Latest Operating System Update


Today’s Question: Do you feel it is safe to upgrade to the latest Macintosh “Big Sur” operating system? Do the Adobe applications work with this new version?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I do not recommend upgrading to the new “Big Sur” version of the Macintosh operating system, at least until there is an updated bug fix for the current version. However, the key Adobe applications are compatible with this new operating system version.

More Detail: The “Big Sur” version of the Macintosh operating system represents a rather significant update, but it is also an update that has been reported to have quite a few stability and compatibility issues.

One of the major updates in this new version of the operating system is support for Apple’s new M1 chip. Some of the newest computers from Apple make use of this processor rather than the Intel processors that had been in use for prior computer models. This introduces some additional compatibility issues for applications. Adobe has indicated, for example, that their applications will not natively support the M1 chip until 2021.

The issue of the M1 chip is only a factor if you buy one of the new computers with this chip. However, the Big Sur update also creates some concerns about stability and compatibility.

I highly recommend waiting at least until there is a bug fix release for the Big Sur operating system before upgrading. I also recommend confirming compatibility for the software and devices you will be using to ensure you won’t run into any issues there.

In short, I suggest not being in any particular rush to upgrade, so you can avoid the frustration of stability and compatibility issues.

You can read details of Adobe’s support for the MacOS Big Sur operating system here:

Time Machine as Primary Backup


Today’s Question: With reference to your latest eNewsletter: I currently use Apple’s Time Machine as my backup. Is that a good substitute for Goodsync?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I do not consider Time Machine to be an ideal backup solution in the context of recovering from a hard drive failure. Rather, I see Time Machine as an excellent tool for recovering files that have been accidentally deleted, as well as for transitioning to a new computer with minimal difficulty.

More Detail: Time Machine is a backup tool built into the Macintosh operating system, and with Time Machine it is very easy to maintain a backup of your data. However, in my view GoodSync is superior to Time Machine when it comes to recovering from a failed hard drive.

If you only backed up with Time Machine, recovering from a backup when a primary drive fails involves a recovery process that can require considerable time depending on the amount of data that had been on the drive that failed. With GoodSync or other synchronization backup solutions, recovery is as simple as either changing the drive letter (for Windows) or volume label (for Macintosh) so that the path to the backup drive matches the path to the failed drive.

Time Machine does make it easy (though not necessarily quick) to migrate your data from one computer to another computer. But to me the most valuable aspect of Time Machine is how easy it is to recover a file that has been accidentally deleted or otherwise lost.

For example, let’s assume you had an important file in the Documents folder on your computer. Three days ago, you accidentally deleted that file, but you didn’t realize it until today. With Time Machine you can navigate to the Documents folder, then navigate to a date three days ago, and then copy the “lost” file back to your Documents folder.

So, I highly recommend that Macintosh users employ Time Machine to backup their computer. But for backing up photos and other important data, I consider GoodSync to be a better solution.

Of course, when it comes to backing up your data, being paranoid can be a good thing. That’s why I use both GoodSync and Time Machine to backup my data, with each providing unique advantages.

If you’re interested in using GoodSync to backup your photos and other important data, you can get a discounted subscription to GoodSync for a limited time by using this link to get started:

Redundant Backup Workflow


Today’s Question: I appreciate your continuing advice on using various backup devices and services. I’m just starting out with a backup plan so up until now I’ve simply been copying files to an external drive. I’m looking for advice on how to back up that external drive that I have been using for a backup before I start doing anything else. What do you recommend?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To have two backup copies of the primary drive, I recommend creating both of those backups from the primary drive, rather than duplicating the first backup to the second. I also highly recommend using software such as GoodSync ( for this backup process.

More Detail: You could certainly create two backups of a primary drive by first backing up the primary drive to a backup drive, and then backing up the first backup drive to the second backup drive. In general there is no problem with this, but I prefer to create both backup copies based on the primary drive.

Part of the reason for this is that whenever possible, I recommend storing two backup drives in separate locations. So, for example, you might keep the first backup drive at home, and the second backup drive at the office or other location, swapping the two drives as needed to update the backup for each on a regular basis.

