August Online Workshop: Organizing Photos in Lightroom Classic

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Live Online Workshop
August 16-30, 2024

Next month I’ll be teaching an online workshop focused on helping photographers organize their photos with a streamlined workflow using Lightroom Classic.

And for the first time, participants will receive “Cheat Sheet” PDF handouts covering the key aspects of an organizational workflow as part of this workshop. If you register by July 31st, you can get the full online workshop experience for just $79 (normally $99).

Get all the details and sign up to join me here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/online-workshop-organizing-photos-in-lightroom-classic-august-2024

Resize Images to Fit

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Today’s Question: Is there a way in Photoshop to resize a group of images in batch so that they are all the same size on the long side, without horizontal versus vertical images having different dimensions on the long side?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can use the “Resize to Fit” setting with the Image Processor command, which you can access either from within Photoshop or from Adobe Bridge.

More Detail: If you use the Image Size command (Image > Image Size) you will need to specify both a height and width setting, meaning you’ll need to be sure to use the intended pixel dimension in the Width field for a horizontal image or the Height field for a vertical image. With the “Resize to Fit” option of the Image Processor command you can specify outer dimensions for batch resizing, so that for example all images will have the same number of pixels on the long side, regardless of whether an image is horizontal or vertical.

You can batch process images with Image Processor from directly within Photoshop, such as by opening the images you want to process, selecting File > Scripts > Image Processor from the menu, and choosing the “Use Open Images” option in section one. However, I think it is easier to get started from Adobe Bridge.

To use Image Processor from Adobe Bridge, select the photos you want to process, and then from the menu choose Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor. That will open the Image Processor in Photoshop, with the images that had been selected in Adobe Bridge automatically selected as the images to process.

You can then select the options for saving the images, such as to save as JPEG images if you’ll be sharing online. For any of the available file formats you can turn on the “Resize to Fit” checkbox and then enter the outer dimensions in the W (width) and H (height) fields. For example, if you want the images to be sized to 2,000 pixels on the long side you can enter 2000 in both fields.

Once you’ve configured the settings in the Image Processor dialog click the Run button. The images will then be processed based on the settings you’ve selected, including having been resized to fit the dimensions you specified.

Avoiding Pick and Reject Flags

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Today’s Question: I thought you had said previously that you didn’t use or recommend the pick and reject flags in Lightooom Classic, but then you suggested adding a reject flag to photos you think are outtakes but that you’re not comfortable deleting. Did I misunderstand, or did you change your mind about pick and reject flags?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I generally do not recommend using the pick and reject flag features in Lightroom Classic because they are not part of an established metadata standard. However, I do use the reject flag to temporarily mark photos intended for deletion.

More Detail: There are two key reasons I prefer not to use the pick and reject flags in Lightroom Classic.

The first is that I prefer not to make a binary choice between “approve” and “reject” for my photos. Rather, I prefer to use star ratings, which provide a relative ranking for approval of photos.

The second reason is that pick and reject flags are not on par with other standard metadata fields. This creates an issue where reject flags assigned in Lightroom Classic and saved to metadata don’t appear in Bridge, and reject flags assigned in Bridge won’t appear in Lightroom Classic even if you import the metadata from the disk.

However, I don’t consider these issues to be a problem when it comes to marking photos as rejected, which in my view means marking photos for eventual deletion. In other words, in this context the reject flag is temporary, and if I were to lose those reject flags it would just mean that I lost track of photos I had intended to delete, which I wouldn’t consider to be a major problem.

So, in my workflow when I’m reviewing photos to identify favorites versus outtakes, I use a reject flag to mark the photos I intend to delete. When I’m done with my review process, I can take another look at the photos I marked for rejection to make sure I really want to delete them. If so, I can then use the Delete Rejected Photos command from the Photo menu in Lightroom Classic to batch delete photos with a reject flag in the location I’m currently browsing.

Delete Rather than Remove

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Today’s Question: As a follow-up to the question about removing images from the Lightroom Classic catalog, you said that “in this case” [removing a derivative image from the catalog] you would remove the photo from the catalog rather than deleting from the disk. Isn’t it better to always choose the option to remove from the catalog but not delete from the disk just in case you later realize it was a mistake?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you are removing a photo from the Lightroom Classic catalog because you feel it is not a good image, then I recommend deleting the source file. If you’re not comfortable deleting a photo, then in my view you shouldn’t remove it from the Lightroom Classic catalog.

