Temporary Catalog Collections


Today’s Question: I followed your advice of creating a full backup of my catalog and photos with the “Export as Catalog” command in Lightroom Classic. But now I have a “Previous Export as Catalog” item in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. I don’t need that group, so is it safe to delete and if so how can I do that?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is indeed completely safe to delete that temporary collection found in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. To do so simply right-click on the collection and choose “Remove this Temporary Collection” from the popup.

More Detail: When you perform certain tasks, such as exporting photos to a new catalog using the “Export as Catalog” command, a temporary collection will be created that contains those images. This collection is found in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module, rather than the Collections section where you can create your own collections. Another example would be the “Missing Photographs” created if you use the Library > Find All Missing Photos command and there are actually missing photos in your catalog.

Some of the collections in the Catalog section are permanent, meaning they can’t be removed. This includes the “All Photographs” collection and the “Quick Collection”, for example. Other collections in the Catalog section can be removed, such as the “Previous Export as Catalog” collection that contains all photos from the last time you used the “Export as Catalog” command.

If you’ve never used the “Export as Catalog” command, then you won’t see this collection in the Catalog section. But if you have used this command, you can most certainly remove the “Previous Export as Catalog” collection, or any other temporary collections.

For any collections in the Catalog section that you don’t feel you need, you can right click on them to see if a popup appears with the “Remove this Temporary Collection” command on the popup menu. If so, you can choose that command to remove the temporary collection.

Note that I demonstrated how to export a backup copy of your entire Lightroom Classic catalog along with a backup copy of all photos with that catalog during my recent GreyLearning Ultimate Event focused on “Backing Up Your Photos”. This topic was covered in the presentation on “Lightroom Classic Catalog Backup”. Recordings of all presentations from that event are available, and you can find all the details here:


Indications of Adjustments Applied


Today’s Question: When I updated Lightroom Classic the switches to the left of each heading were replaced with eye icons. I know that these are there to disable or enable sections of adjustments, but why are some of the eye icons bright and some dim?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The eye icons to the left of each heading on the right panel in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic are brighter if adjustments in that section have been applied, and dimmer if adjustments have not been applied. There are also indications for each of the tools on the toolbar below the histogram to indicate if they have been used for an image.

More Detail: With a recent update to Lightroom Classic the toggle switches that enabled you to turn off sections of adjustments have been replaced by eye icons. You can click and hold on an eye icon to turn off the adjustments in that section temporarily to enable a “before” versus “after” view.

If you want to turn off all adjustments more permanently in a section, you can hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh to change the eye icons into toggle switches, which you can then click to toggle the section on or off.

These options are only available for sections that you have actually applied adjustments in, though the permanent toggle option is never available for the Basic section. If you haven’t applied any adjustments in a section, you can’t toggle the visibility of that section, which is why the eye icon will appear dimmer in that case.

In addition to this indication of whether adjustments have been applied in a given section on the right panel in the Develop module, the icons representing individual adjustment tools on the toolbar below the histogram (such as the Crop tool) will have a dot appear below the icon if that tool has been used to adjust the image. So, for example, if you’ve applied any adjustments the Edit button will have a dot below it, and if you have cropped the image the Crop button will have a dot.

These indications can be helpful in terms of enabling you to know what general adjustments have been applied to an image, as well as to know which adjustments you haven’t used yet but that you might want to apply to an image.

Multiple Versions of Applications


Today’s Question: I was looking at my Adobe Creative Cloud Apps and I saw that I have 3 versions of Bridge: Bridge V 11.1.4, Bridge V 12.0.4, and Bridge V 13.0.3. Can I safely uninstall the previous versions and keep the latest, V 13.0.3?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, as long as the most recent version of a Creative Cloud application is working properly, you can safely remove the older versions of that application.

More Detail: When you install a major update of an Adobe Creative Cloud application, such as from Adobe Bridge version 12 to 13, the application isn’t actually updated, but rather the new version is installed as a separate copy. In this way it is possible to accumulate multiple versions of a given Creative Cloud application.

Provided the latest version is working properly, and you don’t have any need to retain multiple versions, you can most certainly install the older versions. For most users there is no need to retain any versions of an application other than the latest version.

You can remove applications from the same Creative Cloud application you use to install the latest updates. Select the “All apps” option from the menu along the left side of the window and review the applications in the “Installed” section. For any duplicates you can click the “more” button (the three dots icon) at the far right of the older versions you no longer need. From the popup that appears you can then choose the “Uninstall” option.

When prompted about whether you want to keep or remove the preferences, you can click the Remove button to remove the preferences for that version along with the application itself. Once again, this assumes the latest version is working properly, including any plug-ins you may want to use with the latest version.

