Unwanted Date-Based Subfolders


Today’s Question: I have a file system based on years and then months and I’ll be continuing this approach with my new computer. However, when I imported photos into the catalog where I want one folder for each month, I’m ending up with subfolders for each day as well. How can I get rid of the subfolders so that all my February photos are in folder for the month instead of by folders for each date?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can consolidate photos into monthly folders by selecting the images within each “day” folder, then dragging and dropping them into the appropriate “month” folder, all within Lightroom Classic. You can disable the creation of additional subfolders by day by selecting one of the Date Format options in the Import dialog that only includes a month option, rather than also including a day option.

More Detail: One of the challenges of using a date-based folder structure in Lightroom Classic is that it can be very easy to have the folder structure get a bit chaotic and disorganized.

To clean up a date-based folder mess after import, you can consolidate images from multiple folders. For example, with today’s question the solution would be to select the photos within a “day” folder and then drag those selected photos to the appropriate “month” folder. Once all photos have been removed from a folder, you can right-click on that folder and choose the “Remove” option.

To ensure the unwanted day-based folders are no longer created upon import, you’ll want to be sure to select an option from the Date Format popup in the Destination section of the right panel in the Import dialog. Note that this popup is only available after you have selected the “By date” option from the Organize popup.

When using the “By date” option from the Organize popup, it is also critically important that you have set the correct “master” destination folder as the folder to which you want to copy photos during import. For example, you could set the destination at the top-right of the Import dialog to an external hard drive you’re using to store all of your photos, or to a “Photos” folder on a particular drive. That way the date-based folders created based on your settings in the Destination section will result in a consistent set of date-based folders within the master storage location, rather than having a potentially chaotic folder structure.

To learn more about tidying up folders and photos in Lightroom Classic, and to get a discount on the course applied automatically, use this link to visit the GreyLearning website:


New Camera Picture Style Option


Today’s Question: In the newest Lightroom Classic update I have the option in Preferences > Presets to have Lightroom honor the camera settings. If I were to use say, Monochrome on the camera, the image does come into Lightroom with that setting. If I want to revert back to the RAW file with no in-camera settings, do I just select Adobe Color? If I wanted it come into Lightroom with no manipulation by Lightroom via the Adobe Color how can I do that?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The new “Camera Settings” option in the Raw Defaults section of the Presets tab in the Preferences dialog for Lightroom Classic relates to the Picture Style setting in the camera. Using this option will respect the in-camera setting for Picture Style. To revert to the Lightroom default interpretation of the image you can change the Profile setting in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module to “Adobe Color”, or your preferred setting.

More Detail: A recent update to Lightroom Classic provides a streamline option for managing the default rendering for raw captures, including an easy way to retain the Picture Style option you have set in the camera.

To retain the Picture Style setting from your camera, you’ll want to select the “Camera Settings” option in Preferences. Start by choosing Lightroom Classic > Preferences from the menu on Macintosh, or Edit > Preferences on Windows. Go to the Presets tab, and click the Master popup in the Raw Defaults section. There you will find a “Camera Settings” option, in addition to an option for “Adobe Default”, as well as a submenu with the various Develop presets you can choose from for default image processing.

For example, if you set your camera to a monochrome setting for Picture Style, with the “Camera Settings” option selected your raw captures would appear in black and white rather than color. To revert to a color interpretation of the photo, you can choose the Adobe Color option (or a different profile if you prefer) from the Profile popup found near the top of the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module.

Note that it is also now possible to establish different settings (including Develop module presets) for different camera models. To do so, turn on the “Use defaults specific to camera model” checkbox and then create individual settings for the various cameras you use.

Keep in mind that this new option related to camera settings really relates to the Picture Style option, not the wide range of in-camera adjustment settings that are available with some cameras.

Excessive Backups?


