Map Unavailable with Older Lightroom


Today’s Question: Have you ever seen this [error message about the map being unable to load in the Map module in Lightroom Classic] before? I went to the Java settings and everything seems up to date.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The error message in question relates to the lack of availability of the map display in the Map module for versions of Lightroom before Lightroom Classic 8. You will need to sing up for a Creative Cloud subscription plan ( if you want to regain access to the map display in the Map module.

More Detail: Starting late last year (November 2018) Adobe disabled the map display in the Map module for older versions of Lightroom Classic. That includes Lightroom 4 and 5, as well as Lightroom Classic CC 6 and 7. You need to be running Lightroom Classic 8 or later to be able to view the map display in the Map module.

For photographers who prefer to continue using an older version of Lightroom Classic (such as to avoid paying a monthly subscription fee), there is a workaround that will enable you to view the location for photos in the context of a map display.

To view the location for a photo on a map, first copy the coordinates found in the GPS field in the Metadata section of the right panel in the Map module (or in the EXIF section for the Metadata section on the right panel in the Library module). Then paste that information into the search field for Google Maps in your web browser, which you can access by pointing your web browser here:

A subscription is required if you want to regain full access to the various features that involve the actual map display in the Map module in Lightroom Classic, such as being able to drag photos to the map in order to add GPS coordinates as location information for photos. You can find details about the various Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plans by following this link:

Photoshop Before Lightroom


Today’s Question: If I start with a photo in Photoshop, how do I get it into Lightroom [Classic]?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you’re already using Lightroom Classic it is best to start from Lightroom if you want to work with a photo in Photoshop. If, however, you do start with a photo in Photoshop, you’ll need to use one of the import options to get the image into Lightroom, such as by synchronizing the folder the contains the image you created in Photoshop.

More Detail: One of the most important things to understand about Lightroom Classic is that all tasks related to your photos should be initiated in Lightroom, rather than in Photoshop or other software (or the operating system). That said, there are ways you can initiate working with a photo in Photoshop rather than Lightroom.

That said, it is possible to get photos into your Lightroom Classic catalog after creating a photo in Photoshop. You could use the import feature as you would with other photos, but this can create some potential confusion. For example, in this scenario you would likely be importing from a folder that has photos already being managed in your catalog. In addition, you would need to be careful to use the “Add” rather than “Copy” option for importing.

Instead, I recommend using the option to synchronize a folder, assuming you are saving the image in Photoshop in a folder that is already being managed in Lightroom. After saving an image in such a folder from Photoshop, you can return to Lightroom for the synchronization. Then right-click on the applicable folder on the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. From the popup menu that appears, choose “Synchronize Folder”.

A dialog will appear indicating how many photos have been found in the folder that are not in your Lightroom catalog. There are also options for removing photos from the catalog if they are no longer in the folder, and checking for metadata updates that may have been applied outside of Lightroom. After enabling the desired options, click the Synchronize button to apply the update.

After this synchronization, images that you created outside of Lightroom will be managed within your Lightroom catalog. To me this is the simplest approach to importing photos into Lightroom, provided those images have been saved in a folder that is already being managed by Lightroom. Otherwise you would need to use the import feature, typically with the “Add” (rather than “Copy”) option selected.

To get a better understanding of how Lightroom works (and why it is so important to initiate most tasks within Lightroom, check out my “Understanding Lightroom” course in the GreyLearning library here:

Preferred Preview Option


Today’s Question: Please comment on Standard vs 1:1 previews at Import [into Lightroom Classic].

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can think of Standard previews in Lightroom Classic as being appropriate for evaluating a photo sized to fill your monitor’s display area. The 1:1 previews are employed when you need to zoom in to evaluate a photo. I think the Standard preview option is best if you don’t tend to zoom in on very many of your photos during review, and 1:1 previews are best if you tend to zoom in on many of your photos to evaluate them.