I also highly recommend using software specifically designed for backing up photos. My personal preference is to use GoodSync software for this purpose. One of the key benefits of GoodSync is that it creates a backup copy that is an exact match of the source data.

This makes it very easy to recover when the primary hard drive fails. You can simply use a backup drive in place of the primary drive (updating the drive letter on Windows or volume label on Macintosh to match the original primary drive). Of course, in this scenario you would also want to create an additional backup copy as soon as possible.

For a limited time you can get a discounted subscription rate on the GoodSync backup software I use and recommend by using this link to get started:

Photo Delete Workflow


Today’s Question: I was intrigued to see you answer a question about deleting photos in Lightroom Classic, since my understanding is that you don’t generally delete photos. Is that still your practice?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I still delete very few photos in my workflow. When there are photos I want to delete I use a workflow in Lightroom Classic that involves flagging the images with a Reject flag, and then deleting all rejected photos at once.

More Detail: There have generally been two reasons I tend not to delete very many photos. The first is that I don’t want to risk regretting that I no longer have a particular photo. Sometimes, for example, even an out-of-focus photo can document a memorable experience.

The second reason I’ve generally not deleted photos is that doing so had felt like it was interrupting my workflow for reviewing photos. However, with Lightroom Classic I have a streamlined way of dealing with photos I want to delete.

While reviewing images, I use star ratings to identify favorites, which can be assigned in Lightroom Classic with the number keys on the keyboard, with 1 through 5 assigning the applicable number of stars, and 0 (zero) removing the star rating.

During that process it is very simple to press the “X” key on the keyboard to assign a Reject flag to any photo I feel should be deleted. Later, after reviewing all of the photos from a given trip, for example, I can review all of the photos that have a Reject flag assigned to them. If I change my mind and decide one of those photos shouldn’t be deleted, I can select the image and press the “U” key on the keyboard to unflag the image.

Once I’ve decided I really do want to delete the photos with a Reject flag, I can navigate to the folder where I want to delete the rejected photos, and then go to the menu and choose Photo > Delete Rejected Photos. In the confirmation dialog, I recommend clicking the “Delete from Disk” button, so that the photos will both be removed from the Lightroom Classic catalog and also removed from the hard drive. In other words, to me there’s no reason to have the photos taking up space on the hard drive if they’re not being managed within your catalog.

So, I don’t delete very many photos in general (though I’ve contemplated re-evaluating this approach), but when I do I prefer to make use of a workflow that involves assigning a Reject flag to the photos I want to delete, and then deleting them in batch when I’m finished with my review.

Deleting from Develop


Today’s Question: I would love to “cull” images in the Develop module [in Lightroom Classic] but have not figured out how to “delete from computer” without going to the Library module. Is there something I am missing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed delete photos from any of the modules in Lightroom Classic, except for the Book module for some reason. However, the keyboard shortcut won’t always work for deleting photos, in which case you can right-click on a photo and choose “Remove Photo” from the popup menu.

More Detail: To delete a selected photo (or photos) in Lightroom Classic you can generally just press the Delete key on the keyboard and then click the “Delete from Disk” button in the confirmation dialog. However, there are some circumstances where this keyboard shortcut won’t work.

For example, in the Develop module, if you have an adjustment active so that you can type in the numeric value for a given adjustment, pressing the Delete key will delete numbers from that field rather than being taken as a request to delete the currently selected photo.

In addition, pressing Delete in the Map module will cause you to be prompted if you want to remove GPS coordinates from the metadata for the image, rather than allowing you to delete the image.

So, when you find the Delete key on the keyboard isn’t giving you the option to delete a photo, you can right click on the photo and choose “Remove Photo” from the popup.

Download Without a Computer


Today’s Question: This is a question concerning backup while traveling. My camera has two card slots. I’m going on a 2-week trip without a computer and no access to the internet. Besides having the same photos written to both cards, I’m thinking about buying a WD My Passport Wireless Pro for backup. What do you think?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I would recommend taking a look at the GNARBOX 2.0 SSD rugged backup drive ( This drive enables you do copy photos directly from an SD memory card, offers excellent performance in part because it is an SSD drive rather than a traditional hard drive, and is water, dust, and shock resistant.