Today’s Question: I use Apple’s Time Machine to do backups and also the Lightroom default [catalog backup]. This seems excessive for sure and the files are not small. Do you see any benefit to this process as it is? Should I just cancel the Lightroom backup?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t recommend discontinuing the Lightroom Classic catalog backups, in large part because part of that process includes an option to check for errors and optimize the catalog. However, it is a good idea to delete redundant backup copies of your catalog.

More Detail: I certainly understand not wanting to have multiple backup copies of your Lightroom Classic catalog consuming additional hard drive space. However, I still recommend making use of the catalog backup feature in Lightroom, even if you are also backing up the catalog through other means.

That said, it most certainly makes sense to delete at least some of the older backups of your Lightroom catalog, since those backup files can consume considerable storage space especially if you allow a large number of backups to accumulate.

By default Lightroom stores the catalog backups in a “Backups” folder in the same folder where your actual catalog files are stored. You can also select a different backup location in the dialog where you configure the backup before it is started. In any event, you can periodically go to that folder and delete redundant copies of the catalog backups.

My approach is generally to retain several recent backups, as well as an older copy of the backup that I can use to recover from just in case there is some sort of corruption issue with my catalog. And I do recommend keeping the options to check the catalog for errors and optimize the catalog enabled as part of the backup process, since to me these features represent a key advantage of making use of the built-in catalog backup feature in Lightroom Classic.

Monitor Color Space Support


Today’s Question: For printing is it better to use a monitor that supports Adobe RGB versus sRGB?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, in general it is best to use a monitor that supports the Adobe RGB color space rather than just the sRGB color space. In other words, when it comes to printing photos, it is best to optimize those photos using a display with the widest color gamut possible.

More Detail: In many cases you can choose which color space you want to work in when optimizing a photo. For example, in Photoshop you might choose to use sRGB, Adobe RGB, or ProPhoto RGB as the working color space.

Just because you are working in a wide-gamut color space, however, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to see all of the possible colors on your monitor display. Many monitor displays only support the sRGB color space, which is the narrowest of the three color spaces noted above.

If you will only be sharing your photos online or through other digital output, then of course it is perfectly fine to work in the sRGB color space. And, in fact, with many commercial print workflows the sRGB color space is preferred. So it is a good idea to check with your printer if you’ll be using a commercial print service, to make sure which color space is recommended.

If you’ll be printing your photos yourself, or using a commercial printer who recommends the Adobe RGB color space, it is generally best to edit the photos in the Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB color space. In that case it can be helpful to ensure your monitor display is capable of supporting the widest color gamut possible.

The top monitor displays today are capable of supporting the full Adobe RGB color space, and that will generally be reflected in the specifications for those monitors. I do recommend considering this as a “must have” feature if you are focused on printing your photos and want the best preview of the image while working to optimize a photo before printing.

Initiating a Catalog Backup


Today’s Question: Currently when I quit Lightroom Classic it just closes, without asking if I want to backup the Catalog. How can I initiate a backup when this occurs?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can initiate a catalog backup for Lightroom Classic by choosing the “When Lightroom next exits” option from the “Back up catalog” popup in the Catalog Settings dialog. Note that you may also want to make sure the backup frequency setting is established based on your preference.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic will prompt you to backup the catalog based on the frequency you select in the Catalog Settings dialog. This includes an option to backup the catalog the very next time you quit Lightroom.

To adjust the setting, go to the Lightroom Classic menu on Macintosh or the Edit menu on Windows and choose Catalog Settings. In the Catalog Settings dialog choose the General tab and check the “Back up catalog” popup.

You can set the frequency of the backup to once a day, once a week, once a month, or never. Naturally I recommend backing up your catalog on a somewhat frequent basis, taking into account how often you tend to update information in your catalog.

Regardless of which frequency option you have selected in the Catalog Settings dialog for backing up your catalog, you can always perform a backup on an ad hoc basis. Simply choose the “When Lightroom next exits” option from the “Back up catalog” popup, close the Catalog Settings dialog, and quit Lightroom. You will then be prompted to backup the catalog, with the setting in Catalog Settings going back to the frequency option you had established before choosing the “When Lightroom next exits” option.

