Lightroom Tips

Snow Leopard for Lightroom and Photoshop

I’ve had a lot of questions about Lightroom’s compatibility with Apple’s new OS (Snow Leopard) so I wanted to take a quick moment to share my experiences with you. I installed it last week and took the last 4-5 days to go through and do my normal workflow in Lightroom and Photoshop as well as the other apps I use. Here’s what I found:

1. I’ve noticed when I zoom into 1:1 view on a photo and pan around the photo the screen redraws with vertical bars over my photo (see photo below and click on it to see a larger version). They go away when you release your cursor so no biggie.

2. This may sound odd, but I swear Lightroom seems faster since the upgrade. My adjustment brush seems snappier and everything seems to just, well, move a little quicker in LR. I don’t know if its just me or if there’s any truth to it but in theory (at least) it makes me happier.

3. I went to the Print module to try to print something and found I had to reinstall my print drivers for my Epson 2880. I went to Epson’s website to download them and sure enough there was a new Mac 10.6 version of the driver. The reinstall went fine and printing worked like a charm after that.

4. This one is interesting overall and affects everyone. I was surfing the web and could swear some images on sites I had seen before looked darker. In general, a lot of things looked darker. Then I read on John Nack’s blog that Apple had switched to a default gamma of 2.2 (which is what Windows has used for many years). He’s got a good write up on it on his website but its just something to be aware of.

NOTE: Because the default gamma was changed to 2.2, I went ahead and recalibrated my display (I used Datacolor’s Spyder 3) and I’d suggest you do the same with any OS upgrade just in case.

5. This one is really odd but I thought it was worth mentioning because it had me fooled until I realized what was going on. The default wallpaper background (you know the Aurora one) is darker and more saturated. I was sitting there looking at my desktop and thinking “Wow” they must have really messed around with the monitor display profiles or something. Then when I went to my Desktop preferences I noticed there were two Aurora wallpapers and the new default one is darker and more saturated then the old one. Sneaky huh? 🙂
Dual LCD

6. This isn’t a Lightroom thing, but Snow Leopard causes some kind of cursor weirdness in Photoshop. The video on this website says that it happens when you have the “Full Size Brush Tip” option enabled in the Preferences. However, this happened to me even when I didn’t have that option enabled. All I saw was my Move Tool cursor no matter what brush I used. As luck would have it I tried to create a video and now its not doing it anymore. But I swear it happened! And I swear it happened before I had any beverages during my labor day party 🙂

7. Again, this is more general but the initial release of Snow Leopard includes an older Flash player which could cause some of your favorite websites to misbehave. Simply updating to the new player should fix it.

8. A lot of folks take the opportunity when doing an OS upgrade to do a fresh system reinstall. Basically they start from scratch. This means you’ll have to reinstall Lightroom. If you do run into this, make sure you download the latest version of Lightroom from Adobe’s website and don’t install from the disc. All you’ll need any of your original LR box/disc for is to grab the serial number. Tom Hogarty (Lightroom’s product manager, talks a little more about it here).

Here’s a list from Adobe on any known issues with the Snow Leopard upgrade.

Overall, things have been fine. My general impression is that most of the things I do haven’t changed a whole lot. That doesn’t mean there’s not some neat little things here and there. The refinements listed on Apple’s website do ring true for the most part and make it worth $30, but don’t expect a totally different world when you upgrade (sorry Mac zealots). Hope this helped a little.



  1. jdr3 25 June, 2010 at 15:00 Reply

    I noticed a variation of #1 with my Dell 2405 attached with a mini-display adapter to anew Core i7 27″ iMac. Not the lines Matt mentioned but definitely jagged edges/pixelization on 1:1 Zooms (used for sharpening parameters). Same images on same monitor connected to Mac Book Pro 2nd Gen Intel (DVI-D connector) don’t do this. I thought it was the video adapter/driver, but maybe the OS itself?

    Any other ideas or updates on this issue?

