No More Camera Raw Updates for CS6

A little over two years ago, Adobe announced that it would no longer update Photoshop CS6. Instead, it would concentrate all its resources on the Creative Cloud, its subscription based software. However, to placate CS6 owners, Adobe would continue to update Camera Raw for CS6 for at least the near future. That time came to an end this week.

Adobe announced on Tuesday that the next Camera Raw update would be the last update to Camera Raw for CS6. It then released Camera Raw 9.1.1 on Wednesday. What does this mean?

It doesn’t really change much for users that are doing their raw processing in Lightroom and moving to Photoshop to do the things that cannot be done in Lightroom. It also doesn’t change much even if you are using Photoshop CS6 to process your raw images and do not plan on buying a new camera in the near future. Finally, it doesn’t change the fact that Photoshop CS6 won’t work on some future version of Windows or Mac OS X.

What does change is that future cameras will not be supported in Photoshop CS6. So, if you are using Photoshop CS6 to process your raw images and want to buy the latest Nikon, Canon, or Sony camera, you will need to find another way to process raw images from that camera. You will have two choices: (1) Use Adobe’s DNG Converter to convert the raw image to the DNG format; or (2) Use Lightroom (the latest version) to process your images and then edit them in Photoshop.

This is just one more step in the slow march to obsolesce of Photoshop CS6. Whether you want a feature in Photoshop CC 2015 or Photoshop CS6 stops working on a future version of Windows or Mac OS X, the end result is the same. You will be subscribing to the CC sooner or later.

Adobe Releases Creative Cloud CC 2015

Correction: When Adobe first introduced Lightroom 6 (perpetual license) and Lightroom CC (subscription based licensing) a couple of months ago, I assumed that any new features added to Lightroom CC would be added to Lightroom 6. That is apparently untrue. Today’s announcement from Adobe is only applicable to Lightroom CC, the subscription based version of Lightroom. So, I have struck out all references below to Lightroom 6. Lightroom 6 did not and will not be getting the Dehaze adjustment and other new features in Lightroom CC at this time and probably not until the next major upgrade, i.e., Lightroom 7. There are a number of theories why Adobe has done this from it is required to do so by law to greed. I suspect that this will make owners of perpetual licenses upset but Adobe has never promised that the two versions would always have the same features and the two haven’t since Lightroom Mobile was introduced two years ago.


Adobe released major updates to all of its Creative Cloud applications this morning. The updates include support for new cameras and significant bug fixes as well. Photographers will be most interested in the changes to Link to list of changes in Lightroom  6 and CC, Link to list of changes in Lightroom Mobile (CC subscribers only), and Link to list of changes in Photoshop.

2015-04-09_Mojave National Preserve_Zwit_Before deHaze
Before Dehaze adjustment is applied to image.

Lightroom 6 and CC 2015 now include a Dehaze adjustment. (Click the images on the right to see a larger version.) Dehaze removes the effect of atmospheric haze in an image and is located in the Effects panel of the Develop module. A simple slider allows you to remove (or add) haze from your landscape images.

The Lightroom update also includes two new adjustments in the Gradient Filter, Radial Filter, and Local Adjustment Brush: Whites and Blacks. These sliders are the same as the Whites and Blacks adjustments in the Basic panel and can be used to fine tune tones in the lightest and darkest parts of an image being affected by the local adjustment.

2015-04-09_Mojave National Preserve_Zwit_After deHaze
After Dehaze adjustment is applied to image.

Lightroom Mobile was given significant new capabilities, including a tone curve adjustment and the ability to adjust color channels and the B&W mix and add vignettes and split toning. In addition, you can now import and sync iPhone and iPad videos to the web and your desktop. Lightroom Mobile is only available to CC subscribers.

If you are a designer, there were a multitude of updates in Photoshop for you. If you are a Photographer, the Dehaze and new adjustments in the Gradient Filter, Radial Filter, and Local Adjustment Brush were added to Camera Raw, the export dialogue was redesigned, and the Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, and Patch tools are faster.