More Detail: Building previews during the process of importing your photos into Lightroom Classic can help streamline the process of reviewing your photos later. When browsing your photos in the Library module, you need a Standard preview if you will view an image at full-screen or smaller, and you need a 1:1 preview if you will zoom in to review the details of a photo.

If you don’t generate previews during the import process, the previews will instead need to be built on the fly as you browse your photos. In other words, the only real question about the previews is whether you have them all built during the import process or during your image review. By building previews during import, you are having Lightroom do the work of building previews all at once, helping speed up your browsing experience after the import.

I therefore strongly recommend building at least the Standard previews during import, to speed up your browsing experience when reviewing your photos after the import. Whether you should instead build the 1:1 previews depends on your browsing behavior.

If, like me, you tend to view the full photo when evaluating your images, without zooming in on most of your photos, then the Standard preview option is probably adequate. This is my preference, as I typically review all of my photos in either the Loupe view or Full-Screen view, only zooming in on a small number of photos that I want to get a closer look at.

On the other hand, if you tend to zoom in on a relatively large number of photos, you may want to use the 1:1 preview option during import, so that you won’t have to wait for a preview to be generated each time you zoom in on a photo. Keep in mind that the 1:1 previews consume more hard drive space than Standard previews. But if you make somewhat extensive use of the option to zoom in when evaluating your photos, that extra space may be worth consuming on your hard drive.

When to Use Spot Metering


Today’s Question: When is it best to use spot metering versus matrix?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think it is best to use spot metering when you have a sense of what the exposure needs to be for a specific area of the scene, especially in situations where you are concerned that the camera might be “tricked” by the scene using a different metering mode.

More Detail: My typical answer to this type of question about metering is that it really doesn’t matter which metering (or exposure) mode you use, provided you can achieve an accurate exposure relatively quickly and consistently.

When you use the spot metering mode you are telling the camera that you want to select a specific area of the scene to establish a meter reading from. That typically means evaluating somewhere around 2% of the scene you have framed up with your lens. Because of these issues, when you use spot metering you have the responsibility of pointing the lens at a specific area you want to establish your exposure based on.

With other metering modes such as evaluative or matrix, the camera is evaluating a larger area of the scene. Many cameras will also perform a bit of analysis of the scene the meter is evaluating, so that a more “intelligent” decision can be made about what the proper exposure settings should be.

Of course, the whole point of taking a meter reading is to establish settings for a good exposure. That might mean dialing in specific settings based on the meter reading when you are in the manual exposure mode. It might also mean adjusting the exposure compensation setting if you are in one of the semi-automatic exposure modes such as shutter priority or aperture priority.

Taking into account all of these considerations, to me spot metering is the best choice for situations where the camera may be “tricked” by the lighting situation, and you can achieve a proper exposure more quickly by metering off a small area of the scene. For example, when photographing the full moon at night, spot metering off the moon itself will generally get you a much more accurate exposure much more quickly compared to using other metering modes that will evaluate the entire scene and attempt to brighten up the dark sky.

If you aren’t comfortable using spot metering mode, using it can obviously be quite challenging, as it does require a bit more precision in terms of taking a meter reading, as well as a bit more knowledge of exposure. But there are many situations where spot metering can be faster and more accurate, so I think it is worth taking some time to get familiar with using spot metering for determining exposure settings.

Changing Sky Color


Today’s Question: When wanting to change the color of the sky [in Lightroom Classic], for example, once you select your preferred color, how do you transfer that color into your photo?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can paint (or otherwise add) a color into an area of your photo in Lightroom Classic by selecting a targeted adjustment tool (such as the Adjustment Brush), choosing a color from the Color popup among the set of controls for the targeted adjustment, and then painting into the applicable area of the image.

More Detail: Among the adjustments you can apply to a targeted area of a photo in Lightroom Classic is the option to essentially paint with a color in a particular area of a photo. This option is available for the Graduated Filter, the Radial Filter, and the Adjustment Brush.

