Category Archives: Lightroom

Lightroom & Camera Raw

I recently received an email with a question about processing an image in Lightroom.  When the same image was opened from Bridge into Camera Raw, none of the Lightroom work was applied.  This question has come up before, and there seems to be quite a bit of confusion over what is happening.

Any time you make a change to an image in Lightroom, that information is saved only in Lightroom’s catalog.  It’s not part of the file.  The solution is simple:  after working on a photo in Lightroom, save the final metatdata settings to file (and all edits in Lightroom are metadata edits).  Select the photo or photos you have worked on, and do Ctrl/Command + S.  You can now open an image from Bridge into Camera Raw or Photoshop, and they can see what you’ve done in Lightroom.

You could select Automatically write changes into XMP in Lightroom’s Catalog Settings, but I suggest not to do so, as this has to record every edit you make.  Move any slider from 0 to 1, and then move it to 2, then back to 1, and finally back to 0, and all four of these moves have to be recorded…but in terms of the image nothing at all has happened.  Ctrl/Command +S (menu item: Save metadata to file) saves the summation, which is the only thing that matters.

Suppose you work on an image in Lightroom, and then choose “edit in Photoshop” to finalize the image.  When you’re finished working in Photoshop you select either “save” or “save as,” and the image is returned into Lightroom’s catalog and all is happy.  Lightroom knows what you have done in Photoshop.

But what happens when you do not start from Lightroom?  Use Bridge to open an image that is already in Lightroom’s catalog, make some edits in either Camera Raw or Photoshop, and then save the image…but now Lightroom doesn’t know what you have done.  When you next open Lightroom, the image will be tagged with a small badge, indicating that settings have been changed outside of Lightroom.

Click on the badge, and this message box appears:

So, what do you want to do?   If you want Lightoom to show what you did in Camera Raw or Photoshop, click on Import Setting from Disk.  If you want to to keep the Lightroom settings as they were, click Overwrite Settings.

Lightroom travel catalog

When I travel I make a new Lightroom catalog for that trip on my laptop.  Image files are downloaded and added by date, into a folder with the month and shoot name, such as 09 Alaska (September, Alaska).  I discussed this in a previous blog so please refer back a few entries.  All my images from this particular trip will be within this folder.  Every day I flag any image files I work on, then save metadata to file (select by flag, then Ctrl/Command+S).  And every day I copy all that day’s shoot from my laptop to two external USB powered hard drives, so that by the end of the trip I have three duplicate copies of all my images. I also have Lightroom set to automatically backup its catalog to the external drives every day.

When I get home I export the trip catalog to one of the small USB drives that has all the trip images.  I plug this drive into a USB port on my desktop computer, and copy the folder with the image files over to the correct date location on my main hard drive array, the tower JBOD I discussed earlier.  Then I import the trip catalog into my master Lightroom catalog.  I disconnect the small USB drive, point Lightroom to the location of the trip’s folder of images on the JBOD, and I’m done.   My backup software kicks in, and automatically backs up the new images.

When I’m positive that all the image files are actually on my main system, I wipe the trip catalog off my laptop, reformat the small external USB drives, and I’m good-to-go on my next adventure.

 

Copy, don’t move

Let me follow up a bit on my previous blog about “lost files” in Lightroom.

A possible problem with moving files and folders, whether by dragging and dropping in Lightroom, or by using the Move command in Explorer or the Finder, is that Move deletes the file or folder from the previous location after completing the move.  Call me paranoid, but what if something happens as the files are being moved?  The deleted version of the file or folder is not in the trash; it’s just gone.  While I’ve never had any problem, I do know one person who, while moving several large folders of images, accidentally bumped a bus-powered USB drive and disconnected it.  The folders — and all the images — were gone, never to be found again.  For relocating folders, I use the Copy command outside of Lightroom, and then re-link the missing folders inside Lightroom as described in my earlier blog.

Lightroom lost my pictures

At every workshop I teach, someone always complains that “Lightroom lost my pictures.”  Well, not exactly true.  There are no pictures actually stored in Lightroom.  Lightroom is a database of the last known location for those pictures.  Remember library card catalogs?  They told you where a book was located on a certain shelf.  But if someone moved the book, how was the card catalog to know?  It’s the same with Lightroom.

If you move an image file outside of Lightroom — using your operating system’s tools (Move or Copy) — Lightroom has no idea what you have done.  There is no way that it can know.

Consequently, the next time you look in Lightroom for that image there will be a ? thumbnail badge.

Click on that badge and a dialogue box opens.

Click on the Locate button and navigate to wherever you moved the image.  If you have several missing images and they are all from the same folder, locating one will automatically locate all the others.  If they are from multiple folders, you’ll have to locate each individual image.

If you have used your operating system to move a folder of images, the folder in Lightroom will have the ? thumbnail badge.

Right-click on the ? badge, and you get this option:

 Select Find Missing Folder, and either Window’s Explorer or Mac’s Finder will open.  Navigate to the missing folder and select it.  Lightroom will now be reconnected to the folder, and the ? badge will be removed from both the folder and the images within that folder.