The Lightroom catalog

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is built atop a database architecture that relies on a centralized catalog to house information about your still images and video files.

One of the most common questions I'm asked about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom from new (and sometimes not so new) users is, 'Why do you have to import photos to the catalog first before you are able to edit them?' The answer to this question goes right to the heart of Lightroom's approach to information storage and retrieval, which to my mind more adequately addresses the needs of today's photographer. In this article I'll lay out the basic principles of image management in Lightroom and explain how this approach can actually make the task of locating your images more efficient.

Image browser vs. database manager

As computer users who've come of age during the PC revolution, we have grown accustomed to the idea that everything needs to be sorted into folders, and indeed folder hierarchies have become the primary means of organization. This file directory management approach may make sense with task-specific Word documents but becomes extremely limiting when applied to large collections of less easily-defined images. Yet this is exactly how image browser software, like Adobe Bridge operate. For all their admittedly useful features, they simply browse the existing folder structure on your hard drive.

And my chief complaint about sorting images by folders is the very real problem of determining just which folder they should go in. Someone once told me about an underwater photographer who maintained a small photo library of his work. When adding new transparencies, he would have dupes made so that a photograph of say, a diver with a shark could be filed in one set of physical folders labeled ‘sharks’, another named ‘divers’ and another broken down by ‘location’. This physical duplication was necessary in order to make the library system work effectively, but no one would call it efficient. Yet there are people who work this way with digital files precisely because they are not using a database-driven management system.

Here is an example of an underwater photo (in this instance a photo shot by Jeff Schewe). It makes sense to categorize this by the location it was shot in, the presence of a diver, as well as the coral featured in the foreground. In the folder-based example I mentioned above this could involve duplicating the master image several times. Using digital asset management software such as Phase One Media Pro or Lightroom, however, there is no need to create physical duplicates.

I can't count the number of times I have sat through a seminar where the instructor has come unstuck when relying on folder/browser navigation to locate their demo files. Meanwhile, the audience waits impatiently while the instructor sifts through a complex hierarchy structure of folders known only to himself. Sound familiar?

Database management programs designed specifically for photographs were developed to tame such chaos. One of the first and most well-known was iView Media Pro. The company behind it was acquired, first by Microsoft which renamed it Expression Media, but is now developed by Phase One and sold as Phase One Media Pro. Extensis Portfolio was another option available, but it was the launch in 2005 of Aperture from Apple that showed how one could combine the power of a database with image editing tools to provide an all-in-one solution for photographers. Adobe's entry, in the form of Lightroom, launched soon after.

Point a browser-based app like Adobe Bridge (shown here) at a folder on your hard drive and you'll see everything that’s on the computer. By contrast, the Lightroom Import dialog, pointed at the same folder, only shows the three JPEGs files located there.

What all these database-driven apps have in common is that you have to explicitly import media files into the program, adding them to an app-specific catalog, which is the primary holder of all your image data. This process, while it may seem an unnecessary step, is required in order to build a catalog of files made up exclusively of the images and videos you have deemed relevant. One under-appreciated aspect of the import process is that when you select a directory containing many different types of data, i.e., music files, spreadsheets or Word documents, the software filters out any file formats it does not support. This can work to your advantage as you only see the files you'd actually consider working with and don't have to bother wading through irrelevant files.

Metadata: Your new best friend

Instead of relying on a folder structure to sort your images you can manage your photos much more effectively by using keyword and EXIF metadata. Metadata - literally data about your data - is vital to managing any collection of digital files. In fact, placing an image inside a descriptively named folder amounts to a very rudimentary type of metadata; an identifier that can be used to help locate the data stored in that folder.

Keywords

Keywording is a very robust form of user-generated metadata that allows you to apply multiple descriptive tags to an individual file. Let’s return to the underwater photographer example I mentioned earlier. This guy could choose to replicate his film library system by placing duplicate image files in multiple folders that could be read by a file browser. With a database-driven cataloging program, however, he would only need to import one master image and then use the cataloging software to append multiple keyword metadata tags to identify the image. With a program like Lightroom it is fairly easy to create varied collections of photos in which multiple instances of a single master photo appear in more than one collection. No files are duplicated on your hard drive. The single master image is simply referenced multiple times by the catalog. Edit that master image later on, say by converting it from color to BW, and the new version is automatically propagated in every collection. That's about as close to a free lunch as you'll get.

Here is a photo of a male model I shot in Italy. My Lightroom catalog contains only a single master file but the image belongs to five separate collections (virtual folders). You can't do this in a folder-based management system without creating duplicates, or at least aliases, of the original digital file.

Crucially, once you start getting into the habit of tagging your photos with metadata, it then becomes easier to find them. Imagine trying to locate an image on someone else’s computer using a folder browsing method only. You could start by looking inside the My Pictures folder, but where would you look next? For that matter how successful are you at navigating your own Pictures folder? We have all struggled at times to locate a specific file that we know is on the computer system somewhere.

An extensive keyword list makes it very easy to filter the Lightroom grid to show specific images grouped together, even if their master files reside in separate folders or even hard drives. As an alternative to scrolling down a long list of keywords, Lightroom offers a search box (shown in red). As you type, Lightroom automatically filters the list to include potential keyword matches.

With keywording the task becomes simple. If you know how to do a Google search you already know how to search by metadata. In my opinion, this is where the database/catalog method of managing your image library makes your life much easier.

This photograph of a pagoda building was photographed in Victoria Park, close to the London Olympic Stadium (My, how this park has changed prior to the Olympics coming to town!)
Looking at the Keywording panel in Lightroom you can see a list of all the keyword metadata that I manually added to the above photo. The more keywords you add to individual photos, the easier it will be to retrieve them when carrying out a photo search.

Click here to continue reading our Lightroom Catalog article...

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 315
12
Scorpius1
By Scorpius1 (Dec 29, 2012)

I find LR4 pretty easy to deal with,the catalogue is a virtual library,importing files already on your drive are not duplicated but relocated to the folder of choice in the database,the actual raw conversion engine is excellent,I think as good as C1P and the fact that most of the best plug-ins can be added to the app is sweet... it could be a little faster but i can live with it.. overall I like it..

0 upvotes
fuego6
By fuego6 (Dec 29, 2012)

What isn't mentioned... and the one item I don't like about LR... is its inability to understand a drag/drop or "open with" from another application of OS. I love the catalog feature.. but - if an image is already cataloged in the database and I drag it onto LR (or use Open with.. LR), LR should be smart enough to find the path from the image and just show you the image in its database (edits and all)... not require you to re-import the image and force you into the importer... STUPID!!

If they could just make this change, then I could use LR as my main database/editor and use other tools as well as ways to locate and edit images on my system...

I know I can use ACR for this.. but - ACR doesn't save RAW edts so they would not appear for images without them...

Come on LR... make the move!

2 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

Why are you finding the need to drag a file in from Explorer? I'm guessing Adobe never added this feature because it's against the "ethos" of Lightroom - whatever you're doing to find an image in Explorer, it should have been easier to find the image in Lightroom in the first place.

Having said that, this is such a quick and easy feature to add to the app, I tend to agree that Adobe should just throw it in there to keep everyone happy. :)

1 upvote
Thomas Kachadurian
By Thomas Kachadurian (Dec 29, 2012)

"I know I can use ACR for this.. but - ACR doesn't save RAW edts so they would not appear for images without them..."

Sure it does. If you use DNG, all the edits are stored right in the raw file, not a sidecar. With snapshots you can store several different recipes in the original file. In practice that mean all I need is the single DNG file and I have my original data and various cooked versions. I don't need a data file, data base, nothing. I store that one DNG file and I have it all.

1 upvote
grahamdyke
By grahamdyke (Dec 30, 2012)

Not sure why LR would not find an existing cataloged image if you dragged and dropped the same image on LR again? If you perform this same action in Elements Organiser, it will not reimport the same image, but gives an error message telling you that the image already exists in the catalog, even if you have moved the image.

1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (Dec 30, 2012)

The reason for doing a "Drag/drop" - I always used Idimager as my main DAM application for its superior cataloging abiilties.. but I enjoy using LR as a RAW editor, printer, web design and now, book designer. I also like how LR does the GPS module which Idimager is terrible at... so, I would like to choose 10 images, drag into LR, have LR already see these images were edited, bring up those edits and then allow me to do what I want. Seems like a silly "single minded" stance by Adobe to not allow this.. should be simple to do!

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (Dec 31, 2012)

I'm very curious now as to what cataloguing abilities Idimager gives you that LR doesn't, since LR has always seemed pretty comprehensive in that regard.

Also, while searching for information about Idimager, I came across this page: -

http://www.idimager.com/WP/?page_id=20

It seems to imply that the app supports one-click editing of images "in your favourite photo editing tool". It even shows the LR icon in the image next to this statement. Are you running a different version of Idimager than this, or is their integration not as smooth as they make out? Perhaps you could contact them about this?

0 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Dec 29, 2012)

"which to my mind more adequately addresses the needs of today's photographer."

I stopped reading after this sentence.

4 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

Why's that, someone at the door? Browser crash? Short attention span?

12 upvotes
Jack Hogan
By Jack Hogan (Dec 31, 2012)

One can add tags and keywords with any number of programs or raw converters and one can search easily by virtually any parameter in windows explorer or WLPG or whatever, easily keeping them all synced in an easy to understand non-autocratic file structure.

I find LR is very messy with my three computer (three different locations) + network drive set up.

0 upvotes
Yarrus
By Yarrus (Dec 29, 2012)

I not use adobe at al. Prefere nikon VNX(free) browser for organise and Phase One for editing. No pain with catalogs, it seems me stupid organise catalog and waste the system when i can spend the same time for directly organise photos into folders.

0 upvotes
Esign
By Esign (Dec 29, 2012)

Exactly, what is "Develop" in LR? To me, that includes using some liquids.