  2. SCUser 9 November, 2009 at 18:00 Reply

    I see that you were able to install Snow Leopard, the new Epson (R2400 in my case) drivers and run successfully in LR (2.5 in my case).

    I am now able to print, however, my print images are a good deal darker than my calibrated monitor (Spider 3).

    This was not the case previously, however, I made so many changes (following “good” advice on the internet, new apple 10/22 drivers, delete printer folders, etc., etc.) just to get my printer to work, that I am not sure that I did not introduce some other issue. (Originally my print request produced an error and following the initial Epson driver update would just start the print and then “finish” with no error message, but no print either).

    Now, as I said, I am printing but darker and not really matching my LR color.

    Help, advice, directions?

    Many thanks

  3. Niklas Nson 18 October, 2009 at 03:39 Reply

    Anyone got any info when adobe will fix this issue ?

    I have been in contact with the not so great support team, and they ignore my questions and starts talking about other issues (its funny reading, they now call me Spence as well).

  4. Marc Rogoff 21 September, 2009 at 05:12 Reply

    I am in a world of trouble with calibration issues with Snow Leopard. Firstly my calibration does not seem to “stick” after restart. I have a Macbookpro 17″ and a 23″ Cinema display and cannot get a decent calibration with a Spyder2 pro. Also, I am noticing heavy pixelation in my photos where there is a gradation between black and dark greys in all programs including Safari. It is particularly bad in photos where I have used the Lightroom brushes to drop the exposure in parts of my images. Apple seems to have royally screwed up on colour. Is anyone else having these kind of issues on calibrated displays? Oh, another related issue is if you try to do a screen recording with a calibrated display with quicktime screen recorder – all the colours are inverted!

  5. pepemosca 15 September, 2009 at 20:39 Reply

    I’m using Windows 7 and Lightroom 2.5 and I’m having some isues with the “Adjustment brush”.

    The brush cursor is not well drawn.
    I get like “half circule and half plus”.

    The tool works ok, but the cursor is terrible.

    Any ideas?

    BTW, also happened with the 2.4 version.

  6. Christian 13 September, 2009 at 11:27 Reply

    I was wondering if it makes any difference to start up my system in 64 bit Kernel Mode. By the way you need to press and hold the 6 and 4 keys when you start up your Mac.

    Everything worked normal, except when I run multiple exports, LR crashed. I changed back to 32 bit Kernel mode and it worked fine.

    LR is still a 64 bit App if you set it that way, see post Nr. 22 here in the comments.

  7. Stuart Sipahigil 10 September, 2009 at 10:16 Reply

    I didn’t see this mentioned, but if you do a “Get Info” (Command-i) on the LR app, you’ll see a checkbox that says “Open in 32-bit mode” that’s checked by default. Uncheck that box, and the next time you open LR, it runs in 64-bit mode! Makes LR that much faster on Snow Leopard.

  8. LW 9 September, 2009 at 18:17 Reply

    I too have seen a speedier LR since adding 10.6 except for the Develop Module where the Adjustment Brush and all the sliders in edit mode seem to drag a bit, can anyone comment?

  9. Bruce Himelman 8 September, 2009 at 20:58 Reply


    I noticed since Snow Leopard that when I export a file as a JPEG to my desktop to then attach it to an email, the picture size shrinks dramatically. Neither Adobe nor Apple has an answer. Have you tried this? If it happens to you, would you reinstall lightroom? If so, what happens to the catalog?


  10. Dawn 8 September, 2009 at 17:45 Reply

    I have a little light to shed on #6 AND ANOTHER weird thing. I was going nuts with the brushes disappearing and having to “Paint with the Arrow Cursor” but it didn’t happen all of the time. (Hmmm)
    The other thing that I noticed was that when I opened a Lightroom file(latest version) into Photoshop CS4(Extended) and tried to use my filters, half of them were grayed out (e.g. Artistic, Sketch, Texture and a bunch more).
    This was REALLY not good, but it didn’t happen across the board either.

