Why Use Auto?


Today’s Question: What would be the case for applying an auto adjustment on import [to Lightroom Classic CC]? How do you know that an image or images would benefit from an adjustment when one hasn’t had the chance to even evaluate it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I find that applying the Auto adjustment in Lightroom generally provides a better starting point for an image than the default adjustment settings. In addition, I generally find that I have a better initial preview for evaluating my photos when the Auto adjustment has been applied.

More Detail: I’d be the first to admit that the Auto adjustment option in Lightroom won’t provide a perfect solution for most images. In other words, I always expect that after using the Auto adjustment that I’m going to want to refine most (or all) of the individual adjustments affected by the Auto option. So it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why I would apply the Auto adjustment when importing photos into Lightroom.

I completely understand the notion of not wanting to apply automatic adjustments to an image. After all, each image can benefit from different adjustments. However, I find that applying the Auto adjustment gets me closer to a final effect I’m happy with compared to the default adjustment settings.

In addition, in a recent update to Lightroom the Auto feature was updated with improved image analysis. Taking all of this into account, I prefer to apply the Auto adjustment as part of a preset I apply during import. I’ll still absolutely go back and refine the adjustment settings for my photos, but I still appreciate the initial result based on the Auto adjustment.

Auto Update Recommendation

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: The Adobe Creative Cloud application recently showed a popup indicating that applications could be updated automatically if I’d like. Do you recommend enabling this option?

Tim’s Quick Answer: While in theory I always want to have the latest updates for the Creative Cloud applications, I prefer not to enable automatic updates. Instead, I recommend waiting at least a couple of days to get a sense of whether an update will create any problems.

More Detail: New software updates are generally aimed at providing new features or fixing existing problems, there is always a chance that a new update will create problems. For example, I’ve heard from several photographers who are having trouble with the latest 2019 updates to Photoshop and other Creative Cloud applications.

If there are significant problems with an update, it is somewhat common that a new update will be released faster than had otherwise been planned, in order to address (and hopefully solve) the problems. In that type of situation, it would obviously be better to wait for the second update rather than the initial update.

So, whenever an update is available, I recommend waiting a few days so you can get a sense of whether there are problems with that update. You will generally find that those who installed the update and are having problems will share that information in forums or social media sites. Even a quick search on Google can often provide a sense of whether a new update is problematic.

A few days after an update is available, if there are no indications of problems, then I feel comfortable installing the update.

Live Photo Removal

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: If you turn on the “live photo” option on your iPhone you may get a few second MOV file with the JPEG when you import to Lightroom. What is the best way to get it off the hard drive and out of Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can delete the videos included when you import Live Photo captures by right-clicking on the video you want to delete, choosing “Remove Photo” from the popup menu, and then clicking the “Delete from Disk” button in the confirmation dialog that appears. The bigger issue is to filter the captures and make sure you are only deleting Live Photos as opposed to normal video captures.

More Detail: When you enable the Live Photo feature on an iPhone, you are essentially capturing a still photo plus a video clip. Lightroom supports these captures, importing the Live Photo as a separate video file along with the JPEG photo.

Of course, if you didn’t really intend to capture a Live Photo, then the “extra” video file will simply represent clutter in your Lightroom catalog. So you may want to delete those video captures.

You can filter the photos based on the fact they were captured with an iPhone. You can simply select the applicable iPhone model from the Camera column from the Metadata tab of the Library Filter bar.

In theory you could also use the Attribute tab on the Library Filter bar to view only video captures. However, this would cause you to see all video captures, not just those that were part of a Live Photo set. So instead you’ll probably want to filter only by iPhone model, so you can delete only videos that have a corresponding JPEG capture next to them. I recommend setting the sort order to File Name to ensure the video and still captures will be next to each other when browsing.

You can then select the videos you want to delete, right click, and choose “Remove Photo” from the popup menu. Then click the “Delete from Disk” button in the confirmation dialog so the selected videos will actually be deleted. If you were to click the “Remove” button instead, the videos would be removed from your Lightroom catalog but would still be consuming space on your hard drive.