The most exciting update in Photoshop for photographers, however, is the ability to add monochromatic or color noise to blurs. If you have ever blurred a background in Photoshop, you know how well it works. In fact, it is just too good. The blurred areas are too smooth in comparison to the rest of the image and, when you print the image, it is very obvious. Now, with the ability to add monochromatic and color noise to blur, we can match the texture of the blur to the rest of the image.

Overall, this is a great set of updates to Lightroom and Photoshop for photographers. If you have Lightroom 6 or subscribe to the Creative Cloud, update now. If you own Lightroom 5, you might want to consider updating to Lightroom 6 or even the Creative Cloud.

It’s Finally Here! Adobe Releases Lightroom 6 AND CC

After nearly 21 months, Adobe released Lightroom 6 and CC today. (Yes! Two versions. See below for the distinctions and why you might want CC rather than 6.) As Adobe stated earlier, there are not many new features and most of the improvements are below the surface. However, the new features and performance improvements should make for a faster and more streamlined workflow.

The new features include:

  • HDR Merge: As a fan of using Lightroom to tone map my HDR images, this one is great! All the steps for merging a series of exposures into a HDR image and tone mapping the resulting HDR image can now be done within Lightroom. In Lightroom 5, you had to select all the images, go to Edit In > Merge to HDR Pro in Photoshop, which would open and merge the images, save the image back to Lightroom as a 32-bit TIFF, and then use the tone and other adjustments within Lightroom to tone map the HDR image.
  • Panorama Merge: As with the HDR merge feature, all the steps for merging a series of images into a panorama can now be done within Lightroom. In Lighroom 5, you had to select the images, go to Edit In > Merge to Panorama in Photoshop, save the resulting image, and process the image in Lightroom.
  • Facial Recognition: If you take a lot of portraits, you’re going to love this one. Select a face in one photo and Lightroom will search for that person in your other photographs.
  • Filter Brushes: If you have ever used the gradient or radial tool, you know how helpful these tools can be but sometimes they are just a little too inflexible. For example, your horizon isn’t always a straight line and using the gradient tool to darken the sky means darkening any mountains or trees that extended into the sky. With the filter brush, you can remove any adjustments applied to those mountains or trees. Filter brushes have existed in Photoshop Camera Raw since last summer and now they are finally available in Lightroom.

The improvements include the following…

  • GPU Acceleration: Photoshop and many other applications offload part of the processing load from the CPU to the GPU (graphics processing unit) to speed up processing. Lightroom 6 now does so as well. This should give Lightroom to be a big performance boost.
  • Slideshow Module: The Slideshow module now has more transition effects and you can include still images, video, and music in a slideshow.
  • Web Module: Web modules can now be created with HTML 5 rather than being limited to Falsh. HTML 5 is the latest HTML standard and ensures compatibility with all current browsers.

With this release, Adobe is releasing two versions: Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC. The difference is that Lightroom 6 is the boxed version and has a perpetual license and Lightroom CC is only available by subscribing to the Creative Cloud. The other big difference is Lightroom 6 doesn’t come with Lightroom Mobile; you must subscribe to Lightroom to be able to use Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom 6 is available immediately from Adobe as a download at a cost of $149.00 and, if you are upgrading from Lightroom 5, $79.99. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud or the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, Lightroom 6 is included in your subscription and can be downloaded immediately from the Creative Cloud application. (To avoid server meltdown, Adobe is rolling out the update so, if it doesn’t appear in the Creative Cloud application, try again later today.)

I will be working with Lightroom CC today and will post a more detailed review later.

Postscript: For those trying to decide whether to upgrade to Lightroom 6 or move to Lightroom CC, Adobe has published a comparison of Lightroom 5, Lightroom 6, and Lightroom CC.

Aperture and iPhoto: Time is Running Out

Apple announced last year in a long anticipated move that it would cease development of Aperture, its pro photo editing application, and iPhoto, and replace both with Photos for OS X. While Apple has only said that Photos for OS X will be released this spring, it is becoming clear that day is quickly coming.