More Detail: Yesterday’s question related to wanting to remove derivative images from the Lightroom Classic catalog, while keeping the source photo the derivative was based on in the catalog. In this circumstance I think it makes sense to remove the derivative image from the catalog since it will be managed as part of a separate project outside of Lightroom Classic.

When the photo in question is an original capture rather than a derivative created for a particular project, I don’t recommend removing the photo from the catalog unless you are also going to delete the source file. From my perspective, if you are using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos and you remove a photo from the catalog, you effectively will no longer know that the photo exists. In other words, the photo is taking up space on your hard drive, but you won’t see the image in Lightroom Classic.

In other words, removing photos from the catalog without deleting the source file can lead to a situation where you have clutter in your folders with extra hard drive space being used up, and where you are not aware of those images because they aren’t in your catalog.

For these reasons I suggest only removing original photos from your Lightroom Classic catalog if you consider them outtakes that you won’t ever put to use. In that case, I recommend deleting the source files from the hard drive as part of the process for removing the images from the catalog, which means clicking the “Delete from Disk” button in the confirmation dialog after choosing to remove a photo from the catalog.

If you’re not comfortable deleting the source file, I recommend keeping the image in your catalog, and marking it in some way so you know it is an outtake. For example, you could mark such outtakes with a reject flag in Lightroom Classic, and as appropriate set a filter so you’re only seeing the images you didn’t reject. You could then later decide to delete those rejected photos, for example.

Export and Remove

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Today’s Question: I sometimes have images I am preparing for a project, but that I don’t need to keep in Lightroom Classic. This usually involves sending an image to Photoshop to work on. Afterward the resulting image is in Lightroom Classic of course, but is there a way to avoid that? I just want the final image saved in a project folder, and not have it in the Lightroom Classic catalog.

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this scenario my recommendation would be to follow the normal workflow for sending the image from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop, move the image to a project folder within Lightroom Classic if you’d like, and then remove the photo from the catalog without deleting it.

More Detail: In most cases when you want to send a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop you will want to continue managing the new derivative image within your Lightroom Classic catalog. Even if you ultimately don’t want the derivative image in your catalog, I recommend using the same initial workflow.

So, in Lightroom Classic you can select the image you want to edit in Photoshop, then from the menu choose Photo > Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop. This will send the image to Photoshop, where you can use any of the tools and features to finalize the derivative image. When you’re done simply save the image and close it.

At this point the image will be alongside the original within the Lightroom Classic catalog. If you want to move it to a project folder, you can do that directly within your catalog. Simply drag-and-drop the image to the desired destination folder within the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. If you’d like, you can also create a new folder in any location by clicking the plus button to the right of the Folders heading and choosing “Add Folder”.

After you drag-and-drop the derivative image to a new folder location, you can remove it from Lightroom Classic if you’d like. Just be sure that you haven’t applied any adjustments in Lightroom Classic after creating the derivative image in Photoshop, as those won’t be retained in the source file on the hard drive.

To remove the derivative image from Lightrooom Classic you can simply right-click on it and choose Remove Photo from the popup menu. In this case you would click the “Remove from Lightroom” button (rather than the “Delete from Disk” button) because you are simply removing the image from your Lightroom Classic catalog without deleting the source image file.

Moving forward, of course, you could open the derivative image on your hard drive directly into Photoshop to perform any additional adjustments you may need.

Frustration with Remove Tool Mode

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Today’s Question: If I use one of the Remove tool options in Lightroom Classic, say Heal, then change the tool type to Clone, the result changes from Heal to Clone [for an existing cleanup area]. How do I use Heal, then switch to Clone, without changing the setting for the previous action?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The key to avoid changing the Mode setting for cleanup areas when using the Remove tool in Lightroom Classic (or Camera Raw or Lightroom), simply press the Escape (Esc) key on the keyboard to ensure no cleanup area is selected before making the change.