2 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 29, 2012)

It is an aknowledgement to the traditions of darkroom processes. LR is not the only app to use terms like this.

1 upvote
Aaron Shepard
By Aaron Shepard (Dec 29, 2012)

What drives me nuts, though, about using both Lightroom and Bridge-Camera Raw is that they can't read each other's Collections. I mean, they're both Adobe products. Can we please have a little bit of compatibility?

1 upvote
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

As explained in the article, Lightroom and Bridge have very different approaches to cataloging images, so it would be hard to imagine an efficient way in which they could work together.

As a Lightroom user, I'm curious what situations cause you to resort to using Bridge? I don't find myself needing it, as Lightroom addresses most of my needs, and I can go straight from there to Photoshop on the rare occasions I need to do any heavy editing.

0 upvotes
Aaron Shepard
By Aaron Shepard (Dec 29, 2012)

I use Lightning for printing, because it excels at that. But I use Bridge and Camera Raw for editing, for several reasons:

-- Commands are much easier to locate than in Lightroom, which seems to revel in hiding important functions, including important ones available ONLY if you know the keyboard commands.

-- Camera Raw lets you choose the color space you want to edit in by changing the output space. The histogram then conforms to that space. Lightroom pretty much sticks you with ProPhoto, which isn't best for book publishing and doesn't match the original space of my camera's JPEGs. (Or do the new proofing functions take care of that?)

-- Camera Raw doesn't mess with your mind by asking you how to reconcile differences between image data and catalog data. It just reads the image data.

-- Most important, the editing area of Camera Raw is bigger than Lightroom's, so you can see more of your picture or see the whole thing bigger. This is important if you don't have a huge monitor.

2 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 29, 2012)

-- Examples of hidden commands in LR, please? Speaking of keyboard commands, one should learn to use them to increase workflow efficiency anyways.

-- LR sticks to ProPhoto, true. But you can export files to other color spaces in the Export dialog box. My workflow is pretty much Adobe 1998, which is smaller than ProPhoto (but not as small as sRGB). But I've adapted just fine. For color/density critical stuff, I get the image in the ballpark in LR while leaving some breathing room in the histo before sending off to PS as an Adobe RGB TIFF and finish the image off in PS.

-- Just have LR update using the image data just like ACR. No need to let it mess with your head. Don't let the software rule you. You're the ALPHA dog :-)

-- Haven't used Camera Raw in a while. I'm using a 24" 16:10 monitor and I can toggle into full screen mode with the F and Tab keys easily enough.

ACR and LR's raw conversion engine is the same, so I stick with LR since I use it for image management.

4 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 29, 2012)

Not sure why Prophoto is bad for book publishing - Prophoto is just a (huge) working space. It's up to you to set the target space when you come to 'export' the final image.

1 upvote
Aaron Shepard
By Aaron Shepard (Dec 29, 2012)

Acidic:

-- Example of hidden command: The backslash key for Before/After.

-- I prefer to have my histogram be accurate to my color space, not have to work in a ballpark.

-- I don't want to have to remember where I made the latest changes. Serious mistakes can be made that way.

-- I don't want to toggle into Full Screen mode, I want the command panels handy. Lightroom devotes twice as much space to those panels as Camera Raw.

Sure, there are workarounds for everything. I prefer to use software that doesn't require them.

Model Mike:

If you have an Adobe RGB file and you move it into Prophoto, then back again to Adobe RGB, you've degraded it twice. The two spaces have difference distances between colors.

0 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 30, 2012)

@Aaron: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/prophoto-rgb.shtml

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 30, 2012)

"Sure, there are workarounds for everything. I prefer to use software that doesn't require them."

Fair enough. But every workflow I've come across requires at least some compromises/workarounds. No solution is perfect for me. LR comes closest.

0 upvotes
Aaron Shepard
By Aaron Shepard (Dec 31, 2012)

Model Mike: I understand that ProPhoto RGB is a superior color space for digital photographs -- but only if you start in that space and keep it there till you're finished editing. Every translation from one space to another causes degradation. It's the same kind of reason that you don't keep recompressing a JPEG, or resizing a photo. You stick as closely as possible to your original till you're ready to output to your final format. And for print publishing, Adobe RGB is the standard, because it comes closest to the gamut of most commercial presses.

0 upvotes
iceccream
By iceccream (Dec 29, 2012)

i switched from aperture to lightroom, and am very happy so far. generally i'm not a huge fan of the monolithic database approach, but with lightroom it generates the xmp files so i am happy to have the best of both worlds.

my only gripe is that xmp files are not created for virtual copies. can't see why this isn't at the very least an optional feature.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

Isn't that because the XMP files always go along with the original RAW file? There always has to be a one-to-one relationship between them. For a virtual copy, there's no original to attach the XMP file to.

That's why they're known as sidecar files... you don't see many sidecars driving down the road without a motorbike attached. :)

1 upvote
spitfire31
By spitfire31 (Dec 29, 2012)

Just as an aside, avoid the Phase One Media Pro if you can! I've got a huge number of catalogs in the original iView Media Pro format and need it for that purpose.

The problem is that the Phase One version is frustratingly slow in rendering the media. Quite absurdly slow. Apparently, the Phase One people are aware of it and promised improvements early on, when I wrote a shocked message to support. But nothing noteworthy has happened.

I hate working with it, also because Phase One are notoriously glacially slow to add RAW support for new cameras.

There, I got that off my chest. ;-) Avoid it if you don't want to stare at a pixellated screen image while Media Pro is struggling to render it.

0 upvotes
tvstaff
By tvstaff (Dec 29, 2012)

I'm downloading from my camera using CanonPhotoPro and LR for editing.

CPP Puts everything in order by dates. Once I import the files I want to edit, I then save the edited files in a sub fold of each date so my raw files are never touched. I'm always scared I'll overwrite a good image with the same file name.

What I would like is that LR would ALSO take the please of CPP so LR could do everything as far as importing from my camera into logical folders.

If LR does this. I'd like to know as I'm new to the program. Thank you

P.S. I really like LR. I think it's a great program, easy to use and will be an even better tool as I leran more and Adobe continues to update the product. :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
RP McMurphy
By RP McMurphy (Dec 29, 2012)

Lightroom does all tnat you ask
Better to import from a card though. Then set-up import details and how and where you want the originals imported.
Let them all import and then select a file you want to edit and use the develop module. this will edit the original file but will not alter the original file - to make a permanent jpg then you can export to anoth folder or same place or to external sources

0 upvotes
tvstaff
By tvstaff (Dec 29, 2012)

Tahnk you RP. I downloaded the trial 4 30 days and I must have done something wrong. My Folder with all my December photos now has jibber-jabber in it and I can see my files in Windows I have to use LR or DPP. Don't know if there is some way to fix this. Perhaps a clean install of LR? Would I loose everything? Thank you

1 upvote
segarci1
By segarci1 (Dec 29, 2012)

I've gotten comfortable at managing my Lightroom catalog and image files on one computer. I'm still at a loss on how to efficiently work on images on multiple machines; e.g., do rough edits on a notebook computer in the field, then fine tune on a different machine back in the studio. How do you port all the edits over without having to go the XMP sidecar route?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

LR does catalog import/export, so I edit my shoot on a laptop and when I get home I can export any of the folders or collections I made on the laptop as a Catalog and then have the desktop LR import selected folders from that Catalog...including the complete edit history of every image, all snapshots, all virtual copies, etc. You can't even store all that stuff in sidecars but because of this, it isn't necessary to use sidecars at all. Just transfer your laptop work in a catalog and import it to the desktop which will merge the laptop work right into the desktop catalog. There is an option to transfer the image with the catalog, or not.

0 upvotes
Omiee
By Omiee (Dec 29, 2012)

how about storing your whole Image folder on Dropbox :)

1 upvote
le_alain
By le_alain (Dec 29, 2012)

You should carefully read the terms of conditions of use of Dropbox !!!!!

1 upvote
segarci1
By segarci1 (Dec 29, 2012)

graybalanced... thanks for the tip. I will give that a try.

Dropbox -- or something like it -- would be one approach, but probably too slow to be productive. I can't imagine keeping many gigs of images and the catalog in sync without lots of waiting, not to mention bandwidth usage.

0 upvotes
RPJG
By RPJG (Dec 30, 2012)

graybalanced... with the export from laptop and import to PC, and assuming I am transferring the images as well, do you need to have the same folder structure on both devices?

What happens if I used different folder structures on both devices, but want to move the images transferred from the laptop to my main PC's folder structure?

0 upvotes
ciresob
By ciresob (Jan 2, 2013)

Just use an external usb drive for catalogue and image files, and plug it into whatever machine you are using

0 upvotes
mikusa
By mikusa (Dec 29, 2012)

Don't flame me, but I use Windows Live Photo Gallery. There, I said it.

From there I can add tags, captions, geotags, face tags, and do minor tweaks, etc etc. Or I can right click an image and open it up in PS. I prefer to work directly with my files, rather than with a proprietary database that I might outgrow one day. I still store everything in folders, by month, and then subfolders if I want (2012-12/Christmas Dinner/, etc). I can edit my files in WLPG and it automatically creates a backup of the original if I ever want to go back.

I've dabbled in LR, and I really didn't like it. Perhaps I was using it wrong, but I just felt like I wasn't in touch with my actual files. I'm also just an amateur, so maybe it's different if you're handling 1000s of photos a week.

Anyone else going to join me out of the closet?

4 upvotes
Ulric
By Ulric (Dec 29, 2012)

Me. Not that I use Windows Live Photo Gallery, but that I want my image files to be my image files, stored into a standard operating system directory structure of my choosing.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
fuego6
By fuego6 (Dec 29, 2012)

Why does using LR have any bearing on where you store your images on your operating system? That is the misunderstanding you have about using a catalog. You can store you images wherever you want on your machine... LR just catalogs their location and builds a database of information. Searching that database is very fast and allows you to find those scattered images (or highly defined structured images) much easier than using a directory system.