More Detail: While the WD My Passport Wireless ( provides a possible solution for downloading photos without a computer, I’ve seen an increasing number of negative reviews indicating problems with this device. The primary advantage of the My Passport Wireless over the GNARBOX recommended above is that the My Passport is considerably less expensive.

To be fair, since this device will be used to create a third copy of your photos in addition to the two copies on the cards in the camera, one could argue that you could compromise on the reliability of the hard drive. However, my feeling is that it is best to not compromise when it comes to backing up your photos.

In particular, I feel it is important to have an additional backup when you’re otherwise only using two cards in the camera for both primary and backup storage. If something were to happen to the camera, for example, you could lose all copies of your photos. Therefore, and additional separate backup device makes sense. And when traveling without a computer, that means a storage device that you can download photos to directly without the need for a computer.

The GNARBOX device is not inexpensive, though that is in large part due to employing SSD storage. There are options for 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, with the 1TB model selling for about US$900. However, the combination of features makes this a storage option that I think is perfectly suited to traveling with a camera but without a computer.

You can learn more about the GNARBOX here:

Unnecessary Duplicate Layer


Today’s Question: After opening a raw image in Photoshop I choose Layer > Duplicate Layer from the menu. I have been doing this routinely thinking it helped to preserve the original image. Is there any value to doing this?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In my view it is not necessary to create a copy of the Background image layer in Photoshop unless and until you need to perform work that requires such a layer. Creating a copy of the Background copy will double the base file size of the image, possibly without a real benefit depending on your workflow.

More Detail: I am an advocate for a non-destructive workflow in Photoshop (or any image-processing software). That can translate into a variety of different things, depending on the task being performed in Photoshop.

For adjustments, I recommend using an adjustment layer unless the type of adjustment you want to apply isn’t available as an adjustment layer (such a with the Shadows/Highlights adjustment). For image cleanup I recommend applying the cleanup on a new empty image layer, unless the cleanup tool you’re using (such as the Patch tool) doesn’t enable you to work across multiple layers to place the cleanup pixels onto an empty image layer.

In situations where it isn’t possible to apply the intended effect with an adjustment layer or work on an empty image layer, then you’ll generally need to make a copy of the Background image layer (or another layer such as with a composite image). In those cases, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to create a copy of the full layer.

However, duplicating a layer also increases file size. For an image that only consists of a Background image layer, duplicating that layer doubles the size of the file on your hard drive. So, in general I don’t recommend duplicating a layer unless doing so is necessary. This requires, of course, that you use a layer-based non-destructive workflow, and that you are careful to make sure you have the correct layer selected at all times on the Layers panel.

Assigning a Shoot Name to Photos


Today’s Question: When I import photos to Lightroom Classic I would like to add a Shoot Name, but that option is grayed out. I have my import parameters set up with a custom naming profile. Is this the reason the Shoot Name field is unavailable?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The Shoot Name field in the File Renaming section of the right panel in the Import dialog in Lightroom Classic relates to the filename structure. In order to be able to enter a value for Shoot Name, you must have the Shoot Name field included in the template you’re using for renaming your photos.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic provides a template-driven approach to renaming a group of photos, including the option to rename photos as they are imported into your catalog. In the File Renaming section of the right panel you’ll see that there are fields for Custom Text, Shoot Name, and Start Number. However, these options are only enabled if you have the applicable option included in the currently selected file renaming template.

You can either select an existing template that includes the field you want to use (such as Shoot Name in this case) or create your own custom template for renaming photos. To edit an existing template or create your own you can choose “Edit” from the Template popup in the File Renaming section.

In the Filename Template Editor dialog, you build a renaming template using tokens and text. For example, you could click the Insert button to the right of the Shoot Name option in the Custom section of the dialog in order to add a token for Shoot Name to the current filename structure. You can also click into the field that includes the file renaming tokens and type your own text. For example, you might use something like “Shoot Name – Sequence # (4)” to have a Shoot Name that you can specify, a dash, and then a four-digit sequence number that you can specify the starting value for.

Once you’ve defined the template structure, click the Preset popup at the top of the Filename Template Editor dialog and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset” from the popup. In the dialog that appears type a meaningful name for your template and click the Create button. Then click the Done button to close the Filename Template Editor dialog.