More Detail: With the Remove tool in Lightroom Classic (or Camera Raw or Lightroom) you can change the Mode setting for a selected cleanup area. For example, if you used the Clone option for Mode but then realize that it isn’t providing a good result, you can switch the Mode to Heal or Remove instead.

Of course, if your intent is to switch to a different setting for Mode for the next cleanup area rather than the current cleanup area, this behavior can be frustrating. The key is to ensure that no cleanup area is active before making a change to the Mode setting. To do so simply press the Escape (Esc) key on the keyboard before changing the setting for Mode. This will enable you to change the setting before initiating a new cleanup area.

It is also possible, of course, to simply paint a new cleanup area on the image, which will inherit the Mode setting from the cleanup area that had previously been selected. You can then change the Mode setting for the new cleanup area after creating it. But again, if you want to change the Mode first, you can simply press the Escape key before creating the new cleanup area.

Note that I have published an updated video lesson on performing image cleanup work in Lightroom Classic to my “Mastering Lightroom Classic” video course. The updated lesson is “Removing Blemishes and Distractions”, which is Chapter 3, Lesson 3 of this course. You can get all the details about this course on the GreyLearning website here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/mastering-lightroom-classic-2023

Correcting Capture Time After Import

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Today’s Question: I saw your recent post about changing the capture time for a series of images, doing so in Adobe Bridge. I recently took some pictures in Europe and neglected to change the time zone until after the first day. However, I have already imported all the images into Lightroom Classic. Is there a way to change the capture time for these images?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can easily correct the capture time for selected photos in Lightroom Classic using the “Edit Capture Time” command.

More Detail: The previous answer about adjusting the capture time using Adobe Bridge related specifically to updating the metadata for photos that had not been imported into a Lightroom Classic catalog. After photos have been imported into Lightroom Classic you should only update metadata within the catalog. That includes updating the capture time, which can be done using the “Edit Capture Time” command.

To get started, simply select the photos you need to correct the capture time for. In this case that would involve only selecting the photos from the first day of your trip, but it could also involve selecting all photos in a given folder, for example.

Once you’ve selected the applicable photos, go to the Library module and from the menu choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time to bring up the Edit Capture Time dialog.

In most cases, including in the context of today’s question, you’ll want to use the “Shift by a set number of hours” option. This enables you to shift the capture time for the selected photos by a specific number of hours, such as for a time zone correction. Select the number of hours from the popup on the right side of the “New Time” section, selecting a positive value if you need to increase the time or a negative value if you need to decrease the time.

Once you have configured the settings for the capture time change for the selected photos click the Change button to apply the change.

Note, by the way, that there is a message at the bottom of the Edit Capture Time window that indicates you can’t use the Undo command to revert to the original capture time if you change the capture time incorrectly. However, you can always apply a corrective change. For example, if you accidentally apply a time zone change of negative five hours when the correct adjustment would be negative four hours, you could always apply a positive one hour change to update the images to the correct capture time.

Controversy with Adobe Terms of Service

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Today’s Question: I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter about Adobe trying to “steal” our images based on the terms of service related to their AI [artificial intelligence] technology. Can you address this issue, and do you think this is something we should be worried about?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Especially with the updates Adobe recently made to their terms of service, I don’t think photographers have anything to be concerned about with regard to the use of their images by Adobe.

More Detail: There has been a lot of buzz lately about some changes Adobe made to the terms of service for accessing their Creative Cloud software and services. Having been on both sides of these types of issues, I don’t think the situation called for anywhere near as much alarm as it seemed to cause among some photographers. For example, based on my experience I don’t believe that Adobe would intentionally steal images from photographers to use for their own profit.

First off, consider a situation where you want to share your photos online, perhaps in an effort to gain new customers. In order for the service provider to be able to publish your images, they need a license from you. That license understandably needs to be relatively broad, since when you share your photos online, they can generally be viewed by just about anyone anywhere on the planet, possibly for an indefinite time period. The point is that terms of service often by necessity need to have relatively broad rights granted to the service provider.

The recent uproar over Adobe’s terms of service was a little different, in that part of the issue was the notion that your images could be used to train Adobe Firefly, which is at the core of their AI (artificial intelligence) technology. This caused a bit of concern among photographers. For example, what if you were working on images that were covered by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), but now the images might partially appear in images generated by AI? Would that potentially mean you had violated the NDA?

