasn’t. Well, when I say the idea of moving them was a bad idea, what I really mean is that moving them outside of LR was a bad idea. Anyway, the long and short of it was that some 160 shoots were now unedtied as none of the LR adjustments were now present.

    #2 Re Importing JPEGS back into LR was another failing on my behalf. Literally I ended up with duplicates of photos and catalogues becoming increasingly bigger and bigger. Eventually it got to the stage where LR had reached crawling pace despite having quite a hefty processor etc…

    Like I say these ‘mis-uses’ of a great piece of kit very nearly caused me to move away from LR and start using Aperture 3.0 which of course was running a heck of alot faster but as it only had a few images in when I was trialling it, no surprises there.

    I’ve since adopted a new workflow that I’m real happy with and keeps everything neat and organised (that’s the Virgo in me coming out) and have learned massively from my mistakes. So much so I’m now a Lightroom Adobe Community Professional which when I think of how I used to use it makes me laugh but hey I guess the best way to learn is from making mistakes.

    Happy to report that Lightroom runs like a rocket now; couldn’t be happier with it.

    Cheers Matt,
    All the best to you,

    • Gigi Embrechts 5 May, 2010 at 14:00 Reply

      I did most of the things you did and now I am wanting to know how to fix the mess. Do I start a new Cataloge? I moved my photos to external hardrive and spent hours organizing them only to find out I messed up LR now I have ? all over the place. Any suggestions on how I get my photos looking like Matt’s where the hardrive and LR match?
      Love to know your workflow. This is why I went from Aperture to LR so I could get organized and now I mess this one up too. I should be an expert after I figure this out also.
      Thanks for any help.

      • Glyn Dewis 13 May, 2010 at 03:50 Reply


        Having manually moved all the files as Idid the only thing I could do was to point LR as to where they were. Unfortunately all the changes I’d made within LR were no longer present.

        After making many, and I mean many faux pas when I first started using LR when it came to organising my folders etc I now have a WorkFlow I’m real happy with; it does however make use of another piece of Software called PhotoMechanic. This isn’t essential it’s just ridiculously quick at viewing and importing files off a memory card.


      • Jesse 23 September, 2010 at 17:08 Reply

        FYI, you don’t need to re-import the photos. Lightroom will put a ? icon over the file. Just click that, find the file, and it will even find all the rest that are missing. No need to re-edit. I went through a couple re-editing before I learned this one.

  36. Martin 4 May, 2010 at 03:26 Reply

    OK here are my 5 tips:
    1. Learn keyboard shortcuts
    2. use a Wacom tablet
    3. Think about how you search for your images (there is no right or wrong – just presferences); then name and organise your images to suit that search method; stick to plan and use the import box to manage that in exactly the same way every time.
    4. back up your library into several places
    5. Hold down the Alt key when adjusting Exposure, Recovery, or Blacks to check which areas of the image are out of the tonal range

    • Ned 6 May, 2010 at 07:36 Reply

      I have 2 wacom tablets but never applied Matt’s suggestion for “using for 2 weeks and you’ll never go back”

      Need to …gonna one day…just don’t know when!!!

  37. Erol 4 May, 2010 at 02:56 Reply

    From within the library mode when selected all your photos (ctrl + a on PC) take care!

    Especially if you did careful rate all of your hundreds of photos by 1 to 5 star, then selecting all photos, pressing accidentally 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Of course you will recognize that when undo no more available 😉

    I wish there were a possibility to lock photos in library mode.


  38. Kim 4 May, 2010 at 02:33 Reply

    mine is def. sluggish.

    how do you relaunch and optimize?

    does this effect anything else in LR?

    Thank you so much!!



  39. RON 4 May, 2010 at 02:25 Reply

    Another tip is to “Relaunch and Optimize” Lightrooms catalog when Lightroom becomes sluggish, or also when it seems tools are not behaving as they should.
    ex: sluggish brushes,sliders or rendering of photo.


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