Lightroom Videos

Video – PSDs and Lightroom

I have to say, one of the best things I’ve done on this website is turn on comments. Not only does it provide good information to a lot of you, but it also sparks some good ideas for new videos for me. While reading a post last week by a friend of mine, Glyn Dewis, I realized there’s a decent amount of “stuff” around Lightroom and how it handles the PSD files that we go back and forth with to Photoshop. So that’s the topic of this week’s video. How does Lightroom handle the process of going between itself and Photoshop? Where are the PSD files and what do we do with them? And finally, will I ever stop asking questions and get to it?

Click here to watch the video. (22Mb)



  1. Allen 14 January, 2008 at 17:35 Reply

    Images do not go back and forth from LR to PSE6 as your video suggests. At least not with my LR and PSE. In the video you used the big PS so does this back and forth not work on the little guy PSE???


  2. Philip Tobias 20 December, 2007 at 12:03 Reply


    Thanks for another informative movie. Now I’ve got a non-Lightroom question for you.

    What software are you using to capture and produce the videos?

    Thanks in advance. …pt

  3. mattk 10 December, 2007 at 10:40 Reply

    Ken – Yep. I was saying that my current Macbook Pro (2.3 ghz) is no where near as fast as my Dell that is over two years old.

    Paul – First off, you’d be better off to remove it from your computer the first time around. You should have a backup drive that has the originals on it anyway. It should re-import fine after that.


  4. Dave 9 December, 2007 at 20:41 Reply

    Hi, I was working in Lightroom and wanted to edit 2 images in CS3 to perform auto -align script, but only one of the images went to Photoshop, tried several times with the same result, so had to go to Bridge and work from there. Is there a way to edit multiple images in Photoshop from Lightroom?
    Thanks for all the great video’s and tips!


  5. Paul 8 December, 2007 at 13:09 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    I realise that you’re very busy – wondered if you could comment on the question I posed in the first post re psd and re-importing the dng that created the psd – I’m struggling to find a workaround.


  6. Ken Lawson 8 December, 2007 at 11:18 Reply


    Thanks for the candid remarks about pc & mac.

    One thing I want to understand, were you saying your Mac Pro 2.3 you have performance issues with and not as fast as the Dell of 2 years ago? or was that about another Mac before you bought the Mac Pro?

    Thank you

  7. Mark Grapengater 7 December, 2007 at 23:30 Reply

    That’s the killer tip Matt. You answered my final hesitations.

    Here’s a question: As a Flickr account user, most of the time I just upload my final jpg after all my editing needs are done and I don’t notice any color issues. Lately though, I’ve started to notice that the web is killing the colors in my photos and giving me a very flat image. How do we now when to convert to web colors and when can we just upload our original?


  8. Nina Zacuto 7 December, 2007 at 22:21 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I get that when you edit in photoshop from lightroom and then save the file it shows up in lightroom as an edited PSD or Tiff. But, what happens if you then re-open the PSD or Tiff from outside lightroom and make another tweak,
    do you then have to re-import the file back into lightroom if you want to print or make other developing changes? I find I end up making those additional changes using the tools in photoshop rather then re-import and then I print using photoshop.

  9. Ryan Dlugosz 7 December, 2007 at 19:53 Reply

    Matt – thanks for the reply! And for what it’s worth I agree – though the technical consideration behind reason for only using 16-bit with ProPhoto is sound, at the end of the day it’s what’s really in the output that matters – not what theoretically ‘might’ be there. -Ryan

  10. mattk 7 December, 2007 at 12:28 Reply

    Hi Ken,
    I work on a laptop because of mobility. Whenever I had a desktop and a laptop you can guarantee where the file I needed always was – on the other computer. 🙂 So now I have a Macbook Pro laptop.
    – 2.3 Ghz with 3 GB Ram

    I absolutely have performance issues with it. It doesn’t keep up the way I’d like it to and the fan is constantly kicking on and it runs hot. It feels like it takes me as long to do things as it did 3 years ago. Frankly, it’s not even as fast as the 2 year old Dell I still have for the PC work I need to do. That said, I came from PC and decided to give Mac a try for 6 months. That was a year ago and I haven’t went back. I’ll give them this much – it just works. I don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty stuff I used to have to worry about with a PC. As a photographer (or designer) I think Macs tend to work well because they think a little more like we think – creatively. Heck look at Apple’s commercials and you can tell that’s who they’re catering to. They make fun of people who have to work with Excel spreadsheets. Their audience is cool with that but 95% of the people I know that are not in this industry MUST use Excel spreadsheets every day for work. That’s just not their audience. Would I recommend a Mac to my mom? Nope. But for me it seems to be sticking well. Keep one thing in mind though. Nothing on the mac works “better” per se. Photoshop runs exactly the same as it does on a PC, as does Lightroom. So don’t expect the world to miraculously change if you switch. Macs still crash just like PCs do. The main difference is that the PC gives you the “blue screen of death” while the mac shows you a nice colorful spinning “beach ball of death”.
    In the end, the proof is in what I still use, and that’s the Mac. I don’t see myself going back to PC anytime soon.