Fortunately, after the backlash, Adobe has updated the terms of service to clarify that your images will not be used to train AI unless you submit those images to Adobe Stock. In the case of Adobe Stock, you are bound by different terms of service, which do provide Adobe the right to use your photos to train their AI technology.

To be sure, when terms of service are unclear or seem particularly onerous, it is reasonably to be concerned about the potential ramifications of agreeing to those terms. In this case I don’t believe there was anything nefarious about Adobe’s intent. I just think they should have been a bit more careful about how their terms of service were worded.

Download Before Import

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Today’s Question: Would there be any detriment if I copy my Nikon NEF [raw capture] files manually to a folder on my computer, rename them manually, then import them into Lightroom versus letting Lightroom Classic import them directly from the memory card and then renaming them in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t recommend this type of workflow because it adds an element of complexity to the process. If you follow a consistent workflow with this approach it can certainly work fine, but in my view there’s a greater risk of being inconsistent due to the slightly cumbersome nature of this type of workflow.

More Detail: If you’re going to manage your photos using Lightroom Classic, you must import those photos into the Lightroom Classic catalog. My view is that it therefore makes the most sense to import directly from your media cards into Lightroom Classic, without using any other software as part of this workflow.

When importing photos into your Lightroom Classic catalog you can copy them from the media card to the intended storage location, create an additional backup copy in another location, rename the photos, add metadata using a saved preset, apply a Develop preset to all photos, apply keywords to all photos being imported, and more.

Furthermore, by importing photos directly from your media cards you are getting those photos into your normal workflow as quickly as possible. You’re also using a more streamlined workflow that will help you avoid issues such as downloading photos but then neglecting to import them into Lightroom Classic.

If you’re thorough and consistent, you can certainly use a more complicated workflow in the context of Lightroom Classic. I recommend, however, keeping that workflow streamlined and importing directly from your media cards into your Lightroom Classic catalog.

The full workflow I recommend for importing photos into Lightroom Classic is covered in great detail in my lesson “Importing Photos and Videos”, which is Chapter 2, Lesson 1 of my comprehensive “Mastering Lightroom Classic” video course. This course is included in my GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle, and you can learn more about it on the GreyLearning website here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/mastering-lightroom-classic-2023

Docking a Floating Panel

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Today’s Question: The Layers panel [in Photoshop] that I always have open used to “dock” on the right side of the screen. Now it’s floating and could be dragged around. One of the nuisances of this is that the image is partially hidden by the Layers panel. How can I get the panel to dock on the right again and stay that way?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can simply drag the floating panel (or panel group) to the edge of the Photoshop interface to dock it. In addition, if you saved a workspace in Photoshop you can reset that workspace to restore the panel configuration.

More Detail: In Photoshop it is possible to have the various panels be docked to an edge of the main interface window or floating so they can be positioned anywhere you’d like (including on a secondary monitor).

If you have a floating panel (or set of panels) you can simply drag it to the edge of the interface. If it is a single panel you want to dock you can drag on the tab that shows the name of the panel. If it is a set of panels grouped together you can drag the bar at the top of the group. This bar looks like a title bar of a small window, but without a title on it.

You can drag the panel or group to any edge of the Photoshop interface, or to be docked within an existing panel or group. Once you drag close to an edge, you’ll see a highlight line or box depending on where you have moved your mouse, which indicates the position the panel will be docked when you release the mouse.

If you had previously saved a workspace, you can also revert to the original configuration of that workspace by going to the menu and choosing Window > Workspace > Reset, which will show the name of the current workspace after “Reset”. You can also simply switch to a saved workspace by choosing it from the Window > Workspace submenu.

If you haven’t saved a workspace, you can do so after configuring all the panels to your liking by choosing Window > Workspace > New Workspace from the menu.

I covered the many options for configuring panels and other aspects of the Photoshop interface in the lesson “Configuring the Photoshop Interface”, which is Chapter 1, Lesson 4 of my “Photoshop for Photographers” video course. This comprehensive course is included in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle, and you can learn more about it on the GreyLearning website here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/photoshop-for-photographers-2024