First, Apple sent an e-mail today reminding Aperture users that Aperture support is ending and that, with the release of Photos for OS X, Aperture will no longer be available for purchase. Moreover, Apple is running a public beta of Yosemite 10.10.3, which includes Photos for OS X. Public betas generally come close to final release. You can participate in the beta but be aware installing this beta will overwrite your current operating system and you do this at your own risk.

Based on my experience so far, Photos for OS X is not Aperture. See MacWorld’s First Look: Photos for OS X Brings Easier Navigation and More Powerful Editing. Photos for OS X incorporates many features of Photos for iOS. Its interface is simpler than Aperture and available adjustments, while powerful and more numerous than iPhoto, are fewer and not as sophisticated. It also includes some new features allowing you to create books, cards, and slideshows and your photos can be synchronized between different devices using iCloud (although you may need to pay for increased storage on iCloud if your library is larger than five gigabytes)..

If you are using Aperture or iPhoto to manage and edit your images, it’s time to start thinking about what your are going to do and how you are going to make the transition from Aperture or iPhoto to Aperture.

Editor’s Note: If you need to make the switch from iPhoto or Aperture to Lightroom, the School of Creative Photography can help you. Our Lightroom class is scheduled for April 25 and 26, 2015, in Sterling, VA, and will get you up to speed quickly on managing and editing your images in Lightroom. If you are already using Lightroom and want to learn more about its advanced features, the School of Creative Photography is offering an advanced Lightroom class on May 2, 2015, in Sterling, VA.

(The Tenth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The tenth and last step for improving your workflow is: Delete your rejects so that only the images worth keeping and working on are in your catalog. You can use the flag or star attributes to rate your images, delete the “bad” ones, and filter the view so you are only viewing the “good” images.

There are two good reasons for dumping your bad images: (1) It will save space on your hard drive; and (2) it will streamline your workflow so you are only working on your best images and can more easily find the image that you want when you want it. The difficulty is deciding what to keep and what to throw out. I suggest that you set up some guidelines and a process and, while you can make exceptions, don’t make them very often.

Here’s one way to select the images to discard and keep:

Step 1: Select the first image in the filmstrip and go to loupe view (press the Enter/Return key or the E key).

Step 2: Hide the two sidebars, the filmstrip, and the module picker by pressing Shift-Tab, i.e., while holding down the Shift key, press and release the Tab key.

Step 3: Press the CAPS LOCK key.

Step 4: Assign a pick or reject flag or no flag at all to the image in loupe view. Click the P key to assign a pick flag, the X key to assign a reject, or the right arrow key to assign no flag. Whether a flag is even assigned and which flag toassignis based on the following guidelines:

  • Assign a reject flag to: (i) accidental shots, e.g., images of your feet; (ii) images so far under or over exposed that they can’t be saved; (iii) heavily blurred and out-of-focus images; (iv) uninteresting and/or boring images; (v) badly composed images that can’t be fixed with a LITTLE judicious cropping; (vi) repeats; and (vii) other images just not worth keeping.
  • Assign a pick flag only to images that are properly exposed and composed (a little cropping is okay), focus is in the right place, and the depth of field is right for the image. These images are the ones that you will edit and show to friends and colleagues. If you wouldn’t show an image to your friends or colleagues, it doesn’t deserve a pick flag.
  • Don’t assign a pick or reject flag to images that don’t fall into one of the categories above. These are images that you may or may not want later but are worth keeping around.
  • Assign a pick flag to an image regardless of the image quality if it sentimental or is otherwise important to you.

Step 5: Repeat Step 4 until you have rated every image. If you have set the CAPS LOCK key, when you press P to assign a pick flag or X to assign a reject flag to an image, Lightroom will assign the pick or reject flag to the image and display the next image in the filmstrip. This saves you from having to click on two keys, one to assign the appropriate flag and one to advance to the next image.

Step 6: Show the two sidebars, the filmstrip, and module picker by pressing Shift-Tab.

Step 7: Delete the images that have been assigned a reject flag. First, go to grid view (click the grid view icon in the toolbar or the G key), display the filter bar (if it isn’t already visible) by clicking on the backslash (\) key, click on “Attribute” in the filter bar to display the attribute filter, and then click on the reject flag icon in that bar. This will filter your view of the images, displaying only the images that you assigned a reject flag in the image preview area and filmstrip. Take one more look at the images to make sure you aren’t deleting an image worth keeping and, if you find one, click on the U key to unflag the image. Finally, press Ctrl/Cmd-A to select all the images and click on the Delete key to delete the images. Remember to click on None in the filter bar to turn off the attribute filter.