To apply a color to a particular area of a photo, you need to select that color from the Color popup. To activate the popup, click on the color swatch that shows the current color, and select the desired color from the color picker. You can then paint (or define a gradient or radial shape) to apply that color to a portion of the image.

Note that the effect will not be visible in areas where the image is pure white. In other words, if you have completely blown out the sky to white in an image, this Color option for the targeted adjustment tools in Lightroom Classic does not provide a good solution for replacing the sky. You could reduce the Exposure for the targeted adjustment to make the color more visible, but then you would not have any texture at all in the sky, which will likely not look very good.

In other words, if you need to replace the sky in a photo where the sky was completely blown out, you are better off working in Photoshop for that work rather than Lightroom.

Storage Location Shortcut


Today’s Question: My favorite Lightroom Classic “hidden feature” is accessed by clicking on an empty part of the “breadcrumb” bar (the black stripe just above the filmstrip). Clicking there opens a list of recently visited folders, collections, etc., and you can add favorite folders & collections to the list. This list is also a more convenient way of getting to All Photographs, Quick Collection, and Previous Import.

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed quickly navigate to your recent, favorite, or “catalog” folders and collections using the popup found near the top-left of the filmstrip panel at the bottom of the Lightroom Classic interface.

More Detail: Today’s “question” is actually a comment received during a recent webinar presentation where I discussed some of my top tips for Lightroom Classic. You can view a recording of that full presentation on my Tim Grey TV channel on YouTube here (

The shortcut popup toward the top-left of the filmstrip panel can most certainly be a convenient way to navigate among your folders and collections. To begin with, this popup will present a list of Recent Sources, meaning the folders and collections you most recently browsed within Lightroom Classic.

In addition, the collections found in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module appear at the top of the popup menu. That includes, for example, the “All Photographs” and “Previous Import” collections.

Another helpful option is a list of folders or collections you have identified as favorites. You can add a folder or collection to the favorites list by navigating to that folder or collection, and then choosing “Add to Favorites” from the popup on the filmstrip. Similarly, you can remove a folder or collection from the favorites list by navigating to the location and choosing “Remove from Favorites” from the popup menu.

Storing Catalog in the Cloud


Today’s Question: Could you store a copy of your [Lightroom Classic] catalog in the Adobe Creative Cloud folder?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you could store a copy of your Lightroom Classic catalog in the Creative Cloud folder, as long as you only use that as a backup of your catalog, not to actually work within Lightroom.

More Detail: When you subscribe to an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan ( you get a certain amount of cloud-based storage, based on the plan you choose. While that storage is primarily intended to be used for the images and documents you create with Adobe Creative Cloud applications, any files you’d like can be copied to that folder location.

Your creative cloud storage is represented by a Creative Cloud Files folder on your computer, and any files in that folder will synchronize too the Adobe Creative Cloud. Similarly, files you save to that location from another computer or device will synchronize and appear in the folder on your computer.

You can navigate to the Creative Cloud Files folder easily from within the Creative Cloud app on your computer. Click the icon for the Creative Cloud app, and go to the Files tab. Click the Open Folder button, and a window will open for your operating system, showing you the Creative Cloud Files folder. You can copy any files you’d like to that folder (including your Lightroom Classic catalog), and they will be synchronized to the Adobe Creative Cloud. This will provide a backup copy of your files on the Adobe servers.

Note that if you are using this approach to backup your Lightroom catalog, you only really need to copy the file with the “lrcat” filename extension, as that is the actual catalog. In other words, there’s no need to consume a significant portion of your Creative Cloud storage by backing up the previews files, as those previews can be re-generated at a later time if needed.

Adjusting Individual Colors


Today’s Question: [In Lightroom Classic] can you isolate the Hue you are working on rather than have everything that is that color in your photo be affected?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can apply adjustments for the hue, saturation, and luminance (brightness) for individual color ranges within Lightroom Classic or Adobe Camera Raw, using the HSL controls.