    Hope this helps.
    Matt K

  11. Ken Lawson 7 December, 2007 at 12:02 Reply


    I have a subjective question to ask. I notice you use Mac (laptop, I assume).

    I may switch from the evil empire (lol) to Apple. Not sure to go with laptop or desktop. I lean toward laptop. So, do you have any performance issues, that is, hanging, slowness using a laptop with apple (programs like Adobe CS3, flash,etc?), if not, how is your unit configured.

    Please be as candid as possible, knowing you are in the public view.


  12. Dennis Dwyer 7 December, 2007 at 11:39 Reply

    Hello Matt.
    As a potential user of Lightroom (I hope to purchase in the coming weeks) I have to say that my decision to head in that direction is largely based on attending Scott’s Lightroom seminar here in Tampa and your blog site. I highly recommend this site for anyone who’s even thinking about acquiring Lightroom. It may very well answer those naggy little questions that go through one’s mind when considering spending that much money (like the “Can I do” questions”). I do have one question. Is there something special that is needed to view the videos you post? I look at your site on a couple of different computers and on one it works fine but on the other when I click on open I get a screen full of hieroglyphics. Granted one system is still XP and the other is Vista but I’m certain that’s not it. What software do you invoke to run your videos? Thanks and keep those tips coming. When I get my copy of Lightroom I will most assuredly be reviewing the history to catch up.

  13. mattk 7 December, 2007 at 10:25 Reply

    Florent – I know you’ve asked about this before. I found these links by doing a quick google search. I don’t use either tab nor do any photographers I know so I figure it’s better to point you somewhere else.

    To anyone who asked about ProPhoto vs Adobe RGB – I don’t think you’re hurting anything by staying with ProPhoto into Photoshop and back. This debate often takes on the tones of a religion or politics debate though. 😉 Here’s a link to check out if you want to learn more:

    Glyn – No problem. I like to give credit where credit is due and you inspired the video

    Jose – Generally, I don’t tweak the PSD file once back in LR. Maybe sometimes if I find the Exposure is off a bit. However, you can tweak it just like you could a JPG or TIFF.

    David – You’d just update your website with a new one from LR once you’ve removed/added any images. Basically, do whatever you did the first time to upload the site, and replace the existing site.

    Ryan and Glen – I had actually mentioned this in the first version of the tutorial I recorded but had a problem with it so I had to re-record. In a nutshell, I only use 16-bit if I’ve got a major problem (exposure or color) with the photo that I need to address in Photoshop. Otherwise, I stick with 8-bit. Half the file size and Photoshop runs much faster, plus no settings are grayed out like they are in 16 bit. In the end, I’ve compared both 8-bit and 16-bit prints and I can’t tell the difference.

    Andrew – I’d be happy to take a more in depth look at it but I haven’t come across any real world situations to teach/use this. If you’ve got any then let me know. Thanks.

    Rusty – No. You’ve got to go File > Export and send them a JPEG.

    Kelvin – In the Library module you can use the Sort order list in the toolbar to sort by file type.

    Jerry – Nope. Can’t open the LR file as a Smart Object in Photoshop

    Thanks for all of the feedback and comments everyone! You’re really helping make this part of the site a useful resource in and of itself.

    Matt K

  14. Sera 7 December, 2007 at 07:09 Reply

    One more new idea for a topic to cover:

    What happens with Bridge when using Lightroom?
    Deinstall it, or are there any features how to work together with Lightroom and Bridge?


  15. Jerry 7 December, 2007 at 01:27 Reply


    I really enjoy your site and your a great teacher.

    One question on today’s topic though. Is there a way to open a file from LR in Photoshop as a smart object? For example, there are times when you may want to have two different adjusted versions of a photo to correct a sky or to balance different exposure levels in a photo. In ADR you can hold the shift key down and open the photo as a smart object, but I haven’t found this option in LR. The work around that I have been using is to create the two different adjusted photos in LR as PSDs and then Export them into Photoshop and then layer them from there. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks again and I appreciate all your hard work teaching us.