Managing HDR Images


Today’s Question: Can you offer your thoughts on the issue of HDR [high dynamic range] photos and if it makes sense to keep all of them or cull through delete some or all the captures?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I do think it makes sense to cull your high dynamic range (HDR) captures, since by its nature HDR imaging can result in many photos. It can also be helpful to batch process the captures into finished HDR images, which can make it easier to review which images to keep or discard.

More Detail: Creating HDR images involves capturing bracketed exposures, which means capturing multiple photos for each potential final image. If you’re using automatic exposure bracketing on your camera, that often means capturing three, five, or seven images (and sometimes more) for each intended photo. If you capture numerous bracketed exposures, the numbers can add up rather quickly.

You could certainly review the bracketed exposures in the usual manner, keeping in mind that the photos represent groups of photos that could be assembled into an HDR image. Of course, it is also possible that a single image from a bracketed set will represent a good standalone exposure. These issues can complicate the process of reviewing the photos.

In many cases I find it helpful to batch process the bracketed exposures into HDR images, so you have a better sense of the potential for the final image for each bracketed set. In Lightroom Classic this requires first grouping the bracketed sets into stacks.

In some cases with bracketed exposures the automatic stacking feature in Lightroom Classic may work well. This feature can be initiated by selecting Photo > Stacking > Auto-Stack by Capture Time from the menu. In the dialog that appears you can then adjust the slider representing the amount of time between stacks, to hopefully end up with individual stacks for each bracketed exposure. You can also stack photos together manually by selecting the images and then choosing Photo > Stacking > Group into Stack from the menu or by pressing Ctrl+G on Windows or Command+G on Macintosh.

Once the bracketed exposures are grouped into stacks you can select all the stacks and then choose Photo > Photo Merge > HDR. Each selected stack will then be processed into an HDR with the default settings. You could then filter the images based on the Adobe DNG file type that will be created in this process so you can focus your review on only the initial HDR images.

If you’ve captured a large number of bracketed exposures for HDR it can obviously take a bit of time to sort through them. However, I do recommend going through that process and deleting the clear outtakes to help keep the remaining photos more manageable.

Unable to Move Photo Pushpins on Map


Today’s Question: I’ve found that I’m not able to move pushpins on the map in Lightroom Classic when there are multiple photos associated with the pushpin. I can still drag pushpins for single photos. Is this a bug or is there a workaround?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can only drag a map marker to a different position if it is associated with a single image. Otherwise, you need to instead drag the images (rather than the marker) to a different position on the map.

More Detail: A marker will appear on the map in the Map module of Lightroom Classic for any image that has GPS coordinates embedded in metadata. That metadata could have been saved by a GPS-enabled camera, by synchronizing a GPS track log with image, or by simply dragging thumbnails from the filmstrip onto the map.

If a marker isn’t in exactly the right position, you can move those markers on the map. The first step is to make sure that the markers are not locked. On the toolbar below the map display there is a padlock icon. If the lock is enabled, meaning that the padlock appears closed, you can’t drag the markers on the map. You can click on the padlock icon to lock or unlock the markers.

With the markers unlocked, you can drag any marker that represents a single image by simply clicking and dragging with the mouse directly on the map. Markers that represent single images will appear without a number on them.

If a marker has a number indicating that it represents a location for more than one photo, there are two ways you can change the position for the photos represented by the marker.

The first option is to zoom in on the map so that the marker representing multiple images will change to individual markers for each image. Once you’ve zoomed in to the point that the marker you want to move represents only a single image, you can click-and-drag that marker on the map.

Of course, if a marker represents multiple photos, you may very well want to change the position for all those photos, in which case it is better to use the second option for moving a marker that represents multiple photos. To get started, zoom to an appropriate level that the marker represents all the images you want to change the position for. This would generally mean zooming out just enough that the multiple markers consolidate into one.

You can then click on that marker, which in turn will select the photos represented by that marker on the filmstrip. With those images selected you can then click on one of the thumbnails for the selected images and drag those images to a new position on the map. That, in turn, will cause the marker to move to that new position on the map.

Creating Precise Oval Selections


Today’s Question: If I want to select an exact rectangle [in Photoshop], I can easily use the Rectangular Marquee tool and drag from one corner to the opposite one. But if I want to select an exact oval [with the Elliptical Marquee tool], there’s no obvious exact starting point. Is there a trick I’m missing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: To better align an elliptical selection in Photoshop you can either move the selection while you’re in the process of creating it or create an initial selection and then use the Transform Selection command to fine-tune the overall shape and position of the selection.

More Detail: The Elliptical Marquee tool is basically the exact same as the Rectangular Marquee tool, except that with the Elliptical Marquee tool when you draw a rectangle the selection will be an ellipse that fills that rectangle. That means in theory you could drag from one corner of the intended selection to the opposite corner to create an elliptical selection for the desired area of the image, but in practice this isn’t easy to get precise.