More Detail: When you adjust the color for a photo using the controls (such as Temp, Tint, and Vibrance) using the Basic set of controls, all colors in the photo are affected. If you want to adjust the appearance of individual ranges of colors, you can instead use the HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) controls.

If you go to the HSL controls and select “All” just below the heading, you’ll see that there are individual sections for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. Within those sections there are sliders for the individual color ranges (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Aqua, Blue, Purple, and Magenta).

You can adjust the hue (essentially the color balance) using the sliders within the Hue section. So, for example, you can make the yellow values within the image appear more green or more orange. Similarly, you can adjust the saturation and luminance for individual ranges of color values.

However, you are not able to alter the ranges of colors. For example, you can’t narrow the range for Orange to ensure you’re not affecting colors that have a bit of a yellow tint to them. The color ranges are essentially locked. Therefore, if you wanted to exercise greater control over the colors in the image, you would either need to apply a targeted adjustment, or send the image to Photoshop so you can exercise more control using the Hue/Saturation adjustment.

Captures in the Cloud


Today’s Question: I take photos on my iPhone they appear on the Lightroom mobile app. When I check on my desktop in Lightroom Classic I see the pictures. Where do the photos reside, in the cloud or on my computer (synced)? Do I need to save them to my iMac hard drive?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The photos captured on your mobile device using the Lightroom mobile app will automatically be synchronized back to Lightroom Classic on your desktop. That means the images are stored on your local hard drive, and you can move them to a different location if you’d like, and then delete them from Lightroom on your mobile device.

More Detail: When you capture photos with the camera feature built into the Lightroom mobile app, those photos are automatically synchronized via the Adobe Creative Cloud. That means they will appear within Lightroom Classic. Those synchronized photos can be found in a folder within the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module, under a heading for your mobile device. In other words, your mobile device will effectively appear as though it is one of the hard drives you are using to store your photos.

Just as you can move photos from one folder to another within your “normal” photo storage, so too can you move photos from the synchronized folder for your mobile device to the storage location you use for your other photo storage. Simply navigate to the folder under the heading for your mobile device, select the photos you want to move, and drag and drop them to the desired folder location within your normal photo storage structure.

At that point the photos will still remain within the Lightroom app on your mobile device. But since you now have those photos in your normal storage structure, you can delete them from your mobile device. When browsing your photos in the grid view in Lightroom mobile you can tap the ellipsis (three dots) icon at the top-right corner. Choose Select from the popup menu. You can then select individual photos, or tap the checkbox that appears at the top-left to select all photos in the current location. Then tap the Delete icon at the bottom-right of the app.

This approach can provide a more streamlined workflow for photos you capture on a mobile device, since it involves automatic synchronization of your photos to Lightroom Classic. I find this approach is generally easier to employ than downloading photos directly from my mobile device, for example. Plus, the Lightroom mobile app enables you to capture in the Adobe DNG format, which can provide improved overall quality for your mobile captures.

Concurrent Previews During Import


Today’s Question: Whenever I import photos into Lightroom Classic, during the import the status at the top-left shows “2 operations in progress”. This used to only be the import, without a second task going on. Did I accidentally change something that I should be concerned about?

Tim’s Quick Answer: What you’re seeing is an indication that Lightroom Classic is now generating the previews you selected during the Import process concurrent with the actual import of your photos. This is an update from earlier versions of Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Prior to a relatively recent update to Lightroom Classic, previews would be generated after the import process had finished completely. Now, previews are generated in parallel during the import process. That means two tasks (the import and the building of previews) are happening at the same time.

So, previously you would have seen a progress indicator at the top-left of the Lightroom interface showing the progress for the import task. Then, after the actual import was completed, that progress indicator would change to show you the progress for building previews for the images based on the option you selected in the Import dialog.

Now you will see two progress indicators at the same time. You can click on the popup for those progress indicators to see details of which tasks are being performed, and the percentage of completion for each of those tasks.