4 upvotes
mikusa
By mikusa (Dec 29, 2012)

Genuine questions:

How is searching through a LR database superior to searching through tags and captions in WLPG?

When I make image adjustments in LR (WB, vibrance, etc), where exactly are those changes? I can see the changes in LR, but I go back to my original image in its original folder, and nothing is changed. If I make a change in WLPG, my original file gets edited and updated, and that's what I want. I don't want a 3rd party program holding all my edits hostage, if that makes sense.

Willing to learn though....

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (Dec 30, 2012)

Hi there, if I may... in 3-parts...

Part 1 - To your first question, why faster...

If someone has a small manageable set of photos that are specific-subject related, and only stored on one drive, then it is likely just as quick searching using WLPG using keywords and perview.

Where a catalogue excels is in very large collections. Imagine 250,000 photos, all stored over say six physical hard-drives. Once photos are imported, the LR catalogue has previews of all those photos, plus all the necessary data in one database. It doesn't even need the original hard drives connected unless one was going to edit something. The database may be a tiny fraction of teh size of the storage size of your original image file collection (imagine a 30gigabytes dtabase over 6 terrabytes of images). Searching through this single database is comparitively lightening fast, can be stored anywhere, even separated from ones origiunal image files, and has instant preview of the images.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (Dec 30, 2012)

Part 2 - To your second question, about what is adjusted and where those adjustments are seen...

The answer to your question is hidden within it. Your workflow indicates you want to change the original file. The workflow in lightroom is based around the fact you don't want to change the original file, that the raw file is like a film negative, not to be touched. However, you may make modifcations to the file, create 'virtual copies' each with unique, individual changes, and export it to a 'real file' when you are ready. Many professionals use the same original file to make many assorted final product file (for web, for print, for poster, for various clients).

The important thing is the raw negative file remains untouched.

2 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (Dec 30, 2012)

Part 3

So, the LR workflow is such that you can take your one raw file, make say 20 different versions of it in LR, (eg a BW version, a sepia version, a cropped version, etc), all stored without actually the overhead of 20 different 30MB files (only the original file, plus 20 x adjustment histories are stored), and then, only output to a new file (yes, or overwrite the original if you really wanted to) when you need it.

In the end...

The advantage of LR is flexibility. For those that do not need the flexibility, a folder-based system with keyword search works fine. But for multiple storage drives, where various different outputs of a single file need to be maintained without touching the original file, without the storage overhead of storing each new version, and lightening fast look-up and preview, even when original files are not available, the catalogue approach of LR works well.

Hope that helps.

2 upvotes
mikusa
By mikusa (Dec 31, 2012)

Yes, it does. Great response.

I've only been serious about my photography for about 18 months, so perhaps I haven't crossed a certain threshold in my workflow needs.

Back to my last comment.... if I do all more work in LR and one day decide to switch to a different program, will I lose all my tweaks and edits?

I think the thing I don't like about all my edits being hidden inside LR is that I like to be able to see all of 'my stuff' from the file explorer and any other program, etc.

Thanks.

0 upvotes
Pythagoras
By Pythagoras (Dec 29, 2012)

how is this better than picasa? free software integrated with my email and websharing that has allowed metadata (tags) for years. as well as multiple organizing options and simple editing tools.
this is a real question. i haven't used lightroom, and i want someone to explain to me why i should use lightroom instead of picasa.

4 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Dec 29, 2012)

As far as organizing your images it is not better, it's just version of a data base and in my opinion not all that good.
However the editing power of Lightroom is very good. I don't care for enforced database management so I'm happy using Photoshop and one of several other image management programs with database management features which supplement Photoshop Bridge.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

You may not have to use Lightroom. If you don't feel like you're missing anything, stick with Picasa. Those who need LR need it because they have to have top-shelf raw editing including the best highlight and shadow recovery, professional color-managed print output, soft-proofing, and other things at that level. If none of those impact your life then Picasa is still the right tool.

5 upvotes
andersf
By andersf (Dec 29, 2012)

Picasa doesn't do Raw. It appears as though it does, but it really doesn't. Until it does that, it can't really compete with LR/Aperture and similar tools. If you shoot 100% jpgs then you either have a P&S camera (nothing wrong with that but you aren't going to many dollars on software, before you spend on a more expensive camera), or you own a mirrorless/dSLR camera that can shoot Raw, but you don't. And there just aren't any excuses for that.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

It's a bit harsh to say there "aren't any excuses for" shooting JPG on a DSLR. If someone's happy with their camera's JPG engine, doesn't do a lot of editing, and doesn't work professionally, then shooting JPG can save a bit of time. And that's coming from a guy who shoots RAW 100% of the time.

1 upvote
andersf
By andersf (Dec 29, 2012)

Agreed, a bit inflammatory. But: if you don't have time to do Raw editing and let the jpeg engine do its job (often better than a quick manual conversion), I still recommend even beginners to shoot Raw+jpeg, whether you touch the Raws later or not. Cards are so cheap these days that it is a non issue. When you get that shot of a lifetime and realize you exposed it two stops wrong, having that raw file is invaluable. That said, if you have this raw+jpeg workflow you can get away with Picasa + any raw converter for the shots that need editing. Bottom line: what I meant was that it is fine to not convert your raw-files, but DO shoot them! For canon at least this means moving past the full auto mode, though.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

I can't disagree with that! Shooting RAW has saved my bacon on a few occasions - not a huge number, but enough that I'm glad I did. So I'd always recommend JPG shooters to shoot RAW+JPG too.

There is some trade-off though - not so much card size, but the hard drive space needed for a large collection of photos. Reduced speed and fewer total frames in continuous shooting can be a pain too.

That's interesting what you say about Canons not shooting RAW in full auto. Isn't that just on the older models? I have to say I wouldn't know. I've never even been in full auto mode on my 550D - except passing through on the way to movie mode. :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
andersf
By andersf (Dec 29, 2012)

I believe no canon dSLR has had raw in the auto modes. Have used 350D, 600D and 60D.

0 upvotes
Pythagoras
By Pythagoras (Dec 29, 2012)

thanks for the replies. my current reasons for not using RAW are that i don't know how to process/edit RAW files, and that so far i'm happy with my camera's jpegs (fuji x-e1).

0 upvotes
solsang
By solsang (Dec 30, 2012)

I use picasa for all my photos, and invoke other editors from inside picasa when i need to (rightclick), the file management is far easier than using lightroom, which i gave up on after trying several versions.

The import and export of LR is painfully slow compared to the simplicity of picasa auto-indexing, saving simple edits, selecting many photos and using for email/print/albums

When changing computers, picasa just indexes all the photos without any risk of loosing a database or using the wrong files

Picasa lets me do destructive editing, saving files that are useable outside of the program, making a copies on the spot which are right in the folder on my harddisk ready to use (while i can look up the original if i want)

I would love to pay for a pro version of picasa with more editing and a faster way of tagging, using letters for each tag and be able to tag while running the photos full-screen, that is a great way of doing it in LR

On mac i use Hazel to rename&sort my photos:)

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
pixelatorcw
By pixelatorcw (Dec 30, 2012)

If you only work with JPEGs and are happy with Picasa's editing functionality, then stay with it! I combine Lightroom and Picasa in the following way:

- The shared "family picture folder" is organized in date/event based subfolders, is used by all family members, and contain all images (around 50.000) in JPEG format, with all subdirectories ("albums") visible to Picasa.

- Most family members use Picasa directly also as an editing tool (for JPEG images). Shared pictures are stored in the "family folder" to ensure they are available for everyone and also subject to regular backups.

- I use Lightroom for editing RAW images, and store the RAW files in a separate directory structure, also with date/event based subfolders. Edited images are exported from Lightroom to full-size JPEG images and stored in the shared "family image" directory.

- Picasa is then used for web publishing (mainly to Picasa web albums and Google+), email and face recognition.

1 upvote
khaw
By khaw (Dec 29, 2012)

I prefer to process some images in ACR of CS6, Nikon's Capture NX 2 or Capture One. How would LR4 fit into this scenario as an organizing principle?

2 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Dec 29, 2012)

LR's image editing is basically a vamped up version of Camera Raw. The same editing tools are in Camera Raw that comes with Photoshop CS6...just not in a pretty interface (though it seems some below will even argue it's not a pretty interface).

If your workflow involves Bridge-Photoshop and other editing tools and it's working for you, stick with it.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Dec 29, 2012)

Lightroom only really works if you use it for both cataloguing and processing/editing. It gets mighty confusing trying to work any other way, and you end up losing most of the advantages that Lightroom is trying to give you.

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Dec 29, 2012)

In lightroom part of their database comprises files the owner cannot open. THese are not the browser cache files but rather are what could be compressed image files, but they are called DAT files and are found in Documents/Appdata/Adobe/Lightroom/Cache. Everytime you open an imported image one of these appears
there, and if you import a days work all that work is filed their as DAT files you cannot touch, but which I presume Adobe uses-because you cannot! So what are they? And why does Lightroom still not has the same sharpening threshold as Photoshop - down to 0.2 pixel instead of the much cruder 0.5 pixel?

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Dec 29, 2012)

With literally 100.000's of images over the past 10 years I came to the conclusion that it is an OR/OR situation with Editing/Cataloging software.

So LR may be good in (RAW) editing but it is not the fastest and not the most best featured cataloging software out there.