One of the best tricks for both the Rectangular Marquee and Elliptical Marquee tools is the ability to move the selection while you’re in the process of creating a selection. Start by clicking at one corner of the intended selection area and keep the mouse button held down until you’re finished defining the selection. When you realize the selection wasn’t started in quite the right spot, while still holding the mouse button down press and hold the Spacebar key on the keyboard.

While holding the Spacebar key you can drag the mouse (with the mouse button still pressed) to move the selection. If you release the Spacebar key (while still holding the mouse button down) you can continue refining the size and shape of the selection. Switching back and forth between holding the Spacebar key versus releasing it enables you to switch between moving the selection and adjusting the size and shape of the selection. When you’re happy with the shape of the selection you can then release the mouse button.

You can also just draw a basic elliptical selection quickly without worrying about being too precise, and then chose the Select > Transform Selection command from the menu to modify the selection. After choosing this command there will be a bounding box around the image. Hold the Shift key while dragging each edge of that bounding box to the refine the overall size and shape of the selection. The Shift key is necessary so you can drag each edge individually without maintaining the existing aspect ratio.

If you want to adjust the size of the overall selection while using the Transform Selection command, you can start dragging one of the corners of the bounding box and then press and hold the Alt/Option key so that the size adjustment is relative to the center of the selection rather than the edge.

After transforming the selection, you can press Enter/Return on the keyboard (or click the checkmark button on the Options bar) to apply the change.

Color Labels for Folders and Collections


Today’s Question: I recently saw a presentation where you said that you should not rename color labels for photos in Lightroom Classic, because it will cause existing color labels to change to white instead of the assigned color. Does the same apply to the ability to rename color labels for folders and collections, or is it OK to rename those?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed rename the color labels for folders and collections (but not photos) in Lightroom Classic without any negative impact on your workflow.

More Detail: While color labels for photos, folders, and collections in Lightroom Classic are obviously much the same, they do behave differently for photos versus folders or collections. As such, the way you work with these different color labels can be a little different.

Color labels for folders are applied directly to the metadata for individual photos, and the text shown for the color label definition determines what text is added to metadata for photos. You can review the definitions by selecting Metadata > Color Label Set > Edit from the menu while in the Library module.

Because the text that defines color labels for photos is added to the metadata for individual photos, changing the definitions after you’ve added color labels to photos will cause a mismatch. That will cause the affected photos to appear with a white color label rather than the color you originally assigned.

This issue does not apply to color labels for folders and collections, because those color labels are only stored within the Lightroom Classic catalog, not in metadata for the source photos.

You can therefore freely change the color label definitions for folders and collections, such as to provide a reminder of the meaning you’ve assigned to these color labels.

In the “Edit Color Label Set” dialog (Metadata > Color Label Set > Edit) I therefore recommend keeping the definitions for the Images tab set to the “Lightroom Default” preset. You can then change the definitions on the Folders or Collections tab to provide a reminder of the meaning you’ve assigned to those color labels. Doing so will not alter the color labels you’ve already assigned to folders or collections.

Unleash Your Creative Potential With Adobe Express


Are you an amateur photographer looking for an excellent photo-editing program to enhance your creative projects? Adobe Express is the perfect option for both personal and professional use. This powerful program can help you take your photography skills to the next level, and it offers a wide variety of tools to choose from. Let’s take a look at the best reasons to use Adobe Express, courtesy of Ask Tim Grey.

Adobe Express Is a Budget-Friendly Option

Adobe Express offers basic and premium photo editing features without the hefty price tag of its more advanced counterpart. With easy-to-use tools and a user-friendly interface, anyone can become a pro at editing photos in no time. Plus, you get access to thousands of fonts and stock photos that make creating eye-catching graphics easier than ever before.

You Can Access Editing Tools

When it comes to editing photos, there’s no need for expensive software anymore. Instead, you can use Adobe Express for basic and premium photo editing features such as cropping images; adjusting brightness, contrast, hue, saturation levels; adding filters; and creating special effects with light leaks and lens flares. You can even add captions or text overlays with just one click.

You Can Easily Create Graphics

Adobe Express makes creating stunning visual designs faster and easier than ever before. With its intuitive tools, users can quickly create eye-catching photo graphics by mixing different elements together including text overlays, frames and borders, stickers and emojis, and much more. You can even save your designs as templates so that you can quickly pull them up the next time around.

Create A Stunning Portfolio

Adobe Express also allows users to create digital portfolios for their work. This makes sharing your designs with potential employers or clients much simpler. From displaying your photography portfolio on social media platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn to showcasing projects on your own website, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes time for people to view your creative genius in action.

