Lightroom Newbie

Wandering Sagebrush

Free Range Human
Site Team
Nov 17, 2013
Northeast Oregon
Help! I bit the bullet and subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud today. I haven't looked at any tutorials as of yet, but thought I would ask the group for your advice on getting started with LR. Do you have any recommendations for links to tutorials or general information. I've only imported one of my existing folders into the application at this time.

I will be using LR in conjunction with Photoshop (several years with Photoshop).

Thanks in advance!
I migrated from PS to LR about five years ago. You will be fine and, if you are like me, lazy. I hardly ever go back to PS anymore, other than for layers. The LR develop module [ctrl-R] has wonderful non-destructive edit tools that control everything: white balance, highlight/shadow, sharpening, etc. Once you apply a series of edits in the Develop module, it's very quick to sync those settings in the Library module [Ctrl-G] across other images in the folder. Use the metadata sort to group photos by ISO or other attributes and apply your adjustments.

The trick to LR is thinking through your catalog strategy. You can only open one catalog at a time. Very large catalogs can become cumbersome. I've defaulted to one catalog per year. I could probably get more mileage if I used Collections more. I believe Collections can span Catalogs.

When in doubt, hit Cntrl-E and you can edit in PS! The cool thing, is when you save from PS, it will auto import back into LR!

My favorite attribute of LR is the ability to keyword images. Again, you can select individual or group select images, and apply keywords across the files.

Export functions are very nice also, with ability to drag and drop to social media or Smugmug or whatever plugin. Export offers control over resolution, watermarking, file naming, etc.

I'm a hacker, but I use LR at least several times a week. There's a lot of tutorials out there, but if you get stuck, send me a PM.

I switched to LR when it first came out. Search the web for tutorials, there are lots out there. Get the Nik/Google bundle too if you don't already have it. The new HDR and pano functions are pretty good as well.
Just remember you have to tell Lightroom where you have the images located and after that move them around inside Lightroom . Lightroom only knows what is inside its program. If you move image files outside of Lightroom it is lost as to where they are and you just need to right click on the directory and go find them for Lightroom.

We use one catalog and size is over 650,000 images and is ok. We do us the collection feature and really like that, it allows you to have collections of different subjects and the slick thing is you can have the same image in different collections, but not having different images to keep track of. Create a copy is a real advantage so you can try different edits on the same raw image.

The raw image is a raw image, you can't mess it up. Lightroom just holds the edits you want until you export, it is non destructive and is the same raw prossesor as Adobe camera raw for PS.

As Andy has mentioned the ability to keyword images is powerful when you want to do a search. Looking for ibis images then if you key worded all your ibis then you can show all of them and pict your top images. You can search on multiple topics.

By default Lightroom has something turned off that you should turn on. Light can save a sidecar file along side your raw file that contains all your edits, stars and colors along with keywords. You need to turn this feature on! If your catalog fails you still have everything you need to rebuild the catalog. I have deleted a image from catalog by accicedent and was able to go to a back up drive and grab both files and re import them into Lightroom without starting over with the edits.

Grab a drink and sit back with the free help movies on Adobe web site. The gal lura? Will show you some things. There is always buy help movies from people but start with free, then decide if you need more help. I'm on a first leg of a trip and may not be much help after a while. Good luck, have fun, just remember Lightroom only knows what is going on in its own little box, work inside the box. Cheers.
I've used LR exclusively for 6 or 8 years or so and several version upgrades (though still on 5.7). I like it a lot.