In the past I was a happy user of Photo Mechanic and many colleagues of me used it for years with fast fluid action cataloging and categorizing hundreds of images in a snap, there was in that time no software which could do it with the functionality and speed as Photo Mechanic. And that was during the days of Pentium 1 computers. I stopped using it about 5 years ago when it became unstable on my laptop for some reason. Photo Mechanic was (and probable still is) the only software out there aimed at professional usage and aimed at purely managing your imaging instead of editing it.

I'm now a happy ACDSeePro user, although more simplified than Photo Mechanic, it still has a ton of options and organizing is very fast.

5 upvotes
rambler35
By rambler35 (Dec 29, 2012)

I believe Adobe made a big initial mistake by using the term "Import".

So often we hear of people being deterred from using LR because they think the word implies that somehow an extra copy of the file is always being created and/or moved to some special LR location on the HD.

I suppose the phrase "Make Lightroom aware of where the file is located, or being placed, on your hard drive" would have been more accurate (but wordy!) description of what is happening.

Trouble is, that like Adobe, I can't think of another word or simple expression which could be used instead of that slightly misleading word "Import".

-- Richard --

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
8 upvotes
Pythagoras
By Pythagoras (Dec 29, 2012)

"find"

0 upvotes
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (Dec 29, 2012)

manage or index

5 upvotes
onlooker
By onlooker (Dec 29, 2012)

+1 to Dan - "index" is perfect.

0 upvotes
ianm2k4
By ianm2k4 (Dec 29, 2012)

Import is the correct term. If you are importing the files from a SD card or straight out of the camera, then it does copy the image to the location that you save the files.

3 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 29, 2012)

@iamm2k4 you can also choose to "import" files in situ, i.e. without copying or moving them. "index" is a more appropriate term in that case.

0 upvotes
Miguel Garcia
By Miguel Garcia (Dec 29, 2012)

I think Import is a good term. You are actually importing files to LR database, whether you are Adding/Copying/Moving your image files to LR folders (customizable by the way).

1 upvote
bdkr65
By bdkr65 (Dec 29, 2012)

"catalog"

0 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (Dec 30, 2012)

For Star Trek fans... from the Borg... Assimilate! Then there is also bring in, catalog, comprehend, connect, digest, grasp, incorporate, ingest, learn, osmose, sense, soak up, take in, take up, understand, affix, ally, associate, attach, bridge, cohere, come aboard, conjoin, consociate, correlate, couple, equate, fasten, get into, hitch on, hook on, hook up, interface, join, join up with, marry, meld with, network with, plug into, relate, slap on, span, tack on, tag, tag on, tie in, tie in with, unite, etc, etc...

0 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (Dec 30, 2012)

For Star Trek fans... from the Borg... Assimilate! Then there is also bring in, catalog, comprehend, connect, digest, grasp, incorporate, ingest, learn, osmose, sense, soak up, take in, take up, understand, affix, ally, associate, attach, bridge, cohere, come aboard, conjoin, consociate, correlate, couple, equate, fasten, get into, hitch on, hook on, hook up, interface, join, join up with, marry, meld with, network with, plug into, relate, slap on, span, tack on, tag, tag on, tie in, tie in with, unite, etc, etc...

0 upvotes
pixelatorcw
By pixelatorcw (Dec 30, 2012)

Well... Most often an extra copy if each image file WILL be created as part of the import operation, as image files are copied from the memory card to the harddisk at the same time as metadata about the images is copied to / created in the Lightroom catalog / database. Once you have entered the import dialog, the term "Add" is used for the specific situation where you just want to establish image metadata in the Lightroom database without copying or moving image files.

0 upvotes
njlarsen
By njlarsen (Dec 29, 2012)

As a DAM program, LR chose to use import. That is not a necessary choice, ACDSee uses also a centralized database but will catalog any file in a folder you have browsed to inside of ACDSee (except if that folder is excluded). So use of Database and import can be separated.

Secondly, Writing data to the files themselves (or to .xmp files) can be seen as an additional way to backup data from the database, and as such may be a good idea.

Niels

2 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Dec 29, 2012)

I'd even say it is a stupidly confusing choice, because it makes the user wait for the program to finish doing some arbitrary task before he can look at and edit his photos.

Heck, the fact that an explanation such as this article needs to be given is enough proof that the model used does not match the expectations of the end-users.

2 upvotes
Anthony.Ralph
By Anthony.Ralph (Dec 30, 2012)

LR can perform more than one task at a time. Once an import has been started, you can work on the images to your hearts content; it is not necessary to wait at all.

Anthony.

1 upvote
jonska
By jonska (Dec 29, 2012)

I use Lightroom and quite like it despite various shortcomings (the uploading features are a nightmare, as someone else mentioned).

Here's my problem: When I have gone through a shoot and processed to my satisfaction, I export a few images as jpegs. I do this at full quality and then resize using one of several other programs - mostly Irfanview. The reason I do this is that I want to see the *actual image* that I am uploading, sending by e-mail, burning to a cd etc. This can't be done in Lightroom which only alllows resizing at the time of exporting.

So. Now I have duplicates (i.e. jpeg exports), which I also want to keep (e.g. in case someone asks for a copy, I want to upload to another site etc.) and organise. This means that I now need a separate DAM programme to keep track of my jpegs (about 10% or less than the number of my raw images).

I'm sure others have this problem. What do you do?

1 upvote
Tom OConnor
By Tom OConnor (Dec 29, 2012)

Hello,

In the "Export Location" box of the Export interface, check the following boxes:
"Put in Subfolder" and give the subfolder a name.
"Add to this Catalog". This will add all of your jpg's to the catalog.

The next secret is to open these jpgs into say Photoshop but open them only from Lightroom. Do your cropping or whatever you want in PS and save them. This will keep Lr up to date and the cropped images will also be in the same folder. You could crop to 4 x 6 and 8 x 10 and both of those as well as the original size will be in the jpg folder.

2 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

I agree with Tom. There's no reason to use a separate program for JPEGs when you can set up Lightroom to automatically import them so that you can review them immediately after export. If you don't approve of how an exported and resized JPEG looks, when you export again you simply set it to replace (overwrite) the old JPEG with the corrected one.

If you do approve of the JPEG, you can then drag that JPEG directly from Lightroom grid view and drop it into the uploader, email message window, disc burning program, etc., so that you can even skip the step of looking for it on the desktop.

The other advantage of this is that you can keep all related files, raw originals and JPEG exports, together in a single collection/catalog. You don't have to use multiple programs to manage a single project, keep it all in Lightroom instead.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 29, 2012)

"I'm sure others have this problem. What do you do?"

I don't have this problem at all. Anything that I export that I plan to keep on file, I make sure that it gets added back to the catalog. You can even stack the resultant jpegs with the original so that the it looks less cluttered.

ez pz.

1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 29, 2012)

There really is no need to index derivative JPEGs, as long as you give the JPEG's the same unique filename as the RAW (which is good practice anyway). Then, if you need to retrieve the original RAW file, a simple search in LR on filename does the trick in about 3 secs.

0 upvotes
Anthony.Ralph
By Anthony.Ralph (Dec 30, 2012)

You can export in as many sizes/qualities/formats as you like and do this in parallel; no need to perform the tasks sequentially. The use and exploitation of presets in Lightroom can provide enormous benefits in consistency/repeatability and in time too.

Anthony.

0 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Dec 29, 2012)

In contrast to some comments below, I figured how to use Lightroom in no time without the slightest reading or any video tutorial. I can manage my photos easily and tweeking them to my liking is a joy. I found the processing of raw files excellent and far easier than any of the software supplied with the cameras that I've tried (Panasonic, Pentax, Sony and Nikon). In fact, I wouldn't shoot raw if it wasn't for Lightroom. And I really like the way third party plug-ins integrate into Lightroom. That's my opinion...

6 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Dec 29, 2012)

There are always people that are capable of understanding even the most obtuse user-unfriendly interfaces.

I'm sure I would understand what LR is doing when it needs to 'import' my stuff.
However IMHO it should be the program that needs to understand me and not the other way around.

0 upvotes
richardplondon
By richardplondon (Dec 30, 2012)

The difficulty is that many dissatisfied people expecting "the program to understand me" are using the wrong mental template of what is going on. There is no point in expecting LR to look or act like Bridge - if LR worked like Bridge, there'd be no reason for LR to exist as an alternative, everyone would just use Bridge.

A product like Lightroom (Aperture etc) represents a clean break from pure file- and folder-based working and is designed functionally for purpose. It would be misleading and confusing to offer a false similarity.

1 upvote
Kongtotoro
By Kongtotoro (Dec 29, 2012)

Does LR 4 work and gives the result as Camera Raw in Photoshop?

0 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 29, 2012)

LR opens Raw files and can be linked to Photoshop as a plug-in. Editing can be done inside LR and exported to Photoshop for more editing or exporting in various formats. LR can also export your edits as jpegs if that is what you want to do.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

LR and Camera Raw use the exact same raw processing engine and controls. LR has a few extra features and much more efficient overall workflow than ACR/Bridge, but technically they are the same under the hood.

6 upvotes
bohdanz
By bohdanz (Dec 29, 2012)

After two months, countless online tutorials from Julianne Kost (Adobe's master who is great), Scott Kelby, books, ebooks - I finally have weaned myself off Aperture for the most part.

There are things I loathe about Lightroom. As several of you have said, it's clunky, not intuitive.

The thing I'm HATING most is Publishing. It's really confusing, requires much setup for services like 500px, Zenfolio, Picasa Web. In Aperture, by contrast, it was super easy.

I wish there was someone at Adobe in the Lightroom UI area who might take note of what many of us are saying. We want to love Lightroom. Really.

Bohdan

5 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Dec 29, 2012)

Aperture is leagues easier to understand and use, but Lightroom spits out better photos at the end of the day. I wish Apple would put some resources into better image quality in Aperture, or Adobe would sort out the user interface in Lightroom.

