Speed up your lightroom workflow

Published June 19, 2018, 12:05 AM

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By Chris Malinao

FIG.-1. The import dialog box. Don’t build 1:1 Previews, instead choose Standard Preview for a faster workflow; 1:1 Previews are for zooming in on an image to check focus or fine detail. You can do that in the Develop module, which builds another set of previews anyway.
FIG.-1. The import dialog box. Don’t build 1:1 Previews, instead choose Standard Preview for a faster workflow; 1:1 Previews are for zooming in on an image to check focus or fine detail. You can do that in the Develop module, which builds another set of previews anyway.

In the next few articles, we shall look at how to speed up our photography workflow in Lightroom, so we don’t spend much time staring at our screens. After all, that’s the purpose of Lightroom—to let you work faster and get those photos out fast, for money or for art!

First, we’ll look at the import process, importing your photos while downloading them into our computers for storage and organization. Remember, storage (where you placed your photos in the hard drive) and organization (how you arrange them in collections) are two different things in Lightroom. While they are one and the same in the real world and in our use of folders in the computer—where you store is where you organize—storage and organization are separate entities in Lightroom; you store in the hard drive, you organize in collections.

So let’s look at the first step, importing our photos into Lightroom. You can store your photos just about anywhere in your hard drive, and Lightroom won’t mind. When you import them into the application, Lightroom then knows where they are and remembers them via metadata. You download and store your photos in the hard drive, but it is in the catalog— in collections—that you organize your photos.

We offer these tips for a speedier workflow:

1.Don’t build 1:1 Previews, choose Standard Previews instead (Fig.-1). 1:1 Previews are useful only in the Library module when you want to zoom in on a photo to check focusing or fine details, something that you usually do in the Develop module anyway, where separate previews are created.

2.Don’t convert raw files to DNG on import, do that later if you need to. It takes Lightroom quite a while to convert raw files to DNG while importing.

3.Skip Smart Previews, do that later too because it takes time. You need Smart Previews to edit even when the external drive is offline. But if you don’t do that, then it is pointless to build Smart Previews on import.

4.Build Embedded & Sidecar Previews. Lightroom CC Classic now makes use of the embedded JPEG image in the raw file. It means it does not have to generate its own preview, it just grabs the embedded JPEG so it’s faster. This is an even better option that Standard preview.

5.Upgrade to solid state hard drive and install more RAM. Applications run faster on solid state drives than on standard rotating disk drives. These come standard in today’s new computers. For RAM, you need at least 8GB RAM for decent speed, 16GB if you can afford it. For processing power, Intel Core i5 is the minimum requirement, coupled with a fast video card or GPU, graphics processing unit.

 

[Chris Malinao teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF (Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation). The FPPF is a non-profit that offers year-round workshops in Basic Photography, Advanced Photography, Wedding Photography, Strobist Lighting, Food Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and other specialty photography workshops. For details of FPPF workshops, visit www.photoworldmanila.com.]

 
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