Even if you are using other software to backup the hard drive where your Lightroom catalog is stored, I still recommend making use of the backup feature included within Lightroom Classic. That’s because as part of the process of backing up your catalog with Lightroom Classic you can have the catalog checked for errors and also have the catalog optimized.

Discontinued Video Support in Lightroom


Today’s Question: I twice saw a message in Lightroom saying video support was ending in June 2020. What options are available to do what Lightroom will no longer be doing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Video playback support is ending in Lightroom Classic only for those running Lightroom on Windows 7, and that support will end by June 2020. Other operating systems (including Windows 10) will not be affected by this change.

More Detail: Microsoft ended general support for Windows 7 in 2015, and ended extended support in 2020. I’m sure this is part of the reason (or perhaps the entire reason) that Adobe is discontinuing support for video playback in Lightroom Classic for users running Windows 7. Note that the Slideshow module is also affected by this change to Lightroom Classic.

Because Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7, I highly recommend upgrading to Windows 10. I appreciate that many users preferred Windows 7 over Windows 10, but the lack of support can lead to software compatibility issues and security concerns.

In this case, upgrading to Windows 10 will resolve the issue regarding video playback in Lightroom Classic. And again, users of other operating systems, including MacOS and Windows 10, are not affected by this change.

Catalog Backup Location


Today’s Question: My Lightroom [Classic] catalog is on my internal SSD drive. When I close Lightroom I’m asked if I want to backup the catalog, which I confirm. With all the recent columns about catalogs, I began to wonder if the internal drive is best for storing the catalog? Also, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know where the backup copy resides.

Tim’s Quick Answer: By default, the Lightroom Classic catalog backups are stored within the same folder as the catalog itself. I recommend changing this to a different storage device, so the backups are stored separately from the catalog.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic will prompt you to backup your catalog with a frequency that is based on the option set in the Catalog Settings dialog. You can choose to backup monthly, weekly, daily, or every time you exit Lightroom. When the allotted time has passed, Lightroom will prompt you upon exit to backup the catalog.

In the “Back Up Catalog” dialog, the current backup location will be indicated. By default, this is a “Backups” folder located within the same folder as your catalog. I recommend storing the catalog backups on a separate hard drive, just to provide more flexibility in terms of recovery options should something go wrong with the drive on which your catalog is stored.

To the right of the Backup Folder display in the Back Up Catalog dialog, you can click the Choose button to select a different backup location. For example, with the catalog on the internal hard drive on your computer, you may want to store the catalog backups on an external hard drive.

In addition, there are two checkboxes in the Back Up Catalog dialog that I recommend making sure to have turned on when backing up your catalog. The “Test integrity before backing up” checkbox enables you to have Lightroom verify that the current catalog does not have any indications of corruption before the catalog is actually backed up. The “Optimize catalog after backing up” checkbox enables you to potentially improve performance in Lightroom by having the catalog optimized.

While various other backup solutions can help you ensure you have a backup copy of your Lightroom Classic catalog in case anything goes wrong, the features provided by the two checkboxes noted above provide enough potential benefit that I recommend using Lightroom to backup your catalog even if your catalog is already being backed up by other software you are using.

How to Uninstall Adobe Apps


Today’s Question: I have a follow-up question about your comment: “An uninstaller is included with Photoshop and Lightroom, for example.” I’ve never found an “uninstaller” in Photoshop or Lightroom. I just used right-click in Finder on the Photoshop folder and used “Move to Trash” = is that the same thing as your “uninstaller”?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can generally uninstall an older Adobe application on Macintosh using the included Uninstall program. On Windows you can use the Programs and Features option (though this varies with different versions of Windows. For Creative Cloud versions of Adobe applications, however, you should use the Uninstall option in the Creative Cloud application.