(Am in the same boat as you, trying to ditch Aperture in favour of Lightroom. Think I’ll have to wipe Aperture from my computer to make real progress.)

1 upvote
bohdanz
By bohdanz (Dec 30, 2012)

I keep Aperture on my desktop only because I have several libraries and am exporting the managed files one by one. I like that Lightroom keeps images where I store them - and love that I can rename them and Lightroom automatically updates to the store images. That's one thing Aperture failed on

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Dec 28, 2012)

To a photographer with thousands of images handled on a weekly basis, yes indeed you need FrightRoom.

But to regular family photographers who cant even fill up a 4GB card even when shooting RAW on weekends, a Light mocha latte with one sugar is enough,thank you.

.

4 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Dec 29, 2012)

Got any suggestions for such a person ?
Because a light weight user-friendly catalogue + raw-editor combo is exactly what I'm looking for.
Frightroom (lol) does indeed look like overkill.

I've heard Picasa mentioned.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Dec 29, 2012)

Adobe Photoshop Elements has a beginners Menu pop up called "Organize". A lot of light users start with this, if they want a ready made organizer in a light weight package.

.

0 upvotes
JohnyP
By JohnyP (Dec 28, 2012)

a few issues:
- Adobe LR is an ugly and slow product. I can forgive ugly, but can't forgive slow. That's on a Intel Quad Core CPU with enough RAM and an SSD drive (images are on a conventional 7200RPM drive)
- Tagging of pictures takes time that i don't have
- LR interface is not intuitive (at least to me).
- Junk Adobe installs along with LR is troubling (all kinds of executables get started ever time you boot a computer after LR installation)
- it costs too much
- doesn't solve the physical location issue (backups of my computer still contain just folders organized by some other method, not what is shown in LR)
- import process is annoying
- adobe bridge is a half joking attempt to recreate a Windows Explorer
- meta-data is not my best friend (maybe yours), not everyone needs to tag a blue flower picture with words "blue" and "flower".
- Creating a logical structure inside the LR vs physical structure on the HD is not really different or faster.

Article is not really useful

21 upvotes
Donald Duck
By Donald Duck (Dec 29, 2012)

Also, LR is such a lousy viewer that cataloging with its is pointless, even if you like that feature.

9 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Dec 29, 2012)

You hit the nail on the head, on many aspects... and confirming my worst fears. Thankfully, I'm at the stage where I'm thinking of getting something new beyond the basic software I have, to work with. Might you be ale to share with us what you use/recommend?

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

You may not care about blue flowers, but being able to use Lightroom to filter down thousands of images by location, camera, media type (still/video), ISO (for specific processing), etc. is still a huge time-saver and you don't have to enter any data to take advantage of those. And folders won't help you do any of that.

Sorry, but as Martin demonstrated it's very limiting to use an organization system where you only have two tools: a folder hierarchy and a text filename. The only reason we don't question that is because we've been doing it that way for 40 years, but it's like saying we were just fine running computers with DOS and keyboard commands.

3 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 29, 2012)

> "Adobe LR is an ugly and slow product."
I agree that it's slow. But what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in workflow. Overall, my LR/PS workflow allows me to save time from shoot to backup to organization to publication.

> "Tagging of pictures takes time that i don't have"
Then please tell me how you organize and retrieve photos in a timely manner.

> "meta-data is not my best friend (maybe yours)"
Then you should forget about any kind of image management and either go off of memory or a physical card catalog system. But you don't have the time.

> "it costs too much"
You gotta be kidding.

If you don't have the desire to organize images, that's fine. I for one have a catalog of hundreds of thousands of original RAW files plus tens of thousands of TIFF files from film scans. So for me, you're excuses aren't valid. A bit of time now saves me lots of time later. Obviously you have no need for any DAM so why bother posting?

8 upvotes
George Lepp
By George Lepp (Dec 29, 2012)

You've told us how bad Adobe is what you don't like, but no alternative that you find better. Your comment is useless!

5 upvotes
plasnu
By plasnu (Dec 29, 2012)

Aperture is much faster and arguably it has better file management. Editing is slightly better with LR, though.

1 upvote
ksgant
By ksgant (Dec 29, 2012)

1. Slow and ugly? Hmmm, must be doing something wrong here as it seems okay to me. But hey, we all gauge things differently.
2. Junk Adobe installs? What are you talking about. Can you give me an example of "all kinds of executables"? Or are you making this up to pad out your complaints?
3. It costs hardly anything. But can understand that some people are on a budget.
4. The physical location of my images on my HD are exactly what they are in LR. No idea what you're talking about here.
5. Adobe Bridge has nothing to do with LR and doesn't even come with the program. That comes with Photoshop. Again with the padding of the complaints.
6. You repeated yourself with the "logical structure" argument...which doesn't exist btw.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

>> "it costs too much"
>You gotta be kidding.

Seriously...look at the price of LR, compare it to the price of any of your camera gear, lenses, bodies, flashes...my guess is that LR is near the bottom of that price scale and that is before any of the frequent discounts. It has been selling under $100 all over the place in the last 6 months and especially during the holidays. $99 at Amazon right now.

3 upvotes
Andersonbill
By Andersonbill (Mar 17, 2013)

Lightroom uses SQLite as it's relational database system. It is a simple system without a lot of support because it is a cheap open source tool. It has been very poorly set up for lightroom and will be the bane of all future users. You can install all the SSD drives you want and it won't cure bad design. AS your catalogues get bigger and with more relations you'll like have a catastrophic error at some point. Adobe needs to upgrade to a better RDB system such as MYSQL (Facebook uses MYSQL) and then add some maintenance tools like defrag, find lost entries, logical and physical back up, performance tuning etc., etc. It may seem like a novelty to the photographic community to use a relational database system for managing, well, relationships but corporate America has been doing it for decades. Adobe has to get with the program and hire some computer technicians.

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Dec 28, 2012)

A few men enter a closet and without user consultation design a software so counter-intuitive to operate that a gang of expert photographers are discussing how to use it more than a decade later.

Another Adobe success story.

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
20 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 29, 2012)

Umm, version 1 wasn't released until 2007. It was in beta for a full year before that.

Sure, LR isn't the intuitive for anyone who doesn't understand databases. Photoshop's more advanced features aren't either. Nor is Oracle software. Even MS Excel is mysterious to many.

Point is pros need productivity tools that may not be easy to use for the layperson.

I'd say LR is definitely a success story for Adobe. Much more so than anything else comparable out there.

4 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Dec 29, 2012)

I'd say that especially pros need tools that are easy to use, because to them time = money ...

It'd be better to say that pros need tools that may not be necessary for the layperson. However that line is very thin at best as new pros need to begin somewhere.
If anything I'd say there's a distinct lack of tools that are useful for those caught in between 'beginner' and 'pro'.

0 upvotes
wazu
By wazu (Dec 28, 2012)

I work on a laptop for image editing and do not want to store the images in my Pictures folder, which is where LR4 imports them to from a flash card. For the life of me I could not find anywhere in the preferences to change the user/Pictures folder to a folder on an external drive. However when I decided to just copy the pitcures manually to an external drive and then let LR import them it does not then copy to my internal User/Pictures folder. This means I cannot simply use LR to import directly from the camera cards. This is the first annoying 'feature' I find to be not only confusing but non-intuitive and inconsistant. I also,would like a simple feature where I could flag my better pictures so that a backup to another seperate external drive would safeguard my keepers. Is this just too much to ask for?

2 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 28, 2012)

When you use Lr to import from any drive, external or internal, you can specify any destination drive/folder that is currently mounted. There's nothing stopping you from avoiding the default Pictures folder. You can even save a template that includes your destination so you never have to manually point to that folder again.
Have a read of Martin's article on the Lr import process at http://www.dpreview.com/articles/5434427045/lightroom-photo-import

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 28, 2012)

LR is not a backup app. for images. It only backs up the LR Catalog. It can create a second copy when importing images, but that is not what you are looking for. My solution is to use a backup program to back up all my files. I do not always know which are my keepers until I have worked on them, so they all get backed up in near real time.

0 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Dec 29, 2012)

LR imports the images to wherever you wish them to go.

Yes, you can import directly from a camera card to wherever you want. Just because it "defaults" to somewhere doesn't mean that you can't change that.

1 upvote
Pygmi
By Pygmi (Dec 29, 2012)

It always amazes me how often people turn their own ignorance to be a fault of some one else...like Adobe in this case. Your post clearly indicates that you don't understand even the very basics of the program. How come is it annoying feature of the program if you don't know how to use it. Or is the annoying feature user interface not being intuitive enough for you to find obvious settings?

1 upvote
JaFO
By JaFO (Dec 29, 2012)

It always amazes me how people continue to explain faulty user-interface design as a problem of the user.

The problem is that Adobe decided to name that function 'import' when it does not import the pictures every time this feature is used.

Never mind that the program should be able to remember the last used destination instead of stubbornly insisting that it should be 'users\pictures'. Then again we may need to blame MS for this bit as they insist that all user data is stored in the userprofile folder. I guess this is a prime example of developers following guidelines to the letter without even considering what the user wants to do.

1 upvote
bdkr65
By bdkr65 (Dec 29, 2012)

When in the import dialog, look to the far upper right, and tell LR to make another copy of the images you are 'importing' to another drive attached to your laptop/desktop. What could be simpler. Import directly from your memory card (and you can make your repository for imported images another drive attached, much like the 'backup drive' I use a couple of G-Tech 4TB drives B and C. When I import from Card, LR imports from card to drive B for my source files, and also imports a copy to drive C for my second separate file location, THEN it only keeps the catalog (which is a record of all the edits I have made to my DNG's and my original RAWs are left untouched. The RAW's are copied to Drive C untouched for 2nd storage, the 'working copy' RAW's are on drive B, and the index of my file locations and edits are held within the DNG's rather than a separate sidecar.