Step 8:  Review the images that have been assigned a pick flag. First, go to grid view (click the grid view icon in the toolbar or the G key), display the filter bar (if it isn’t already visible) by clicking on the backslash (\) key, click on “Attribute” in the filter bar to display the attribute filter, and then click on the reject flag icon in that bar. This will filter your view of the images, displaying only the images that you assigned a pick flag in the image preview area and filmstrip. Take one more look at the images to make sure you haven’t accidentally assigned too many images a pick flag and, if you find one, click on the U key to unflag the image.

You can also use the star attribute to edit your images. Follow Steps 1 through 3 and, instead of assigning a pick or peject flag to each image, assign one star (click on the number 1 key) to each image that isn’t a reject then filter for all the images with one star and go through them again, assigning two stars (click on the number 2 key) to images that are better than average. You can repeat this process up to three more times, i.e, assigning three stars, four stars, and five stars in order during each subsequent pass, to whittle down the number of images. Once all the images have been rated, delete the images that have no stars assigned to them and skip Step 8.

Whether you used the flags or the stars to rate your images, you can easily view only your best images by filtering the view based on the Pick flag or whatever number of stars you used to designate the best of the best.

Again, it can’t be stressed enough that once your images are imported in Lightroom that images should only be deleted, moved, and renamed in Lightroom and new folders should only be created and renamed within Lightroom. Otherwise, Lightroom will lose track of your images and you will need to help Lightroom find them.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; the seventh about using collections to organize your images; the eighth about using filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean; and the ninth about the why you should always use Lightroom to delete, move, or rename image files.

Lightroom 5.6 is Available and Includes Support for Nikon D810 Raw Images

Although I can find no announcement on the Adobe website, Lightroom 5.6 is available for download and it appears to include support for the Nikon D810. See Uh-Oh! I Can’t See My Nikon D810 Files. I can’t find a download page that I can link to or any information on Adobe.com at the current time. However, I will update this post once something is posted online. To update to Lightroom 5.6 if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, quit Lightroom, start the Creative Cloud app, and click the “Install” button next to Lightroom 5. If you have a perpetual license for Lightroom, open Lightroom and go to Help > Check for Updates… Click the “Download” button and follow the instructions on the download page.

PS on July 31 at 1:19 pm: Information about Lightroom 5.6 and the links from which to download the update are at: https://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2014/07/lightroom-5-6-now-available.html. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, download the update from within the Creative Cloud app.

Uh-Oh! I Can’t See My Nikon D810 Files

With the release of the Nikon D810 last week, we have received a number of urgent e-mails asking why Lightroom can’t see its raw files. Unfortunately, Lightroom must be updated to recognize the D810 files and, until that happens, you must use one of four workarounds. Each workaround has its pluses and minuses. The four choices are as follows:

  1. Nikon Capture NX-D: Nikon has discontinued support of Capture NX2 and replaced it with Nikon Capture NX-D. While powerful, it isn’t Lightroom or Photoshop and doesn’t support any plugins. It will, however, recognize and allow you to edit the D810 raw files.
  2. Nikon View NX: View NX is an image browser only. You can’t edit the images but you can view them and convert them to TIFF images. TIFF images can be imported into Lightroom or opened in Photoshop.
  3. DNG Converter 8.6 (Beta): The DNG Converter will convert the D810 raw files to the DNG format, which can then be viewed and edited in Lightroom or Photoshop. This and the next option are your most versatile solution at this time. Note: The link takes you to the download page for the Camera Raw 8.6 beta plugin; the link for downloading the DNG Converter is at the bottom of the page.
  4. Camera Raw 8.6 (Beta) for Photoshop CC or CC 2014 or Camera Raw 8.6 (Beta) for Photoshop CS6: A beta version of the next update to the Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop is currently available on the Adobe Labs site. It can recognize and edit D810 raw files. It will also allow you to view D810 files in Adobe Bridge. This and the previous option are your most versatile solutions at this time.

