Join Colin Smith for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting Lightroom preferences, part of Lightroom 1.3 for Digital Photographers.
And here we have a fresh copy of Lightroom 1.3. This is the latest version as of this recording. The very first thing you want to do before you even start importing any images is to set your preferences. So let's move up to our Preferences Menu. On Windows, it's under the Edit, and we will go down to Preferences. On Mac, you'll find it under Lightroom Preferences. All right, let's just start with the General Preferences, and what we're going to do is just look at the things that really need to be changed. We really don't want to worry about this Automatically check for updates unless you want to have those updates uploaded.
Personally, I find it a little bit annoying to have these little nag screens telling me those updates. I would rather check when I am ready. Now, we choose the Default Catalog when we first start, and we can use the most recent catalog, and typically that's what you're going to do. The other thing you could do is you could use a prompt, where you could choose a different catalog, and basically a catalog is where we're going to keep all our settings, everything that we do when we change metadata and all that information gets written into this catalog, as well as the image previews.
You can do multiple catalogs since I think it was version 1.1 or 1.2, but if you want to change a catalog when you load it up just hold down the Alt key, or that would be the Option key as you launch Lightroom, and then you'll get that option. And this is where it's going to. Basically it's going to go in your Pictures folder. If you wanted, you could choose the Other and choose another place for the catalog, but we will be quite happy with the Default Catalog, and for this title we're just going to be working with a single catalog. So we won't be changing that up.
We could turn on Sounds for when we finish importing our photos and exporting them, we could play a little alert sound if we wanted. For now I'll leave those sounds off. One of the other things, if you find your dialog boxes get all messed up, you can go here and click this Reset all warning dialogs, and that will set it back to the factory settings. This is kind of presets. We can auto apply the auto adjustments here, but personally I don't really like having the auto adjustments set, and especially if I am doing something like some bracketed images, I like to be able to see the difference between the photos.
We could turn this option on here: Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting, and that will set the default settings in the interface to work with different ISOs. And as you know, when you work with the camera, when you're shooting with a higher ISO, you can have a lot more noise, but you can also be able to photograph in much darker conditions, and also you're able to catch faster movement. So we will turn that option on. Now we have the other option here. We can store our presets with our catalog, and these are the different presets.
We'll get into those later on. Let's go to the Importing options. This is something that's really quite important. We're going to show the import dialog when a memory card is detected. That's a good option, and you can turn that on. That means whenever you plug your card in, then Lightroom is going to launch and get ready to grab those photos for you. We can Ignore the camera-generated folder names, and actually it's a good idea to do that unless you really want those folder names that are created on the cards with the camera. Personally, I don't really like those.
And you won't really need them, because one of the things you will find out about Lightroom is although we can work with folders, using metadata is a much more efficient way of organizing your information. Here is another option. If you're one of those photographers that likes to shoot both a JPEG and RAW at the same time, if you turn this option on, now they'll be treated as separate photos. Otherwise, if you turn this option off, when you go to import the images you'll find that your JPEGs don't actually important into Lightroom. So if you want both of them, turn that option on.
Let's move onto the next one, External Editing. This is where we'll use an External Editor. In this case we're going to be using File Formats, which is a PSD. We could choose a TIFF or PSD, and this is actually for Adobe Photoshop CS3. I will change the Color Space from ProPhoto to AdobeRGB (1998). Although ProPhoto has a wider color gamut, the Adobe RGB is considered more of a standard, and it's a lot easier to match those colors with your printer.
And we will keep it at 16 Bit. As you can see, we can also set this up to work in another External Editor. In this case I'm quite happy just to work with Photoshop. File Handling, let's turn that on. And you can see here some different things here about--we can set different keyword separators, we can choose the commas here, or we can choose the slashes. This is kind of a useful way for--sorry, it's a dot.
That's a useful way for making different type of separators. Typically I use a comma though, so I'll leave those alone. Then we're going to choose Interface. And some of these options we'll look at in a little bit. We've got the Panels, we can change the icons that are on there. And we can--you'll see this Lights Out feature pretty soon. It's kind of cool. It's fun. Then we have got the Background. We can change the colors of this background to a Darker Gray, or we could choose a Lighter Gray.
You can't necessary see it at it at this point, but right now I am just going to leave them at the default, which is the Medium Gray, which is a good color, because the Medium Gray tends to be a neutral kind of a color for looking at our images. So let's move down to the Filmstrip. We can Show the rating and the picks in the filmstrip, and you'll find that the filmstrip is actually the little section across the bottom here. If you want to turn those on you can. Personally, you don't really need to do that, because we can see those in Grid View. And if some of this stuff I am speaking right now seems like double Dutch, you'll understand it as soon as we start working inside the program.
Now let's go down to the Tweaks here. We can Zoom clicked point to center. Let's turn that on. That means that when I zoom in on a view, it's going to zoom into the center of wherever I clicked instead of the center of the image. And that's pretty much all the main preferences. We could go back here. Let's choose General again. You'll see there is another option here for Catalog Settings, and when we click this, it's going to launch another set of preferences, and these are the ones for our Catalogs.
