Whether it is the beginning of fall for you, or the beginning of spring, a change of seasons is a perfect time to get your photos and Lightroom catalog organized. Here are some tutorials from the past year that will help you get your Lightroom “closet” cleaned up:
More and more photographers are aware these days that raw files provide higher quality information and more flexibility in processing than JPEGs do. For those of you convinced to shoot raw files, your camera most likely gives you a choice to save just a raw file, or to save both a raw file and a JPEG of each photo you capture. Frankly, I hope to convince most of you who capture raw + JPEG to stop doing it and capture just a raw file. However, for those who choose to capture both, I will explain the file management options available to you.
My Experience Shooting Raw + JPEG
When I first started shooting in raw, I chose raw + JPEG because I wasn’t yet comfortable with raw files, and I wanted some insurance that I could revert to using the JPEGs. Not only did this mean that I had twice as many files to manage, which took up a lot more hard drive space, but it was frustrating as well. I would often accidentally work on the JPEG instead of the raw file, and then have to redo my work on the raw file. I I also found it extremely frustrating that the raw file didn’t look like the JPEG, and I could never get it to look like the JPEG. As soon as I took the plunge into raw only, all of these issues melted away — less hard drive space, no confusion, and no jpeg for comparison, so I simply worked the raw file to my taste. And this is in fact what I would encourage most of you to do.
You will be OK Shooting Raw Only!
For those of you new to capturing raw files, here’s why I think you can safely give up capturing those JPEGs as well:
1. The workflow in Lightroom is exactly the same for raw files as it is for JPEGs — so there is nothing new to learn!
2. You can create a JPEG from your raw file (to email out or post on the web, for example) anytime you want, very quickly, using Lightroom’s Export functionality.
3. If there is something about the colors of your JPEGs that you really like and want to apply to your raw files, you can use camera profiles to start out closer to the look of your jpeg. (You will probably still need to add more saturation and contrast.)
4. If you are on a PC and can’t preview your raw files in Windows Explorer/My Computer and want to be able to, just like you can your JPEGS, you can install a plug-in from Microsoft that will allow you to do so (at this link, check to see if your particular camera file type is supported).
Still Want to Capture Raw + JPEG?
All that said, I certainly have heard valid arguments for capturing both. For example, the JPEG can be sent off to someone without any processing at all — meaning without having to import it into Lightroom, potentially work it, and then export a JPEG copy. So for those of you who need to get a draft version of your files out to someone immediately after capture, this can certainly make sense. Another example would be if you like your camera’s black and white conversion – this does not get applied to raw files, only JPEGs. Shooting raw+JPEG can give you both the flexibility of the raw color version and the black and white JPEG version.
Wow, this was a surprise today (at least to me!) Nik Software, maker of professional photo editing software and the (great) SnapSeed mobile app, has been purchased by Google. According to the New York Times, “it is Google’s latest defensive move against Facebook and part of its strategy to become a photo-sharing hub.” The New York Times goes on to say that “Google seems most interested in Nik’s mobile and online tools and how they can improve Google Plus. Google declined to say whether or when it would discontinue any of Nik’s other products, like desktop software for professional photographers.”
I find that half the battle in writing a blog is coming up with ideas for what to write about. I do my best to come up with ideas that I think will be helpful to you, but I’m curious — what do YOU want to learn or read about? Please leave a comment below with any and all suggestions. I’d love to build up a list of ideas.
Thank you in advance!
Many of you know that I am a fan of adding keywords to photos in Lightroom, so that you can find them quickly later. In this post I will go over some shortcuts to help you add keywords more quickly.
With a photo selected (or group of photos selected in Grid view):
- Ctl/Cmd-K will open up your Keywording panel on the right-hand side in the Library module, with the cursor in the box to add new keywords.
- Ctl/Cmd-Shift-K will put the cursor in the larger Keywording box, so that you can edit keywords you have already added (or type in new ones.)
If there is one keyword or a list of keywords that you would like to be able to apply to selected photos with a keyboard shortcut (Shift-K), you can set up the keyword in one of two ways:
- In the menu bar in the Library module, go to Metadata>Set Keyword Shortcut... Type in the keyword, or set of keywords, separated by commas.
- In your Keyword List panel (below the Keywording panel), right-click on the desired keyword, and choose Use this as Keyword Shortcut. (You now will see a “+” to the right of it.) With this method, you can only select one keyword.
With the keyword(s) assigned, select a photo, or a group of photos in Grid view, and type Shift-K to assign.
If you want to set up different keyboard shortcuts for several keywords, you can use Keyword Sets to do so. I will discuss how to set up and use Keyword Sets in my next post.
Hopefully most of you will never need this post, because you have an effective backup strategy, that backs up both your Lightroom catalog and your image files. I have written about this in the following posts:
But what if you did not read these, and really do lose your image files? (Perhaps you mistakenly thought that you could delete the original image files because you thought that Lightroom had its own copy, or you did not back up your image files and lost them in a crash.) If you still have your catalog, meaning that Lightroom opens successfully and you can see image previews, but they have question marks, you can probably recover something.
Before I get into what and how, let me say that most times users have question marks on photos and folders, it is not because they have truly lost their images — it is because they have moved, renamed or deleted them outside of Lightroom. Here’s a post on why question marks occur and how to resolve them.
But if you truly have lost them, there is some hope to get back something — at best, full-size jpeg copies of your files. Lightroom stores up to three jpeg copies of your photos behind the scenes. It stores a little thumbnail jpeg, which you see in Grid View in the Library Module or in the filmstrip, it stores a standard, or screen-sized preview, that you see in Loupe View in the Library Module (and the output modules), and it can store a full-size, 1:1 jpeg copy of your image file. The fact that Lightroom stores these jpeg copies (that on the surface we are not usually even aware of) is what allows us to see all of our photos almost instantly when we open Lightroom, and as we move from task to task. Whether Lightroom has all three of these jpeg copies for any one of your photos will depend — on how you set your import settings and your preferences, and what you have done with your photos (for example, zooming in on a photo causes Lightroom to create the 1:1 preview if you hadn’t done so during import). Bottom line, you have lost your photos, so the idea is to get the best jpeg preview copy available.
So how do you recover these previews?