However, I've only been using it for raw image edits (Developing) and have barely touched the image organization features.
I need to get organized! :rolleyes:

Typically I transfer photo-files from a card to my computer with the Transfer function inside Nikon ViewNX. Then I casually scan the recent transfer, still in ViewNX. If I see a few images that I want to process and share soon I select those images and then use an option to open in Lightroom where I Develop. If it's something I want to share on the Internet I then Export as jpegs, etc.
I've benefited by online LR tutorials, especially when I really got into it a few years ago.
When I got LR version 5 I also bought 2 -- yes TWO -- books (Kindle versions) of tutorials/guides for LR 5: one by Scott Kelby and one by Martin Evening. Which do I recommend? Ummm....I'll let you know when I read them. :p
Excellent advice about saving sidecar files, I lost a catalog or two when I still ran windoze, no problems yet since I switch to mac some years back but that doesn't mean I'm bulletbroof. ;-)
When I import and I do import all our images, I'll have lightroom rename, add copyright and custom edit selections. We have directories by year. Subdirectory by month like, 06 Africa. I have lightroom set to create sub directorys by date. You need to get a plan and be organized to find images later. All this is done on the import process.
OK, first thanks everyone for all your input. Here's what I think I am going to do.

As I have all my images currently organized by year, I think I am going to keep that strategy as a catalog. My file names are off the order YYYY MM DD Place-name (or subject) Camera. So a file from today's shoot in the backyard would look like 2015 05 29 Backyard D4s. From there, I am thinking that collections or smart collections would be the next step, and I think there could be a great number of these. I'd start with the place name or subject as the collection title, and possibly/probably add additional key words further refine or drill down. This could be as generic as something like Bird or Mammal, but be in subcategories under those (assuming a subcategory is possible in collections), something of the nature of Raptor or Bighorn. I need to learn more about collections and how they behave.

My added meta data will be pretty simple. Just stuff like copy right, etc..

Right now, I am doing almost all of my photography on my laptop, as the OS on my iMac is too old to handle the version of ACR that I need for my D4s, so I am going to have to think through how I handle that. Most of my files are on external drives, and I think I am going to make that more or less the rule, that all files are on external drives. So, importing from camera or CF will be to an external drive, possibly to a second drive at the same time. I will certainly back up to a second drive.

I am going to make an appointment at the Apple Store to find out about upgrading my iMac. I really don't want to buy a new one, but a bit more memory and a current OS would be nice. That presents the challenge of getting the two machines in sync, but I suspect that it can be done.

If anyone wants to comment/poke holes in my strategy, feel free.

Maybe this discussion will get me motivated to organize my developed images.

All my raw images are organized by date automatically when they're uploaded from a memory card to the computer. Nikon Transfer automatically creates folders on the computer named by the date images were shot, e.g., a folder called "20150317" contains pics shot on March 17, 2015, which is handy enough for me.

Not all of my shot pics are keepers, of course, and sometimes that's obvious without any developing, just viewing in Nikon View or other viewer compatible with Nikon raw files. Sometimes I decide that the subject matter wasn't interesting after all, or sometimes I shot several exposure brackets and later decided against HDR so I ignore the far-out exposures, etc. Those obvious non-keepers I don't bother importing to Lightroom.

But it would be a good idea to better-organize images that make it through Lightroom. I'll look into it based on the suggestions in this thread. :)
When I import, I pop the SD card directly into my iMac or use a card reader. LR will usually be running and will automatically open an import dialog. I use the option to import by date, which creates a folder 2015-05-29 inside my 2015 PHOTOS folder. The other choice is to import to a specific folder, which can be handy if it's a specific project. I agree with Mark and prefer to have my photos organized in folders by date.

Depending upon which camera I took the photos with, I also specify which import adjustments I want. I downloaded some Fuji profiles that are now listed in the menu of presets for downloads. You can apply profiles for specific cameras during import. There are also metadata edits where you can apply copyright info, that can be applied during import.

If I'm smart, I've formatted the card before I put it back in the camera, so the images I'm importing are all current. Other times you will find yourself importing a card that you've partially downloaded previously. No worries! Sort the import by date and you can check/uncheck the dates you've already imported. There is also a 'do not import duplicates' box to check as a default.