The Catalog here, we can Back up the catalog, and wherever you launch Lightroom, you're going to see here it's going to give you an option to back it up, and that's a good idea to do that. And we can change the frequency of the back up, we'll just keep it at Once a week for right now. Now, if you're finding that you are having some problems with your library running pretty slow because of your catalog being a little bit clogged up, you can actually click this button here to Relaunch and Optimize, and that's a good little thing to do every now and then, and that will just optimize your catalog and just make things run a little smoother and faster.
Let's look at the File Handling. Now, here is the Previews. If you look in here, we can see these different size previews we can select. I am actually going to choose a smaller preview, 1024. And basically what happens is whenever you load these images in, these previews will actually stay inside Lightroom and actually generate little images, and in this case it's going to be 1024 pixels for each one of the photos that's loaded in, it's going to create this little thumbnail.
And this preview is actually going to stay in Lightroom, even when I disconnect the drive. If I don't even have the images there, those previews will be there, and those are useful, we can see what we're working with, we can export them say to a web page or something like that, but at the same time we can use it for working with metadata and flagging and tagging and doing things like that. However, you can't print or make adjustments just with the preview. You will need the full images attached, and you'll see that later on.
But we will have these previews generated, because these previews will actually make these nice little--what we're actually going to look at, and it will save a lot of time, because it doesn't have to actually render out each RAW file, all it does is it just renders out the preview for you to look at. And we can change the Quality, we will keep that at Medium. And you can Automatically Discard the 1:1 Previews. The 1:1 Previews are full size previews, and these are quite important for working with certain things.
And one of the things you can find that your library or your catalogs can get clogged up. So if you want, and you find that you're going to be working on images for a little while, and then you're not really going to be going back to those images later on, you could turn this, set it to whatever frequency you want. Or if you find that you like to keep all those full-size previews in there, and you are constantly working in your library, and you have got plenty of hard drive space, then you could turn Never on and just keep those previews, because the previews do save a lot of time, if those previews are already rendered.
That means every time I click an image, and I want to look at it full size, if that preview is rendered, it's going to happen instantly. Otherwise, I am going to have to wait for that preview to happen each time. So, anyway, let's move onto the Metadata. And you'll notice in the Metadata here we have got pretty much a lot of options checked except for this one here, Automatically write changes into XMP. Now, this is a matter of choice, and it depends how you work. Basically what happens is whenever you make any changes to your images, the changes are not going to be written into the images, they're going to be written into an XMP Sidecar, and an XMP is just a form of XML, it's a Adobe way of writing metadata, and it's a very efficient programs, and it's the same XMP that's used by Adobe Bridge and also in Photoshop.
Now, the reason you would want to write those changes to an XMP is when you have a little sidecar next to each file, when those changes go in there, that means if I open these images inside of Bridge, all the changes I've made in Lightroom will be reflected in Bridge, but if those changes are not written into the XMP, Bridge will not recognize those Lightroom changes. Now, there are two ways of writing those changes. One is if we turn this Automatic option on, whenever we make an adjustment or whenever we add metadata, it's automatically written into the XMP file.
Well, why would you want to ever turn it off you may ask? Well, here is the reason you may want to turn it off. If you're working with large amounts of images and say perhaps you're applying a template to those images, for example, you select all the images, and then you type your copyright in--well, if this option is turned on, then you're going to have to wait while all these are being written, and it can take quite a while sometimes. It's not going to stop Lightroom working, but it can slow down the performance. So if you find yourself working like that, the best option to do would be to turn that off, and then when you're finished with your session, then you could just write those changes manually through the menus.
But for most people, you might find that turning it on is a good option, but like I said, if you're working with a lot of images, and you're doing a lot of heavy metadata stuff, it might be a lot quicker for you to do all your metadata work first, then select all the images, and then just actually hit the Command+S or Ctrl+S to save all those changes at the end, when you perhaps go away and do something else. So that's another option. So anyway, that's all the different preferences inside of Lightroom.
And feel free to set these how you like. Here are the suggestions that I have that will make things go a little bit smoother for you.
There's nothing more frustrating than having hundreds of digital pictures clogging up one's hard drive. Photoshop Lightroom 1.3 for Digital Photographers teaches picture-takers how to import, organize, develop, and output images with ease. Instructor Colin Smith breaks down even the most complex tasks into quick and easy-to-understand techniques, and demonstrates multiple methods that work in real-world situations. He teaches photographers how to work efficiently with metadata; create custom keyword sets; and understand Lightroom's ratings, flags, and labels. Colin also shares some of his secret tips!
- Importing images from a hard drive
- Working with the panels efficiently
- Understanding and managing catalogs
- Customizing the HTML galleries
- Adding music to slideshow presentations
- Converting grayscale images