At that point, with the new template selected in the Import dialog, you could enter values for the Shoot Name and Start Number, and the files you’re importing will be renamed accordingly.

JPEG from a Raw Capture


Today’s Question: What is the best way to convert a raw capture to a JPEG file in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To create a JPEG image based on a raw capture in Lightroom Classic you would want to use the export feature. As part of that process, you could choose whether you want the new JPEG copy of the image to also be included in your catalog along with the original raw capture.

More Detail: In Lightroom Classic when you process a raw capture in the Develop module, you don’t actually create a derivative image file the way you typically would with Photoshop, for example. Instead, in Lightroom Classic you don’t create a new derivative image file based on a raw capture until you export to create that new file.

So, if you wanted to create a JPEG image based on a raw capture, after applying any adjustments you’d like in the Develop module, you can select the image (or multiple images) and then click the Export button at the bottom of the left panel in the Library module.

In the Export dialog you can then configure the settings for the export. First, specify the location where you want to save the copy of the image you’re creating. That could be on the desktop of your computer if you’ll be using that image for some temporary purpose, or you could select the same file as the original raw capture. You also have the option to add the exported image back to your Lightroom Classic catalog by turning on the “Add to This Catalog” checkbox. I generally prefer not to use this option, as it can create confusion in terms of which is the actual original image.

You can configure a naming structure for the new image in the File Naming section if preferred, or leave the “Rename To” checkbox turned off if you want to retain the same filename as the original image. In the File Settings section select the desired file format, which in this case would be JPEG. You can then configure the specific settings based on the file type, such as the Quality setting and color space for a JPEG copy.

You can then adjust settings for resizing the image in the Image Sizing section, apply output sharpening if you’d like, specify which metadata should be included in the exported image, apply a watermark, and choose among the options in the Post-Processing section.

Once you’ve established the export settings, you can click the Export button at the bottom-right of the Export dialog, and the new file will be created.

Lightroom Adjustments Hidden in Photoshop


Today’s Question: Like many, I use Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. After I’ve sent a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop and completed the edits, I use the Save command and Photoshop saves the file back to Lightroom Classic as a TIFF file, with all layers maintained. When I want to send the photo back into Photoshop for additional editing, none of the choices allow sending the file with all Lightroom adjustments while preserving the layers created in Photoshop. That may be all there is, but I would like to know if there’s a way to take the derivative image back into Photoshop with all layers and with Lightroom edits intact and visible?

Tim’s Quick Answer: No. If you have applied adjustments in Lightroom Classic to a TIFF or PSD image that includes layers, if you send that image to Photoshop the Lightroom adjustments will not be visible unless you flatten the image as part of this process. However, the Lightroom adjustments will still apply and be visible once you are back in Lightroom Classic after working on the image in Photoshop.

More Detail: When you send a raw capture from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop, the adjustments you’ve applied in Lightroom will of course be applied to the image, and visible while you’re working in Photoshop. You can then apply any adjustments you’d like in Photoshop, including adding adjustment layers, image layers, and making use of other features. When you save and close the image, the changes you applied in Photoshop will of course be visible for the new derivative image that is now included in your Lightroom Classic catalog.

However, if you want to send that layered image to Photoshop while retaining the layers in the file, you won’t be able to see the Lightroom adjustments while working in Photoshop. So, for example, let’s assume you send a color image to Photoshop and create layers as part of that editing. After you’re finished in Photoshop you convert the image to black and white in Lightroom Classic. If you then send the image back to Photoshop, if you want to keep the layers (by choosing the “Edit Original” option for example) the image will appear in color when you are working in Photoshop, but will return to being a black and white image when you get back to Lightroom Classic.

The only way you can have the Lightroom Classic adjustments applied to a TIFF or PSD image actually appear in Photoshop is if you choose the option to “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments” when sending the image from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop. However, that will also cause the image to be flattened, which is not something I generally recommend.

So, in short, if you’re sending a TIFF or PSD file back to Photoshop and want to retain the layers, any adjustments you applied to that TIFF or PSD file in Lightroom Classic will not be visible while you’re working in Photoshop.