Adobe is certainly working on an update to Lightroom but it hasn’t announced any release date. It also isn’t clear whether the update will be Lightroom 5.6 or Lightroom 6. Rumors are that Lightroom 6 is coming shortly. We will let you know when an update or Lightroom 6 is available.

PS on July 31 at 10:44 am: Lightroom 5.6 is now available from Adobe. While there is no information currently available online about the update, it appears to support the Nikon D810 raw files. See Lightroom 5.6 is Available and Includes Support for Nikon D810 Raw Images.

PPS on July 31 at 1:19 pm: Information about Lightroom 5.6 and the links from which to download the update are at: https://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2014/07/lightroom-5-6-now-available.html. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, download the update from within the Creative Cloud app.

The Relentless March of Technology and Image Editing Software

Editor’s Note: This post appeared verbatim in the July 15, 2014, newsletter. It is being posted here by request.

One thing is certain when it comes to image editing software: Change is inevitable. Most changes are incremental. Photoshop CC 2014 added a couple of new features for photographers but Photoshop CC 2014 isn’t “all new.” This means I don’t have to learn a whole new program, just a few new features. However, if a company decides that their technology is old or not profitable, they may decide to simply cease development and that leaves you with some pretty serious issues.

Many photographers are currently being forced to create new workflows because the authors of their favorite image editing applications, Nikon Capture NX 2 and Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto, have decided to cease development. NX 2, Aperture, and iPhoto are still available but support and development will soon end. NX 2 will be replaced by Nikon Capture NX-D and Aperture and iPhoto with Photos for Mac OS X and the iCloud Photo Library. However, these applications and services are not the equivalent of the applications they are replacing except for the replacement of iPhoto with Photos.

While you may use neither, there are or were many Nikonians that love Capture NX-2. There is also a legion of faithful Aperture users. While the currently available versions of these applications will continue to work on current operating systems, there is no guarantee that they will in future operating systems or that any bugs will be fixed in the future. So, you have some decisions to make and it is better to make them now rather than later and to get started implementing them now as well.

Depending on your current workflow, switching image editing applications poses some serious compatibility and other issues. (I am not going to address the change from iPhoto to Photos for Mac here because, if you are reading this newsletter, you are probably using something other than iPhoto.) Here are just a few…

  • Edits in NX 2 and Aperture will not translate into Lightroom or other programs
  • Keywords and other metadata may or may not transfer to Lightroom or other programs
  • Lightroom or any other image editing program will require you to learn another application and that takes time
  • Your workflow may need to change to reflect the different capabilities of the new application
  • There will be a cost to the transfer, e.g., buying a license or subscription to a new application
  • If you are a Mac user, do you upgrade your operating system this fall and risk breaking something (I suggest you wait and check the online forums. The early adopters will tell you whether NX 2 (possibly but maybe not) or Aperture (very doubtful) break.

There is also another downside if you are a professional or enthusiast with a large number of images. You really only have, in my opinion, a couple of options: Lightroom or Capture One with Media Pro. Of those two, the only real option for most will be Lightroom. I know that some will disagree with my conclusion but for simplicity of workflow, you can’t beat Lightroom. Also, it is only $149 for a perpetual license, which is much cheaper than the $299 for Capture One, and an extensive number of plugins are available for expanding Lightroom that simply aren’t there for Capture One.

So, if you are a NX 2 or Aperture user, now is the time to start thinking about the transition to a new workflow. You have some work to do before the end of the year.

Editor’s Note: The School of Creative Photography will hold a two-day class on September 20 and 21, 2014, on Lightroom. The class cover organizing, editing, and printing your images from Lightroom.

(The Ninth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The ninth step is more of a precaution than a true step: Do not delete, move, or rename images outside of Lightroom. Delete images, create new folders, move images between folders, and rename images only within Lightroom.