Catalog Reset?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: I use Lightroom Classic CC. It’s largely been a do it yourself process, and it is therefore a mess. Would it be a good idea to just clear out the whole thing and start over?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Starting over with a new catalog in Lightroom Classic CC should be the last option you consider, because this approach will most likely cause you to lose information about your photos.

More Detail: By default, all of the information you update about your photos in Lightroom Classic CC is only saved to the Lightroom catalog, not to the photos themselves. In that case if you abandon your catalog and start over with a new catalog, all of the changes you’ve made in Lightroom will be lost.

If you have enabled the option to automatically save metadata to your photos (or you have saved that information manually) then much of the updated information will be with the photos themselves, and therefore would be included in a new catalog after importing those photos. However, this would not preserve all of the information from your original catalog.

There is a variety of information that Lightroom only writes to the catalog, without saving the information to your actual image files. This includes pick and reject flags, collections, history, and virtual copies, for example. So even if you had saved the metadata to the actual photos, if you created a new catalog and imported the photos into that new catalog, these details would be lost in the process.

Of course, if you have an extreme mess in Lightroom than creating a new catalog and starting over might be the path of least resistance. But before you do that I would suggest reviewing my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” course. This course features over five hours of video lessons to help you get your Lightroom catalog (and your workflow) back in order. You can get more details here:


RAW+JPEG Disconnect

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: Somehow I must have messed with my camera settings, because when I shot some photos yesterday, I noticed in Lightroom that for each image I had RAW plus JPEG. I couldn’t figure out how to delete only the JPEGs. The nub of the problem is that in Lightroom only the RAW capture is visible. I finally did the unthinkable. I deleted the JPEGs from the operating system, and it worked just fine. How do you find the JPEGs in LR and how do you get rid of them?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this case, deleting the JPEG images from the operating system was actually your only option, because they were not being managed in Lightroom. Your settings are such that Lightroom only imported the raw captures. The JPEG captures will have been copied to the same location, but not imported into your Lightroom catalog.

More Detail: By default, Lightroom will only import the raw capture for a RAW+JPEG set. The JPEG images will still be copied to the same folder location as the raw captures, but only the raw captures will actually be imported into your catalog. The idea is that the JPEG files are superfluous in the context of a Lightroom-based workflow.

So, since the JPEG images in this case are not being managed by Lightroom, you can safely remove the JPEG images from the hard drive through your operating system without any impact on your Lightroom catalog. Of course, you’ll want to exercise caution to make sure you are only deleting JPEG images that have a corresponding raw capture (they will have the same base filename), but that is relatively straightforward to watch for.

If you wanted to import the JPEG images along with the raw captures, you could turn on the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” checkbox on the General tab of the Preferences dialog in Lightroom. This would cause both the raw and the JPEG images to be imported into Lightroom if you import a set of photos captured with the RAW+JPEG option in the camera. In that case you could certainly filter by camera model and file format to remove the JPEG images without affecting the raw captures.

And, of course, you can turn off the RAW+JPEG feature so you are only capturing in the raw capture format, so that you don’t have this confusion in the future.

Settings versus Preferences

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: I don’t understand why the various settings in Lightroom’s Catalog Settings dialog couldn’t just be put in the Preferences dialog. Is there some reason these options need to be separated?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There is actually a very important distinction between the Preferences and Catalog Settings dialogs in Lightroom Classic CC. The Preferences settings apply to the entirety of your Lightroom installation, while the Catalog Settings only relate to the catalog that is currently open. In other words, you can have different settings for each catalog in Lightroom through the Catalog Settings dialog.

More Detail: While I certainly can’t address the internal decision-making at Adobe as it relates to Lightroom, I can say that I very much appreciate that these two dialogs are separate, since there is a very important distinction between them.