Once you get through the setup, it becomes a breeze. I can set up a download of 16-32 GB of images using my presets in less than a minute. The card reader seems to be the slowest link on my system, including time to build previews, so it might be five or ten minutes before I could review 200-600 images.

I think the process of culling images, then rating, keywording and sorting images is a worthy discussion to continue.
I have LR CC set up both on my iMac desktop and MBP laptop. When on a trip I download photos to an external 1TD GDrive mini and do some basic reviews, keywording and editing. If I have cell access I sometimes post some photos to FB, blog or my web page. I can also figure out if I got the shots I wanted from a particular location or if I need to revisit before I move on. When I get home I plug the external drive into my desktop and import all the photos from there into a 4TB GRAID drive. I typically pick a top folder name and have LR create subfolders by date. I don't bother to have my images renames and instead rely on keywords and date ranges to find specific photos.

I have a group of LR plugins from The Turning Gate that I use to build my web site and blog, and then use LR's publish services to update.
I found that I don't want to have multiple catalogs. When I changed between the two (2015 and 2014) I created, LR said it needed to restart. So looks like I will use collections as a year differentiator. Since it doesn't matter where the physical images are, I can place them as needed.

Andy, I always do an in camera format after a download. I don't know if it's urban legend or not, but somewhere I read that did a better job of formatting.

Charlie, when I updated the OS on my MBP, I found that some of my older software was no longer compatible so I didn't update the iMac. That was probably a mistake, and I need to correct it. The version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) needed for a new camera was the reason I was forced to go to the new OS. I should have kept the two computers in sync.
Wandering Sagebrush said:
Andy, I always do an in camera format after a download. I don't know if it's urban legend or not, but somewhere I read that did a better job of formatting.
Agreed. I format my cars in camera also. However, I often want to wait until I know Time Machine has backed up my download onto a separate hard drive before I clean the card.

I tend to rotate cards, which gives a second chance if my download or computer have a problem. For important shots, I like to know I've uploaded my best images to my online galleries before I format the card. I'm probably being overly protective against accidental loss.
It is always best to format the card to the camera that you are using. This creates a handshake and compatibility . With different cameras I won't format until I start using a card. This also keeps a backup until then.
I would like to revive this thread to ask some more Lightroom questions. I too am a newbie. (or at least am contemplating becoming one)

I just subscribed to CC because my old version of Photoshop, CS4, and the Adobe Camera Raw that it supports could not handle the ARW raw files from my new Sony camera. Up until now I have used Bridge to manage files. I opened my files and made global adjustments; exposure and color balance adjustments, etc in Adobe Camera Raw, then opened the images in Photoshop as TIFFs and made final adjustments there. (contrast, saturation, size, localized corrections, etc.)

Since LIghtroom comes in the bundle with CC I am wondering whether to use that program both for file management and for the initial RAW processing.

Lightroom does seem like a less cumbersome way to manage files than Bridge. So my question is about the relative merits of doing my RAW processing with ACR vs Lightroom.

Any opinions, suggestions?
My 2¢ worth. I am using LR now, but I still don't like it. It's set up, so I use it. Almost all of the images I process go into PS CC for finishing. If you're comfortable with Bridge and PS, and you have an organizational workflow/directory structure set up, stay with it. There are a couple of things that are pretty neat, for instance the gradient filter, but they are not enough to make me feel warm and cuddly towards LR. I don't feel the need to invest time into the key word, rating and sorting features.

I guess I am a retro-grouch and/or Luddite, but It just seems like an extra step to me.

What Sony did you get? Impressive cameras!
I use LR almost 100% of the time for both RAW processing and post processing (as well as file management). I do have the Nik/Google bundle and use Viveza 2 and Define the most from that group. With the color control points available from the bundle local corrections/adjustments are simple.

When you get that bundle the plugins are also available from PS, which I do use on occasion.

I used to use ACR exclusively for RAW processing but haven't found the need since LR 4 or thereabouts and Nik.
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