Before you can organize, edit, or output your images in Lightroom, the images must be “imported” into the currently opened catalog. Unfortunately, the word Import is a bit of misnomer. Your images aren’t being imported into the catalog; they are either staying exactly where they are on your hard drive (the Add option in the Import dialogue) or being copied from their current location to a new location on the hard drive (the Copy option in the Import dialogue). What you are really doing when you “import” images is instructing Lightroom to remember these images exist and where the original copy of these images are on the hard drive. This is different than what iPhoto does, which is physically copy the images into the iPhoto Library, and what the Managed option is in Aperture, which is physically copy the images into the Aperture Library. It is the same as the Referenced option in Aperture.

While Lightroom creates and stores thumbnails and previews (low resolution copies) of the images, it sole link to the original images is the path stored in the catalog, e.g., C:\User\bzwit\Pictures\2014\2014-07-04_National Mall Fireworks\Image001.nef. To edit an image, Lightroom needs more information than is in a preview and this means that the original image file must be available to Lightroom. In other words, if you store images on an external hard drive, that drive must be connected and mounted before you can edit any images on that drive. With Lightroom 5, you can create smart previews and edit your images offline but Lightroom will still need access to the original images to output the them with any edits.

Lightroom will always look for the original image file using the path and name stored in the catalog. So, if you rename or move images outside of Lightroom, Lightroom won’t know that the images have been renamed or moved to a new location. It won’t find the original image files and, as a consequence, won’t let you edit or output your images. The bottom line is, once the images are imported into Lightroom, use Lightroom to delete images, create new folders, move images between files, and rename images. When done inside Lightroom, Lightroom will automatically update the name and path in the catalog or delete the image from the catalog.

screenshot_0461
Screenshot 1: Delete dialogue window with three options: Delete from Disk, Cancel, and Remove

To delete an image or images…

  1. Select an image or images to delete
  2. Right-click the image or one of the images and click on Remove Photos… OR press the Delete key
  3.  Click:
    • Delete from Disk to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and delete the original file from the hard drive (pick this to delete images that you don’t want)
    • Cancel to cancel the delete operation and dismiss the window
    • Remove to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and leave the original image file on the hard drive)
screenshot_0462
Screenshot 2: Folders panel and the right-click context menu.
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Screenshot 3: Create Folder window.

To create a new folder…

  1. Right-click on the folder in the Folders panel that will contain the new folder, e.g., to create a folder under the “2013” folder, right-click on it in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Create Folder Inside “[name of selected folder]” (see Screenshot 2)
  3. In the Create Folder dialogue window (see Screenshot 3)…
    • Enter a name for the Folder
    • If unchecked, check Put in “[name of folder]” to create the folder under the named folder
    • Check Include selected photos to move any selected images to the new folder
  4. Press Create to create the folder and dismiss the Create Folder window
screenshot_0464
Screenshot 4: Move warning window

To move images between folders in Lightroom…

  1. Select the image or images to be moved to a different location on the hard drive
  2. Drag the images from the image preview area or the filmstrip to the new folder in the Folders panel
  3. When the new folder is highlighted in blue, release the mouse button
  4. Press Move in the warning dialogue box to move the images and dismiss the warning (see Screenshot 4)

Note: I recommend that you don’t check the “Don’t show again” checkbox because trackpads make it easy to accidentally move files. The warning will allow you to cancel any accidental moves.

To rename a folder in Lightroom…

rename
Screenshot 5: Folders panel and context menu with Rename… menu item
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Screenshot 6: Rename Folder window
  1. Right-click on the folder to be renamed in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Rename…
  3. Enter a new name for the folder
  4. Click on Save to rename the folder

Again, it can’t be stressed enough that once your images are imported in Lightroom that images should only be deleted, moved, and renamed in Lightroom and new folders should only be created and renamed within Lightroom. Otherwise, Lightroom will lose track of your images and you will need to help Lightroom find them. It is far easier to just use Lightroom to make these basic changes and not mess up your catalog.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; the seventh about using collections to organize your images; and the eighth about using filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean.

(The Eighth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

Screenshot of the filter bar and present menu
Screenshot 1: The filter presets are accessed by clicking on the currently selected preset located on the right end of the filter bar.

