We all need help using Lightroom from time to time. From dealing with problems to trying to learn how to do a new technique, knowing how to ask the question (and where) can save you a lot of time and assist the right people in giving you the answers you need. Here are a few pieces of information I’ve learned from 10 years on the Lightroom Help Desk that you always want to include with any request for help:

Operating System and Version

Some problems can be tied to a given operating system (OS), which is especially true in the days/weeks/months after a new version of that OS is released, or years (and years) after the OS has stopped getting updates. In fact, you should consider holding off on any new OS updates until after the first bug fixes have been released, and all other software vendors have had time to update their products for the new OS.

Just about anyone helping you is going to want that info along with your question. On a Mac, click the Apple icon and choose About This Mac, to see what version of the OS you have installed. For the various versions of Windows, Microsoft has a nice document to show you how on each version.

Lightroom Version

The version of Lightroom you’re asking about is just as important. The problem you’re having may have been fixed in an update you just haven’t installed yet, or perhaps you’re using an older version and asking about a feature that only exists in a new version. On both Mac and Windows, go to Help>System Info, and the version number will be listed right up at the top.

Just the Facts

When you sit down to write out your question, try to only include the most relevant information about the problem/issue/question. Make it as easy as possible for those trying to help you to discern exactly what is (or isn’t happening) on your system, and exactly what your question may be. If you encounter an error message, write down the exact wording of the error, as this is super helpful.

It’s human nature to try to connect dots you think are related to your problem, but I find that most people jump to the wrong conclusions. By keeping just to the facts of what you are experiencing, it will help whoever is reading it to ask you follow up questions if needed, or hopefully simply provide you with an answer. Everyone who frequents an online forum knows that new people coming in may be nervous, or don’t want to appear uninformed, but presenting your situation as clearly as possible is a sign that you are neither of those things, and that you’re not interested in wasting anyone’s time. We love helping people who get right down to business. Keep in mind that just about anyone responding on an online forum is doing it on their own time and out of their own desire to help. Be nice (even if you’re frustrated with Lightroom).

Take a Screen Capture

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. If the place where you’re asking the question has a function for providing a screen capture, it’s probably worth doing. Experienced Lightroom users can usually look at a screen shot and diagnose a host of problems, or at least be better able to understand your question by having some context.

You can, of course, use a third-party screen capture tool (I’m a fan of Snagit), but both operating systems have some kind of screen capture functionality included. First, set up your screen (if possible) in a way that shows the area of Lightroom you’re needing help with. Feel free to include the entire screen so that you aren’t leaving anything out that might be useful. For example, if you have a question about missing photos, providing a screen capture that includes the contents of the Folders panel, as well as the thumbnails, can provide important context for the issue.

On Mac, press Command-Shift-3 to capture the entire screen, or Command-Shift-4, then click-and-drag a rectangle over the area you want to capture. In both cases, an image of your screen (in PNG format) should be saved to your desktop by default.

On Win, you can use the Snipping Tool.

If this helps prevent one more person taking a bad photo of their screen with their phone or DSLR, then my job here is done. 🙂

Where to Go?

Adobe has two forums for getting help. If you want to talk with other Lightroom users to get some help troubleshooting, or to ask them if they’ve experienced what you’re experiencing, or you’re just stuck and not sure where to turn, try the Lightroom Community forum. This forum is populated by other Lightroom users, not Adobe employees, so don’t go their to rage against the machine. Just bring your carefully curated information, and share amongst friends. You might start by using the search function or scanning the FAQs to see if someone has already raised the issue you’re experiencing and save yourself some time.

If you feel that the problem you’re having is a repeatable bug, you’re getting a clear error message, or you just want to float a feature request, then head to the Photoshop Family forum instead (remember, it’s Adobe Photoshop Lightroom after all). You’ll find this forum is also frequented by other Lightroom users, but Adobe staff tend to keep a closer eye on what’s happening there, and it’s not uncommon to be asked follow-up questions by Adobe personnel trying to get to the bottom of the issue.



    • Rob Sylvan 31 December, 2019 at 14:34 Reply

      You’ll need to share more information than that. Which panel? Which collections? What type of collections? When you created those collections could you have checked the box to include selected photos?

  1. Phil Eaton 24 January, 2019 at 18:30 Reply

    I have recently installed LR6 from the disc onto a new iMac and updated to the last of the standalone upgrades which is LR6.14.
    When I installed my catalogue from my external drive the thumbnails in the library grid view are showing no image ID, eg file number, or file type, CR2,Jpeg, Tiff etc. I’ve struck this problem before and I know there is a little button somewhere that you click and it revealed all that info, but I’ve forgotten where it is and for the life of me I can’t find it.
    Please can anybody help, this is most frustrating.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Rob Sylvan 25 January, 2019 at 09:18 Reply

      While in Grid view, press the J key to cycle through the grid cell styles until you see the info you are looking for. You can configure that info via View > View Options.

  2. mosar 9 April, 2018 at 07:59 Reply

    Lightroom CC on my I phone is blocked.
    I can only see the pics but not treat them, neither share.
    When a click on the pics, there is a big red point appearing.
    What schould i do?

    • Rob Sylvan 9 April, 2018 at 08:12 Reply

      Start a post over in the Lightroom User to User forums, and provide as much information about the problem as you can. Screen captures can help too. Here’s the link: https://forums.adobe.com/community/lightroom/lightroom-cc

      The Big red point sounds like you have Show Touches enabled in the LrCC preferences. If you can tap the Lr icon to open them, then go to General, you’ll find Show Touches at the bottom. Tap that switch to turn it off.

    • Ian Prior 9 August, 2018 at 06:04 Reply

      Hi, I have moved all photos to new PC and re downloaded LR 6.14. I also managed to get all previous edits for photos associated with pics. Som ehow ,I have lost the edits. Possibly when I was trying to tidy up file structure ( from within LR)> I have a .lrcat file which I believe can restore these edits to all my photos. But, I cannot get this to work. Any help please.

      • Rob Sylvan 9 August, 2018 at 07:21 Reply

        There’s a lot we don’t know, such as how you managed to get the previous edits associated with the photos, or when you say you lost the edits, what exactly did you do? Moving photos from within Lightroom would not cause the loss of edits, so there is something else going on. I would head over to one of the forums I linked above, and share as much info as possible about what steps you took.

  3. Charlie Reilly 6 October, 2017 at 16:00 Reply

    I’ve asked for help from Rob twice, and both times, I’ve gotten clear and complete responses, for which I’m very grateful.

    Both times I was traveling, and didn’t have access to my own library of resources. If you need help, and you follow his suggestions above, I’m willing to bet you’ll get the information you need.

    Thanks Rob! Thanks Kelby One!

    • callmebob 5 October, 2017 at 10:26 Reply

      Because it’s about using lightroom specifically. It’s in the name specifically. Nothing about this site is about general photography tools. There are places which do that sort of comparison, but this one isn’t it. Things that integrate with LR, they do touch on occasionally.

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