You Can Choose From a Variety Of Creative Projects

One of the many benefits of using Adobe Express is the variety of creative projects you can make with the tools provided. Whether you want to design a new business card or make a gift for a loved one, there are tons of options that allow you to be truly creative. Let’s take a look at some ideas:

  • Create an attention-grabbing blog post with striking images and engaging copy. You can choose from an array of templates. The best part? Each one is designed to look great on any device, so your followers will never miss a thing.
  • Make your business card stand out from the crowd with a new design. Add your headshot, choose your colors and fonts, and boost your confidence when you’re networking. Take a look at the design options available.
  • Design a professional banner for LinkedIn and show potential employers what you’re all about. This is an easy way to catch their eye and show off your personality at the same time. Make sure the finished banner is uncluttered and easy to read for maximum effectiveness.
  • Create a photo card easily with this tool. This is perfect for both personal and professional use. Just add your favorite shot and choose your colors, fonts, and copy.

If you’re an amateur photographer looking for an easy way to edit photos without breaking the bank, then Adobe Express might be just what you need. Not only does it give you access to thousands of free fonts and stock images, but it also provides basic and premium photo-editing features that make designing eye-catching visuals simple and fast. Take a look at Adobe Express to learn more about the tools and resources available.

Backup Drive Strategy


Today’s Question: My backup hard drives are typically larger than my photos drive. Consequentially, I backup to my larger backup drive in a folder labeled accordingly. Then I can backup images from another drive to another folder on my larger backup drive. I then can back up my backup drive to the cloud and feel relatively safe that I have a good backup of the images that I want to protect. Does this sound reasonable? I am on Windows 10. Should I make the drive letters fixed? Should I change the disk volume labels to a more descriptive name?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This is all reasonable, though I do suggest having two local backup copies rather than just one. I do recommend assigning a permanent drive letter for Windows users, but on Windows there’s no need to change the volume label.

More Detail: As I explained during my presentation on “Backup Best Practices” during my recent GreyLearning Ultimate Event on “Backing Up Your Photos”, I recommend following the “3-2-1 Rule” for backing up photos and other important data. This involves having three copies of your data (including the original), two of which are stored locally, and one of which is stored offsite. So I would suggest having an additional backup drive locally, in addition to the workflow you’re already using.

I do recommend locking in a drive letter for external drives on Windows. In the context of a backup job, for example, this will ensure that the source and destination drives are always clearly identified by the software. If you don’t select a specific drive letter for each drive, then connecting the drives in a different order can result in a different drive letter assignment for each.

You can change the drive letter assignment on Windows with the Disk Management utility that is included with the operating system. In Disk Management you can right-click on a hard drive and choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths” from the popup menu. In the dialog that appears click the Change button. Select a new drive letter from the popup and click OK to close the dialogs.

For example, you might assign the drive letter “D:” to a data drive and “F:” to your photos drive, to help you remember which is which. You can then assign later drive letters to your backup drives.

For Windows users there’s no need to change the volume label for a drive, though you can certainly do that if you find it helpful to keep track of what each drive is used for. For Macintosh users I do recommend using a meaningful volume label for each hard drive, as this is how the drive is identified in the Macintosh operating system. To rename the volume label on Macintosh you simply right-click on the hard drive and choose “Rename” from the popup menu.

I talked about my recommended strategies for backing up your photos in my recent online event on “Backing Up Your Photos”. The recordings of the presentations from that event are available here:


Cropping to Specific Aspect Ratio


Today’s Question: How do you crop to set dimensions in Photoshop, such as 5×7 or 8×10?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can establish a specific aspect ratio for cropping in Photoshop using the settings on the Options bar with the Crop tool.

More Detail: When you select the Crop tool in Photoshop by clicking on its button on the toolbar or pressing the letter “C” on the keyboard, the Options bar across the top of the Photoshop window will update to reflect the settings for the Crop tool. This includes controls for the crop dimensions toward the left side of the Options bar.

If you click the Ratio popup toward the far left of the Options bar, you can select among a variety of preset aspect ratios, such as 1:1 (square), 4:5 and 5:7. You can also select “Ratio”, and then enter values in the two text boxes to the right of the popup. The first of these two is for the width, and the second is for the height. There’s a button in between the two checkboxes that allows you to quickly exchange the two values, such as to switch between a horizontal and vertical crop.

If you select the “W x H x Resolution” option, then a third text box will appear for the resolution. This enables you to not only crop to a specific aspect ratio, but also to resize the image to specific dimensions.

Note, by the way, that you can also crop to a specific aspect ratio when processing a raw capture in Camera Raw. After selecting the Crop tool within Camera Raw you can click the Preset popup to select the ratio you want to use for cropping, including being able to choose “Custom Ratio” to enter your own values.