The eighth step, while not as fun as organizing and editing your images, is a necessary step: Use filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean and organized.

Screenshot of the Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled "Catalog Cleanup"
Screenshot 2: The Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled “Catalog Cleanup” used for cleaning my catalog.

As covered in previous posts, there are a significant number of steps in organizing your images in Lightroom and, as a result, it can be difficult to know whether you have completed every step in your workflow. However, Lightroom can help you determine what steps are left to do using filter presets (see Screenshot 1) and smart collections* (see Screenshot 2). Filter presets display images in the folder selected in the Folders panel that met the condition or conditions in the preset; smart collections will include any images in the catalog that meet the text condition or conditions of the smart collection.

A filter preset’s or smart collection’s criteria can be simple, consisting of one text condition, or complex, consisting of many text conditions. For example, a preset or smart collection can display all the images in the folder or catalog, respectively, that has a specific color label, e.g., red label, assigned to it or has a specific color label and a specific keyword assigned to it. You don’t add images to a smart collection Lightroom add all the images that meet the criteria to the collection automatically; it will also remove any images that met the criteria but have been changed and no longer met the criteria.

You can use filter presets and smart collections to help you maintain your Lightroom catalog. For example, a filter preset and smart collection that displays images that have no keywords assigned to them tells yow, respectively, what images in the currently selected folder have no keywords and what images in the catalog have not been assigned at least one keyword. To help you manage offline editing, I have two presets, one that displays the images with a smart preview and the other images that do not have a smart preview. This allows you to create smart previews for images that you want to edit offline and delete the smart previews that you no longer need.

To create a filter preset…

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 11.06.18 AM copy
Screenshot 3: The preset menu actions with the Save Current Settings as New Preset… command.
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Screenshot 4: The New Preset window for naming a new preset.
  1. If not already in Grid View, go to Grid View
  2. If the filter bar is not visible, click on the “\” (backslash) key
  3. Set up a filter as desired based on searchable text, attributes, and metadata (see Screenshot 1)
  4. Click on the filter preset menu and select Save Current Settings as New Preset… (see Screenshot 3)
  5. Enter a name for the preset and click Create (see Screenshot 4)

To use the preset later, click on the preset menu in the filter bar and then on the preset in the menu to active the preset

screenshot_0455
Screenshot 5: The Create Smart Collection window.

To create a smart collection…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) icon in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on Create Smart Collection in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Smart Collection dialog window (see Figure 3)…
    • Enter a Name for the collection
    • To place the new smart collection inside an existing collection set, check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set from the drop-down menu to add the collection to a collection set
    • Chose Match [any or all or none] of the following rules to determine whether an image needs to match any, all, or none of the rules to be include in the smart collection
    • Select the text condition, e.g., the metadata to search on, the condition, and the value, to set up the smart collection, every image meeting the condition will be automatically added to the collection
    • If desired, add a second, third, or more text condition by clicking on the “+” (plus) icon at the end of the first condition (Note: Once there is more than one text condition, a “” (minus) icon will appear at the end of each text condition; clicking on the minus icon will delete that text condition from the smart collection.)
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection and dismiss the dialog window

To create a collection set…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection Set in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection Set dialog window…
    • Enter a Name for the collection set
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set to add the collection set to that the selected collection set
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection set

Simple but frequently overlooked, filter presets and smart collections can help you to keep your catalog clean and up to date. By doing so, extraneous images, mistakes, and overlooked workflow steps can be corrected before they get in your way later, speeding up your workflow and allowing you to easily and quickly find your images.

*As discussed in the last post, there are two types of collections, collections and smart collections, and one type that exists at all times, quick collection, in Lightroom. You can have as many collections and smart collections as desired but only one quick collection per catalog. Images are manually added to and removed from a collection (so I sometime refer to these as manual collections). A smart collection is a collection that is populated according to a rule or set of rules and any images that meet the criteria set by the rules existing at the time the smart collection is created or exists in the future are automatically made a part of the collection. Images are added to the quick collection by dragging and dropping the image on the Quick Collection or using a shortcut.

– Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; and the seventh about using collections to organize your images.