  16. Michael 6 December, 2007 at 19:13 Reply


    This is a comment from another viewer:
    I noticed you use ProPhoto RGB as the color space. Considering no printer can reproduce that color space, why not use Adobe RGB(1998)?

    My question is: When & why should I use ProPhoto RGB ? I use Adobe RGB(1998) in my camera and in Photoshop. I change to sRGB for web images.
    Is that a good way to go??

    Would you make a video on which color space to use and why,when & where?

    Thank you for the GREAT website!

  17. Kelvin Leung 6 December, 2007 at 17:31 Reply


    Thanks for your video tutorial and I always enjoy it very much. I’ve using this LR to launch PS since it came out. It’s neat that the flow is so smooth between LR and PS. I have a comment / suggestion about this in LR.

    Usually I create a brand new catalog for each shoot / event. So, within each catalog, I adjust the basic settings in LR, then I might need to work on some pictures in PS so I create a PSD copies for those RAW files. Then I’ll probably create virtual copies from the PSD files to generate BW/COLOR/SEPIA version. So in the end, my catalog will have pictures with several versions stacking up and it’s quite difficult to navigate / locate different versions. In the Browse mode, I can’t differentiate them unless I zoom out to see the filename. The solution I use is flagging them with color, or create COLLECTIONS say “COLOR”, “BW’, “SEPIA”. It would be nice if LR allows filtering by file type, then I know which are the RAW, PSD and VIRTUAL COPIES (I know there is virtual copy flag in LR right now)


  18. David 6 December, 2007 at 12:52 Reply

    I… 2nd what Freddi said
    They say the first thing to go is your memory(my mem has been gone along time )
    …..cliff notes would be awsume…and or an index of what was written, when it was written & where to find again

    Thanks Mike…sorry…… I meant Matt

  19. Andrew 6 December, 2007 at 10:42 Reply

    Hi Matt – when time permits would you be able to do a session ON the metadata interaction between Bridge and LR. When you add say keywords to a jpeg in bridge (i find it more efficient than LR) that already has been imported in LR, can you explain the mechanism that LR uses to flag you that the the data has been modfied externally..and vice versa i.e you need to make sure that you write back the metatafd from LR to bridge when the metadata is modiofied in LR…othwerise you will not see the metadata when viewing the picture from bridge.

  20. Charity Marek 6 December, 2007 at 09:00 Reply

    Matt, thanks so much for this video. It was very helpful. I’ve had questions regarding going back and forth with the same file into LR and PS. This makes it clear. Great videos and tons of help here as always.


  21. Glen 6 December, 2007 at 02:31 Reply

    Great tute!! This clarifies a lot for me, too.
    I did notice that you’re using ProPhoto, but only in 8 bit mode when you go into CS3. Any reason why you don’t use 16 bit mode?

    Thanks for all your hard work doing these tips.

  22. Freddi 6 December, 2007 at 02:26 Reply

    Great explanation re saving in Photoshop. I have a question off topic, but related to the holidays. All I want for Christmas is a Cliff Notes for Lightroom. I’ve read books, taken classes and watched videos, but I always forget simple little things like how to put the filters in, how to take them out, and other basic items like that. I don’t want to search through all the videos, or reread long bits of text, I just want bullet points.

    Thanks for listening.


  23. Ed Goodfellow 5 December, 2007 at 21:00 Reply

    Hi, I’d like to put in my $0.015 worth on colour spaces if you don’t mind. I’m saying 1.5 cents rather than 2 cents because I expect many people to disagree with me:)

    I used to process my images in ProPhoto RGB, but when I was showing them to a client I always had to export them into sRGB. If I didn’t do that, they wouldn’t like them because of the terrible colour, and the fact that everyone who isn’t into imaging just looks at jpg files using their windows viewer, which does not seem to recognize colour spaces. Now, I just do everything in sRGB and I probably will until the rest of the world catches up to ProPhotoRGB and AdobeRGB. Beautiful work is nothing if it isn’t appreciated by the client.


  24. Ryan Dlugosz 5 December, 2007 at 19:34 Reply

    Hey Matt – great video tutorial. I wanted to mention a potential problem with your Edit in Photoshop export settings.

    In the video, it looks like you’re using the ProPhoto RGB color space (as you well should), but you’re exporting an 8-bit file. It is my understanding that ProPhoto was designed for use with 16-bit images and that you are at risk of introducing some banding artifacts if you’re working in the 8-bit mode.