More Detail: I’m not sure whether especially old version of Adobe applications included an uninstaller, but more recent versions have. On Macintosh it is generally save to simply delete the application (or application folder) from the Applications folder, without going through an uninstall process. However, when an uninstaller is available, I recommend using it to help ensure all application files are properly removed.

For Windows 10, you would want to use the Programs and Features option to remove older applications. Hold the Windows key and press “X” on the keyboard, and then choose “Programs and Features” from the popup menu that appears. Within Programs and Features you can then select the application you want to remove.

If you want to remove a Creative Cloud version of an Adobe application, you should use the Creative Cloud application for this. Bring up the Creative Cloud application first, which is where you would install updates that are available for installed applications, for example. Then click the ellipsis (three dots) icon at the bottom-right of the application you want to remove and choose Uninstall from the popup menu that appears.

Merging Folders of Photos


Today’s Question: I have two file folders in my Lightroom Classic catalog that contain photos from the same event, and I want to put them all into one folder. How do I merge the folders or how do I move the photos from one folder to the other?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can easily merge folders of photos in Lightroom Classic by selecting all photos in one folder, and then dragging-and-dropping them to the destination folder. Once the source folder is empty, you can right-click on the folder and choose “Remove” from the popup menu.

More Detail: When it comes to using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos, one of the most important things is to make sure that all tasks are initiated within Lightroom, rather than out through your operating system or using other software.

When you have photos you want to move from one folder to another, the process is rather simple. You can select the photos you want to move, and then drag-and-drop them to the desired destination folder within the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. In the confirmation dialog that appears, click the Move button, and the photos will be moved. That means the photos will move within the context of your Lightroom catalog, as well as on your hard drive.

If you move all of the photos from a given folder, obviously that folder will be empty. To remove the empty folder from Lightroom (and your hard drive), you can right-click on the folder in the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module, and choose Remove from the popup menu that appears.

Note that this process of merging folders, along with the process of splitting one folder into two or more folders, are topics covered in my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” course that you can find in the GreyLearning library by following this link:


Upgrading to 16-bit


Today’s Question: As a follow-up to your question about converting from JPEG to raw [in Friday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter], wouldn’t applying that conversion help ensure smoother gradations of tone and color in the photo? I know you’ve mentioned that in the past as a benefit of a higher bit depth.

Tim’s Quick Answer: No. Converting an image from 8 bits per channel to 16 bits per channel will not have any significant impact on the degree of posterization that may occur if you apply strong adjustments to the image.

More Detail: One of the key advantages of working with high-bit data for a photo is the ability to ensure smooth gradations of tone and color even with strong adjustments to an image.

An 8-bit per channel image can have up to 256 shades per channel. A 16-bit per channel image can have 65,536 shades per channel. That’s a significant difference, especially when you consider a typical image is comprised of three channels (red, green, and blue).

As you apply adjustments to an image, such as enhancing contrast, the transition of tonal values among neighboring pixels will change. With strong adjustments, smooth gradations can be made less smooth, creating effects such as banding in what would otherwise be a smooth transition in the sky, for example.

Converting an 8-bit per channel image to the 16-bit per channel mode still means the image contains a maximum of 256 shades per channel. As you apply adjustments to the image, that number could increase as pixel values are possibly distributed differently in terms of the actual value. But that doesn’t provide any real benefit, especially when you consider a 16-bit per channel image would actually start off with so much more information compared to an 8-bit per channel image.

It is worth noting that most digital cameras don’t actually support 16-bit per channel capture. Rather, most camera models support either 12-bit or 14-bit capture. That still translates to 4,096 shades per channel for a 12-bit capture, or 16,384 shades per channel for a 14-bit capture, which again provides a significant potential advantage compared to an 8-bit capture.

The issue of bit depth is one of the reasons I recommend using raw capture rather than JPEG capture whenever possible. And, as noted above, converting a 8-bit capture to the 16-bit per channel mode won’t provide any real benefit compared to capturing at a high bit-depth in the first place.