Lightroom Videos

Video – Saving Files Between LR and Photoshop

This week’s video is kinda like a public service announcement. Earlier in the week, Scott Kelby called and said he saw a weird glitch when saving a photo in Photoshop that came from Lightroom. He asked if it happened to me when I tried, and sure enough it did. I tried to write it out, but I realized it was just taking too long and a video is much easier to show. Now, before you watch it you should realize its not the end of the world. Lightroom’s Photoshop integration still works just fine. Its just something to be aware of (if you happen to be doing something similar to what we were doing) in case it happens to you. Enjoy!

Click here to download the video to your computer. [Right-click and choose the “Save As” option]



  1. Benjamin D. Bloom 13 October, 2009 at 12:33 Reply

    I have a different solution for this problem. I use two features of Lightroom differently depending on the final destination of the image.

    If my goal is to edit an image in Photoshop and round-trip the image back into Lightroom, I use the “Edit in Photoshop” command.

    If my goal is to one-off an image that will no longer need to be managed by Lightroom, I use the “Export” feature and export it as a PSD (with Open in Photoshop selected as the action upon completion.) This way, I’ve severed all ties to Lightroom from the first step.

  2. Skip 29 September, 2009 at 14:52 Reply

    Question; I export from LR collection to CS4 for purpose of soft proofing; duplicate the image in CS4 (gets copy designation); softproof copy to match original; save as (new name) copy but it doesn’t show up in LR; however, I go to Windows Explorer and it is there!? what am I doing wrong here; want both the original and the softproofed adjusted image back in the collection;

    thanks for any direction here.

  3. Mike 22 September, 2009 at 01:10 Reply

    Hi, I just started using an iPhone to watch my podcasts – previously I used a smartphone to watch them whilst travelling. However the iPhone/iPod does not play flash movies so I can’t watch them any more.

  4. Gary 17 September, 2009 at 23:53 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Long time fan of the website, first time commenter. I even recommended you site to the Australian Capture Magazine’s Top 5 Website List for photographers. Been enjoying your videos over at as well.

    Ok, let’s get on with it.

    I’m still have issues with saving files back into LR once they’re opened in Photoshop….

    I’m using LR 2.4 & PS CS4. When I open a RAW file in Photoshop after clicking Edit In External Editor, make the appropriate edits, and SAVE, the file is saved as a PSD into the same folder as the original RAW file but is NOT automatically imported back into LR. Instead, I’ve got to Synchronize Folder every time I open, edit, and save a RAW file in Photoshop. Frustrating, to say the least.

    Am I missing something?? Too much Aussie sun perhaps? This seems similar, but a little different, than your video, so any help or advice would be fantastic!

    Cheers Matt! Keep up the good work! 🙂 ~ Gary

  5. sharon 30 August, 2009 at 18:56 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    This isnt a lightroom related question – but is to do with this podcast. I subscribed to this podcast through itunes a ling time ago, and have had very little problems with it till now, when there are a number of the videos which will play fine on my pc, but will not sync onto my ipod. Have I changed a setting or something? I am really missing all this helpful advice,
    Thanks for all you have taught me so far

  6. Pam 30 August, 2009 at 10:33 Reply

    Thanks Matt … your videos and explanations are a HUGE help! So, I thought I was understanding the LR/PS relationship, but then I read this:

    and now I’m more confused than I was originally. (That happens often.) I’m going to re-read everything … again. Also, I can’t understand why when I ‘edit in PS’ my file roundtrips back to LR with no problem … but when I ‘edit as smart object in PS’ it doesn’t and I have to find it. Thoughts?

  7. Michelle 29 August, 2009 at 18:26 Reply

    Can anyone direct me to some help on just Lightroom? I am using the 30 day trial, I am very much a novice, and I am having problems with LR skewing my edited photos after I have exported them to their original folder.

    Are there any sites with tutorals?

    I have caught on quick in just a few days, but I know there is lots more I need to learn.
    Thanks, Michelle

  8. Ron 29 August, 2009 at 16:43 Reply


    Thats the reason I just export a new copy as a tiff or psd to another folder inside my main shoot folder for that shoot. If LR is closed when you open
    the newly exported file, it breaks the link and eliminates the problem.
    As I said in previous post, you can always sync the main shoot folder and import any photos you want to do more in LR with. And you can import selectively ONLY the ones you want.