As long as you do not make any file location changes outside LR (just like any database requires) you are good to go.

1 upvote
wazu
By wazu (Dec 29, 2012)

bdkr65 writes: "As long as you do not make any file location changes outside LR..."
All these workarounds and caveats amount to massive distrust and dislike when using LR for file management. I have tried DxO and Apple Aperture which are fairly excellent image editing programs in their own right. However I really need a set of tools for file management or processing if you will that allows me to use whatever image processing SW is right for the task.
Having to appease the inflexibility of LR to relocate images in revised catalogs or need to specify an external drive, every single time you import is just too much to ask for. Any decent db product should allow access to internal data which you could edit to reflect new organization.
Therefor I''m still going to re-evaluate any and all decent image processing tools always, and never become another evangelist like some of you for a crippled product just because it is execellent and pulling details from shadows or sharpening.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rschooler
By rschooler (Dec 29, 2012)

Yes, Import easily does exactly what people are asking for. Insert a memory card in your computer, press Import, and set the Destination fields: into a sub-folder of your choosing, which is a persistent setting you can easily edit. This copies the image files from the memory card to the hard drive, and it creates Catalog entires that point to that new file location.

I sympathize with people wanting software to be intuitive, but I also sympathize with software designers who want to build rich and powerful tools, which may involve concepts that are new to some people, such as database managers that store information *about* objects such as files, not the files themselves. The challenge is that most photographers are not software experts, so there is some training needed to really take advantage of sophisticated tools.

An analogy: the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and depth of field is not intuitive to most, and must be explained before it can effectively be used.

1 upvote
Ed_arizona
By Ed_arizona (Dec 30, 2012)

does anyone even want to learn this software? just look up or buy a book , not hard to pick or CREATE any directory to Import your pictures to you hard drive. How is this different than ANY other software, you have to learn how to use it.

I do not even insert memory cad, Just attach USB cord from any camera and Import

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DistantView
By DistantView (Dec 30, 2012)

Could the "experts" please understand that LR is - for the hard of computing - about the most un-intiutive program ever released. The import & export functions are particularly clunky, I still don't really understand the latter even after spending many ££'s on Mr Evenings book. Adobe don't offer any meaningful support. When I bought mine it was over £200 - no instructions whatsoever - has to be a joke.
No I won't watch videos as I've forgotten the answers before they've ended, no, Adobe shouldn't rely on us to do their work for them on the forums.
Now I have a faint idea of what it can do and in my limited way am using it I'm relatively happy & it could be a really great programme but would I buy another Adobe product at full cost - no way.
There's talk of "Pro's" & what they want I suspect that the last thing they want is something that means they've got to learn another skill (serious software manipulation) as well as photography - the latter is hard enough already !!!
RT

1 upvote
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Dec 31, 2012)

Adobe LR import does everything I need it to, accept it is annoying the way it defaults to a 'My Pictures' folder which I never use for that. Also (this is on LR3), it fails to automatically choose the right profile for my lens/camera combination and when I tried to automate that on import, it would adapt to different Nikon lenses, but couldn't if I used another brand's (Tamron's) lens. Perhaps there is a way to automate this, but I do think it could be much simpler.

0 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Dec 28, 2012)

There seems to be a lot of confusion about "duplication". Lightroom does NOT duplicate your RAW. You have one RAW file, and that's that.

Here's my workflow.

1. I fire up Lightroom
2. Insert my card into a reader and it LR brings up the import dialog
3. I have my folder system on my HD broken down into year/month/session. So for instance I'm doing a Smith portrait session in Dec. I navigate to the 2012 folder, then to Dec and choose to create a new folder there called Smith (or whatever) and import everything there.
4. Now, all those images are in ONE PLACE on my HD. I go through, flag the good ones and reject the bad ones. Doing basic WB, camera calib etc. It's saved in .xmp files with the images. That way something like Camera Raw can also see the changes if needed.
5. I then export jpegs for client approval.
6. Back in LR, I then use cmd-E (ctrl-E on PC) to open the images as 16-bit TIFF Files in PS and do my major editing.

7. Other steps, but out of words for this post. :)

18 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 28, 2012)

Glad you cleared that dupe thought up. It does confuse some new users at first and it is critical to know this before diving in too deep. Great explanation of an effective workflow methodology in LR.

0 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 28, 2012)

I am new to Lightroom, only 4 months in, and brand new to the forums here, please be nice. I seem to be missing a few points made by others. Maybe someone can explain them.
- What does an LR catalog becoming corrupted have to do with the original Raw files? Those files are exactly where I put them on the hard drive, and unless I chose to write metadata to them, they are exactly as they were when I first copied them. True?
- If programmers don't write photo programs, who will?
- I can drag and drop an image(s) from my hard drive into LR, after which I have to press the Import button, and the Develop link - if I want to edit at that time. Yes that is two extra mouse clicks than Photoshop, but is that too much work to use LR's tools?

I do use other programs to organize images - I had them before LR. I'm still experimenting with ways to use LR's Collections to my advantage. I have found a few positives, but digital asset management is work regardless of the application.

0 upvotes
Amadou Diallo
By Amadou Diallo (Dec 28, 2012)

You're correct that the Lr catalog is a separate entity fro your actual raw files. The point the article makes about safeguarding your Lr catalog is that it is necessary to maintain all the Develop module edits and metadata additions you've made. In short, a corrupt Lr catalog doesn't damage your actual raw files. It's "only" the Lr edits and metadata that would be lost.

3 upvotes
Fazal Majid
By Fazal Majid (Dec 29, 2012)

Lightroom's database is well thought-out, but suffers from the limitations of any system where there are 2 separately maintained databases (the filesystem and LR's catalog) that can get out of sync, e.g. when you move an entire folder of images around and don't let LR know.

Systems like BeOS' BeFS metadata and Windows VIsta's originally planned but ultimately abandoned WinFS combination filesystem and relational database were designed to fix this problem. They never reached mass adoption (in the case of BeOS) or were never completed due to an overly ambitious scope (WinFS).

Would it be better if LR automagically imported photos in the background, using the same kind of filesystem change monitoring used by Apple's Spotlight to auto-index files? Yes, but the cost in CPU cycles would be quite severe, and it would only work if the app were running all the time. Apple can ensure Spotlight runs all the time when the OS is on (yet can still lose sync), but Adobe can't.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 29, 2012)

In the world of simple and free, google's Picasa will watch all folders you tell it to watch and automatically correct the database when files are moved outside of Picasa. It can be done, but it is not how Adobe chooses to understand workflow. That may change one day. The person, a wedding photographer, that told me to buy LR 4 also said this was the first version worth buying. Either LR works in a way you can deal with or it doesn't. If not, there are other apps to look at.

1 upvote
Pat Cullinan Jr
By Pat Cullinan Jr (Dec 29, 2012)

Years ago, I trialed Version 1 of Lightroom. It had virtually NO USEFUL FUNCTIONALITY. It was farcical. I couldn't believe it.

It seems that LR has finally made the grade in Version 4. Let's enjoy it in good health.

While I'm in a grousing mood, I'll tell you about the time years ago when I knee-jerkingly forked out $125 for an upgrade to Framemaker. The new features? Japanese language support. They must've seen me coming. That's when I began to give Adobe the hairy eyeball.

0 upvotes
Jefftan
By Jefftan (Dec 28, 2012)

A simple question
After import image into lightroom do I now have 2 copies of the image
one in Lightroom and one in original folder?
Thanks

0 upvotes
ksgant
By ksgant (Dec 28, 2012)

No, you don't. The "catalog" is just a database of where the image is on your HD, the changes you've made to the RAW file and a high-res preview file for working in LR. It's NOT duplicating your image.

I have gigs and gigs of images on my HD from various jobs, yet my catalog is only 1.7GB as it's just a database. If it were duplicating images, I'd run out of HD space a long time ago.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
pixelized
By pixelized (Dec 28, 2012)

There is one exception to working with your originals. if you use the Delete command inside of LR, be careful to not delete it from the disk, only delete it from the catalog. You will see those buttons next to each other. Most asset management systems work this way.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 29, 2012)

Not necessarily.
LR will index either the image in its original location, make a copy to a new location and index that, or move it from one location to another. It's up to you, depending on where you want the image to end up.
If your images are on an SD card, you'd select the 'copy' option so LR copies them to your hard drive.

0 upvotes
JB Digital
By JB Digital (Dec 28, 2012)

It's total nonsense and it make thing's more difficult.

2 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Dec 29, 2012)

Kind of like your comment, frankly. I bet you hate things that run on electricity too, because they're "new". Please provide some examples of why it is "total nonsense" and "more difficult". I find working in Lightroom exactly the opposite, and so do many other people, including lots of working pros.

9 upvotes
GoremanX
By GoremanX (Dec 28, 2012)

None of this explains why I can't just use some other cataloging software and use Lightroom solely for image processing. I find the Lightroom catalog features to be sorely lacking, my preferred catalog software does a much better job of organizing and retrieving my images (yes, even different versions of the same image). But every time I want to process a photo in Lightroom, I have to trudge through the tedious import process, even for ONE STUPID PICTURE.

This forced Adobe cataloging crap is merely a means to lock users into a purely-Adobe workflow. Nothing more, nothing less. And it's insulting.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
13 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

You can always use Bridge instead of LR. That's what I used to do when I used a different cataloging application. But then the purely Adobe workflow won me over, despite LR's cataloging shortcomings. Sometimes it sucks, but overall I work far more efficiently and consistently than ever before.

1 upvote
daMatrix
By daMatrix (Dec 28, 2012)

I also prefer my own Damn software -IMatch- above lightroom and who ever to come wanna be catalogue software.
Why would anyone who has already build up a solid catelogue in other software want to repeat this task of categorizing 1000 + photos in just a pretty slick raw developer tool.