    Then, I noticed that the cursors/brushes and filters were all working fine if I was editing/working with an 8-bit file. (I had changes my Lightroom External Editing Preferences to 16-bit color because I bought a new Canon 5D Mark II and I wanted as much data to stay with the images as possible.)

    I tested my “16-bit vs 8-bit” theory with several files, and I found that the culprit is the 16-bit files going from Lightroom to Photoshop. In 16-bit (on my system anyway) Editing in 8 bit gives you “normal” bushes and the full menu of filters.

    I have changed my Lightroom preferences for the time being and I am temporarily editing my photos with 8-bit processing (hey, it’s better than being brush- and filter-less!).
    Maybe some readers won’t have to pull out hair wondering where their brush tips and filters went like I did! I hope Adobe can get a fix in the works because it can be a little confusing and aggravating.
    Hope this helps someone!

  11. Dominik H. 8 September, 2009 at 16:16 Reply

    I didn’t notice #1 but now that you said it. 😀

    I have one major problem and I am not sure what causes this but sometimes, Photoshop tells me it has not enought free RAM to complete the task. I might be NoiseNinja or PTLens but I didn’t have this problem with Leopard. 🙁

  12. Gordon 8 September, 2009 at 15:05 Reply

    Suggestion: Run the Adobe Flash Player uninstaller, available from downloads before installing the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. I cannot remember whether I discovered this suggestion on Adobe’s pages, John Nack’s blog, or somewhere else.

  13. Jeff Lynch 8 September, 2009 at 13:33 Reply

    Lightroom is definitely faster under Snow Leopard. I’ve noticed a big difference in almost every aspect of using Lightroom but especially in the time it takes to generate previews when importing files.

  14. Mikko 8 September, 2009 at 11:58 Reply

    I having problems with Lightroom’s Merge to panorama after Snow Leopard install. Lightroom opens Photoshop, but after that it doesn’t do anything.

    I got it working after changing Lightroom’s info to open in 32-bit. In 64-bit it doesn’t work.

  15. Lei 8 September, 2009 at 11:55 Reply

    I heard that Apple had changed gamma from 1.8 to 2.2 at their new OS. If so, a little bit dark and saturated photo is reasonable.

  16. Kyle 8 September, 2009 at 11:35 Reply

    if you watch the activity monitor when exporting Jpegs you will notice that the processors are maximized, where they werent before. An article link was posted here about a week ago on how to double up your exporting batches to better utilize the system. This is no longer necessary. A great advantage.

  17. Gus 8 September, 2009 at 11:28 Reply

    #6 is related to the version of flash that ships with SL. If you have websites with embedded flash running in the background (pandora, etc) the cursor will change when you click in Photoshop. It should go away when you update your flash player.

  18. Vincent Iñaki 8 September, 2009 at 10:59 Reply

    I noticed too that Lr is faster! It opened in about 3 seconds on Snow Leopard, while it took about 10 seconds on Leopard.

  19. Steve Wetzel 8 September, 2009 at 10:40 Reply

    Matt, I know this is a bit off topic but how do you like your Spyder 3 for monitor calibration. I have a glossy screen macbook and iMac and I have the Spyder 2. I have been told by datacolor that the Spyder 2 will not give good results with the glossy screen Macs but the Spyder 3 will. Are you happy with your Spyder 3 results?

  20. Kyle 8 September, 2009 at 09:58 Reply

    Another thing I’ve noticed is before snow leopard, if I was in a different space and switched back to lightroom, I’d stay in that space and then have to change the space. Now, it moved right over for me. That was one of my biggest pet peeves and now it’s fixed.

  21. Barry 8 September, 2009 at 09:51 Reply

    Photomerge does not work for me since installing Snow Leopard. Also, I cannot export from Lightroom to Photomerge in 64-bit since installing Snow Leopard. Rob Sylvan commented on my forum question that Adobe was aware of this problem but I did not see it on their list of Snow Leopard issues.

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