As noted above, the settings in the Preferences dialog apply to the local Lightroom installation. That means that no matter which catalog you open, the settings in Preferences will apply equally.

By contrast, the settings found in the Catalog Settings dialog only apply to the current catalog. It is therefore possible to have different settings for different catalogs, if you use more than one catalog in your workflow.

Of course, this also means you could create an issue where you change the settings for one catalog in the Catalog Settings dialog, but then don’t make the same changes for any other catalogs you’re using.

So, any changes made in the Preferences dialog will apply universally to your Lightroom installation. Changes made in the Catalog Settings dialog will only affect the current catalog, so you will need to open each of your catalogs and update the settings if you want those changes to apply to more than just the current catalog.

Transparency Error

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: Sometimes when I have worked in the Book Module [in Lightroom Classic CC] I get a message just before I send my work to Blurb. It says “Some photos in the book have transparency. The transparent area will show as opaque in your book”. When I go to each photo referenced, I cannot see anything that renders the photos defective and I am not even sure I know what transparency even means. Can you help me understand this issue and is it something I should be concerned with?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can think of “transparency” in this context as areas of a photo that don’t have any pixels, or that has pixels that are hidden. Because Lightroom does not support transparency, that will translate to areas of the image that are white, which generally would not be a problem. In other words, in most cases you can simply ignore this message, though you can test the output first with a PDF document.

More Detail: While Lightroom does not support image transparency directly, it does support image formats that can contain transparency. A common use of transparency is to place a graphic against a background. For example, you might have a round logo you want to place against a textured background. Instead of having that round logo appear on top of a white rectangle, which in turn is placed on the textured background, transparency enables you to avoid the visible white rectangle.

You can create transparency in Photoshop in a variety of ways, such as through the use of a layer mask. In this case, I suspect you have some layered TIFF images in Lightroom that contain some degree of transparency that doesn’t actually result in any area that doesn’t include pixels. Lightroom can’t tell, however, whether the transparency might create a problem for your book, to the alert is given anytime an image included in a book project includes transparency.

You can test the result by first creating a PDF document for your book. At the bottom of the left panel in the Book module you can click the “Export Book to PDF” in order to render a PDF version of your book. You can then review that document to make sure the images with transparency appear correctly. For example, you would want to make sure that an image was not cropped to create edges that are not at right angles, because that could result in a warped appearance on the printed page.

If the PDF looks good, you can ignore the error and proceed with production of your book. If you want to avoid the error altogether, you could create your book with JPEG (or flattened) copies of your images. But again, in most cases the error is not an issue and can be ignored after you’ve reviewed a PDF copy of the book.

Auto Adjustment on Import

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: I have discovered that in the Develop mode the first thing that I do is to click on the Auto button. While Auto is usually not perfect it is a great beginning and seems to lessen the adjustments that I have to make. Is there a way to apply the Auto setting in the Develop mode to all of the new files upon importing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed apply the Auto adjustment to all images during import into Lightroom by including the “Auto Settings” option for the preset you’ll apply during import.

More Detail: The presets you create in the Develop module can be applied directly within the Develop module, or during import. Those presets can also include only selected adjustments, so that you’re not completely replacing all of the default adjustments for images to which you apply a preset.

To create a new preset I recommend first selecting an image in the Develop module to which you have not yet applied any adjustments. You could even click the “Reset” button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module to make sure you’re creating your preset based on the default set of adjustments.

Next, refine any of the adjustments you’d like to include as part of the preset you’ll create. There’s no need to apply the Auto adjustment at this stage, and of course there’s no reason to actually adjust the Tone and Presence adjustments that are refined by the Auto adjustment.

After setting the adjustments as you’d like them to be included in the preset, click the plus button (+) to the right of the Presets header on the left panel, and choose “Create Preset” from the popup menu.

In the New Develop Preset dialog enter a meaningful name for the preset in the Preset Name field at the top of the dialog. Note that you’ll later be selecting this preset by name, so a descriptive name is best. You can also select which Group (folder) you’d like to save the preset in.

