In a nutshell, Smart Previews are confusing and give Lightroom users one more thing to manage.
Smart previews are a new feature in Lightroom 5. The idea behind Smart Previews is to give you greater access to offline images by creating accessible big-enough-but-not-too-big images files that can be edited in and exported from Lightroom.
I love the idea. I hated not having access to my images when I want them. I hate carrying around an external hard drive. But I don’t like how this feature is built.
Here is why. One of the best and worst part of being a modern day photographer is that we take thousands of images. We have to manage these large files and somehow keep track of them all using folders, collection, stars, flags, keywords, colors… In short, we spend a lot of our damn time on DAM – Digital Asset Management. Right now there is no getting around this. It is the blessing and the curse of digital photography.
The reason we don’t have access to all of our images is because we are forced to use external hard drives because we ran out of room on our local drives. We are forced to shuffle files around and plug stuff in like it is 1999. (Plugin Like It’s 1999 – isn’t that a Prince tune? – I digress.)
So by Adobe giving us the option to create Smart Previews, they are giving me one more thing to think about managing when the last thing I want to do is manage something else.
Do I create Smart Previews or not? When do I do this? How much space are they taking up? Should I delete them ever? I have a feeling a lot of users are going to just check the box on import that says Build Smart Previews and never think about it again… and honestly, I don’t blame them.
(I did write an article on when to create Smart Previews if you want to go beyond this.)
Again, I like the idea of Smart Previews… it is just the implementation that gets me. Lightroom is already creating Preview files. (Are these now dumb previews?) They create these automatically when a file is imported and/or viewed. These previews come in a couple of different sizes including 1:1 previews. Why couldn’t these previews just be upgraded to being Smart? Why create a whole new preview class? Why keep both Smart and Regular Previews around? We already have the option of disregarding 1:1 previews after a set time period, just allow more control on this saying “always keep 1:1 previews for this image.” Done.
The other thing that gets me about Smart Previews is that they are DNGs.(more…)
There has been some confusion about Smart Previews in Lightroom. This feature was added in Lightroom 5 and is not the most straight forward concept to understand. Let’s do a quick overview of the feature and then talk about the right times to use them.
Lightroom is a catalog based photo management system. The catalog is where Lightroom keeps track of all of your edits, metadata, and settings. So this is a very important file!
You can store your Lightroom images “offline” on an external hard drive. If you ever wondered how Lightroom could still know what your photos look like when they are not plugged in, the answer is the Lightroom previews.
Lightroom creates these preview files for each of the images you import. These preview images are what you are actually viewing on your screen in Lightroom (and these are what you see when the images are not present – “offline”.)
With the introduction of Lightroom 5, Adobe added Smart Previews. They didn’t replace the regular previews. These regular previews are still there. The Smart Previews are larger lossy DNG formated images. They are 2048 pixels wide (or basically big enough for an iPad screen.)
So in addition to being bigger previews, Lightroom add two major things you could not do before to regular previews. First, you can export Smart Previews. These are not huge files so using Smart Previews is not recommended for high quality print jobs. But if you want to send a proof to a client or post an image to Facebook, the smart previews are perfect.
Second you can edit the Smart Previews. Instead of editing the full image, you are editing a smaller but big enough version of the photo. If you making small tweaks to white balance or contrast, you won’t notice a change. If you are doing more expansive edits, the limits of not having the full photo present will be seen. This allows you to work on your offline images.
This depends on 3 things: Where is your Lightroom catalog, where are you images and how good are you with metadata.(more…)
When I teach Lightroom classes or talk to our Lightroom-using online photo backup customers, we often spend a lot more time talking about the Lightroom Library module than the Develop module. I think this is because while we understand how to make images look better in Lightroom but we feel can feel totally overwhelmed organizing 1000s of images.
With a couple of tips you will save time, find your images more easily, and enjoy your Lightroom experience more.
Here are 3 ways that you can organize your Lightroom catalog:
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a really important piece of being a photographer today. In order to optimize your workflow, you need to have a system. Each unique way of organizing photos has merits. Find the best approach that works for you and then stick with it! The most important thing about having a system is remaining consistent.
Pick and Reject Flags:
This is one of the easiest ways to organize your photos. (It is also the most popular way we see that photos are categorized in our Lightroom Sync App.)
Lightroom gives you two flags. If it looks like there are 3 flags it because it there is also the non-flag flag… which is to mark something as unflaged. (I know that only kinda makes sense.)
Some photographers find the 6 choices of using Lightroom Stars too many to handle. (0 star is an option.) If you find yourself laboring over whether something is 1 star or 2 stars, flags are for you. This makes it a very binary decision. You like a photo or your don’t. Bam… you are done.
The Reject Flag (Lightroom Keybord shortcut = X) marks the file for deletion. Using the Reject Flag grays out the photo from the grid and filmstrip views. You can then remove and delete the rejected photos later. (Lightroom > Photo Menu > Delete Rejected Photos)(more…)
Adding keywords to your photos are extremely useful for organizing and searching for photos. When you only have a few photos finding them by memory is easy. When you have thousands of images, keywords can really help add organization to make finding the perfect photo easy. All of your pictures from a trip to Holland in 2010 might be tagged with Holland 2010, for instance, making them easily findable.
If you want your photographs on the web to be searchable, then you will likely want to add keywords to your photographs.
Adobe Lightroom makes adding keywords to your photos fairly easy.
Keywords can be added to photos during the import process by using Lightroom This saves you from having to do this later.The process for doing this is simple. When importing, look on the right-hand menu under the category “Apply During Import.” You will see a text box there marked “Keywords.” Enter your desired words and phrases in that box that describe the photographs to be imported. Since the data you entered in that text box is embedded into each photograph, by importing groups of similar or related pictures, you can save hours of time by adding keywords on import.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a very powerful photo editing tool. But to paraphrase Spider-Man, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ Any Lightroom user has probably made these mistakes. Hopefully we catch them before embarrassing ourselves by pushing these over edited photos to clients, friends, and social media accounts.
Here are some epic ways that photographers go over board using the editing tools of Lightroom.
Then, just beneath your left-hand image, You will see an icon that looks like two letter Y’s, encased in boxes (pictured). Press this to cycle between split-screen preview modes. This will allow you to see the effects of your updates in one or two screens, while viewing the changes either horizontally or vertically. Hit the backslash key to return to the original view. Now, perform your edits, seeing how they look compared to the original in real time.This is a Lightroom tool you are sure to use quite often.
From there you can edit your photos on a second computer that has the external hard drive plugged in.
After you are done working on the images and are ready to merge the smaller catalog back into the main catalog, select “Import from Another Catalog” on your master Lightroom catalog. Then select the smaller catalog and it will get merged in. Lightroom even keeps track of duplicates!
One of the best little hints while using Lightroom is that hitting the space bar zooms out to fit.It may feel a little strange at first, but once you get the hang of how to use this feature, you’ll love it. This is a really nice feature of Lightroom that you’ll find yourself using all the time.