    On a related note, when converting color spaces from Pro Photo to something else (like sRGB) it’s important that you do this conversion *first* and then convert down to 8-bit once you’re outside the ProPhoto space.

    ProPhoto is the best space for maintaining all of the available color information in your images, but with great power comes great responsibility. 🙂

  25. Doug 5 December, 2007 at 18:59 Reply


    Love the Lightroom Killer Tips website (along with Photoshop Killer Tips, Photshop TV, etc.). How about a podcast on how to create a Lightroom gallery or a link directory to other galleries available for Lightroom? recently published their SlideShowPro for Lightroom which is a fantastic addition to Lightroom.

    Thanks, as always, for all you do for us. I’m addicted!

  26. David 5 December, 2007 at 18:38 Reply

    Thanks Matt that was a very helpful video.

    Matt I have been able to post images on web site.With LR
    And I am sure my question is so simple…..but just for the life of me I just can’t figure it out…once images are on site ….are you ready? I know you can hardly stand it….hear it comes….how do you get them back off?
    I feel so much better.
    Thanks Matt

  27. Florent 5 December, 2007 at 18:08 Reply

    Wonderful, thanks Matt for the video!
    How about explaining the last two tabs of the Develop module, namely ‘Lens Corrections/Chromatic Aberration/Defringe’ and ‘Camera Calibration’ in your next video–that’ll be so useful to all LR users…thanks!
    Best regards–Florent.

  28. Jose 5 December, 2007 at 18:03 Reply


    When back into Lightroom with the psd file, Lighroom allows extra Lightroom-type tweaks to the psd file. Is that a bad idea, a good idea, or does it matter at all?

    I am often tempted to do that, but I never know if doing Lightroom tweaks to psd files may somehow be unhealthy to them… Any thoughts on this?

  29. Glyn Dewis 5 December, 2007 at 17:28 Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning me in this post; it’s great to know that I was able to give you an idea for a topic.

    Keep up the great work :o)

    All the best to you and yours,

    ps> Considering me a friend … now that ROCKS!

  30. Sera 5 December, 2007 at 16:53 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    thanks for your Lightroom website and the itunes podcast.
    I’m really curious for new ideas from your blog, every week again ;).

    Perhaps it is important to mention, that it is possible to configure the naming
    for generated psd files from lightroom by the lightroom preferences.
    In the 4th tab called “external editing” i think (i own the german version, is it possible to switch the language version in lightroom, cause i dont know the english menu names?). At the bottom you can define custom namings for your psd files.

    And one offtopic question 😉 :
    Matt what is this little phone icon in your menubar?
    I don’t know this.

    Thanks again for this great Lightroom related website!!!

  31. Tom 5 December, 2007 at 16:45 Reply


    Can you explain more about the color space. For example, after I’ve adjusted photos in lightroom, I often export them to a website (eg, kodak etc) for printing. Many of them come back very washed out and I’m not sure but think this may be related to the color space being used. I’ve been using prophoto and often shoot in RAW.

    Thanks for your advice

  32. Tim 5 December, 2007 at 14:53 Reply

    I noticed you use ProPhoto RGB as the color space. Considering no printer can reproduce that color space, why not use Adobe RGB(1998)?

  33. Kevin Zdyb 5 December, 2007 at 14:35 Reply

    Thank you for clarifying this subject. I have struggled with this since purchasing Scott’s 7 point book and your video really helped me see how all this works!!
    Keep up the great work!!

  34. stefano 5 December, 2007 at 14:02 Reply

    you should not remove the DNG! it is like throwing away the “negative” after you made the”print”.

    Hopefully you havent trashed but only removed the DNG. You look for the PSD in the finder folder and the DNG should be just above if you look at the files as a list ordered by name…

  35. Paul 5 December, 2007 at 13:16 Reply

    I love Lightroom, I always have. There’s very little not to like about Lightroom and your psd article has come at the right time – I have a question.

    All imports I do convert from a nef file to dng into one folder and minor tone changes are made in LR. For other editing I open as a psd doc into Photoshop ultimately saving this psd doc.

    Usually once I’ve saved the doc I ‘Remove’ the dng document leaving only the psd in LR but there are occassions when I want to revisit the DNG. Lightroom won’t import the DNG claiming that it already appears in Lightroom and when I ask it to show me where, it directs me to the psd.

    I’m confused – is there a workaround or am I missing something?

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