  9. Ced 29 August, 2009 at 11:50 Reply

    Matt –
    Thanks for this warning/tip and for all the other teaching / helping you do.

    I’ve not tested this idea but I’m wondering if another work around for this problem is to simply do the 2nd save as another “save as…” and make sure the file you really wanted to change comes up (or gets selected) in the save as dialog. Then all you’d have to do is agree to the normal warning message that comes up about overwriting a file (that would be “test2” in your example).

  10. Patrick DS 29 August, 2009 at 06:07 Reply


    I don’t think the “bug” can be fixed in PS alone as the cause lies in the fact that LR is *sharing* the open file, even if it’s already “saved” – but not closed!!! – under a different name by PS. Technically speaking, LR still has a grasp on that “saved” file as long as it’s not closed! The fact that PS is renaming the file upon invoking the “Save” command (after having done a Save As) is not the bug itself, it’s simply a consequence of it.

    Again: has someone tried to simulate this with iPhoto or another editing program apart from Photoshop? If not, I will try and do so this afternoon (using iPhoto as the external editor). If the same thing happens in iPhoto, the “bug” is not PS-related at al


  11. Kevin 29 August, 2009 at 01:39 Reply

    Just to be clear here… The bug is that PS is renaming a file when you invoke the ‘save’ command.

    That is most DEFINITELY a bug. (creating a different file name when you hit “save” = bug. Always.) Cool for an autosave, a ‘save as’, an export, a ‘save a copy’ or practically any OTHER kind of save you can think of, but NOT cool for a plain old run-of-the-mill ‘save’.

    Also, it doesn’t overwrite the original, because when it renames it, it uses the “-Edit” syntax that you have defined in your LR preferences for edited files. (It’s -edit by default; you can reset that to whatever you want in LR prefs.)

    The fact that it alters the original’s name and doesn’t overwrite averts destructive edits, but it’s a really irritating bug that I have fallen victim to regularly. The bug is in PS and its file handler; hopefully Adobe will fix it in an upcoming dot-rev of PS.

  12. Patrick DS 28 August, 2009 at 05:34 Reply


    Way too complicated and time-consuming IMO. Matt pointed at the solution for this “annoyance” at the end of his video: simply closing and re-opening the file in PS right after the (first) “Save As…” action will break the link between the “new” (but actually still just a virtual copy of the “old”) file and Lightroom. It’s very easy to make this whole procedure (Save As – Close – Open) into a PS action. One click and the problem is solved.

    BTW, I’m unsure if this “bug” can be fixed easily. It’s all related to the way open files are shared between LR and PS (and any other editing program for that matter – did anyone try to simulate this in iPhoto on OS X or something similar on the Windows platform for example?). Simply doing a “Save As…” on an open file that is shared by LR is – at this moment – not sufficient to break the link between the file and LR. Closing the file, however, clearly is. And then there’s also the way the Operating System itself (OS X – Windows) handles this kind of sharing open files. Programmers’ territory, obviously.


  13. Ron 28 August, 2009 at 01:56 Reply

    Ok, i have a tip to fix this,

    I go ahead and select the pics i am gonna do something to in PS. I export them to the same folder as the raws as tiffs or psd. I then open in ps and do my edits and save as to another folder next to those raws called edited. after i am done i then re imort them by using the sycronize folder option in lr. i can then update the raw folder and the edit folder in lr and continue on any further things i need to do in lr if i need to.

    so my organization is this

    main folder for shoot ( shoot name )
    sub folder inside (raws)
    another sub (edited)
    another sub (jpegs)
    another sub ect..
    all sub folders are created inside the main folder that is named the shoot i did. for me it keeps everything in 1 place for that shoot and i can just syncronized the main folder in lr to update or import selected photos for print,web ect.


  14. ned leary 27 August, 2009 at 17:42 Reply

    Matt, long time reader here…question…I export my LR files as jpegs to a folder for uploading to my website…I also change the file name to something more picture specific as I also have (about to) an online store. Is there a way to create an action to do this…as it is now I go into my website Director to upload. Also, wonder if there is a way to “link back” to the photo in LR…as it is now I “hope” I am looking at the same photo I uploaded when I go to print for sale….or once renamed can’t be done?