I would love if Lightroom was like Bridge a direct file access tool but with Lightrooms extensive raw developing / meta data editing tools.

Importing each and every time the photos into Lightroom asset takes the speed out of this otherwise pretty slick raw editor.

3 upvotes
Michael Engelen
By Michael Engelen (Dec 28, 2012)

I second this

0 upvotes
JB Digital
By JB Digital (Dec 28, 2012)

100% right!

0 upvotes
Donald Duck
By Donald Duck (Dec 29, 2012)

Agree.

0 upvotes
beeguy956
By beeguy956 (Dec 29, 2012)

Count me in on this as well. 95% of my raw editing can be done in Canon's DPP, 10x faster and much easier and without having to deal with Adobe screwing up the colors when it exports (still haven't figured out how it's using a different color profile than every other program on my computer). For those few that need more tweaking, it would be nice if I could simply open it up in LR and forget about the catalog BS.

1 upvote
Tom OConnor
By Tom OConnor (Dec 29, 2012)

Where it sounds like your preferred cataloging software does not process images and Lr does, then use your cataloging software and process the images in Camera Raw. It has the same, or very close to engine as Lr. But if you like processing in Lr best, then it might just be worth making a change with your cataloging, then you are working in only one software program.

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 29, 2012)

@daMatrix,
I used to use IMatch+ACR, and when LR first came out I started using it but didn't give up my previous workflow. Once LR2 came out and I was comfortable with it, I dumped the IMatch+ACR workflow. It wasn't that much work. All of my images were categorized, I used a script to convert the categories to IPTC keywords, and then in LR it's easy enough to search for those keywords for which I wanted categories and dumped them in appropriate categories. Not perfect, and still tweaking files from a couple years ago as I come across any that need more work. But overall not a big deal for me. Again, I work much faster and save loads of time, which equals more productivity and ultimately more money.

I do still use IMatch occasionally. Sometimes I need to export the IPTC and EXIF data from a set of my files, so I export them as low-res jpegs, import into IMatch, and export the metadata to csv.

@beeguy,
When you export in LR, you can set the color profile of the exported file.

0 upvotes
GoremanX
By GoremanX (Dec 29, 2012)

@Tim OConnor,
Camera Raw does not do the same things Lightroom does. For example, none of the fancy 3rd party plugins work with Camera Raw.

Why should I force myself to use one software program when that one program doesn't do everything as well as the other software I paid for and learned to use already? Sometimes Lightroom is the best tool for working with an image. Sometimes AfterShot is. And sometimes I use something else entirely. In all cases, the Lightroom catalog is inferior and lacking features that I sorely need.

So thanks to the forced Lightroom catalog, I now have hundreds (thousands?) of tiny, useless Lightroom catalogs.

I can totally see the benefits of using a single software for most of my workflow. I can even see some benefits to using one company's software for all of my workflow. But that should be MY CHOICE!!! Adobe is trying to FORCE me to use their catalog software. There's no technical reason whatsoever why that should be necessary except to enforce a monopoly

1 upvote
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Dec 30, 2012)

Surprised no one has mentioned Rawshooter. It was a fast, simple RAW editor. Adobe bought it, added the cataloging features, and called it 'Lightroom'. RS was great, but I would not go back.

0 upvotes
Imajez
By Imajez (Jan 10, 2013)

GoremanX - if you have hundreds/thousands of LR catalogues you are using the programme completely the wrong way. All your images go in one single master catalogue. And if you create a new catalogue on laptop when you are working on location for example, you simply add them to your master catalogue and everything will work fine.
And if you have an existing file structure you like, LR lets you keep using that. All the LR catalogue does is reference where your photos are, so you can put them wherever you want.

0 upvotes
Thomas Kachadurian
By Thomas Kachadurian (Dec 28, 2012)

Here's the money quote for me as to why this logic is completely flawed: "If you've read this far, it should be obvious that maintaining regular, current backups of the Lightroom catalog file is absolutely essential. In the event that your Lightroom library stops working properly the catalog file is always the first thing you’ll want to salvage."

No, you are wrong. The first thing I want to salvage is my raw image files. I am a photographer, not a database manager. I can't tell you how often my students call me saying "I've lost my photos in Lightroom (or Aperture or iPhoto)."

This is the problem when programers think they know better than photographers. Perhaps I have a better memory than other people or I am better organized, but using the folder system in 5 minutes I can lay hands on any of the hundreds of thousands of images I have shot since well before digital.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
12 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Dec 28, 2012)

That's interesting ... because it is something I have never been able to do. I can find a lot of stuff, but once in a while I get stumped and live without the image I wanted to find. Of course, I don't use LR well enough to solve that problem either.

0 upvotes
Racer67
By Racer67 (Dec 28, 2012)

Yes, I think this is the biggest misconception about Lightroom is that people think that the images are imported into the Lightroom catalog. No, your original images and your catalog are always separate. The catalog only contains thumbnails and metadata - never the originals. This is why it is important to create a solid folder structure strategy for your images in the first place. Your original RAWs or JPEGs are the most important thing. If you lose your Lightroom catalog it would be sad - potentially a lot of lost time - but it is not anything in comparison to loosing your actual image files. I keep my images on a separate drive from my Lightroom catalogs. Lightroom is great management tool as Martin Evening describes but until people get that the Lightroom catalog in merely a metadata instruction set there is going to be a sea of confusion. You still have to put your images into a folder or folders on your hard drive somewhere where you know where they are - period.

1 upvote
krikman
By krikman (Dec 30, 2012)

Lightroom can't hurt you original RAW files. So you're a troll.
Or take 5 minutes and read page or two about Lightroom.

0 upvotes
Gregm61
By Gregm61 (Dec 28, 2012)

Having to import images "into" Lightroom......flat sucks. That's all there is to it. I just want a program that will open up any file I have on my computer.....from where I originally put it. Photoshop does that, and that's all I need.

8 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Dec 28, 2012)

Lightroom works for me. I have it create new folders for each import (unless I wan't images added to an existing folder). I can tell it to copy the images or just add them from the existing location (useful if you have already put them in a folder where you want). It doesn't store images away in some secret location...they are right where I want them, in my case on a couple mirrored external drives.

1 upvote
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (Dec 28, 2012)

> Lightroom works for me
Agree, with reservations. I used CS4 & then CS5 for several years and got used to how Bridge + Collections + Metadata worked. It was quite a paradigm shift to get used to the Lightroom way of doing things, but, overall, I think the Lightroom approach has more pluses than minuses compared to the way Bridge handles 100,000+ images.

One of the problems I had, and observed in others getting "up to speed" in LR is that there doesn't seem to be a simple way to transition from use of CS4/5 + Bridge to LR ... seems to be "all or none".

0 upvotes
everyothernametaken
By everyothernametaken (Dec 29, 2012)

I agree, the import to to edit an image is a strange requirement. I uninstalled the demo of lightroom for that reason. I chose another RAW developing program that left my files alone and thus better suited my needs.

It's odd that the article doesn't seem to answer it's own posed question 'Why do you have to import photos to the catalog first before you are able to edit them?' (Is it because Adobe says so?)

What the article really shows is the usefulness of cataloging images. If you just want to batch enhance images, there is always dxo :)

1 upvote
gaiaswill
By gaiaswill (Dec 28, 2012)

(I am not a pro.)

I am currently storing all my images on my main hard drive. I will be getting a NAS in the near future and would like to move all my images there. How can I preserve the validity of my catalog when I move the photos?

0 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Dec 28, 2012)

It's no problem. If you move your data outside of lightroom and then open the catalog again, it will note that the folder is missing. Then simply right-click it and choose relocate, then point to the new location.

You might want to make sure that you have one single parent folder, so that you don't have a whole list of folders to relocate separately. Simply click one folder and choose 'show parent folder' as many times as needed. Assuming all your photographs are in one main folder.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

Another way to do this is to move the folders and images to its new location from Lightroom rather than Windows Explorer. Either way is fine.

0 upvotes
adhall
By adhall (Dec 28, 2012)

I thing Apple Aperture is a much better implementation for library management. It's faster, you can import/export metadata and splitting/merging libraries is much simpler.

Still waiting for Aperture 4 though...

2 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

Yeah, but LR does better raw conversions and plays nicer with Photoshop.

Still waiting for Adobe to add metadata import/export though... :-)

1 upvote
bobestremera
By bobestremera (Dec 28, 2012)

I think a composite of the two systems works best and is logical. I have a variety of folders for different broad categories and find it's not a hassle to duplicate some images that might fall in two categories. But then I love how LR is able to use keywording and collections to further identify images as to type or a classification that you will be using but haven't yet.

0 upvotes
AlexBakerPhotoz
By AlexBakerPhotoz (Dec 28, 2012)

My problem is that I began storing digital images long before I started using Lightroom. I was for quite awhile a database designer and developer, so I understand the design and agree with it, I just wish I'd started with it at the beginning of my switch to digital photography 10 years ago. Now I have 82,300 images to date and it's like the plant in little shop of Horrors. I do have a semi-efficient folder system that I created when I was using Bridge, that works OK for me in Lightroom too, but the effort to go back and apply more data to all those old images in the catalog and also the xmp and xmp sidecars is daunting.

1 upvote
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

No problem. Just import those images in their exisitng folders into your LR catalog. No need to move those photos into new folders. Since you have them category folders, jut select one and add a bunch of broad keywords that represent each folder, and create a new category for it and apply that as well. As you have time, just go back and keyword/categorize in LR. No need to do it all at once. Doing in batches means that 82K images is probably more like 10K metadata edits (due to similar content).

This is a project that can take years. I've been using LR since v1, and I am still setting aside a couple hours a month to do just that for my old film scans. I still have lots of film to scan, and I don't anticipate finishing that until 2016 or so!

