Auto After Import

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Today’s Question: How can I apply “Auto” to a selected set of photos after import?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can absolutely apply the Auto adjustments to multiple images after import through the use of a preset that includes those auto adjustments, in conjunction with the Quick Develop section of the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: In an earlier Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter I addressed the use of a preset during import to apply adjustments to all photos being imported, including the Auto adjustment available in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module.

In addition to being able to apply presets during import, you can also apply them later in your workflow. For example, after selecting a single image while working in the Develop module, you can click on a preset in the Presets section of the left panel.

If you want to apply the preset to multiple images, that can be done quickly in the Library module. Start by actually selecting the images you want to apply the preset to. Then make sure you are in the Grid view (rather than for example the Loupe view) so you can apply changes to multiple images at the same time.

To actually apply the preset to the selected images, click the Saved Preset popup in the Quick Develop section of the right panel in the Library module, and choose the preset you’d like to apply.

Note that in this example you would want to create a preset that includes the “Auto Settings” option. You also want to be sure you are including only the specific adjustments you want to apply to photos later in your workflow, which may very well only be the Auto Settings adjustment.

To create such a preset, you can first apply sample adjustments to an image in the Develop module. Then click the plus symbol (+) to the right of the Presets heading on the left panel, and choose “Create Preset” from the popup menu that appears.

In the New Develop Preset dialog, you can enter a name the preset in the Preset Name field. Make sure this is a meaningful name so you can choose it by name later. Then click the Check None button at the bottom-left of the dialog. You can then turn on the checkbox for only the adjustments you want included in the preset. In this case, for example, you would want to turn on the Auto Settings checkbox.

You can then click the Create button at the bottom-right of the New Develop Preset dialog, and you’ll be ready to apply that preset to multiple images at any time later in your workflow.

Software Options

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Today’s Question: Do you think using Adobe Bridge along with software like Luminar or Photoshop Elements to do post-processing of RAW images would be feasible and worthwhile? I use the Adobe Photography Plan subscription now.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Adobe Bridge provides a perfectly reasonable solution for managing photos. And software such as Luminar or Photoshop Elements provide tools for processing raw captures. However, I feel that Lightroom Classic CC is a better choice for image management and even initial raw processing, with the use of other software tools potentially providing supplemental benefits.

More Detail: In my mind image management is the most daunting challenge facing photographers. Therefore, which image management software to use is perhaps the most important decision to make in terms of your overall workflow. While I realize many photographers have struggled with Lightroom, I still feel that Lightroom provides a superior image-management solution compared to Adobe Bridge.

Put simply, Adobe Bridge is a browser while Lightroom provides a catalog-based workflow solution. While the catalog in Lightroom is a source of many challenges for photographers, it also provides a variety of advantages. For example, with a catalog it is much faster and easier to search among an entire library of photos, which is a task that can be extremely slow with Adobe Bridge.

Beyond image management, of course you want to consider which software tools will provide the best solution for optimizing your photos. Lightroom provides powerful raw processing that is on par with many other software applications that are available (and that is superior to the raw processing in Photoshop Elements). With the Photography Plan subscription (https://timgrey.me/photoplan) you also have access to Photoshop, which is obviously an incredibly powerful solution.

Other software applications certainly offer a variety of benefits for photo optimization and applying creative effects. However, I don’t feel there is a better solution for managing photos that Lightroom Classic CC. If you’re going to subscribe to the Photography Plan to get access to Lightroom, then I would tend to make use of Photoshop as a primary tool for advanced photo optimization. And then, of course, other software could be looked to for supplemental purposes. For example, I highly recommend Aurora HDR (https://timgrey.me/aurora2019) as a great tool for creating HDR images.

So, I think Lightroom Classic CC represents a good foundation for a photographers workflow. I therefore feel it makes sense for most photographers to consider Lightroom as the central tool in their workflow, adding additional plug-ins and other software to fill gaps that aren’t covered by Lightroom.

Saved Selections Lost

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Today’s Question: Will a saved selection continued to be saved once Photoshop is turned off for the day and back on the next morning? I ask because when I turn Photoshop back on in a subsequent session I cannot find any of the previously saved selections.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Saved selections will only be saved “permanently” if you are saving them as part of a compatible image file format, such as TIFF or PSD. If you save a selection for an image file that does not support saved selections (such as a JPEG image) then the saved selection will disappear if you close the image without also saving it as a TIFF or PSD file. You can see saved selections by choosing Select > Load Selection from the menu, or by looking at the Channels panel.

More Detail: When you save a selection in Photoshop, such as by using the Select > Save Selection command, the selection may not be saved permanently. Photoshop stores a saved selection as an “alpha channel”, and not all file formats support alpha channels.

So, if you open a JPEG image, save a selection, and then save the image and quit Photoshop, you didn’t actually save the selection. That is because JPEG images (among other image file formats) don’t support alpha channels.

The TIFF and Photoshop PSD file formats do support alpha channels, and therefore are able to preserve your saved selections as part of the file. That means you can save a selection for a TIFF or PSD file, save the updated version of that file, and the next time you open the image in Photoshop you’ll be able to load the selection again.

Note that you can view a list of saved selections by choosing Select > Load Selection from the menu and clicking on the Channel popup. You can also view the alpha channels for the saved selections (which provides a thumbnail view of the mask for the saved selection) by going to the Channels panel (Window > Channels).

Turning Off Automatic Updates

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Today’s Question: You recommend against allowing or enabling auto-update of Adobe Creative Cloud applications (for valid reasons). If one was so careless as to allow it, is there a way to undo it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can disable automatic updates for Creative Cloud applications at any time in the Preferences for the Adobe Creative Cloud application.

More Detail: As noted in a previous edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, I do recommend disabling automatic application updates, primarily so you can get a sense of whether there are any problems with the update before installing it.

The Adobe Creative Cloud application recently included an update that offers to enable the automatic installation of new versions of applications as soon as that update is available.

If you had previously enabled the automatic-update feature when prompted with a popup, you can still turn that feature off in the Preferences for the Adobe Creative Cloud application.

First, click on the icon for the Creative Cloud application on the taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Macintosh). Then click the icon with three dots arranged vertically, which you will find at the top-right of the Creative Cloud application window. Choose Preferences from the popup menu, and click on the “Creative Cloud” tab.

At the bottom of the Creative Cloud tab in Preferences you will find an “Enable auto-update” checkbox. You can then click the “back” button at the top-left of the Creative Cloud window to leave the Preferences screen. With the “Enable auto-update” checkbox turned off, updates will not be installed until you click the “Update” button on the Apps tab of the Creative Cloud application.

Why Use Auto?

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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:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/lightroom-mess?coupon=mess29

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.