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.

Folder Structure Mismatch


Today’s Question: My photo folders in Lightroom Classic are structured in an orderly manner, but when I look at the structure on my external hard drive, it doesn’t match. However, I’m not missing any photos in Lightroom. Should I be concerned that the folder structures don’t match exactly?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If there are not photos (or folders) missing within your Lightroom Classic catalog, this is probably simply a matter of confusion caused by the way folder structures can be displayed within Lightroom Classic. In other words, if no photos are missing, there’s most likely nothing to worry about.

More Detail: By default Lightroom Classic only shows you folders that either actually contain photos being managed by Lightroom, or folders that you created within Lightroom (even if there are no photos in some of those folders). This can lead to a bit of confusion if you browse the folder structure for your photos outside of Lightroom.

The primary source of confusion relates to “parent” folders. Let’s assume, for example, that you import photos into a folder for each trip, and that those folders are contained within a “Photos” folder on your external hard drive. That “Photos” folder would be considered a parent folder to the individual folders containing your photos. Depending on how you created your folder structure in Lightroom, the “Photos” folder would not be displayed on the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module.

If the folder structure on your hard drive is quite complicated, having parent folders hidden can lead to a bit of confusion, since the apparent folder structure in Lightroom would not match the folder structure you see directly on your hard drive.

You can help clarify the confusion related to parent folders by simply making those parent folders visible. Using the example folder structure above, you could right-click on any of the folders containing photos from individual photo shoots on the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. Then choose “Show Parent Folder” from the popup menu. The next folder up in the folder structure will then be revealed. You can repeat this process as needed to reveal parent folders all the way up to the actual hard drive itself, which can also be presented as a “folder” at the top of the tree on the Folders list.

Note that you can also hide parent folders that don’t contain photos, in order to reduce clutter on the Folders list. To hide a parent folder, simply right-click on that folder and choose “Hide This Parent” from the popup menu that appears.

With no missing photos or folders, I’m sure this issue of hidden parent folders is the source of confusion here. After all, if the folder structure in Lightroom truly did not match the folder structure on your hard drive, a variety of folders and photos would appear as missing within your Lightroom catalog.

Opinion on Raw to DNG


Today’s Question: What do you think of converting raw to Adobe DNG?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are certainly some benefits involved with converting proprietary raw capture files to the Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) format. However, my personal preference is to retain the original proprietary raw capture files, and not convert to DNG.

More Detail: The Adobe Digital Negative (DNG) file format was created in part to provide an openly-documented alternative file format to proprietary raw capture formats. The DNG format retains the key benefits of raw capture, without the proprietary nature of those raw capture formats.

Some cameras offer the option to capture photos directly into the Adobe DNG file format. In addition, Lightroom Classic provides an option to convert to DNG when importing proprietary raw captures, or to convert those raw captures to DNG later in your workflow.

One of the common reasons photographers might consider converting their raw captures to the Adobe DNG format is the proprietary nature of raw capture formats. The idea is that if at some point in the future all software capable of processing raw captures were to disappear, you could still access your Adobe DNG images. Even if Adobe were to stop providing software that could process Adobe DNG files, since the format is documented someone could create custom software to process those images.

This sort of issue is not something I am at all concerned about, since so many software applications (including Adobe’s applications) have been able to interpret the proprietary raw capture formats.

There are two other key potential advantages of converting to Adobe DNG. First, lossless compression applied to Adobe DNG files means the file will typically be around 20% smaller than the source proprietary raw capture, without losing any pixel data. This is obviously an advantage in terms of storage requirements. Note that you may get better or worse compression results depending on the specific file formats you are processing.

The other potential advantage of the Adobe DNG file format is that unlike proprietary raw captures, with DNG files you can save metadata updates directly in the DNG file. With proprietary raw captures metadata updates will be saved in XMP “sidecar” files rather than within the source raw capture.

Of course, I consider it a bit of an advantage for my workflow to have metadata updates stored separate from the original raw capture. For example, with a typical incremental backup solution if you update metadata in a DNG image the entire file would need to be backed up again. When only an XMP file gets updated with metadata changes, only the very small XMP file needs to be updated for an incremental backup, while he source raw image would not need to be backed up again, because the file will not have changed.

So, on balance I prefer to retain my original raw captures, rather than converting those captures to DNG. In addition, I simply feel better keeping my original raw captures, rather than converting them to DNG and potentially discarding the original raw files.

Storage Location After Import


Today’s Question: If I import all of my photos to a folder using Lightroom Classic, can I still have my photos on my computer? I intend to subscribe monthly for Lightroom and Photoshop.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, when you import photos into your Lightroom Classic catalog, the source photos can be stored wherever you’d like. That typically means storing the photos on an internal or external hard drive on your computer.

More Detail: One of the reasons many photographers (including myself) make use of Lightroom Classic rather than the newer cloud-based version of Lightroom is that Lightroom Classic enables you to store your source photos locally, such as on an internal or external hard drive directly connected to your computer.

In other words, with Lightroom Classic you directly control the storage of your photos, and those photos will typically be stored on a hard drive directly connected to your computer. By contrast, with the cloud-based version of Lightroom your photos are primarily stored on Adobe’s servers, via the storage space included with the Creative Cloud plan you subscribe to. You don’t directly control that storage, though photos are synchronized to your various devices.

However, with the cloud-based version of Lightroom, not all source photos will necessarily be stored on your local storage device, depending on availability of storage space. That means if you don’t have enough storage capacity on your computer, for example, all photos will be stored in the cloud but only some photos will be stored on your computer.

The key is that with Lightroom Classic you have direct control over how and where your photos are stored. And you can learn more about how Lightroom Classic works with my course “Understanding Lightroom”, which you can get for 26% off by using this link to get started:

Synchronization Limitations


Today’s Question: What are the limitations on synchronizing images from Lightroom Classic to the Creative Cloud? Are the full-size versions of the images being synced, or only a preview? Can a full RAW be sent up to the cloud through Lightroom Classic? Or is the new Lightroom required for that?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When you synchronize photos from Lightroom Classic to the Creative Cloud, the synchronized image is a Smart Preview, which is essentially a reduced-resolution image converted to an Adobe DNG file. The cloud-based version of Lightroom, by contrast, synchronizes your original source captures across all devices.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic revolves around photo storage that you manage locally on your own computer. The synchronization feature enables you to easily share photos across a variety of devices, but only photos included in collections with synchronization enabled will actually be shared in this way. And those images will be reduced-resolution copies of the source photos, not the original photo files themselves.

More specifically, when photos are included in a collection in Lightroom Classic that has synchronization enabled, the photos will be synchronized as Smart Previews. Those are essentially Adobe DNG files with the resolution reduced to 2,540 pixels on the long side.

Keep in mind that you are also limited in the total storage capacity available for photo synchronization, based on your specific Creative Cloud subscription plan. For example, the basic Creative Cloud Photography Plan ( includes 20GB of cloud storage, with higher-priced plans offering additional cloud-based storage capacity.

By comparison, the cloud-based version of Lightroom will actually synchronize the all original image files (including proprietary raw captures) to the Creative Cloud servers, making those source images available to all devices that you use to access the synchronized photos.