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Dec 29, 2012)

I used Lightroom to import my existing folders of film scans as they are, where they are, without moving them. (There is no need to bend it to some kind of Lightroom file location or structure...that's a myth) Now I use Lightroom's tools to help me refine and fix up that organization.

0 upvotes
davidstock
By davidstock (Dec 28, 2012)

I'm not convinced. If we are relying on metadata tags anyway, isn't it possible to search just as well in Bridge as in Lightroom? Personally, I like having a logical file folder system. But if for whatever reason I don't know where one of my files is, I simply do a metadata search in Bridge--just like in Lightroom.

The only downside of Bridge seems to be slightly longer backups, which I find to be a non-issue. I've never had it slow me down. (I use continuous automated backups, as well as late-night automated backups.)

The minor backup issue seems like a small trade-off for the security of having all the image data saved in the file itself. The internet is full of confused or desperate people who lost or damaged their Lightroom catalog because of a computer problem or even an upgrade to their hardware or software. I'd rather have files, complete with their metadata and processing, that can be opened in a variety of programs.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Dec 28, 2012)

Just to avoid duplicating images alone, it's worth it. And how do you categorize that photo? It's my friend "Lisa", it's also "Scenic" and it's part of "China 2010 Trip". Oh, it's also part of my "Blue" and "Rainy" series. Are you really going to create 5 copies of that photo to go in different folders? Now let's say a year later you want to adjust the photo, you retouch the skin, change the white balance, and remove the electrical wires from the background. Are you going to remember to find and update the other 4 copies also? Are you going to WANT to do that?

I would go insane if I had to manually manage all my photo files. People went through this same thing a decade or so ago with digital music files (although it's worse with photos because you're modifying the files). Database with metadata is the way to go.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

" I'd rather have files, complete with their metadata and processing, that can be opened in a variety of programs."

LR doesn't prevent you from doing so for jpeg/tiff/psd. For raw files, you can have LR create sidecar xmp files with your changes, either by default or manually. If you don't like sidecar files, well, good luck with your other programs. With LR, you can at least convert your raw files to dng files on import, allowing you to embed your changes directly into the file. This is no different than Bridge, which WILL NOT embed changes into native raw files.

But if you prefer using Bridge and an outdated hierarchical filing system, feel free. Think of your mp3 collection, and finding your music by metadata searching instead of using a database driven media player like itunes :-)

0 upvotes
greenwell
By greenwell (Dec 28, 2012)

"And how do you categorize that photo? It's my friend "Lisa", it's also "Scenic" and it's part of "China 2010 Trip". Oh, it's also part of my "Blue" and "Rainy" series. Are you really going to create 5 copies of that photo to go in different folders?"

No, most people would not do that. (...except for backup purposes.) You can, however, set keywords within Bridge that accomplishes the same thing without having to duplicate the file itself.

I understand the advantages of a database derived catalog. But what happens if you want to move a lot of photo files from one place to another on your computer - say from the old My Pictures folder on Drive C: to the newly installed, dedicated-just-for-photographs, Drive E:. You will then have to re-compile the catalog.

There are advantages to both systems, but let's be truthful. Bridge - and a lot of other programs - can do the same Exif and Keyword sorting that Lightroom does without all of this duplication you speak of.

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

"...move a lot of photo files from one place to another on your computer - say from ...Drive C: to ...Drive E:. You will then have to re-compile the catalog."

No you won't. When Lightroom can't find the photos, you can just point to the new location. It's just like moving music files in your file browser, and then iTunes not being able to find it (only easier in LR). You can tell then tell it where to find those files.

Or you can just move the files from one drive to another from within LR.

Besides, it's not so often a LR user will move old pictures off of one drive and on to another. And if they have to recompile the catalog, so what? It's not like they're going to move the photos to a new drive routinely.

Bridge is limited to keywords, color codes, and stars. LR can do user-defined categories, hierachical ones at that, as well as manage a controlled vocabulary. If you don't have the need for any of this or don't understand the difference, then Bridge is fine for you.

0 upvotes
Tim O'Connor
By Tim O'Connor (Dec 30, 2012)

My main issue with LR catalog is that when I do an import, I find it very tedious to tag each image with metadata, so I tend to just not bother because most of the time I have a bunch of different images of different subjects - to be honest I just rely on the import process to create date subdirectories, and thats it.

guess I am lazy :)

0 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (Dec 31, 2012)

"when I do an import, I find it very tedious to tag each image with metadata, so I tend to just not bother because most of the time I have a bunch of different images of different subjects"

That sounds more like an issue with you than an issue with Lightroom :)

Yes, it is tedious to do metadata tagging, but you can do as much or as little of it as you want (including none if you wish), and it's no more tedious to me than manually trying to decide what folder each photo is going to go into, and moving them all around the hard drive.

0 upvotes
Imajez
By Imajez (Jan 10, 2013)

Acidic "It's just like moving music files in your file browser, and then iTunes not being able to find it (only easier in LR)."

Actually this is one area where iTunes is better than LR. I can move my music files using my file browser and iTunes keeps track of this AS LONG AS IT IS OPEN [this is on the Mac BTW, not tried it on Windows].

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

It should be noted that just because the LR Catalog file is backed up does not mean the image files are backed up. Someone will undoubtedly confuse the two and will lose their image files as a result.

My biggest gripe with LR is that it lacks metadata import/export functionality. It would be nice to be able to export IPTC/EXIF data form a catalog (or subset of the catalog) as a .csv file, as well as import that data back in. Many image databases allow this, so I'm sure Adobe is more than capable of adding such a feature.

2 upvotes
Escape
By Escape (Dec 28, 2012)

That's one thing I still don't understand... when you import an image into LR, does LR create a copy of that image file somewhere else on your hard drive, thus chewing up additional HDD space?

0 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (Dec 28, 2012)

Lightroom creates a copy of the imported raw according to your needs. You have to have a copy even to see it on the screen, a jpeg preview. You need a high res copy to work on images at 100 percent. But you can tell Lightroom how long to hold on to these previews (a month, etc) so that too much space isn't used. If you go back to look at older images, new previews are created.

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

When you import an image into LR, LR notes it's location (e.g. C:/Photos/2012-12-28), and makes a preview.

When you make adjustments to an image within Lightroom (tonal adjustments, caption, keywords, catalogs, etc), those adjustments get stored in the LR catalog file. So when you look at an image in LR, it knows what information is associated with that image and it presents it to you (adjustments, captions, etc).

By default, all of this additional information is stored in the LR catalog file, and will not be embedded in the image.

The reason why the LR catalog file is so important is because it contains all of the instructions about where your images are, how they should be displayed, and what other information is associated with it.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Dec 28, 2012)

Imagine creating an iTunes Library, importing your music, and categorizing it all (dinner party, love-making, workout, relaxing, road trip, etc). If you lost your Library file, you still have your mp3s, but your categories will be lost forever. LR catalog file is sort of like that. If you lose the catalog file, your images can still be safe, but much of the data that you associated with it is lost.

Now if you lose your images files, LR will still have a record of that image, but the image itself will be gone (except for the 'preview' and thumbnail). So it's important to back those up as well.

During the import process, LR offers the option of making a backup of that photo . If you're doing this, it makes sense to put the backup copy on a separate drive (in case the main drive crashes). Alternatively, you can backup the image via other methods, including burning to a disk, copying to a different drive, etc.

0 upvotes
Fazal Majid
By Fazal Majid (Dec 28, 2012)

Nope. When you import from Lightroom, it gives you the option to copy the image to a destination folder of your choice (and it remembers that choice the next time) or to keep the image where it is and add it to its database.

The first option is the one that makes sense when you are importing photos from a CF or SD card, the second one when you want to add collections of images already on your hard drive, e.g. predating LR or work files. That's what LR defaults to anyway.

In the second case, the RAW image is not copied or duplicated. There is a preview JPEG image made to speed up display, but it will be much smaller than the original RAW file, even if you select the 1:1 preview option and set it to never purge the preview image cache (as I do).

2 upvotes
twinger
By twinger (Dec 29, 2012)

Two unrelated comments:
(1) Never invest your life's labour in one piece of software that may be dead and buried a decade from now. This means you should *always* write metadata to a sidecar xmp file so that in the future it can be imported into a different piece of software. Don't rely on the LR database alone.
(2) If you want to have the option either to use a catalogue-based system or work directly from the file structure, look at AfterShot Pro (the new version of Bibble Pro). Although a little rough around the edges, and slow to update now that Corel has taken over, it's every bit as capable as LR, and for far less money. The only reason I'm looking at LR is because ASP no longer supports new cameras quickly enough. But it's great for my existing camera.

0 upvotes
Dan Walther
By Dan Walther (Dec 29, 2012)

This article presents a false choice: namely that you can either 1) have folder management or 2) use metadata to tag, sort, and filter your files. In fact what I want is to be able to do both. I want folder management for the physical location of the files, and in those cases where I don't have Lightroom or want to start it I can navigate by folders. For other cases I want to view the photos in a completely different hierarchy, by their metadata.

Why we can't have it both ways simultaneously is my biggest frustration with this article and with the discussion I have read. Simply because a view of my photos by folder isn't SUFFICIENT doesn't mean it is USELESS. I want to view my photos any way I want, please! :-)

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Kenneth Daves
By Kenneth Daves (Dec 29, 2012)

You can name/rename folders and image files to suit yourself. Then the folder's name will show up in Folders panel on the left and you can click on it to see the images in that folder. Is that sufficient?

0 upvotes
Jack Hogan
By Jack Hogan (Dec 31, 2012)

I don't like iTunes either...

0 upvotes
ciresob
By ciresob (Jan 2, 2013)

@DanW. But.. Thatsjust the point -you DO have both when usin LR!

0 upvotes
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