You can then click the “Check None” button at the bottom-left of the New Develop Preset dialog so that none of the adjustments are active (other than the Process Version option, which should always be left on for presets). Then turn on the Auto Settings checkbox near the top of the dialog, along with the checkboxes for any other adjustments you’d like to include in the preset.

When you’re finished selecting the adjustments you’d like to include in the preset, click the Create button to save the preset and close the New Develop Preset dialog.

With the preset created, you can then select it from the Develop Settings popup in the Apply During Import section of the right panel in the Import dialog. The Auto Settings option will cause each image to be analyzed and adjusted with the Auto adjustment individually, while other adjustments saved with the preset will be applied with the same settings for all photos to which the preset is applied.

TV versus Monitor

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: I can get a nice 32-inch, 4K, name-brand monitor for about $600. I can get a 40-inch, 4K, name-brand television for $300. Why should I buy the monitor rather than the TV?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In general, a television can provide an equivalent viewing experience compared to a computer monitor. There are a handful of features to check for, but provided the TV has adequate specifications, you can most certainly use a TV in place of a computer monitor.

More Detail: A television is obviously virtually identical to a computer monitor in terms of the core feature of presenting an image on the screen. The primary difference is the intended use, which in turn impacts some of the commonly available features.

For example, a TV will often support different input options compared to a computer monitor. You will therefore want to confirm that any TV you purchase supports and input that your computer also supports. Many computers, for example, support an HDMI connection, which is supported by virtually all TVs and many computer monitors.

Another potential issue is the lag time for a TV compared to a computer monitor. Lag time can create a delayed presentation or poor playback in some situations, but this is mostly an issue for advanced games as opposed to typical photo or video applications. Most newer TVs don’t have a major issue with lag, and many include an option to turn off processing so the lag goes away. If possible, I would opt for a TV that includes the option to turn off processing for this purpose.

Finally, a higher refresh rate can be helpful, although this is also primarily an issue for games and not generally significant for photo or video applications. That said, many TVs are limited to a 60 Hertz refresh rate, compared to a 120 Hertz refresh rate that is common for monitors. If possible, I would opt for a TV with a 120 Hertz refresh rate.

In general there are not significant concerns with using a TV in place of a computer monitor. As a general rule, if you opt for a high-quality TV, you’ll have an excellent experience with a potentially larger display at a smaller price compared to a dedicated computer display.

Unwanted Text

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinToday’s Question: When I am in Photoshop and select the Type tool I am getting “Lorum  Ipsum “ text. How do I turn this off? It is most prominent when I choose the type tool and then click and drag on the image to create a box within which to type.

Tim’s Quick Answer: This “Lorem Ipsum” text is the new “placeholder text” feature added with a recent update to Photoshop. You can turn it off on the Type page of the Preferences dialog.

More Detail: Graphic designers and others to create page layouts often need to create the overall look of a page before the text for that page has actually been finalized. In those cases, it is common to add “fake” text so that the overall typography and page layout can be reviewed. For decades the “Lorem Ipsum” text has been in wide use for this purpose.

With a recent update, Photoshop now defaults to including the “Lorem Ipsum” text whenever you add a text layer. This could be done by clicking in a document with the Type tool, or clicking and dragging to create a text box. In the case of the latter, you’ll generally have more of the “Lorem Ipsum” text included in the new text box.

If you prefer to turn off this feature, you can do so in the Preferences dialog. Start by going to the menu and choosing Photoshop > Preferences > Type on the Macintosh version of Photoshop, or Edit > Preferences > Type on the Windows version. Then, on the Type page of the Preferences dialog, turn off the “Fill new type layers with placeholder text” checkbox near the bottom of the “Type” section within this page of the Preferences dialog.

After turning off this checkbox and clicking the OK button to apply the change and close the Preferences dialog, you will no longer see the “Lorem Ipsum” placeholder text when you add a new text layer to a document in Photoshop.