    Thanks for what you and Scott do…it is very much appreciated!

  15. AnneMarieZ 27 August, 2009 at 16:37 Reply

    I am having the same difficulty as Vince. I thought I was saving in my normal place like I would normall in CS4. Unfortunately, I have tried to go back to files in LR2 and found that there is a question mark there.. only telling me to locate the files myself and reimport. When I do import it goes into another place and yet another hunt begins. What is going on and how can I prevent this in the future??
    Thanks for your help!

  16. Jeff Maihara 27 August, 2009 at 15:03 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the video. I’ve seen this happen to me a couple of times. Is there anyway around the problem so we don’t have a lot of unneeded files in LR and spend a lot of time wondering where they went?


  17. Steve Wetzel 27 August, 2009 at 13:04 Reply


    Thank you for pointing this out. It seems to me that this is a bug and should be fixed by Adobe would you agree?

    This video was nice but what I would really like to know is how do you create steam in lightroom? 😉

    Sorry to waste your time with that last remark 🙂

    Steve (partial time waster)

  18. Kevin 27 August, 2009 at 11:50 Reply

    Thanks for the great information!!! For every one clown there is 99 of us that REALLY appreciate all that you do!!! Keep the video’s coming…..

  19. John T. 27 August, 2009 at 11:32 Reply

    Thanks, Matt. That can indeed be confusing. I appreciate you pointing it out and providing a video to thoroughly explain it.

    Folks, don’t fee the troll. 🙂

  20. Rivo 27 August, 2009 at 05:21 Reply

    You have in this video a short section about signature. Can you explane how you made that signature file.Your way to add a signature is faster,my method is 3x slower.

  21. Mike Couch 26 August, 2009 at 14:05 Reply

    To KC:
    Could you be more ungrateful?

    Matt is trying to help you avoid a potential problem, and he’s doing it for free. Instead of whining about how he delivered your free help, why don’t you say just say thanks and move on.

    KC, since you obviously have a whole self-importance thing going on, I’ll waste some of my time to do what you should have done in the first place: thank you Matt for looking out for us. We appreciate everything you do.

  22. Ron 26 August, 2009 at 12:49 Reply

    HEY KC,




    Matt thanks ,
    you and the entire NAPP are an great asset and wealth of knowledge to all.

  23. Vincent Iñaki 26 August, 2009 at 11:52 Reply

    I don’t think that’s correct, Szabi… In the video the file in Lr was doubled, just like Lr would do when you just hit save in Ps instead of ‘Save as’. Your original is still intact. At least that’s what I think…

  24. Szabi 26 August, 2009 at 11:21 Reply

    Great tip, Matt. That’s kinda interesting, really. So basically when you Saves As the second time and the file name changes over again to the original, then you overwrite the original file that came from Lr, right? That can be a bit dangerous because of two things. 1. When you Save As the second time you think that all the changes are saved to your “Test2” file, which they are not and 2. your original file from Lightroom gets altered in a way that you didn’t intend to. Not cool.


  25. mattk 26 August, 2009 at 10:46 Reply

    Thanks JEF,
    Don’t worry, I don’t let ’em get to me. I wrote it with a smile on my face. I kinda like picking on goobers like that. I know 99% of you like the videos so I don’t bother much with the 1% 🙂

    Matt K (Super Time Waster)

  26. Vincent Iñaki 26 August, 2009 at 10:20 Reply

    I’m having all sorts of problems with the integration between Lr en Ps. My files never come back to Lr ever. Adobe can’t (or doesn’t want to) solve the problem, so I’m just waiting for Snow Leopard to do a clean upgrade and hope Lr en Ps will play together nicely… Now I have to manually import the files back into Lr, and that’s a real pain in the back! A real time-waister like these video’s! 😉

    Great day too,

  27. mattk 26 August, 2009 at 09:34 Reply

    Dear KC,
    Sorry my free content is bothersome and inconvenient to you. I will promptly refund your money 🙂

    Have a great day!
    – Matt K (time waster)

  28. KC 26 August, 2009 at 09:20 Reply

    It would be nice to know what the glitch is without having to download and watch a video.

    What is “something to be aware of”? Would another sentence or three have killed you? Leave the video to actually demonstrate the glitch as it happens, but knowing what the glitch is ahead of time would be nice so I don’t have to waste my time with a video.

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