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- Getting to know the Lightroom interface
- Establishing Lightroom preferences
- Using catalogs
- Importing images
- Image review
- Identifying and locating images
- Optimizing and sharing images
Skill Level Beginner
Lightroom uses a catalog to store a variety of information about your photographic images. And so it's not a bad idea as you're getting started to take a look at the actual settings that you're using for your catalog. If you're working with multiple catalogs, it's very important to keep in mind that the catalog settings are specific to the currently opened catalog in Lightroom. Therefore, if you are working with multiple catalogs and you want to change the default catalog settings. You'll need to change those settings for each of the catalogs that you work with in Lightroom. To edit the catalog settings we can simply go to the Edit menu and choose Catalog Settings.
This would be the Lightroom menu on Macintosh. When you choose this option, the Catalogue Settings dialog will appear. We'll start with the general tab and for the most part what you see on this tab is just for informational purposes only. We can see where the current catalogue is. The file main for the catalog, when it was created. When it was last backed up or optimized and the total size on the hard drive for that catalog. If you'd like to see the location where that catalog is stored. You can click the Show button and you'll get a window in your operating system showing you that folder.
At the bottom of the general tab, you'll find the backup options, which allow you to specify how frequently you'll backup your catalog. Your choice here depends in part on how frequently you're updating information about your phoots. If you're only updating photos every week or two, then a weekly, or possibly, even monthly backup might be adequate. If you're performing a lot of work, on a very regular basis, in Lightroom, then you might want to choose the Once a Day option. Or even, the Every Time Light Room Exits option.
What I don't suggest, is to use the Never option. There are certain things that you can do reduce the impact of a catalog that becomes corrupted or simply lost. But still it's a good idea to back up the catalog on a regular basis, I recommend at least weekly. Turning our attention to the file handling tab. You'll see that we can specify what size and quality previews we want to generate for our images. The preview size really relates to your display resolution. On the long side, how many pixels do you want those previews to be? If you're working within a specially high resolution display then you might want to create larger previews.
I generally opt for a relatively small preview using the 1440 pixel option which is the default. We can also specify the preview quality. And I usually compromise here between file size for the previews versus quality, choosing the medium setting. But you can also reduce the amount of hard drive space required by using the low setting. Or maximize the quality of those previews by choosing the high setting. When you zoom in on an image, a one to one preview needs to be generated. And those can be a little bit large. As a result, Lightroom by default will discard those previews after 30 days. If you don't tend to go back very often and zoom in on images after your initial review.
Then you might be able to choose a shorter duration, such as one day or one week. If you have plenty of hard drive space, and you want to be sure that you can always zoom in on a photo with no delay, you can choose the Never option. Just keep in mind that the one to one preview is really only beneficial for allowing you to zoom in more quickly on an image. Instead of having to wait for a new preview to be built. You can always regenerate a preview simply by zooming in on an image, for example. I generally leave these image set to the default of After 30 Days.
The import sequence numbers are only applicable if you use these options for file renaming when importing your images. If you don't use those options in import, you'll never see these values increase, and there's no need to change the values. Moving to the metadata tab, you can see a variety of settings related to the meta data that is saved for our images. The first checkbox allows you to specify whether you want suggestions from recently entered values. This can obviously be helpful, so that you can just start typing the beginning of a keyword, for example, and have it fill in automatically.
Frankly, I don't see any reason why you would want to turn this feature off unless you find that those suggestions are wrong much of the time. We can also specify that we want to include develop settings in the metadata inside jpeg, tif and psd files. In other words, that the changes you apply in the develop module will actually be saved within files of that format. In theory, there is some risk of corruption of those files. But I consider that risk to be rather low. And I'd rather make sure that I have my develop settings in the event that I lose the Lightroom catalog for any reason. So I suggest leaving this option turned on.
And speaking of reducing the impact of losing your catalog. I also prefer to turn on the option to automatically write changes into the XMP sidecar file for raw captures. What that means is that your develop settings, metadata updates, keywords, star ratings, color labels, and more are included automatically. In the XMP sidecar file that's included with your raw capture. Therefore if you lost your catalog in Lightroom you would still be able to access that information.
However, losing the catalog still means that you lose membership in collections as well as history information. So, this option doesn't offer complete protection against data loss, but it certainly helps. Do keep in mind however, that with this option turned on. If you update the metadata for a large number of images, it can slow your computer down as each of those files is being updated on the fly. The new map module in Lightroom 4, obviously enables us to include location information with our images and there are a couple of options related to Geocoding.
In other words, the application of location information for our photos. The first option allows you to determing whther you want to enable reverse Geocoding. In other words when you have GPS coordiantes do you want an address to be suggested automatically. You can also specify whether you want to export that information whenever the address fields are empty. I generally prefer leaving these options turned on, but in some situations you may not want the address information to be added to your images automatically. You can of course minimize the amount of metadata you're including in images upon export.
But some users may still want to limit the amount of information written into those files in the first place. Finally, we can choose whether we want any date or time changes to be written directly into the proprietary raw files. The concern here is that it's possible, that while the information is being written into that raw file there could be problem that would cause a loss of data in that raw file. In other words the image could be corrupted. However, I consider the risk of that happening to be relatively low.
And if I need to correct the data time for my photos, because for example, I didn't update my camera's time when I changed time zones. I'd want that information written into the original raw file as though I had the camera set correctly in the first place. And so, I prefer to turn this option on, even though I do realize there are some potential risks involved. After establishing catalog settings, you can simply click OK. And those settings will take effect for the current catalog. Just keep in mind, if you're working with multiple catalogs.
You'll then want to open those other catalogs and make any changes to the catalogue settings for those catalogs, as well.
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